One draft darkhorse/sleeper for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft is New Jersey native Colby Drost, who hails from Franklin Lakes Township.
A January 1992 birthdate who wasn't selected in 2010, Drost is one of these intriguing project players who could pay off in the long run. HockeyProspect.com even featured him in their 2010 Draft Guide after seeing him play in some showcases and knowing that he would face upwards of 50 shots or more while playing for Holderness in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Despite his team's moribund 4-19-3 record, Drost kept them in games, posting a .904 save percentage. This season, he played in the EJHL for the NE Jr. Huskies. It was another busy season for Drost, posted another .904 year while seeing a lot of rubber. His Huskies went 10-18-4. In two playoff games, he made 91 saves on 98 shots- a .929 save percentage. Drost faced more than 40 shots a total of 10 times, getting very little offensive support.
Where Drost has some real appeal for NHL teams is with his size and athleticism. At 6-1, 195 pounds, he's right in line with what pro teams are looking for. He was underexposed in tiny Holderness a year ago, but did the right thing elevating his profile in the EJHL this season. Validation for his potential recently came when the Des Moines Buccaneers selected Drost in the USHL Entry Draft on Monday. Red Line Report featured some scouting notes on him in the May bulletin as well.
He's mentally tough and real puck stopper- never gives up on the play and is highly competitive. Just as Steve Michalek has excelled in prep this season playing on a poor team, so did Drost in the EJHL. Where he plays next year is still in the works, but B2011DW has learned that interest in him is high.
Do not be surprised if an NHL club steps up and grabs him because the upside is certainly there.
B2011DW caught up to Colby recently and talked with him about his background and asked him to tell us why he's worthy of being an NHL draft pick next month.
On how he got his start in hockey:
"I started off playing hockey when I was 6 years old. I went to the rink because my sister was a figure skater at the time and saw the hockey players, I turned to my mom and said thats what I want to do. I started off playing forward for one year, then one Sunday the goalie didnt show up. They asked me to suit up in the rental goalie gear. From that moment , I loved playing in net."
On his favorite NHL team and players he admires/tries to emulate:
"My favorite NHL team is the NJ Devils- Growing up, I liked a whole lot of goalies. I like how every goaltender has there own style but at the end of the day they all stop the puck. My favorites right now have to be, Ryan Miller, Corey Crawford, John Quick...My favorite college goalie is Joe Cannata, I can watch him every weekend. Love his style."
Drost's message to NHL teams on taking a chance on him in the 2011 draft:
"I would tell you that I am a student of the game. I love playing this game and stopping the puck. Every summer I train as much as I can not because I have to do it...because I love doing it. It is my job, and I put everything into it the best of my ability. One thing I have noticed is that I keep getting better every single year. I have not stopped and I think NHL teams look for prospects with potential that will keep getting better. You would not regret drafting me."
So there you have it. Drost is a legitimate sleeper for the draft, and credit HockeyProspect for seeing enough of him last year to make us aware of him. We watched him with interest in Tyngsboro this season, and it's time to help make sure that the cat is out of the bag.
He's a smart kid who brings the right combination of talent, confidence and humility to the mix. Don't be surprised if you're hearing from him soon.