Final U17 5 Nations Report: A Comprehensive Look at U.S. U17 Select Team

The U.S. Under-17 Select Team, made up of the top 1995-born players not playing for the National Team Development Program, won the 2011 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament in Ann Arbor this past Saturday.

Photo: Norman Hayward - bigmanwithacamera.com

Needless to say, the 1995 class is quite deep, with plenty of great talent for the 2013 and 2014 NHL Entry Drafts. The NTDP will likely be making its final U17 roster announcement this week, with the players scheduled to report to Ann Arbor in about two weeks. So until then, we’ll take a quick look at what the U.S. Under-17 Selects did while in Ann Arbor.

Check out the brief player-by-player scouting reports after the jump.

Goaltenders

Thatcher Demko (Photo: Norman Hayward)

Thatcher Demko - San Diego, Calif. — The big goaltender was brilliant in his first two starts, showing great positioning and poise. For whatever reason, he had a rough night against Slovakia, getting pulled. He’s a very young 1995, so his game should continue to develop over time. His size is going to cover up some of those youthful mistakes. Draft eligible in 2014

Stat line: 3 GP, 160:00,  2-0-0, 2.63 GAA, .911 SV%

Devin Williams - Saginaw, Mich. — Williams doesn’t have the size of Demko, but looked really good in his 80 minutes of action. He earned the win coming on in relief against Slovakia and basically shut down the Swiss. His rebound control was fantastic throughout and he made a few key saves in big situations. At 5-11, Williams may not be done growing, so a little more size would be nice, but he played well. Draft eligible in 2014

2 GP, 80:00, 2-0-0, 0.75 GAA, .978 SV%

Defensemen

Michael Brodzinski - Ham Lake, Minn. — Brodzinski has a very athletic frame and moves pretty well. He has a great shot from the point. His decision-making was suspect at times at both ends of the ice. There were more than a few turnovers and poor shot choices in traffic. It’s one of those adjustments he’ll just have to make as he gets older and matures as a player. If he can get that settled, he could be a very good player down the road. Definitely has some great skills. Draft eligible in 2013

Stat line: 5 GP, 1-2–3, 6 PIM

Garret Cecere - Des Moines, Iowa — Cecere didn’t get a ton of time until the team was forced to play with only six defensemen. However, he improved with each game he played despite the fact that he was by far Team USA’s smallest defensemen. He doesn’t really have any one standout tool, but played a pretty steady game. To play at a high level, he’ll need grow some. Obviously, there’s still time for that. Draft eligible in 2013

5 GP, 0-1–1, 0 PIM

Connor Clifton (Photo: Norman Hayward)

Connor Clifton - Matawan, N.J. — At the beginning of the tournament, I thought Clifton was only OK. By the end, he had me thinking he may have been Team USA’s best blueliner. He has very good size and skates very well in all areas. He’s not afraid of the physical game and delivered some punishing checks. He’s got pretty good strength as well. It wasn’t often to see him out muscled or out worked. Draft eligible in 2013

5 GP, 1-0–1, 4 PIM

Anthony DeAngelo - Turnersville, N.J. — Coming into the tournament, I don’t know if there was a player I was more excited to see than DeAngelo. He skates so well and has tremendous puck skills. But there’s a catch. Sometimes he tries to do a little too much and doesn’t want to give the puck up. He ended up being benched for much of the Slovakia game and was a healthy scratch in the Switzerland game. He’ll have to be a better distributor and more defensively responsible, but hopefully he can mature over time. Don’t forget, he’s still very young. Draft eligible in 2014

4 GP, 0-0–0, 4 PIM

Michael Downing - Canton, Mich. — The big defenseman served as the captain for this U.S. outfit. He’s pushing 6-foot-3, but has some good mobility and offensive instincts. Despite the size, however, Downing was getting out muscled and hit hard by smaller players. The more muscle he can tack on, the better in the coming years. He’ll also need to do a better job in his own end, but he appeared to improve defensively as the tournament went on. Despite the defensive deficiencies, I really liked his offensive game. If he can develop defensively, he could be a pretty solid blueliner down the road. Draft eligible in 2013

5 GP, 1-1–2, 8 PIM

R.J. Gicewicz - Orchard Park, N.Y. — Gicewicz seemed to pick up more ice time as the tournament went on. If he can pack on some strength to his 6-foot frame, he could be a really solid defender. By accounts from those familiar with him, he has great character and toughness. He seemed to adapt well to the different situations thrown at him and never made any noticeable mistakes. As he builds strength, the rest of his game should come along too. Draft eligible in 2014

