When the top 2002-born prospects in the United States converged on the Northtown Center in Amherst, N.Y., earlier this month for the USA Hockey Select 16 Player Development Camp, there were several clear standouts.
While the 2002 birth year isn’t very deep in terms of high-end talent or pro potential, a few forwards improved their stock tremendously in front of college coaches, NHL and junior scouts, and agents.
In addition to the expected absence of the National Team Development Program players, there were several others who chose to skip the event after perceived snubs from USA Hockey, including Northeastern commit Chase Bradley. Also missing was Antonio Stranges, who is still in a dispute with USA Hockey due to signing with the OHL’s London Knights after previously signing with the NTDP.
Dallas Stars Elite product Cross Hanas, who has signed with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks, was clearly the top pro prospect at the camp. Hanas was dominant throughout the week, but was equally impressive in the All-Star Game when the pace picked up.
Perhaps no prospect made a name for himself more than New Jersey Titans forward Daniyal Dzhaniyev. A good portion of the coaches in scouts in attendance didn’t even know who he was heading into the week. Following the camp, he had numerous college offers, including several from the Big Ten. He ultimately ended up choosing Penn State.
The top forward from New England was Biddeford, Maine, native Jack Williams, a Northeastern recruit who plays for Selects Academy in South Kent, Conn. Timmy Lovell Jr., one of the top ’02 defensemen in New England, elected to sit out the event.
This write-up comes after we chronicled the top defensemen and goaltenders at Select 16s. Included within are 20 players with ties to New England, either through prep schools, hometowns, or college commitments.