NCAA Aug. 1 Names to Watch (Part I)

Starting Monday (Aug. 1) players who are about to enter their junior year of high school are eligible to receive scholarship offers and make verbal commitments to NCAA programs.

It’s a big day in college hockey, and in relation to college football, it’s as close to “signing day” as it gets.

Traditionally, there are a large number of commitments in the first week. Players haven’t been able to officially receive offers, but work has been done through advisors and many players have taken at least unofficial visits to schools that interest them.

Here are some of the names we’re going to be keeping an eye on next week. We’ll have a Part II of this list coming later this week.

’06 (C) Matthew Frost (★★★★) – Selects Academy, 16U

Frost was the No. 1 overall pick in the USHL Draft. In 58 games with the Selects Academy last season, Frost totaled 26 goals and 36 assists for 62 points.

NZ Scouts: ” He processes the game quickly and makes split second decisions to either take ice or get pucks to teammates. He slips in-and-out of coverage in the offensive zone and gets to areas just before the puck does. He has a big release and a heavy shot that he gets on net quickly. He plays physical and uses his body well to protect the puck and create space.”

’06 (F) Cole Eiserman (★★★★½) – Shattuck St. Mary’s (Prep)

Eiserman is slated to play for the U.S. NTDP U17 team this upcoming season. In 53 games with Shattuck last year he had 56 goals and 30 assists for 86 points. Word on the street is that Boston University is the front-runner for the Newburyport, Mass. native.

NZ Scouts: “He reacts very quickly and pounces on opportunities to score goals when teammates set him up. He finished on a breakaway with a decisive move. Consistent level of effort in all games and a high percentage shooter.”

’06 (D) E.J. Emery (★★★★½) – Yale Hockey Academy (CSSHL U17)

Emery is a 6-foot-3 defenseman who is also headed to the U.S. U17 team. He played in 33 games for the Yale Hockey Academy in B.C. last season and posted 34 points (14g, 20a).

NZ Scouts: “Emery is a big-bodied, mobile, mult-dimensional defender out of Yale Hockey Academy who continues to get better and better every viewing. He looked like a fair pick in the 3rd round this winter’s WHL Draft but that pick is looking better and better for Saskatoon as he was one of the top prospects in the camp. He has impressive skating ability and range for a player his size and age and was able to cover a lot of ice.”

’06 (D) Cole Hutson (★★★★) – North Jersey Avalanche, AYHL

Hutson is another defenseman who is making the jump to the U.S. U17 team after a few seasons with the North Jersey Avalanche in the AYHL.

NZ Scouts: “Hutson is a quick, agile, crafty, high IQ, puck-moving defenseman out of NJ Avalanche. He is only 5’6” and 132lbs at this point so he struggled in his net-front defense and against bigger opponents below the dots but his gaps are tight, he’s quick to close and has strong anticipation skills to pick off passes in the neutral zone and around his net front.”

’06 (F) Macklin Celebrini (★★★★¾) – Shattuck St. Mary’s, Prep

Celebrini had eye-popping numbers with Shattuck’s 18U team last season. In 52 games he scored 50 goals and added 67 assists for 117 points. That came on the heels of a monster season in 2020-21 on the 14U team where he totaled 141 points (51g, 90a) in 50 games. He’s going to suit up for the Chicago Steel in the USHL next season.

NZ Scouts: “Macklin has clean handles and quick hands, tremendous speed and patience with the puck. He made the game look easy at times and dominated the competition at moments.  He gets his head up quickly and can make the pass to feed the back door. He can handle the puck at full speed and this seemed to be the strongest aspect of his game: using his superior speed to blow by opponents.”

’06 (F) Michael Hage (★★★★½) – Toronto Jr. Canadiens U16, U16 AAA

Hage appeared in 57 games for the Jr. Canadiens last season and had 116 points (46g, 70a). He also had a four-point game for the organization’s OJHL team and he had 16 points in seven games during the OHL Cup. He’ll join Celebrini on the Steel next season.

NZ Scouts: ““He Plays PP/PK and all key situations for the Junior Canadiens. Hage is an intelligent player and he maneuvers himself to gain an advantage, especially without the puck in the offensive zone. He will hover on the perimeter until he sees a play developing, before attacking an open seam to contribute and make a play to the net. When he has the puck he tends to look for outside opportunities to attack or pass, as opposed to driving through traffic. His anticipation skills are elite.”

’06 (F) Teddy Stiga (★★★★½) – Belmont Hill School, NE-Prep

Stiga had 21 points in 23 games (7g, 14a) in his first season at Belmont Hill this season. Word is he accelerated academically and will enter his junior year, so we’re including him here on our list. He’s headed to the U.S. U17 team this season.

NZ Scouts: “Stiga is a high IQ forward with soft, patient hands and a quick first step who led his high school team to its first prep championship appearance in over 25 years. He’s agile, light on his feet but has deceptive balance in a crowd and able to get off checks against bigger opponents. He has an elusive stick, he can change direction instantly and is smooth and poised in everything he does.”