U18 World Championships: Breaking down team USA’s Defenseman…

With the U18 Worlds kicking off on Thursday I am going to dedicate the next few blog posts to breaking down the Team USA’s roster. In today’s post let’s take a look at the seven defenseman on the roster….

Note: I am referencing Chris Dilks scouting reports from October when U18’s played back to back weekends against University of Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth. (link to his full write up – SBN College Hockey).

Team USA U18 Defenseman – 

#13 Tyler Inamoto, D (6’2 196 lbs) – Inamoto is left shot defenseman from Illinois who is committed to play at Wisconsin.  Played Bantam and Midget with Shattuck St. Mary before moving on to play for the USNTDP in 2015-16. This season for the U18’s he had 13 points (2g/11a) in 44 games. He also had 102 penalty minutes.  Inamoto is eligible for the 2017 draft and is the 68th ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting report: “Inamoto is a big, rangy defenseman that covers a lot of ice due to his size and athleticism, making him tough to beat when he’s playing defense. His discipline has really improved too, as he’s cut out a lot of the dumb penalties he took when he was younger. The problem is that his puck-handling and passing is a liability, which means he spends too much time in his own zone defending. I’d put him as a mid-round pick, but can see some team falling in love with his size and toughness.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey) 

 

#27 David Farrance, D (6’2 196 lbs) – Farrance is left shot defenseman who is a native of Victor, NY and is committed to play at Boston University. In 2013-14 & 2014-15 Farrance played his high school hockey at Victor High and with the Syracuse Jr. Stars U16 club. In 2015-16 Farrance was selected to play with the USNTDP. This year with the U18 team he posted 33 points (5g/28a) in 57 games. Farrance is eligible for the 2017 draft and is the 46th ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report:Theoretically, Farrance should be the dynamic offensive force for this team on the blue line. He’s got lightning quick feet and great agility which allows him to get himself out of pressure with the puck, but he rarely does anything with the extra time and space that he creates. Again, likely a mid-round pick.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey) 

#5 Nate Knoepke, D (6’3 201 lbs) – Knoepke is another left shot defenseman on this squad. He is a native of Minnesota and is committed to the University of Minnesota. Played a year of high school hockey for Lakeville South High in 2014-15 before moving onto to the USNTDP in 2015-16. This year for the U18 team Knoepke posted 16 points (4g/12a) in 57 games. He is eligible for the 2017 draft and is the 79th ranked skater in North America by NHL Central Scouting.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report:  “Knoepke had two really quiet games, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing all things considered. He showed a decent ability to withstand pressure and still make a play with the puck to keep possession. There’s not much of an offensive side to his game, and he doesn’t make the impact on the game one would hope from a player with his size and athleticism, but he’s a solid player. Probably a 3rd-4th round pick.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey) 

#6 Quinn Hughes, D (5’9 168 lbs) – Hughes is from Orlando, FL and is  late 1999 birth year (October). He is committed to play at Michigan most and given his birth date will arrive on campus in 2018-19. Hughes has taken a bit of interesting path. A native of Florida he played his Bantam and minor midget hockey in Toronto for the Toronto his year Hughes posted 47 points (9g/38a) in 58 games. Eligible for the 2018 draft and is considered a top prospects in that draft. Marlboro’s. Came to the USNTDP in 2015-16. T


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report:  “Hughes was the most effective defenseman in terms of moving the puck out of his own zone because he’s able to use his great skating ability to skate the puck out of the zone frequently. He maintains good gaps defending one-on-one as well. My biggest complaint is that sometimes he trusts himself a little too much, opting to try and stick handle around a fore checker when he’s the last defenseman back, rather than making a safer play.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey) 

#22 Phil Kemp, D (6’3 201 lbs) – Kemp is a Greenwich, CT native who is committed to play at Yale. Played two years of high school hockey at the Brunswick School before moving onto the USNTDP program in 2015-16. He was captain of the U18 team this year and posted 12 points (5g/7a) in 57 games. Eligible for the 2017 draft and is the 175th ranked skater in North America by NHL Central Scouting.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report: “Kemp is a pure defensive defenseman that is better when he doesn’t try to do too much. He had a really ugly game against Minnesota, but rebounded with a quiet, solid performance against UMD. He’s a potential late-round draft choice.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey from Oct. 2016 following USNTDP games in Minnesota) 

#8 Max Gildon, D (6’3 187 lbs) – Gildon is a left shot defenseman from Plano, Texas and is committed to play for University of New Hampshire. Had originally committed to Wisconsin but decommitted in December. Spent two seasons with the Dallas Stars U16 program prior to coming to the USNTDP program is 2015-16.  This season for the U18 team he put up 27 points (7g/20a) in 55 games. Eligible for the 2017 draft and is the 54th ranked skater in North America by NHL Central Scouting.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report: “A player with Gildon’s raw physical tools should be a slam-dunk for the first round of the draft. But I’m not sure that he has the hockey sense to match it. His huge shot from the point is a big asset that I’d like to see used more often. He’ll probably somewhere in the second round of the draft.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey from Oct. 2016 following USNTDP games in Minnesota) 

#12 Tommy Miller, D (6’2 176 lbs) – A Michigan native who is committed to play at Michigan State. Played his Bantam and U16 hockey with Compuware before spending two season with Victory Honda U18’s. Came to the USNTDP in 2015-16. This past season with the U18 team he posted 19 points (3g/16a) in 58 games. Eligible for the 2017 draft and is the 81st ranked skater in North America by NHL Central Scouting.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report:  Miller has a pro frame and is a strong skater. He doesn’t quite have the offensive ability to project as a PP guy at the pro level, but he’s good enough that he won’t be an offensive liability. He struggled a bit defending one-on-one. I’d project him as a 2nd/3rd round pick at this point.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey from Oct. 2016 following USNTDP games in Minnesota) 

 

Overall this appears to be a solid set of defenseman that the US team has put together. We will see how the pairings shake out as the tournament opener approaches later this week. I will take a look at the Forward group in tomorrow’s blog.

@BDHockeyNews

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