Boston High School: South Shore Kings

Nolan Vesey didn’t know what to expect from draft weekend. He’d tuned in Saturday to the second day of the NHL Draft to see if his friends from the area had been selected.

Then, he got a Twitter follower from someone who described himself as a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I couldn’t refresh my computer fast enough,” said Vesey, a product of Austin Preparatory School who spent last year with the South Shore Kings.

When his computer eventually caught up, he learned that he’d been taken by the Maple Leafs with the 158th overall selection.

Vesey, whose older brother Jimmy was drafted by Nashville during the third round in 2012, will skate at the University of Maine next season. But the North Reading resident was not among the NHL Central Scouting’s ranked skaters for the 2014 draft class, although he’d scored 26 goals with 40 assists in 48 games in the USPHL last year.

“I came into this year, just trying to get ready for Maine,” Vesey told ESPN Boston Saturday. “I had a really good year there. I talked to a couple teams throughout the year but honestly I didn’t have my hopes up too high.”

Vesey had talked to scouts from the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, in addition to the Maple Leafs, earlier in the year, but hadn’t heard anything in the weeks leading up to draft weekend.

“My brother [Jimmy] told me, if it happens it’s great, if not, I’m still going to college and it can still work out,” Vesey said of the prospects of being selected.

Vesey, who is the son of former Boston Bruin Jimmy Vesey, scored 21 goals and added 13 assists for Austin Prep during his senior year in 2012-13 and considered playing in the USHL before moving on to the Kings this year. Now, he’s waiting for the call to join the Maple Leafs’ development camp, which he believe will be next weekend.

“Like every hockey player, I wanted to get bigger, faster, stronger,” Vesey said of his goals entering last season. “I think I accomplished those things, but it’s just the start. This is just the next step and you’re just trying to build on that.”

The National Hockey League's Central Scouting bureau released its midterm rankings for the 2014 draft today.

Once again, local-based skaters littered the rankings, with St. John's Prep and Cushing Academy product Shane Eiserman leading the class. The West Newbury native was 39th among the 200-plus ranked North American skaters.

There is also a goaltender in the mix, with Thayer Academy standout Bob McGovern ranking 25th among North Americans.

Here's how the locals stacked up:

(For a look at the complete rankings, click HERE.)

Skaters:
39 Shane Eiserman, Dubuque - USHL (U.S. NTDP, Cushing, St. John's Prep), C/LW, 6-1.5, 200
44 Johnathan MacLeod, U.S. NTDP (Kimball Union), D, 6-1.5, 200
54 Ryan Donato, Dexter School, C, 6-0.25, 174
83 Beau Starrett, South Shore Kings - USPHL (Catholic Memorial), LW, 6-4.75, 195
85 Miles Gendron, Rivers, D, 6-1.5, 173
121 Michael Turner, Cushing Academy, LW, 6-1.5, 192
123 Tyler Bird, Kimball Union (St. John's Prep), RW, 6-1.5, 202
146 Bobo Carpenter, Austin Prep, C, 5-10, 183
157 J.D. Dudek, Kimball Union, C, 5-11.25, 178
159 Michael Lee, The Gunnery, D, 5-11.25, 165
177 Max Willman, Williston Northampton (Barnstable), LW, 6-0, 180
188 Dominic Franco, Kimball Union, RW, 6-2.75, 183
193 Billy Sweezey, Noble & Greenough, D, 6-0, 190
204 Evan Smith, Salisbury School, C, 6-0, 190

Goaltenders:
25 Bob McGovern, Thayer Academy, 6-4, 245

SSK's Beau Starrett commits to Cornell

November, 5, 2013
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South Shore Kings forward Beau Starrett announced his commitment to Cornell last week.

The Bellingham native and former Catholic Memorial Knight is the youngest of four brothers and joins his brothers, Peter (Harvard), Troy (Babson) and Shane (BU), in having either played or committed to playing college hockey.

Starrett, a 6-foot-4, 190-pounder, has 6-12—19 totals through 18 games in his first season with the USPHL squad. Last year with CM, he posted 9-9—18 totals with the Knights, while reaching the Super 8 crossover round.

