Tuesday, September 02, 2014

For UNH Freshman Shane Eiserman, NHL Dream Comes Into Focus

Ottawa Senators Draft Shane Eiserman
(Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

"Eiserman is a stud; top 4 round NHL pick." Josh Ciocco, December 19, 2011

Eiserman at Cushing Academy 2011-12
A little over two and 1/2 years ago, I asked Josh Ciocco, former Captain of the 2006-07 UNH Hockey Team, what he thought of UNH recruit Shane Eiserman. At the time, Josh was wearing three hats: Hockey East Analyst for NESN, Scout/Writer for U.S. Hockey Report, and Assistant Coach at Milton Academy. Eiserman had committed to UNH in August, 2011 and was playing for Cushing Academy in the New England Prep Hockey League.

I had seen Eiserman play a couple times after he committed to UNH. In my player observation log, I wrote that "Eiserman is always working hard on his shifts. He finishes his checks, skates hard up and down his wing, shows speed carrying the puck through center ice and into the offensive zone, and hangs/bangs around the front of the net when needed." Eiserman was only 16 but he struck me as a special talent.

Turns out that Josh Ciocco - who is now the Assistant Coach at the University of Alaska Anchorage - was exactly right about Shane Eiserman. In June, he was selected in the 4th Round of the NHL Draft by the Ottawa Senators with the 100th overall pick.

Getting on NHL Scouts' Radar

In the three years leading up to the 2014 NHL Draft, Shane Eiserman steadily elevated his performance and advanced to the top rungs of the junior hockey ladder. As a sophomore at Cushing Academy, Shane Eiserman scored 18 goals and 26 assists in 29 games and was the Penguins' second leading scorer.

At the June 2012 USA Hockey Selects 17 Camp, Eiserman's impressive play earned him a spot on the U.S. National Team Development Program's Under-18 team. In 21 games against NCAA teams, he scored 3 goals and 3 assists for Team USA. In the team's 22 games against United State Hockey League competition, he added 5 goals and 6 assists. Eiserman may well have been ready to make the jump to NCAA hockey at UNH for the 2013-14 season but he was entering his senior year in high school. So he moved on to the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL for his last season of junior hockey.

Even before the 2013-14 USHL season began, Eiserman had earned favorable reviews by NHL scouts. In September 2013, the NHL Central Scouting Service identified Eiserman as a potential 2nd or 3rd round draft pick. Shortly after, Eiserman gave credence to the NHL scouts assessment by excelling in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game (see video highlights above).

In their January Mid-Term Rankings, the NHL CSS listed Shane Eiserman as the #39 North American Skater. At that point in the season, Eiserman had scored 8 goals and 10 assists for the Dubuque Fighting Saints and had a +/- rating of +11. By the end of the USHL season, Eiserman had scored 40 points in 53 regular season games and his +/- rating was +18. He added 2 more assists in the Fighting Saints' seven playoff games. When the NHL CSS Final Rankings came out in April, Eiserman ranking remained steady as the #45 North American Skater.

2014 NHL Draft

Shane Eiserman and his family made the long drive from West Newbury, Massachusetts to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. 30 players were drafted in the First Round on Friday, June 27th. Shane heard his name called early in the Fourth Round on Saturday. The Ottawa Senators selected Eiserman with the 100th overall pick in the draft. In an interview on draft day, the Senators' Amateur Scout Bob Janecyk described what they liked about Eiserman's game:
"He's a big, strong kid going to UNH. He's a better winger than center...who gets up and down the ice, shoots the puck and competes. A big, strong power forward at UNH hopefully for 2 or 3 years."

2014 Ottawa Senators Development Camp

Less than a week after the draft in Philadelphia, Eiserman was off to Ottawa, Canada for the Senators Annual Development Camp. From July 1 to July 7, 23 draft picks, including Eiserman, and 11 free agents participated in rigorous on-ice and off-ice training sessions.

In an interview with the Daily News of Newburyport, Shane described what the development camp was like:
"On ice I’ve haven’t experienced anything like it. You had to play well every second, so it was fun. Getting to play with all those guys, they’re high-end guys, the pace was up, you really had to be focused in because if you make a mistake out there, you stand out. It was tough, but it was a great experience with where I’m at with my development.”
I had an opportunity to interview Shane, via email, about his quest to play in the NHL, his experiences at the Ottawa Senators' camp, and his goals for this season at UNH:

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Looking back over your junior career, when did you become aware that NHL scouts were coming to watch you play? Which skills/attributes do you think got you noticed as a potential professional hockey player?
Shane Eiserman: I started really understanding the whole process when I went to the National Team. My whole team was draft eligible and it was very cool to see what they were going through. The skills I worked on were becoming more of a well-rounded power forward - driving the puck wide, making the simple plays, and playing the body.

Mike Lowry: Your cousin and personal trainer Eddie Hill knows from experience what it takes to succeed at the NHL level. He was drafted 61st overall in the 1999 NHL Draft and played 8 seasons in the AHL and ECHL. What’s the best advice he’s given you, so far, to prepare for an NHL career?
Shane Eiserman: He has just said "enjoy the ride". Take everyday as a gift and work hard to where you want to get. Not to focus on the things you can’t control and just the things you can.

Lowry: You recently completed your first, week-long Prospects Development Camp with the Ottawa Senators’ organization. The camp included three first-round draft picks, over a dozen experienced AHL players, and three more with NHL experience. How would you compare your performance with these top players both on the ice and in off-ice strength and conditioning.
Eiserman: It was an awesome experience where I could see where I am at in my development. It was fast paced but something that will definitely benefit me throughout the upcoming season. I was on pace and really surprised myself out there.

Lowry: What personal goals have you set for your freshman season at UNH?
Eiserman: I want to be a contributor to the team and help win a National Championship by playing my hard, power forward type of game. I also want to learn new things from the coaching staff and older players.

Lowry: In past interviews, you’ve talked about growing up as a UNH hockey fan and how your godmother would give you UNH game tickets for Christmas. Are there any former (or current) UNH forwards who played a style similar to yours?
Eiserman: I'm not sure I can name someone that I play like but I know I can play the UNH hockey type of game. Strong, fast, and hard.


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