When analyzing the top 2002-born players in each of the New England states, there are some interesting tidbits beyond just who took home best-of honors.
Two are late birthdays, as defined by the NHL draft criteria, and two more were born in August or September. The stories of late bloomers are fun to tell, but in this birth year, most of the best players as 14-year-olds remained as the best players as 20-year-olds. That’s not to say there weren’t players in this birth year who got significantly better. There were others who peaked in bantam hockey, after looking like can’t-miss Division 1 prospects at one time.
Every path is different. Players in this birth year, including Matt Beniers (Hingham, Mass.) have already played games in the NHL. Others are still chugging along in junior hockey. Here’s a look at the six players who represent the best of the best in each of the New England states.