Scouting Reports

Neutral Zone

Vaughn Kings Bantam

Posted on December 15, 2016

Vaughan Kings Bantam Tournament December 9-11, 2016 Brampton vs North Bay Brampton had 4 power plays in the first period and were unable to generate much. Ended up losing 5-0.  Not a very good team as they are near the bottom of their league as well.  A couple players with potential, but need better  coaching….

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Top 600 NCAA Eligible Prospects Born in 1997

Posted on December 14, 2016

Neutral Zone is pleased to announce our Top 600 list for 1997 born NCAA Eligible prospects throughout North America. Each player on this list has been evaluated by regional scouts in their area and also cross referenced by other scouts on staff as well as the Director of Scouting. The players are evaluated from August-December and given a star rating. The Top 600 players are selected from a pool of over 1,000 NCAA prospects in a grueling process and evaluated against one another to come up with a 1-600 list. The star ratings are more indicative of future success than the difference between #205 and #250, but the rankings are used in the calculus of the NCAA Recruiting Class Rankings.

As part of our mission statement to use analytics to educate coaches, scouts, players and parents we have broken down our Top 600 rankings and provided viewers with several interesting statistics.

League Breakdown

League # of Players %
NAHL 139 23.2%
USHL 129 21.5%
BCHL 104 17.3%
AJHL 63 10.5%
OJHL 46 7.6%
CCHL 29 4.8%
USPHL 29 4.8%
SJHL 21 3.5%
MJHL 14 2.3%
GOJHL 11 1.8%
Other 6 1.0%
NE Prep 5 0.8%
EHL 4 0.6%

The purpose of showing the league breakdown is not to rank the strengh of the leagues, rather to show where these 600 players are coming from. With that being said we see that the double digit percentages are in the four top junior leagues in North America. Keep in mind that some leagues above only have 12 teams in them while other leagues have over 20 so it is not fair to say for example that the OJHL is a better league than the CCHL because it has 17 more players on the list because it has nearly double the amount of teams.

Position Breakdown

Position # of Players %
Forwards 369 61.5%
Defense 180 30.0%
Goalies 51 8.5%

Here we breakdown the 600 players on the list by position. Our list is consistent with the 60/30/10 percentage breakdown between forwards, defense and goaltenders on most NCAA teams.


Status # of Players %
D1 Committed 177 29.5%
Uncommitted 423 70.5%

In look at the 1997 list we see that nearly 1/3 of the players are already committed to D1 programs. Some of these players have signed their letter of intent and are expected to matriculate next fall, others will play another year of junior hockey.

Top 600 Star Ratings

Rating # of Players %
4.75 1 0.2%
4.5 4 0.7%
4.25 6 1.0%
4 18 3.0%
3.75 87 14.5%
3.5 143 23.8%
3.25 111 18.5%
3 123 20.5%
2.75 107 17.8%

The Top 600 ranges in star ratings from 4.75-2.75. This chart looks at all 600 prospects and what star rating they have. The first thing that jumps out is how 4.0-4.75 star players only make up 5% of the total list. Then the list goes up to 14.5% for 3.75 star prospects and up again to 23.8% for 3.5 star prospects. The reason there are so few 4.0 stars is the mainly the age factor. Top prospects are typically playing college hockey at 18 or 19 so there are not a ton of 4 stars left in junior hockey at the older ages. Keep in mind Connor McDavid is a 1997 birth year…

NZ Historical Star Rating Breakdown

Rating D1 % D3 % CIS/Other %
5.0 100 0 0
4.75 100 0 0
4.5 100 0 0
4.25 100 0 0
4.0 98.8 0 1.2
3.75 97.7 0 2.3
3.5 95.5 0.4 4.1
3.25 13.3 74.4 12.3
3.0 4.5 85.6 9.9
2.75 0 96.7 3.3
2.5 0 97.4 2.6
2.25 0 91.2 8.8
2.0 0 67.8 22.2

This chart tracks the 2015-2016 Star Rating’s for 1998-1995’s. As you can see 3.5 star prospects and above have over 97% chance of playing D1 college hockey. This chart is made to give context to the star ratings in the Top 600. There are reasons for CIS/Other as some players we ranked last year had played CHL and were not NCAA eligible. We have now taken them out of the National Rankings to reduce that number. Also, with the US/CAN dollar exchange rate some of the Canadian prospects will not be able to afford D3 institutions. In the US, particularly in the midwest, some players simply stop playing or go the club route if they are not offered at a Division 1 school.

Top 600 NCAA Eligible 1997 Born Prospects in North America

Rank               Name               Team    Pos         Commit   Star
   1         Nick Swaney         Waterloo (USHL)      F     Minnesota Duluth 4.75
   2         Jordan Kawaguchi         Chilliwack (BCHL)      F      North Dakota 4.5
   3         Christian Evers         Lincoln (USHL)      D      North Dakota 4.5
   4         Blake Lizotte         Fargo (USHL)      F      St. Cloud 4.5
   5         Philip Nyberg         Madison (USHL)      D         UConn 4.5

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USPHL Premier; CT Rangers at Jr. Bruins

Posted on December 12, 2016

USPHL Premier: CT Rangers at Junior Bruins; Thursday, December 8, 2016 Neutral Zone headed to the New England Center for an afternoon game between the CT Rangers and Bruins. The Bruins carried the play all afternoon outshooting the Rangers 45-28 on route to a 6-3 win at home. Six different Bruins scored in a well…

