Nick Patterson/Alan Caldwell
It’s that time of year again when the indispensable Alan Caldwell does his prospect posts on his blog (link to left), and Saturday morning he posted Everett’s prospects.
Every offseason Caldwell gets ahold of each team’s updated protected list and provides information and stats for all the prospects. And every offseason after he posts Everett’s prospects I parse through it to see what changes there’s been to the Tips’ protected list.
This year? Honestly, there isn’t really much change outside the recent draft picks, certainly fewer new names than I’m used to seeing. Anyway, here’s the unfamiliar names who have been added to the list since last offseason (players listed with their birth year and position):
Cory Babichuk, 98, D
Avery Belcourt, 98, D
Spencer Gerth, 98, RW
Tristen Pfeifer, 96, D
Dayton Rasmussen, 98, G
Addison Runey (97, LW) would also belong on this list, but since he signed with the Tips earlier this offseason he’s no longer an unfamiliar name.
Three of these players are 16-year-old Canadians who were passed over in the 2013 bantam draft, but who were listed by the Tips this spring, those being Babichuk, Belcourt and Gerth. That age group was a little light defensively, so it’s not surprising to see the defensemen added. Both Babichuk, a smaller puck mover, and Belcourt, who has more size, played minor midget last season, so they’re probably still a ways away from being ready for the WHL. Gerth (who identifies himself as an Everett prospect on his Twitter page) is a big forward who played major midget as a 15-year-old, but didn’t put up much in the way of numbers, so he’s probably a project, too.
Pfeifer is an older player (entering his 18-year-old season) who played in Phoenix last year, suggesting he’s an American. He’s not listed as being committed to any NCAA school, so there’s no indication of whether he’s actually interested in the WHL or what caliber a player he is.
Then there’s Rasmussen. Rasmussen is one of the best 1998-born goaltenders in the U.S., as he was one of just six net minders invited to try out for the NTDP (he ultimately didn’t make it). He’s also shown at least some interest in the WHL, as he attended training camp with Tri-City last year. If there’s a particularly intriguing new name on Everett’s list, Rasmussen is the guy. Everett already has a promising 1998-born goalie signed in Carter Hart, but a team can never have too much goaltending.
On the other end, there’s quite a few players who were on Everett’s list previously who apparently aren’t anymore — the Tips needed to clear some room in order to make their 15 picks in this year’s bantam draft. Those no longer listed are:
Braeden Allkins, 96, C
Tye Ausmus, 97, D
Darby Gula, 98, D
Connor James, 96, D
Mark Nerland, 96, D
Ben Newhouse, 97, D
Tommy Nixon, 95, G
Connor Nobach, 98, D
Kyle Raymond, 96, RW
Matthew Saharchuk, 95, C
John Schuldt, 97, D
Tanner Tweten, 97, F
Daniel Woolfenden, 97, D
Almost all of these players — Ausmus, Gula, James, Nerland, Newhouse, Nixon, Saharchuk, Schuldt and Tweten — never set foot in Everett as far as I know, so they probably were never going to play for the Tips anyway, for one reason or another. That leaves Allkins, Nobach, Raymond and Woolfenden. Nobach (Stanwood) and Woolfenden (Mill Creek) were local draft picks in 2013 and 2012, respectively, meaning we’ll have to wait a little longer for the first Snohomish County product to suit up for the Tips (Lake Stevens defenseman Wyatte Wylie and Mukilteo winger Brendan Studioso were drafted this year to take up the mantle). Allkins and Raymond each attended multiple Everett training camps, but never made the team, though Raymond did appear in four games in 2012-13 as a call-up.
And, of course, the biggest names on this list — Tyson Jost, Patrick Khodorenko, Auston Matthews — have yet to commit to Everett, so the Tips still have some serious recruiting work to do.