The big Boston U. commit is finding his place at Team USA’s National Team Development Program and leaving a wake of opponents in his path. Learn about him and nine other prospects in our weekly wrap.
World junior camps are approaching and some teams are getting excellent news already. Most recently, Canada found out that New York Rangers rookie Anthony Duclair will be loaned out, giving the host nation another speedy and dangerous offensive weapon in its arsenal. Finland must be happy that Dallas gave its blessing for Julius Honka to return, while Washington’s Andre Burakovsky is still a wait-and-see for Sweden. In the meantime, here are some of the other top prospects making noise in the hockey world.
Jordan Greenway, LW – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
It’s impossible to miss Greenway on the ice. At 6-foot-5 and 222 pounds, the Boston University commit can steamroll opponents even when he has his head down (I’ve seen it happen). Greenway was praised by All-American Prospects Game coach Mike Grier for freeing up linemates Jack Eichel and Jeremy Bracco by doing the dirty work in the offensive zone and though he also has some pretty nice hands for a big guy, that frame is foreboding for opponents.
“Once you find out how to use it to your advantage, it’s a really good asset to have,” Greenway said. “But it is hard to find out when to use it and how to use it. It’s given me a lot of success in my career and I plan on continuing to use it.”
Playing for what is essentially an all-star team at the NTDP, Greenway stands out for his physical attributes, but it is important to stick out in general and that seems like it would be tough on a squad where a dozen or so players get drafted every year. But Greenway knows his role and finding his place wasn’t difficult.
“It’s not too hard,” he said. “Coach (Don) Granato, I give him a lot of credit – he really helps you out. And you can really find out who the really skilled players are compared to the players who need to separate the guy from the puck.”
With power forward A.J. Greer already at Boston this year, the Terriers could be quite intimidating next season once Greenway comes to town. A Potsdam, NY native who I’m sure would have been worshipped at his home university of Clarkson, the left winger also played at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota and Boston University offered several advantages.
“I wanted to stay closer to home,” Greenway said. “Coach (David) Quinn is really well respected and they obviously have great facilities. My family and I used to go to Boston a lot when I was younger, so I’m familiar with the campus.”
Ironically, once opponents get used to seeing Greenway on the ice at Agganis Arena, they probably won’t want to get too familiar with Boston University until he’s gone. Draft eligible in 2015.
It was practically a crime that Kapanen fell as far as he did in the draft, especially since he hung with the Penguins admirably in his first NHL camp. Now the slick and smart right winger is dousing Finland’s top circuit, putting up a point per game and giving Suomi hope that last year’s world junior gold was no one-off for the nation. Drafted 22nd overall by Pittsburgh in 2014.
Rourke Chartier, C – Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
One of the hottest players in all of junior, Chartier has been making magic on a line with Nick Merkley and Tyrell Goulbourne. Chartier is the shooter in the bunch, lofting in an incredible 32 goals in his first 30 games and earning himself an invite to Canada’s world junior camp. The 18-year-old is a very smart player who finds the scoring areas. Drafted 149th overall by San Jose in 2014.
Victor Olofsson, RW – Modo (SHL)
The second-highest teen scorer in Sweden’s top league for men, Olofsson trails only teammate William Nylander in that race. An offensively gifted player with a good shot and nice speed, Olofsson’s 16 points through 28 games are one reason he’s at Sweden’s world junior camp. Drafted 181st overall by Buffalo in 2014.
Patrick McNally, D – Harvard Crimson (ECAC)
The Crimson have been red-hot this season (no pun intended) and a balanced effort has propelled the squad to a 9-1-2 record. McNally, an offensively smart blueliner who can really work the power play, is second among all conference D-men in scoring with four goals and 15 points in just 12 games. Drafted 115th overall by Vancouver in 2010.
Jakub Zboril, D – Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
The Czech import has been great for the resurgent Sea Dogs, playing an all-around game and contributing at key times. Case in point? His overtime winner against Val-d’or on the weekend. Zboril will represent his nation at the world juniors, where the Czechs look poised to do damage. Draft eligible in 2015.
Anthony Richard, C – Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
While Richard’s crew may have been on the wrong end of Zboril’s OT winner, the Foreurs pivot made a statement of his own by netting a hat trick in a losing effort. A smaller player with great speed and nifty hands, Richard has taken a big step this year after the Foreurs lost some big talent in the wake of last season’s league title. Draft eligible in 2015.
Nick Schmaltz, C – University of North Dakota (NCHC)
Bragging rights are on the line in the Schmaltz clan as younger bro Nick has tied older sibling Jordan with 14 points on the season. But Nick has done it in just 13 games and is riding a five-game point streak, which should buoy the quick and talented forward at Team USA’s world junior camp. Drafted 20th overall by Chicago in 2014.
Bailey Conger, C – Cushing Academy Penguins (Mass. HS)
Conger and linemate David Cotton will both be ones to watch for the draft this season and they’re already making magic. In a win over Avon Old Farms this weekend, Conger in particular was dangerous, using speed and nifty stickhandling to cut through the defense and ring up a couple of points in a 4-1 victory. He’s committed to St. Lawrence University. Draft eligible in 2015.
Jimmy Lodge, RW – Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
The Steelheads are steering themselves in the right direction and the acquisition of Lodge from Saginaw has helped. The 19-year-old has 10 points in eight games for ‘Sauga, parlaying his great offensive toolbox into a valuable role on the growing squad. Drafted 84th overall by Winnipeg in 2013.