2018 NHL Draft

Prospect Notes: USHL TPG

Madden, Ranta among several prospects who impressed at USHL’s premier pre-draft event
Steve Kournianos  |  1/11/2018 |  Nashville  |  

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Photo courtesy of the Sioux City Journal

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2018 Draft Prospects

Team West

LW Sampo Ranta (Sioux City Musketeers, Ranked No. 78): Jersey-flapping Finnish sniper with stylistic similarities to Marian Gaborik, all the way down to how he holds his stick. Ranta has a wicked shot that requires little backswing — on one occasion his snap shot from just inside a crowded blueline caused a nasty (and loud) carom off the glass. You can argue that Ranta was the player scouts came to see, but his overall performance was quiet in a game that tends to be both tight and physical. Like most bigger wingers, Ranta was invisible for lengthy periods before finding his groove and stringing together a handful of dominant shifts. His speed, size and shot are obvious, but Ranta also is a reliable puck possessor who can also pivot and spin away from collapsing pressure, especially in the corners of the offensive zone. He wasn’t very physical but used his size and reach effectively. Ranta intends to play his collegiate hockey at Wisconsin.

LW Philippe Lapointe (Lincoln Stars, Ranked No. 315): Lapointe is decent draft prospect having an average season with Lincoln. His overall puck skills, however, seem to be improving, as is his confidence and decisiveness once he crosses center. The Michigan-bound winger (and son of former Stanley Cup champion Martin Lapointe), Philippe made a nifty cross-ice pass on the power play that set up Paul Cotter for what was at the time the go-ahead goal. He displayed soft hands and the ability to receive and control a pass in stride while skating with his head up. Lapointe’s overall speed is above aggregate and he’s strong enough on his skates to power through the shoves or checks of defenders. He’ll play for the University of Michigan in the fall.

C Ryan Savage (Fargo Force, Ranked No. 213)Savage is another NHL legacy whose Canadian father (former Habs’ sniper Brian Savage) had his kid grow up under the watchful eye of USA Hockey. Ryan has an excellent shot that he uses quite frequently from the circles inward, but in the TPG he flashed his breakaway skills and hands, scoring with a backhand-to-forehand deke after leaving the defensemen in the dust for puck gazing. Savage is an aggressive forechecker who can make or finish plays off the cycle. He’s committed to Miami University.

LW Paul Cotter (Lincoln Stars, Ranked No. 168): Cotter is a dual-threat winger with very good speed who’s making a name for himself thanks to some productive showings at several prospect events. Committed to Western Michigan University, Cotter can finish in a variety of ways. He does, however, seem to favor the slot and look for passes to hammer home. One thing I notice about his shot (besides being both hard and accurate) is that he doesn’t need the puck to be served on a platter for him to get velocity on it — passes in his skates, rolling, bouncing are all good enough for him. He finished off a nice passing play off a zone entry while on the power play.

Team East

C Tyler Madden (Tri-City Storm, Ranked No. 1): Madden continues to assault the competition, scoring twice in the third period to leas Team East to the 4-3 victory. He was named team MVP and was yet again one of the more noticeable players on the ice. Although Madden’s game is predicted on his speed, he is a highly-cerebral center whose in-game contributions go well beyond point or shot totals. Madden, who is committed to Northeastern University, is a fierce competitor who battles hard for positioning and is more than willing to go into corners and take the physical beating necessary to either protect the puck or move it an open linemate.

LHD Michael Callahan (Central Illinois Flying Aces, Ranked No. 123): The Providence-bound blueliner opened the scoring with what is becoming his patented bomb from near the blue line. Callahan is a very good skater and passer who likes to play aggressive, but the timliness of his pimnches and step-ups reveal a thinking-man’s defender who can be counted on to do a lot more than just hammer pucks. Nonetheless, his shot is quite impressive, and he gets a lot of mustard on his wrister or slapper off his back foot.

C Mathias Emilio Pettersen (Muskegon Lumberjacks, Ranked No. 108): Few players were harder to drop from my September rankings than this physical puck wizard, whose slow statistical start didn’t equal the effort and skill he was bringing every game for Muskegon. The University of Denver recruit is starting to put up points (20 in 27 games), but it’s his three-zone play and willingness to give up his body at any moment that makes me think he’s going to draw a lot more attention as the season progresses. Pettersen at the TPG didn’t put a dent into the traditional stat sheet, but his speed and hunter’s mindset were most certainly on display.

G Ivan Prosvetov (Youngstown Phantoms, 3/5/99): Prosvetov was ranked 18th in my final goalie rankings for 2017 after a solid season for the NAHL’s Minnesota Magicians. But the native Muscovite went undrafted and later struggled to adapt to the increase in speed and physicality at the USHL. He was perfect in last night’s TPG, stopping all 11 shots and playing aggressive, especially when pucks were dumped into his corners. Prosvetov is making the grade in terms of his size (6’4, 175) and mechanics, but the way he handles the puck and times dump-ins is what stood out the most.