NCAA: ’04s are flying off the board

(‘04) Will Elger (F) commits to Providence for 2023

Elger is an Ohio native who played for the Blue Jackets AAA program. Last season he appeared in 67 games for the Blue Jackets and totaled 22 goals and 28 assists for 50 points; he also had a brief stint with the NTDP.

NZ Scouts: Elger is a tall, thin, smooth skating center that can find seams and open lanes to make accurate passes all over the ice. He has a pass first mentality and is looking to find an easy play on rushes. Elger pickpocketed a defenseman trying to skate out of the zone and instantly created quality scoring chance for his team.

(‘04) Sam Rinzel (D) commits to Minnesota for 2023

Rinzel is a Minnesota native who has played at Chaska High. In 19 games last season he scored eight goals and added 17 assists from the blue line. Rinzel has great size (6-foot-4) and he also played AAA hockey for the Minnesota Blizzard. The Waterloo Blackhawks own Rinzel’s USHL rights.

NZ Scouts: Sam is a big D-man who was solid and very noticeable with his length and ability to create offense with his ability to read the ice and find the open players. He always made the correct play. He didn’t force his passes or shooting attempts. Had a nice assist on the PP by using his patience and getting his shot through for a rebound.  He boxed guys out net front and allowed his goalie to see the shot. 

(‘02) Chase Clark (G) commits to Quinnipiac for 2022

Clark is a BIG get for Quinnipiac. No, really, he’s 6-foot-6 and was drafted by the Washington Capitals last month at the NHL Draft.

Clark played 22 games for the Jersey Hitmen this past season and posted a 1.92 GAA and .935 save percentage. He also appeared in three games for the Tri-City Storm in the USHL. The Storm hold his USHL rights.

NZ Scouts: Clark is able to play a relaxed style because of his height and the visibility it gives him over the traffic in front of the net. Chase has very strong pushes and quick leg pads which take away the bottom of the net. He plays a controlled and composed style within the crease, rarely caught wandering or out of position. Clark also has a strong and fundamentally sound RVH which eliminates wrap arounds and low tight shot attempts. Really liked Clark’s effort on every puck as even when he lost sight of it in scrums, he still recovered, stayed calm and got a whistle somehow. Great size, good hands and still has room to grow and develop.

(‘05) Kai Janviriya (D) commits to Boston University for 2023

The Michigan native is undersized for now – 5-foot-3, 110 pounds – but he has a few years to grow. Last season he played for Compuware, and he’s going to suit up for the NTDP’s U17 team this upcoming season, which is an indication of his skill level.

NZ Scouts: He quarterbacked the power play from the breakout to in-zone and showed vision, poise and passing ability to feed his teammates in the slot. He stretched the ice on the breakout, he was able to buy time with quick spin moves and cutbacks and demonstrated precision and accuracy in long range passes. Kai is a quick processor, he can survey the whole sheet, find the soft areas and move the puck to the right areas. He’s agile, he’s quick and he can get to the puck carrier and close in just a few steps and get his stick on pucks.

(‘03) Weston Turner (D) commits to Holy Cross for 2022

New head coach Bill Riga had some hits on the recruiting trail last week, including Turner, who played for the Groton School (30gp, 6g-16a) last season and will head out to the BCHL to play for Wenatachee this season. Turner is a California native.

NZ Scouts: Smaller, right-shot defender that looked to push the pace. He is skilled with the puck on his stick and he handles well in transition. He snaps passes through the middle of the ice and hit teammates in seams. He spins away from pressure and has a good first step to escape pressure. Kept forwards to the perimeter of the ice and defended with his feet.  Squared-up forwards and used a quick, active stick to steal the puck. Above average shot from the point and uses his feet and quickness to change angles to get the puck to the net.

(‘05) Matthew Wood (F) commits to Connecticut for 2023

Wood is a nice addition for the Huskies. He appeared in 18 BCHL games for Victoria last season as a 15-year-old and posted 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists). UConn has always had a lot of success in Europe, especially Russia and the Czech Republic, but Wood is a recruiting battle they needed to win north of the border. In 2019-20, Wood had 71 points in just 30 games for the West Van Academy. Wood’s commitment opened a lot of eyes.

NZ Scouts: Matthew has a rocket for a shot and shoots like goal scorers shoot, with the ability to put it high or low when needed. He loves to shoot and he thinks like a goal scorer with a shoot first mentality. Matthew has good size and strength and that makes it difficult for defensemen to handle him physically.

(‘04) Ryan Buckley (D) commits to Holy Cross for 2023

Buckley’s father is agent Jerry Buckley, and his uncle (Brendan) is an assistant coach at Boston College. Ryan is from Rhode Island and was going to play last season for St. George’s School before the prep season was scrapped. He was able to appear in 30 games for the Cape Cod Whalers and also appeared in a handful of games for the Jr. Bruins NCDC team.

NZ Scouts; Buckley is a big-bodied, athletic, multi-dimensional prospect who played with a responsible, reliable defensive game. He steps up at the blue lines, he keeps pucks in with his long reach and fearless approach. He has a heavy stick and wins a high percentage of puck battles and has the toughness and competitiveness to takeaway pucks from opponents and break up opposing line rushes.