5 GP, 0-0–0, 2 PIM

Willie Raskob – Hastings, Minn. — Raskob was one of the many offensive-minded defenseman on this U.S. club. He was always sneaking into the play on the back door and wasn’t afraid to jump in the rush. It almost cost him a few times, but he has pretty good closing speed to make up for those mistakes. He’s a bit of a risk taker, but not too much so. Like everyone else on this team, he’ll need to get stronger to be more of a factor in his own end. Draft eligible in 2013

5 GP, 0-1–1, 0 PIM

Forwards

Shane Eiserman - West Newbury, Mass. — There’s a lot to like about Eiserman’s game. He only posted two points, but made his presence felt in a variety of other ways. He was one of Team USA’s biggest forwards and best skaters. He played a very good two-way game, despite the fact that he seems to have some really good offensive ability. As he continues to round out his game and grow, he’ll be one to watch for sure. Draft eligible in 2014

State Line: 5 GP, 1-1–1, 8 PIM

Adam Erne – North Branford, Conn. — Another player that came into this tournament with a lot of hype certainly lived up to it. At 6-0, 195, Erne was the best physical presence the U.S. had. He played a very physical, power game. He isn’t just a big kid though. He skates well, has good hands and an excellent shot. His wrister is near pro-ready right now. There’s cautious optimism, though. Erne is the physically most developed of his peers. As they grow around him, he’ll need to up his game to keep pace. Right now, he’s among the best in his age group. Draft eligible in 2013

5 GP, 2-1–3, 4 PIM

Gabe Guertler (Photo: Norman Hayward)

Gabe Guertler - Plantation, Fla. — There was a buzz about Guertler based on his dominant performance at the Select 17 player development camp. He didn’t let down. Guertler is small, but looks pretty strong. He skates well, has pretty good vision and he produces. The other thing I liked about him was that he wasn’t lazy on the back check. Guertler skates hard in all zones, but his real value is in what he provides offensively. He can really shoot, but isn’t afraid to dish either. He’ll be challenged more in Junior with Fargo, but he looks like he’s ready. Draft Eligible in 2013

5 GP, 3-2–5, 0 PIM

Daniel Labosky - Edina, Minn. — Labosky skated for much of the tournament with Erne and Guertler. He was more of the table-setter for the two big guns on his line. Still, Labosky is a lightning-quick skater with high-end puck skills. He’s certainly a pass-first player, which is perfect when playing with a pair of good goal scorers. He might have been overshadowed by the other two guys on his line, but he was a standout on the U.S. He was benched for taking a bad penalty during a five minute power play against Slovakia, but showed no ill effects in the Switzerland game. He was one of the smallest players on the team, but lead the squad in PIMs. Avoiding penalty trouble would be the only real complaint. Draft eligible in 2013

5 GP, 0-3–3, 10 PIM

Vinni Lettieri (Photo: Norman Hayward)

Vinni Lettieri - Excelsior, Minn. — Lettieri certainly has a very nice offensive game, but what was most surprising was his physical game. At just 5-9, 163, Lettieri was laying people out in Ann Arbor. Lettieri didn’t shy away from the hard areas of the ice, either. He was going to the net hard and maintained a good presence in his own end as a center. He has good skills and skates well. He might not be able to be as physical against bigger opponents, but at least he’s not afraid to throw what little weight he has around. Draft eligible in 2013

5 GP, 3-1–4, 4 PIM

Jimmy Lodge - Downington, Pa. — Lodge was more in a bottom-six role for Team USA for most of the tournament, but handled it pretty well. He was pretty good when he took draws, particularly in the offenisve zone. He’s got a projectable frame, meaning he looks like he could grow into a much stronger player. There’s a lot there that he has yet to unlock, but looks like he’s not far off. Draft eligible in 2013

5 GP, 0-2–2, 4 PIM

Trevor Moore – Thousand Oaks, Calif. — Moore wasn’t always the most noticeable player on the ice, but that was because he limited mistakes. He played in a variety of roles, but always seemed to do the little things well. There’s no standout aspect of Moore’s game, but he just seemed to play hard every game. He’s on the small side, so hopefully he can tack on some strength and maybe grow a few inches for good measure. Draft eligible in 2013

5 GP, 0-1–1, 0 PIM

Andrew Oglevie – Fullerton, Calif. — Oglevie quietly had a nice tournament. With six assists, he was tops on Team USA. He is a good skater with decent size. Oglevie has good vision and made a lot of the right decisions along the way to those six assists. He’s the type of guy others love to have on his line, not just because he passes, but because he creates space and, therefore, opportunities. He was particularly good when he played with Lettieri. Should be able to grow some more and be a fine player. Draft eligible in 2013

