U.S. National Development Team evaluation camp- Ann Arbor, MI

This year's U.S. National Team Development Program Camp, held in Ann Arbor from March 20-22, featured some far from stellar performances and few marquee talents, especially up front and between the pipes. There were some interesting camp selections, which meant interesting camp omissions. Not invited to attend were dynamic Madison Caps centre Matt Thurber, Honeybaked RW Aaron Palushaj, RC Anthony Schooley and LD Christian Steingraber, California Wave F Colin Long and D John Blum (though both have or soon will sign with WHL clubs), Taft G Andrew Margolin, Victory Honda G Josh Unice, Duluth East G Ben Leis and Chicago Chill G Kyle Jendra, just to name a few. Intriguing but raw LW James Van Riemsdyk (Brick AA) was selected but could not attend due to his participation in the New Jersey state high school championships that weekend, while stud D Tristin Llewellyn (Indiana Ice - USHL) missed due to injury.

Here is our view on the individual performances of OHL-eligibles.

Bradley Phillips - Honeybaked.   6-1/145. 4/22/89.   Very good size, long legs; takes away the lower half of the net in butterfly, big enough to cover the top; moves his legs and pads pretty well for a big guy; not very athletic; slow down-to-up.

Dayn Belfour - Streetsville (ON) Jr. A.   5-11/173. 5/27/89.   Decent size, but has a stance like a stiff old man even though he's quite athletic. Not square to shooters; terrible rebound control; does himself no favours; gives up bad goals; gave up on penalty shot chance.

John Yanchek - New Jersey Devils.   5-10/152. 7/18/89.   Extremely exaggerated crouch. Goes down very early on nearly every shot; plays very small. Makes saves but can't control any rebounds. Very jittery; lacking confidence. Poor puckhandler. Good lateral quickness. Leaves lots of pucks in front of him.

Nick Petrecki/LD - Capital District Selects Jr. A.   6-2/198. 7/11/89.   . Big, physical, powerful skater. Gives and receives hits well, great recovery pedals. Pushed the action all the time with little-to-no defensive responsibility - not nearly as good as he usually is, way out of control; extended his shifts. Still an outstanding prospect.

Frank Grzeszczak/RD - Honeybaked Major Midget.   5-8/155. 8/31/89.   Outstanding feet, the best here. Jumps smartly into the offence and has recovery speed. Got alligator arms a couple times playing in traffic; has to work his way through traffic better.

Teddy Ruth/RD - Chicago Mission Major Midget.   6-0/173. 2/14/89.   Turning is much improved from last Summer. Anticipation is also better - more efficient moving the puck. Pinching decisions not great. Showed good straight-ahead speed getting back on defence.

David Kolomatis/RD - New Jersey Rockets Jr. B.   5-10/165. 2/25/89.   Smooth skater, very light on his feet with excellent edging. Will jump into the play smartly when presented with the opportunity. Pretty good in his own end, strong on his stick and uses leverage very well. Showed some slick moves scoring on penalty shot .

Ian Cole/LD - Victory Honda Major Midget.   6-1/202. 2/21/89.   Solid in own end, but tended to overhandle the puck - not getting rid of it on-time. Not at his best, but that's still pretty good.

Colby Cohen/RD - Syracuse Jr. A.   6-2/176. 4/25/89.   Easily pushed off puck by forecheckers. Has some very solid offensive tools. Caught up-ice on poor pinch causing a 3-on-0 break; very poor decision making. Smooth, long stride, but not crisp and quick - makes wide turns. Not great in front of his own net. Ultra-aggressive pinching in all three zones - dangerous for both teams.

Kevin Shattenkirk/RD - Brunswick School.   5-11/178. 1/29/89.   Very smooth and quick skating. Great at sealing the blue line, very few pucks get past him cleanly. Wins 1-on-1 battles despite lack of size. Very strong on his stick. Battled pretty well but didn't create a lot.

