Aside from the rise of Culver (93) and his hard work and opportunity now with the USHL Youngstown Phantoms for the 2011-2012 season. There are several others working hard in the offseason, gaining attention and lassoing their own stars.
Goalie Austin Gryca is off to the NAHL Port Huron Falcons main camp at the end of July. While a recent head line reads "Tyler Last deserves shot to compete for spot on Falcons" the stark reality here is that Bill Warren the Falcons head coach is quoted as stating numerous times that he want a young goalie to back up his starter, some one to develop along the season, who is capable of playing numerous games, but not shouldering the load this season. Austin Gryca a 94 goalie out of Sylvania Northview HS came out of the predraft camp as a top ranked prospect. One of the top goalies, but also in the top percent of all at camp in physical testing. Being a 94 and backing up a 91 would give the Falcons exactly what they are looking for, in a fully capable strong, net-minder. This again is just another piece of testimony for the progressive development taking place at Sylvaina Northview.
Dalton Carter, the utility man is capitalizing on growing NAHL, EJHL, OJHL, BCHL and budding USHL interest. Dalton will be showcasing his abilities in front of numerous EJHL coachs, D3 and D1 scouts when takes part in the Hockey Night Boston major division tournament in last half of July. Dalton has been a player who stand on the blue, or work from the wing, and has good centering abilities as well. He is most noted for his thunderous, laser accurate slap shots from point working on the power play, in conjuntion with his good size, and growing frame the boy is a protypical CCHA, WCHA player, who would aslo be a good fit in larger Hockey East teams like Northeasters and UNH's.
There is a lot of development to take place between now then. The foundations are in place and were well noted by coaches Dennis Williams and Rocky Russo of the Amarilo Bulls, which is why Dalton is joining them to compete for a place on the 2011-2012 Bulls roster at the end of July.
Drew Crandall whats not to like? The Toledo Cherokee third round draft pick 40th overall, is a Quick, fast, tenacious, relentless, two way player, battler where all these adjectives can well be used to begin any description of what this young man brings to game every shift. What do I like about Drew? I like that he skates a fearless game. He goes in to the hard places and wins battles when needed, but more often than not, at this point, he is there first. He could develop in to an all around star, following the off ice conditioning and training that is available to all Northview hockey players. Drew has a good shot, his release I feel could be quicker, espically considering his shots come from prime shooting zones. Drew's passes are crisping up. Drew has learned patience. He is using his high sustained speed to open up and stretch things out creating space for play-making, which a year ago he would rush, now he is allowing them to develop.
Drew is going be skating with a year in and out top ranked EJHL club in the summer showcase A division. Playing with and against numerous Top 10 NCAA programs committed players at the end of July, in front of those programs very coaches, he is going to turn heads. Entering his only his Junior year, I feel that Drew can develop under coach Jones in to another USHL prospect.
I will have introductory posts / updates on: Reid Mankowski, Zach Felzer, Tyler Dewitt, Kyler Omey, Nate Gay, and Brint Easton in the next edition.
Lets take a moment here and analyze prospect projection. Just because some guy, or scout blowviates that this player is this or that at these early ages doesn't mean dinky do. It merely means that if the players development trend continues to track on this trajectory that he is a prospect. How do prospects develop? Big question, with numerous formulas, all player specific, and position. Basics are skating, shot, hands, hockey sense, mental and physical. Now the player must also have the desire. Generally speaking for most this is where it can and does end, any number of reasons. For some its that Jr. hockey is a business. Mom and Dad dont have a say anymore. Kids get traded and cut. This is not as prominent in the EJHL where it is pay to play, but still happens. So while son X may go to team Y, he may well go to teams A, B, C at any time for any number of reasons. Then you have for most this will be their first time being away from home. A support structure that the player has grown up with is now gone, this anxiety for both parent and player often kills the dream. Then before you even reach that point a player maybe just burned out. Take the average AAA player. he has been spending on average 2-3 hours a day in his car driving to and from practices, add in the exorbitant number of games in the AAA season and length of season and you have another reason. Then add in all that drive time equates to less study time, less time being young and experiencing a childhood and you now have a new reason. As well as less time for physical conditioning.Girls- no explanation needed here.
Lets look at Sylvania Northview. They have year round conditioning program, available to all players. Current and incoming. Players are encouraged to go out and aided in gaining exposure to Jr level play. Serving two functions. Exposure for both player and Jr leagues, too each other, and where you need to be in your development to be in consideration for that level. The Coaching philosophy of developing whole boys. From the class room to society, the student comes first. Extend that to a practice to game ratio that is less taxing on the growing maturing bodies, that is instruction heavy. Then add in every player starts the year on the same footing. No promises of position or special teams, each gets what he earns, and needs for development. Again add in a coaching staff with ties to scouts, programs and coaches at every level and you've created a plan for progression beyond High School.
ON the players part he/she must still do their part. Nothing again is given to anyone, the player needs to have the desire and work ethic both on and off the ice do progress. Being the best Ohio High School hockey player, is like being the toughest kid in 2nd grade. Your one of 150. The USHL for example posses the top 1% of talent for any given birth year. In every league they want the best. The best is a lot of work. A lot independent work. While your team may require one hour on the bike, you had best put in two. Minimum requirements are just that, minimums. So in stead of picking up your golf bag and walking around chasing a ball for 3-4 hours, consider getting on the bike on the highest setting for an hour, then doing squats, lunges, hill sprints and 1000 sit ups. Get on the bike after the game and take long cold showers. Then get your school work done, visit your friends and have fun with your family.