Shane Eiserman gave up the comfort zone of prep hockey and staying close to home for the more rough-and-tumble junior circuit of the USHL, and the move seems to be suiting the Bay State power forward just fine.
THE SHANE EISERMAN FILE
numbers: 6-foot-1, 200 pounds
Born: Oct. 10, 1995
Hometown: Newburyport, Mass.
Position/team: LW, Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
Previous teams: U.S. NTDP U18 (USHL), Cushing Academy (HS-Mass.), St. John’s Prep (HS-Mass.)
All in the family: Father, Bill Eiserman, played hockey for University of Lowell; older brothers Billy (D) and Chris (G) also skated at high levels (junior and NCAA). Cousin Eddie Hill was a second-round pick of Nashville in 1999 as a Barrie Colts (OHL) defenseman.
NCAA commitment: Univ. of New Hampshire (2014)
Favorite NHL team, player: Boston Bruins, Patrice Bergeron
Patterns own game after: Jordan Staal, Ryan Kesler
Scouting report: Big-bodied winger with a sturdy build. Skates well for his size, generating fine straight-line speed thanks to a powerful stride. Needs to get a little quicker and improve lateral mobility, but tough to contain when he gets up a full head of steam and drives to the net. Protects the puck well and does the dirty work along the boards and in front of the net. Generates scoring chances by overpowering opponents and keeps his feet moving. Likes to initiate contact and finishes his checks. Some have questioned his consistency of effort this season.
Draft outlook: Second-round prospect, but will need a strong and productive second half to stay there.
In his own words…
Strengths: “I can play a skill game with some finesse but as a bigger guy, I can also go into the corners and grind. I’m a power forward who can create space for linemates or do that extra work to get a dirty goal when you need it.”
Weaknesses: “I always feel like I can improve my shot. I can get quicker and faster. I think that as a player, you have to understand that no matter how good you might be at something, there is always room to improve.”
Scouts Out: “For me, he was a better prospect last year (in underage season). He’s already thick and strong; in junior he can be effective because he’s stronger than his peers. He’s been an inconsistent worker, but if he gets back to his physical play and net-drive game, he has a chance.” — NHL scout, Eastern Conference
The Newburyport, Mass., native and New Hampshire recruit left Cushing Academy after his sophomore year (finishing second in scoring) two years ago to spend a season in Ann Arbor, Mich., with the U.S. National Under-18 Team. It was there that he got his first taste of the league in which he is now a regular. With one more year of high school to go, he opted to join the USHL champion Dubuque Fighting Saints before returning east for college next season.
“Even though I was a prep school kid, I knew it was a big step going out to the national team but that the experience would be really beneficial,” Eiserman said. “As you keep going up to different leagues, the time you have with the puck keeps decreasing, so I think it’s all about confidence with the puck. The guys with confidence succeed.”
A capable, energetic left winger who plays a relatively simple north-south game, Eiserman goes hard to the net and creates space for himself and players on his club. He fights for real estate in front of the net and goes into the dirty areas of the ice, where he can use his 6-foot-1 frame to maintain puck possession.
As he has adjusted to the full-time junior schedule, the offensive production has started to come on for him, even if some observers don’t see much flash or game-breaking elements in his six goals, 13 points (in 18 games).
“With Shane, it’s about telling him, ‘You don’t have to overcomplicate things with a flashy toe-drag move, just put your shoulder down and take the puck straight to the net,’ ” said Dubuque assistant coach and scouting director Mike Field.
Eiserman knows that he accepted some risk by going out to the Midwest and Junior A when he could have become a local force in the Boston-area prep and junior circuit. At the same time, the decision to be a part of the NTDP and then acclimate himself to the pro-style schedule and demands of the USHL this season earned him respect in NHL circles.
“There are different opinions about it,” one NHL scout said about Eiserman challenging himself at the expense of the points and production he would have had playing more locally.
“I’ll say that you want to see how he’s going to project as a pro and he’s getting better exposure in Dubuque than if he had stayed home. It hasn’t been the smoothest sailing for him at times, but he chose a more difficult path and that plays into the draft process, especially if he finishes strong this season.”
New England 2014 NHL Draft Prospects Top 5 for January
1. Ryan Donato, C, Dexter School (HS-Mass.), 6-0, 180 (Scituate, Mass.)
Ted’s son is a dominant prep player with his hands, hockey sense and work ethic. He’s proving himself against international competition, too.
2. Shane Eiserman, LW, Dubuque (USHL), 6-1, 200 (Newburyport, Mass.)
3. Beau Starrett, LW, South Shore (USPHL), 6-4, 195 (Bellingham, Mass.)
Former Catholic Memorial star and Cornell recruit has emerged in NHL scouting circles with his size, skating and upside. The cat is officially out of the bag with him.
4. Miles Gendron, D, Rivers School (HS-Mass.), 6-2, 178 (Shrewsbury, Mass.)
Converted center is a magnificent skater, though he’s got plenty to learn on the back end and will have to win teams over based on ceiling and long-term potential.
5. J.D. Dudek, C, Kimball Union Academy (HS-N.H.), 5-11, 175 (Auburn, N.H.)
Former Pinkerton Academy (N.H.) state champ and Boston College recruit is a naturally savvy playmaker who’s racking up the points for prep powerhouse KUA.
Don’t forget about … Nolan Vesey (North Reading, Mass.) Like older brother Jimmy, the Maine recruit and power forward was snubbed last June by all 30 NHL teams, but is now leading the South Shore Kings (USPHL) in scoring and forcing them all to take notice.
More 2014 draft notables
Tyler Bird, C, Kimball Union Academy (HS-N.H.), 6-2, 200 (Andover, Mass.)
J.C. Brassard, D, Noble & Greenough (HS-Mass.), (Scituate, Mass.)
Robert “Bobo” Carpenter, C, Austin Prep (HS-Mass.), 5-10, 185 (North Reading, Mass.)
Dom Franco, LW, Kimball Union Academy (HS-N.H.), 6-3, 195 (Scituate, R.I.)
Mike Lee, D, The Gunnery (HS-Conn.), 6-0, 186 (Hamden, Conn.)
Johnathan MacLeod, D, U.S. NTDP (USHL), 6-1, 190 (Dracut, Mass.) *injured
Ara Nazarian, LW, Malden Catholic (HS-Mass.), 5-10, 180 (Boxford, Mass.)
Sam Tucker, G, Choate (HS-Conn.), 6-2, 177 (Wilton, Conn.)
Max Willman, F, Williston-Northampton (HS-Mass.), 6-0, 180 (Barnstable, Mass.)