Enjoying the time here after being Boston Bruins-focused all of yesterday.
Will be at Ristuccia Memorial Arena this morning for their practice to gather more material for the New England Hockey Journal, but the meat of the trip begins tonight with the Stuart/Corkery (Elite 8) semifinal games.
Milton, led by Vancouver prospect and captain Pat McNally takes on Lawrence Academy at 5:30 pm. Milton has another defenseman, Rob O'Gara, who is from New York and is rising star in the 2011 draft. Similar to McNally last year, he's kind of come from left field this year to impress scouts with his size, mobility, smarts and overall game.
Lawrence doesn't have any single player we're tracking as a 2011 draft option, but will keep the eyes peeled.
Kent will play the 8:00 game against Salisbury and many eyes will be on defenseman Mike McKee, whom we featured on the sleeper alert waaay back in August. He's a sleeper no more. The 6-5, 230-pounder from Newmarket, Ontario won't even turn 18 until August! As far as players with major raw potential, there aren't many better.
McKee's not quite Jamie Oleksiak in terms of huge size and upside, but he's not that far off either, and if he sticks with his current plan of attending Northeastern, he could be playing with the monstrous 6-8 Oleksiak at some point (though he's not slated to arrive at NU until 2012). McKee is also draft property of the Ottawa 67's and there is talk in the NHL community about switching McKee back to forward rather than keeping him on 'D'. Will be interesting to see what happens with him once he is drafted.
Also on Kent is 2012 draft prospect Cristoval "Boo" Nieves, a talented and skilled offensive forward who finished third in scoring on coach Matt Herr's Lions team with 10 goals and 35 points in 25 games this season. He's got some size at 6-3, 185 and has been on NHL draft radars since an impressive Select 15 Festival a couple of years back.
Salisbury has Jack Barre who showed some potential a few years ago, but has not raised his stock to the point that he's considered much of a draft option. He's got some size and power at this level and is a captain, but his hands aren't what they need to be. The youngest Biega brother, Marc, is a '94 BD and therefore not eligible until 2012, but we'll certainly be watching what he does on the Salisbury blue line, just like we did Alex and Danny before him.
Saturday will be another crazy day of hockey with small prep schools (not much to offer) in the am, EJHL in the early afternoon, Belmont Hill-Westminster later and then jetting over to see Northeastern-BU. One of the members of the Bruins hockey operations team said last night at the TD Garden that the Huskies-Terriers match is going to be "where all the scouts in New England are" on Saturday night. With Oleksiak, Matt Nieto and Adam Clendening all going in that one, we don't doubt it.
Should be a blast! We'll have updates as we can post them, so keep checking in.