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Neutral Zone

Burlington Eagles vs. Southern Tier Admirals; ON Minor Midget

Posted on December 12, 2016

SCTA Minor Midget (potential OHL draftable players) Final Score; STA 4 Burlington 3 Colby Ambrosio (Forward, R, 5’9” 160 lbs, Southern Tier Admirals, 2002) – Colby is an under-aged forward who looks really effective off the rush and in the offensive zone. He scored a nice goal in the 3rd period off a 3v2 rush,…

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U16 Mission Showcase; Top 25

Posted on December 11, 2016

Neutral Zone attended the Mission Showcase on December 3-4, 2016. Below are 25 players who stood out. Three players below are new to our Neutral Zone profiles and all of them are excellent players in the U16 age group. Forwards 16U A. Yegor Afansyev (L, 6-3/180, Detroit Little Caesars, ’01) – Afansyev had a really nice…

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U18 Tier 1 Elite Showcase (NJ); Top 55

Posted on December 11, 2016

Tier 1 Elite U18 Tournament @ Hackensack, NJ; November 11-13, 2016 While there was some talent in the U18 division here in NJ, the words “role players” kept coming to mind. Our scouts did not see a lot of depth in the higher end prospects here. We had limited viewing of LA, San Jose, Anaheim, the Rampage, New…

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U16 Tier 1 Elite Showcase (NJ): Top 75

Posted on December 9, 2016

Tier One Elite League U16 Showcase

Some of the best young players and teams in U16 hockey came to Hackensack, NJ for the Tier 1 Elite League U16 showcase.. We have ranked the top 75 performers here this weekend. This is in no way a ranking of these players overall ability, rather a snapshot of how these players performed at this particular event.

Tag Bertuzzi (L 6.00 192 01 Oakland) 1-2-3 in only 2 GP-He sat the first two games suspended. Tag has pro written all over him. He can take over whenever he has the puck it seems. The 2001 likes to wind up in his own end and take off. He has neat hands and a great inside move. We would have liked to see him go outside more and use the reach and leverage. He is good working off his forehand and backhand can make a nice back hand saucer pass. He is, however, definitely a shooter first and passer second. The numbers are not big but he stood out in a major way.  Grade: A

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U16 HPHL Border Battle: Top 40

Posted on December 8, 2016

The U16 Border Battle in Sarnia, ONT was filled with a lot of ‘A’ prospects. There was some excellent talent that should go high in the USHL and OHL Drafts next spring.  Ontario brought some highly ranked U15 teams to the tournament to compete against some very strong U.S. U16 teams.  There was no shortage of scouts at this event, as it was a rare chance to see some of the best Canadian teams match up against the Americans.

Players listed below are the ones Neutral Zone evaluated the highest. Grades are for this event only and in relation to others on this report.

Jack Hughes (L, 5-9/151, Toronto Marlboros, ‘01-Forward) – Is about dynamic as they come in his age group.  Has big time skill and can control the game with the puck on his stick.  Found the open man and set his line mates up.  He has great hockey sense and is shifty.  He understands the game well and has great poise with the puck.   Younger brother of Quinn Hughes of the U18 USNTDP.   In contention for the #1 pick in the OHL Draft, but is also a duel citizen and can chose the USNTDP/College route.  No matter where he decides to play next year, he will be very successful. Grade: A+

Antonio Stranges (L, 5-9/150, Little Caesars, ‘02-Forward) – Getting better as the year goes along and he plays against older players.  Great feet and ability to skate.  Has the skill and playmaking ability to go along with it. (MICHIGAN)  Grade: A

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USPHL Premier: Boston Jr. Bruins vs South Shore Kings

Posted on December 7, 2016

Neutral Zone made the drive down to the Foxboro Sports Center for an afternoon tilt between the Kings and Bruins. Both teams are in the top four in the league standings.

The game didn’t feature a lot of great scoring chances. Both goalies played well and limited second chances. Each team only took two penalties. The Bruins took a 1-0 lead 5 minutes into the second when Dallas Farrell made a nice pass to Van Ness on a 2 on 1. The next tally would be in the third when the Kings pulled their goalie creating a 6-4 advantage. Max Suave buried a Kevin Hock rebound. In the 3 on 3 OT frame, Jack Quinlivan made a nice move to his backhand to beat a defender and bury the game winner.

Below are players we noted in this game. Grades are for this game only and in relation to others on this report.

Elijah Harris #30 (Bruins, G, 5’8”, 150lbs, 1997)-Elijah was near flawless with the only goal against a rebound on 6-4. He moved well and was aggressive to the shooters. He didn’t leave much in the way of rebounds and looked to have an easy afternoon in securing the win. College: Brown. A

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GOJHL Scouting Report: St. Mary’s Lincolns

Posted on December 6, 2016

GOJHL Scouting Report: St. Mary’s Lincolns

Information is based on St. Mary’s November 27th,  game in Chatham against the Maroons.  Chatham won the game the game 5-2. Grades are for this game only and in relation to others noted here. All the players listed are new to our Neutral Zone player profiles.

Justin Vandendool #9 (Right, 6’2/175, 1999)-Vandendool is in his first season with St. Mary’s. He played last season for the London Jr. Knights Major Midget AAA team. He is an average skater with a long stride and has good puck handling skills through the neutral zone. He needs more intensity on the forecheck. Grade: B+

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