“He’s been really good for us so far,” Kings head coach Scott Harlow said. “He’s a kid you can project obviously, maybe to 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, and you can’t teach that. He’s just scratching the surface now, his upside is tremendous.”

He received a “C” grade in the NHL Central Scouting Service’s “Ones to Watch List” for the 2014 draft.

Starrett also received interest from Brown before making his commitment.

“He’s a well-grounded kid,” Harlow said. “And, being the youngest of four kids, you know he’s taken some lumps. He understands the opportunities ahead of him and I’m sure that take advantage of them.”

Local 'Ones to Watch' from NHL Central Scouting

September, 23, 2013
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This morning the National Hockey League's Central Scouting Service released its preliminary "Ones to Watch" for the 2014 draft.

The New England region was well-represented with current and former high schoolers and prep schoolers making the grade.

Here's a breakdown of New England skaters:

MASSACHUSETTS HIGH SCHOOLS
B Skaters
Ryan Donato, Dexter School, C/LW, 6-0.25, 174 lbs.
Miles Gendron, Rivers, D, 6-1.5, 173 lbs.

C Skaters
John-Claude Brassard, Noble & Greenough, D, 5-10, 180 lbs.
Bobo Carpenter, Austin Prep, C, 5-10, 183 lbs.
William Feeney, Dexter School, D, 6-1.75, 202 lbs.
Michael Turner, Cushing Academy, LW, 6-1.5, 208 lbs.

C Goaltenders
Bob McGovern, Thayer Academy, G, 6-4, 245 lbs.

NEW HAMPSHIRE HIGH SCHOOLS
C Skaters
Tyler Bird, Kimball Union (St. John's Prep), RW, 6-1.5, 202 lbs.
J.D. Dudek, Kimball Union, C, 5-11.25, 178 lbs.
Dominic Franco, Kimball Union, RW, 6-2.75, 183 lbs.

CONNECTICUT HIGH SCHOOLS
C Skaters
Will Brophy, Westminster, D, 6-3.5, 193 lbs.
James Gobetz, Salisbury, D, 6-2, 188 lbs.
Mike Lee, The Gunnery, D, 5-11.25, 165 lbs.
Evan Smith, Salisbury, LW, 6-0, 190 lbs.
Mitchell Smith, Salisbury, LW, 5-11, 182 lbs.

C Goaltenders
Joseph Lissak, Taft School, G, 6-1.5, 203 lbs.
Sam Tucker, Choate-Rosemary, G, 6-1.25, 177 lbs.

UNITED STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE
B Skaters
Shane Eiserman (U.S. NTDP/ Cushing Academy/ St. John's Prep), Dubuque, LW, 6-1.5, 200 lbs.

UNITED STATES PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE
C Skaters
Beau Starrett (Catholic Memorial), South Shore, LW, 6-4, 190 lbs.

Weymouth's Piacentini commits to Norwich

January, 31, 2013
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Former Weymouth hockey standout and current South Shore Kings forward Tyler Piacentini has given a commitment to Division 3 power Norwich University.

The 5-foot-5, 155-pounder was a ESPN Boston All-State Second-Team selection for the 2010-11 season as a senior with the Wildcats, after helping to lead Weymouth to Super 8 crossover round appearance.

This season with the Kings, Piacentini has 13 goals and 29 assists in 36 games.

"I'm very excited to continue my hockey career at Norwich University at one of the most prestigious Division 3 hockey programs in the country with such great history," Piacentini told ESPN Boston. "I could not have done it without my family and friends, and my coaches and teammates who make me better every day."

Winthrop's LeBlanc commits to Merrimack

September, 27, 2012
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Former Winthrop hockey standout and current South Shore Kings forward Chris LeBlanc committed to Merrimack today, the Eastern Junior Hockey League team announced on its Twitter account.

LeBlanc will land in North Andover for either the 2013 or 2014 season, per the Eagle-Tribune's Mike McMahon.