5 GP, 0-6–6, 4 PIM

Alex Schoenborn – Minot, N.D. — One of the biggest forwards Team USA threw on the ice, Schoenborn wasn’t always the flashiest guy. He has a great frame, but is probably still trying to figure out what to do with it. After all, he was the youngest player on the team with a mid-December birth date. It wasn’t that he wasn’t physical, but it looked like he could have forced the issue a little more in all zones. Still, he skates very well and was a big part of Team USA’s energy line with Danny Vanderwiel and Jimmy Lodge. Once he figures out how to over match his opponents with his size and strength, he could be an exciting player. Draft eligible in 2014

5 GP, 0-3–3, 4 PIM

Ryan Siroky (Photo: Norman Hayward)

Ryan Siroky - Manhattan Beach, Calif. — Siroky got better in every single game he played and ended up tying Oglevie for the team lead with six points (3-3). He plays hard every shift and had good finish when he was near the net. He was blocking shots, playing physical and never missing a beat offensively. He became more and more of a factor in each game. He’s a fun player to watch. Draft eligible in 2013

5 GP, 3-3–6, 2 PIM

Michael Turner – Oak Park, Ill. — Speed kills. Turner has a bunch of it. He might have had the best wheels on the U.S. team, routinely beating defenders to the outside and driving the net hard. He didn’t always have the best finish, but he created chances with his great speed. He’s also 6-2, 190, so there’s some good size too. His one goal was off of a pretty little backhander. If he can finish more of his chances, he has an opportunity to be a really solid player. Draft eligible in 2014

5 GP, 1-1–2, 2 PIM

Daniel Vanderwiel – Island Lake, Ill. — He plays a bottom-six style game, but has top-six speed. Vanderwiel isn’t the biggest guy, but he plays the body any chance he gets and is a pest in the defensive zone. He came alive in the last two games in particular. Despite the fact that he played on the fourth line for much of the tournament, Vanderwiel led Team USA with four goals (three of which came against Slovakia in the clinching game). All of his goals came in tight, usually after Vanderwiel had parked in front of the net. He has a bit of a thin frame, but that doesn’t stop him from playing a hard-nosed style. Draft eligible in 2013

5 GP, 4-1–5, 0 PIM

All-in-all, it was a great tournament for Team USA and a great display of the depth within this 1995 birth year. USA Hockey continues to see deeper and deeper classes as time goes on, which is a great credit to the programs across the country developing players.

Special thanks to Norman Hayward, of bigmanwithacamera.com, for taking great photos and allowing me to use them. Make sure to check out his site and peruse some of his fine photography.

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About Chris Peters

Editor of The United States of Hockey. Contributor to CBSSports.com, USA Hockey Magazine and more. Former USA Hockey PR guy. Current Iowan.
This entry was posted in American Prospects, Junior Hockey, NCAA, NHL Draft, U.S. National Teams, USA Hockey, Youth Hockey. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Final U17 5 Nations Report: A Comprehensive Look at U.S. U17 Select Team

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great to see lots of non-traditional areas producing good players.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Did not notice that none of these young U17 players played for NTDP. Yet they showed that they could match skate by skate with the best of them and won. Their youth coaches deserve lots of credit. Congratulations for the win!

    Also agree with the above comment that it’s a great sign to see that more and more players coming out of non-traditional hockey area such as California. The great State of California has always been at the forefront of producing top sport athletes in just about any sport in the world, pros or amateurs, Summer Olympics, Winter Olympics, NCAA, Football, Baseball, Basketball, ….. and now Hockey, that you can think of, Men as well as Women. We’re not the only State in the Union that is capable of doing that though. Hopefully this is the first sign leading to something bigger and better in the near future.

  3. Unknown says:

    USA goalies aren’t as good as some people are led to believe. They just benefitted from good defense. Last season they weren’t surrounded by such a good defense and it showed, not only in stats but games. Theres other kids that are better, like brenden Burke. That being said I’m not taking anything away from them, as they lead USA to victory. Contests to both

    • Chris Peters says:

      Thanks for that expert analysis, Unknown.

      Whether or not there are kids that are better, Demko and Williams both played really well in this tournament, regardless of defense. In fact, they bailed the D out a bunch in the tournament because there were so many offensive-minded D-men on the team. There were plenty of odd-man rushes against that resulted in a save.

      Normally I wouldn’t address a comment like this, but you can’t say “I’m not taking anything away from them” right after you take something away from them.

      • Unknown says:

        Christ it’s just a comment, what are you the kids dad? I wasn’t takin anything away from how they played, I’m sure they did well. After all they made team USA and won didn’t they? I was simply saying that there are many goalies at the 95 level who were just as capable of making the team as demko and Williams. I’m just saying I watched them at 2 naphl showcases and they had very good competition. If my opinion was so expert I wouldn’t be commenting on a blog, I’d be writing for espn or something

  4. Unknown says:

    *congrats

  5. Pingback: Ryan Siroky a RedHawk « Redskin Warriors: The Miami Hockey Blog

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