The following is a list of the top 1999-born players in the New England Prep School Ice Hockey Association (NEPSIHA) for the 2017-18 season.
1. Jay O’Brien
Sr., Center, Thayer, Shoots Right, 5-11/185 (Providence)
O’Brien is without question the top player in prep hockey this winter. As a late ‘99 he’s in his first year of eligibility for the NHL Draft. In a few quick years, his stock has soared to the point where the late second or third round is no longer out of the question. The Hingham, Mass., native is a good skater who can protect pucks and make plays. His compete level and willingness to retrieve pucks in all three zones make him an even bigger threat each shift. He’s at his best when he’s playing a strong north-south game and not trying to be too fancy with the puck. His lethal shot and ability to find soft spots in opposing defenses afford him plenty of high quality scoring chances. The only knock on him as far as the NHL Draft goes is his height.
Already this fall, he’s proven himself at the CCM USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game and USHL Fall Classic. He was the top player for his split season team, the Cape Cod Whalers, that just recently won the Massachusetts District Championship at the 18U level. Simply put, O’Brien makes players around him better, and he should put up a ton of points for Tony Amonte’s Tigers.