Mid-Season Recruiting Update
A look at how committed prospects are doing halfway through the season
Halfway through the season, let’s take a look at RPI’s committed prospects and check-in on them.
Hotson is having the best season of any current RPI commit. He is playing in the most difficult junior league in the USHL and thriving. He has 7 goals, 15 assists and 22 points in 23 games. A recent trade to the Sioux City Musketeers has not slowed him down as he has 7 points in the 6 games since being traded. Hotson has been great all year and looks like he will be ready to fill a top 9 role immediately next season.
Bourgault has missed the vast majority of the season due to a knee injury, but the good news is he recently returned. He has only played in 3 games so far this season and has not done much in them as he continues to get back into things. He missed well over two months, so it could take some time for him to get going. Bourgault is a good player, and hopefully, the time missed doesn’t harm his development too much.
Babich is having a pretty good year for the Spruce Grove Saints in the AJHL. He has 10 goals, 14 assists and 24 points in 33 games so far. He’s been a really key player for them with his ability to play in all situations at center. He has been outstanding on the PK to go along with his scoring and grit. Babich reminds me a lot of James McIsaac with the way he plays, and he can make an immediate impact in a similar role in the bottom 6.
Caron is having a great first year of junior hockey with the West Kelowna Warriors in the BCHL. He has been one of their better forwards with 9 goals, 11 assists and 20 points in 29 games. This is 4th on the team among forwards, and the top 3 are all older than him. Caron’s skill and scoring ability are high-level, and with another year of juniors, he can be a top 6 forward for RPI.
Kyrkostas chose to go back to Kimball Union Academy and graduate from there instead of playing in the USHL with the Muskegon Lumberjacks. He also has played with the Islanders Hockey Club 18U team like last year, but those statistics are not available at the moment. For KUA, he has been their go-to forward with 9 goals, 7 assists and 16 points in only 11 games so far. Kyrkostas’s speed, skill and playmaking are great, and he can be a top 6 center when he gets to Troy.
Tapper is currently in his first season of junior hockey with the Okotoks Oilers in the AJHL. He has very good natural speed, skill and scoring ability, but his adjustment to junior hockey hasn’t been as smooth as Caron’s. He has 4 goals, 7 assists, and 11 points in 26 games. I expect that as he continues to get more comfortable, his offensive numbers will continue to improve due to his natural offensive gifts.
Oakenfold is similarly in his first year of junior hockey and playing in the AJHL. He is playing with Babich on the Spruce Grove Saints. It is also taking him a bit to transition into junior hockey as he has 5 goals, 7 assists and 12 points in 30 games. He has started to pick it up more recently, though, so I think he is getting more comfortable.
Ziliotto is having an excellent year in the OJHL, playing his way onto NHL Central Scouting’s list as a projected 4th-6th round draft pick. His 11 goals, 20 assists and 31 points makes him one of the top scorers in the league for his age. He looks like a potential elite addition after another year and a half in junior hockey.
Alazem has had a really strange year so far. He nearly made the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL, and when he didn’t, he went to the Maryland Black Bears in the NAHL. He was doing really well there with 2 points in 7 games and a +3 rating, which is exactly what you want from a shutdown defenseman like him. Then, he moved down to the New Jersey Rockets in the NCDC for some reason. I’m not really sure why he thought he should go there because he was doing pretty well in Maryland like I said. Unfortunately, the NCDC doesn’t track +/-, so it’s tough to gauge his true impact there. He’s a player who will never be a big offensive producer, so it doesn’t matter that he only has 5 points in 20 games there.
EDIT: After posting this I have learned that Kareem Alazem is no longer committed to RPI.
Lieberman is quietly having a very good year with the Janesville Jets in the NAHL. He is never going to be a defenseman that puts up big numbers with only 8 assists in 30 games. However, his impact on the game has been great, and it’s shown by his +/- numbers. His +13 rating is the best among the team’s defensemen by a lot, and it is tied for 8th in the entire league among defensemen. Lieberman’s defense is outstanding, and he looks like a future shutdown defenseman for the Engineers.
Maguire is another defenseman who will never have gaudy numbers, but his defense is very good due to his skating and ability to break out the puck. He is doing pretty well with the Okotoks Oilers in the AJHL, and after another year in juniors, he also should be ready to join the team and make an impact due to his defensive accumen.
Sanborn has had an up-and-down start to the season with the Hill School in prep hockey. He’s not getting much help as their defense has been porous, allowing a lot of shots and chances against. He has a 0.914 SV% currently, which is lower than the 0.929 SV% from last season, but it’s not bad when you consider the team’s defense.
Shaw started out the season playing 18U AAA while he waited for the prep season to get going. He did great there with 13 goals, 17 assists and 30 points in 21 games. Now the prep season has started, and he has 5 goals, 4 assists and 9 points in 7 games with Westminster. Hopefully, Shaw continues his hot start and never looks back.
Hanscom just started the prep season with Shaw at Westminster. He is showing some more offense from the back-end with 4 points in the first 7 games. That goes with his strong defensive game due to his skating and ability to break out the puck. With his season still being very young, Hanscom will be one to watch to see how his year progresses.
Heinrich had a bit of a slow start to the season, but he’s being doing better lately. He has 9 points in 28 games from the blue line for the Bonnyville Pontiacs in the AJHL. Heinrich mainly needs to continue to get stronger and bigger since his size is a weakness. His skating is elite, which is a great skill to base his game off of as a defenseman. With 2.5 years more in junior hockey to develop his game, he has really high potential.
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