Ben Rosen/LD - Suffolk PAL Jr. B.   5-10/180. 1/7/89.   Low, hard and accurate shot. Great feet - smooth skater with great acceleration.

Justin Vaive/LW - Toronto Marlies.   6-4/178. 7/8/89.   Edges good. Work ethic solid. Straight-ahead skating and acceleration needs work; lack of speed evident here, but he should get better in this area as he fills out and acquires better leg strength. He's all arms and legs right now, but has huge frame to fill out. Not overly smart on the ice; lacking creativity.

Matt Smyth/RW - Markham Islanders.   5-10/160. 6/12/89.   Florida native looks tiny out here. Very good skater with excellent change of direction. Creative passes; quick hands and feet. Terrible with puck most of the weekend, but did explode for instant offence a couple of times with slick pass for goal and quick release snap shot for pro-style snipe. Very inconsistent but can be an outstanding scorer.

Anthony Maiani/LC - Honeybaked.  5-7/148. 2/24/89.   Tiny, but has an excellent release. Scored a beauty with snap shot going against the grain. Had trouble with physical play. Very skilled, but plays too much on the perimetre.

Mike Cieslak/RW - McQuaid (NY) H.S.   3/28/89.   Excellent wheels even though his stride looks a bit funky. Lazy on backcheck. Had trouble finishing, which is his forte.

Patrick Johnson/LC - Madison (WI) Memorial H.S.   5-8/127. 4/21/89.   Miniscule, but plays much bigger. Way too much one-man game. Gets the puck to the net. Very shifty, quick laterally, and competes pretty well. Gets pushed around a lot due to lack of size and strength. Excellent hands, which you would expect since he's the son of former U.S. Olympic and NHL star, Mark Johnson.

Matt Rust/LC - Honeybaked Major Midget.   5-10/172. 3/23/89.   Played aggressively; hits hard despite lack of size. Excellent balance. Threads the needle on tough passes. Competed very well, which is his biggest issue. Did not play on Tuesday due to injured shoulder.

Dan Durham/RW - Team Illinois Major Midget.   5-9/158. 1/10/89.   Showed outstanding wheels with separation burst. Might have the most pure speed and quickest first step of anyone here. Great puck pursuit. Super quick release and can get rid of it in traffic, and always gets it on net.

Nick Palmieri/RW - Northwood Prep.   6-1/214. 7/12/89.   Forces his will onto defenders in the offensive end - just bulls right through would-be checkers. Skating is a bit of an issue - his lack of first step quickness was magnified here.

Ryan Hayes/RW - Syracuse Jr. A.   5-8/161. 6/4/89.   Best hands here; unbelievable scorer when given a sliver of room. Finds scoring areas - hides in the weeds and then pounces. Extends shifts, extremely lazy on defence. Poor skater with choppy stride. Floats for home run passes.

Ansel Ivans - Anderson/RC - Brewster Bulldogs Jr. B.   6-1/185. 9/9/89.   Great natural tools, but very raw since he's playing at a very low-end level of competition. Good speed and hustle. Holds onto the puck too long, does too much himself. Very solid on draws. Tremendous home-run outlet pass creating breakaway. Loses man in own end.

Ryan Schnell/LW - Team Illinois Major Midget.   6-3/211. 1/13/89.   Huge power winger solid on forecheck; skating has picked up a bit; beast on the wall and down low in offensive end; hits everything; runs over opponents; great straight-ahead long stride but lacking first and second step quickness.

C.J. Severyn/LC - Pittsburgh Hornets.   6-0/165. 6/2/89.   Gets to the net. Very good on the forecheck. Good stick skills but gets lackadaisical with the puck at times. Excellent hand-eye coordination; strong on the puck.

John Albert/LW - Cleveland Barons Major Midget.   1/19/89.   Extremely tricky with the puck. Lacks some size, but quick feet with great stops/starts. Had trouble finishing.