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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

USHL notes: Grimaldi earns CCM Offensive Player of the Week honors

He may be small, but Rocco Grimaldi packs an awful lot of explosive offensive talent into that 5-6, 160-pound frame of his.

The high-flying forward for the U.S. NTDP Under-18 team was named the USHL's CCM Offensive Player of the Week for the second week of the 2010-11 regular season. You can read the league's release here.

Grimaldi's three goals and four helpers in two wins over the weekend against Dubuque and Muskegon in which Team USA outscored the expansion franchises by a 14-5 margin.

The Southern California native who played midget major in Michigan (with the high visibility Little Caesar's program) and is currently committed to the University of North Dakota next season, is a dynamic scoring presence much in the mold of Brian Gionta when the Montreal captain was coming up through the amateur ranks.

He's a brilliant skater with superior speed, quickness and a mastery of his edges. When scouts talk about undersized players needing to have "plus-skating" ability, then Grimaldi is one of those textbook examples you point to as Exhibit A (much like Theoren Fleury was back in the day).

Beyond the skating, Grimaldi has unreal hands for stickhandling and a wicked little shot that allows him to bury the puck from pretty much anywhere he wants to. He's as deadly a scorer as you can find anywhere in the 2011 draft.

It's just that pesky size thing-- he's not just small, he's tiny.

But, Grimaldi's spent his whole life rising up to challenges that have sunk others with far less talent and drive, so it will be interesting to see where he ends up in June.

AnnArbor.com's Jeff Arnold has a pretty nice piece on him here.

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