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound center is skating with the Kings this season after wrapping up a strong career with the Vikings in which he eclipsed the 100-point plateau. Last season, the Winthrop captain posted 24-22-46 totals while leading the Vikings to a Division 2 North finals appearance against Wilmington. LeBlanc was an ESPN Boston All-State Team "Best of the Rest" selection in both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.

Locals taken during Day 2 of NHL Draft

June, 23, 2012
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Day 2 of the NHL Draft took place Saturday morning, and while there weren't any locals taken in Friday's first round, a host of New Englanders had their named called in the subsequent rounds.

Here's a rap sheet of those with New England roots who've been taken:

2ND ROUND
53. Tampa Bay Lightning - Brian Hart, Phillips Exeter, RW
56. St. Louis Blues - Sam Kurker, St. John's Prep, RW
59. New York Rangers - Cristoval "Boo" Nieves, Kent School, C

3RD ROUND
66. Nashville Predators - Jimmy Vesey, South Shore Kings (Belmont Hill), LW
75. Calgary Flames - Jon Gillies, Indiana Ice (USHL, South Portland, Maine), G
79. Chicago Blackhawks - Chris Calnan, Noble and Greenough, RW
85. Boston Bruins - Matt Grzelcyk, U.S. NTDP (Charlestown, Mass.), D

4TH ROUND
98. Minnesota Wild - Adam Gilmour, Noble and Greenough, C
106. Ottawa Senators - Tim Boyle, Noble and Greenough, D

5TH ROUND
125. New York Islanders - Doyle Somerby, Kimball Union (St. Mary's of Lynn), D
136. Ottawa Senators - Robbie Baillargeon, Indiana Ice (USHL, Enfield, Conn. via Cushing Academy), C
138. San Jose Sharks - Danny O'Regan, St. Sebastian's, C

7TH ROUND
189. Carolina Hurricanes - Brendan Collier, Malden Catholic, LW
The NHL Draft commences tonight in Pittsburgh and there is a host of New England-based high school, prep school and junior league players who hope hear their name called in the next two days.

Sam Kurker
Scott BarbozaMalden Catholic forward and ESPN Boston Mr. Hockey award winner Brendan Collier could be a sleeper in this weekend's NHL draft.
More than 20 local players were represented on the NHL Central Scouting’s final draft rankings, released in April. So we took the task to the Northeast regional scouts of an Eastern and a Western Conference team to give their evaluations of some of New England’s best and brightest.

The region is moving into somewhat of a renaissance. Folks might like to wax about the good ole days, but there’s plenty of talent to be found around the local ponds right now. That fact was not lost on Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, who earlier this week during his annual pre-draft media availability, spoke about this year’s bumper crop.

“It is fairly deep,” Chiarelli said. “It’s the deepest that I’ve seen since I’ve been here and that’s a good sign. It’s a good sign that the registration numbers – usually, it means they’re going up – and obviously the quality of players for the NHL is increasing, too.”

So here’s a look at some of the local skaters to watch out for and their scouting evaluation.

(Players appear by NHL Central Scouting ranking among North American skaters.)

27. Cristoval "Boo" Nieves, Kent School, C
Scout’s take: “He’s an incredible skater, a tall, rangy kid. He’s more of a playmaker than a goal-scorer and finisher, but that’s what his role is, a playmaking-center man. His skating ability is as good or as close to as good as you’ll find in this draft.”

36. Sam Kurker, St. John's Prep, RW
Scout’s take: “He’s got great size, a big strong kid. He’s a great straight-line skater up and down the wing. [He’s got a] big, hard shot and she shows a willingness to play in the hard areas in front of the net, in the corners on the wall.”

54. Brian Hart, Phillips Exeter, RW
Scout’s take: “He’s got a huge shot. He’s real strong on the wall. He’s a very strong skater, in flight, he can really move.

Scout’s take on his soccer prowess as New Hampshire’s reigning Gatorade Player of the Year: “You know that overall athletes usually make the best players in whatever sport they decide on.”

69. Chris Calnan, Noble & Greenough, RW
Scout’s take: “Got better and better as the year went on. He started to play physical and use the body, which I think is everybody was waiting to see. He’s got a bomb of a shot. And he’s got a commitment to BC now, that was nice to see.”

Chiarelli’s take: “I mean there are some good kids in the prep leagues and the Calnan kid’s a good player – a big strong kid – very physically mature, power-forward type.”

76. Danny O'Regan, St. Sebastian's, C
Scout’s take: “He’s a smaller, undersized forward, but plays with a ton of hockey sense. He’s very strong on his skates and plays with a little bit of jam. His intelligence and hockey sense really stick out.”

77. Jimmy Vesey, South Shore Kings/ Belmont Hill, LW
Scout’s take: “The best player in the area. I don’t care where it’s at, 100 points is a 100 points [scored with the Kings last season]. He grew a few inches and he’s just coming into his own. Harvard stole him. BC and BU were sleepwalking on him. He slid through draft last year, but I thought someone would take a shot. Someone’s going to be happy with him this year.”

Chiarelli’s take: “You’ve got in the EJ [Eastern Junior Hockey League], you’ve got the Vesey kid’s a good player. He’s second time through the draft, but very skilled, had a breakout year there, can really make some really good plays with the puck, whether it’s shooting or passing.”

79. Devin Tringale, Lawrence Academy, LW
Scout’s take: “Talk about a vastly underrated player. I think he’s going to go later than he should, but someone’s going to get a steal in this draft. He’s going to be a big asset at Harvard when he gets there.”

88. Frank Vatrano, USA U-18 (East Longmeadow, Mass.), C
Scout’s take: “If you were to put him in the Catholic Conference or prep school hockey, he’s a 50-goal scorer. He’s got an NHL shot right now, he’s got such a quick release. He’s very hard to knock off the puck. He’s become a very good hockey player [with Team USA].”

99. Doyle Somerby, Kimball Union, D
Scout’s take: “He’s got great size, as a forward turned D-man, so he’s a pretty good puck mover. He’s more of a stay-at-home defenseman, but a big, rangy kid. Good smooth stride for a kid his size and good speed in flight.”

101. Adam Gilmour, Noble & Greenough, RW
Scout’s take: “He’s got high skill, sets guys up. He’s going to get stronger. He’s a tall lanky kid. He’ll go to BC and that’s his type of game, playing a type of run-and-gun game, he’ll do fine there.”

143. Brendan Collier, Malden Catholic, LW
Scout’s take: “We hear this about him, he’s just a pure hockey player. Goal line to goal line, he works so hard, got a good compete level. I think he’s going to be a great college player. He’s got some potential because he just works so hard.”

Chiarelli’s take: “A couple of interesting one’s, the Collier kid, [he is] kind of under the radar a little bit, but a real gritty kid.”

177. Matthew Grzelcyk, USA U-18 (Charlestown, Mass.), D
Scout’s take: "I love him. His hockey IQ is up there with kids who are taken in the top 15 in the draft. If had to pick one kid to make the right play getting out of the zone, it’s him. He thinks the game. He finds the seams. He’s a hockey player. I think he’ll be running the PP at BU last year. He’s that David Warsofsky, Matt Hunwick type of player.”

Chiarelli’s take: “You’ve got some kids that kind of went to the U.S. Development Program but are from the area. The Grzelcyk kid’s a very good, mobile defenseman. He’s later on down but he’s got a good head on his shoulders.”

Locals included on NHL's Ones to Watch

November, 18, 2011
11/18/11
3:43
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Several skaters with local ties made the cut in the NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings, following its evalution of the top tiers of North American hockey.

U.S. National Team Development Program U-18 centers Cameron Darcy and Frankie Vatrano were ranked 20th and 21st, respectively, among USHL skaters. Darcy is a South Boston native committed to Northeastern, while Vatrano, an East Longmeadow native, is committed to Boston College.

Additionally, Noble and Greenough, South Shore Kings standout and current Brown University winger Matt Harlow also made the list. The Bridgewater native was given a 'C' grade among NCAA prospects.

The full list can be found here.

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