Friday, December 11, 2015

UNH Recruits Update: Dec-11-2015

UNH Commit Liam Darcy
Islanders Hockey Club

Player Spotlight - Liam Darcy

On Wednesday, defenseman Liam Darcy, who turns 19 in February, scored his first goal as a member of the Islanders Hockey Club in the United States Premiere Hockey League. He scored IHC's 1st goal in a 4-2 victory over the South Shore Kings. As this video highlight shows, Darcy (#21 in white jersey) collected the faceoff draw at the left point of the blueline, maneuvered around the opposing forward, and snapped a wrist shot that snuck between the legs of the Kings' goalie:

In late September, Liam broke a finger and was out of the lineup throughout October. He missed 10 USPHL games. Over the last 6 games, Darcy has posted a goal and 3 assists. 4 of his 5 assists this season have come on the power play.

For the second consecutive season, Liam Darcy has been identified by the NHL Central Scouting Service as a potential 4th, 5th, or 6th round NHL draft pick. In their Midterm Rankings last January, Liam was ranked the #156th North American skater. At the time, Darcy was the senior captain at Berwick Academy, a New England Prep School on the border of Maine and New Hampshire. Ryan Kennedy, senior writer and draft/prospect expert for The Hockey News, provided this assessment of Liam:
"A big driver for the (Berwick Academy) Bulldogs, Darcy has a great knack for making the first forechecker miss. The University of New Hampshire commit has great elusiveness as a blueliner and nice offensive upside. Confident with the puck on his stick, he will need to get stronger, but there’s time for that."
In the final CSS 2015 rankings, Darcy had moved down to the 204th North American skater and he was not drafted by an NHL team in the 2015 Draft. However, in his first year of junior hockey, Liam is once again on NHL scouts' radar. In both the September and November NHL Central Scouting Service's "Players to Watch" lists, Darcy was rated as a "C" prospect. The CSS believes he has the potential to be drafted in the 4th, 5th, or 6th round of the 2016 NHL Draft next June.

I've had an opportunity to watch Liam play twice so far this season. I agree with Ryan Kennedy's appraisal and would add that Darcy has stepped up his physicality. He effectively uses his body and stick work to defend the front of the net and is strong along the boards in the defensive zone. Darcy plays on the Islanders Hockey Club's first penalty kill unit and logs meaningful minutes on their power play. He also has a smooth and powerful skating stride, both forward and backward.

The statistics for the recruits, presented in the following table, are categorized by the projected year they will enroll in UNH. For example, the "2016 Recruits" are projected to begin playing for UNH in the Fall of 2016. I have based these projections on a number of factors including:
~ If a National Letter of Intent has been signed.
~ The year the recruit and UNH coaches originally targeted for enrollment in UNH.
~ How old the recruit would be upon admission.
~ Number of years in junior hockey prior to admission.
~ The recruit's performance in recent seasons as well as injuries.
~ Anticipated date of high school graduation.
~ Number of UNH players leaving the team at the end of the previous season and the position they played.

Player Team League GP Goals Asst Pts PIM
2016 Recruits
Liam Blackburn*  (F) West Kelowna Warriors BCHL 31 15 25 40 28
Justin Fregona*  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 29 19 14 33 27
Patrick Grasso*  (F) Des Moines Bucs USHL 23 8 5 13 6
Charlie Kelleher  (F) Junior Bruins USPHL 19 7 24 31 12
Nick Nonis  (D) Powell River Kings BCHL 27 0 4 4 22
Brendan van Riemsdyk*   (F) Islanders Hockey Club USPHL 25 9 14 23 12
Mike Robinson*  (G) Junior Bruins USPHL - - - - -
2016 or '17 Recruits
Joe Cipollone  (F) Tri-City Storm USHL 14 3 1 4 8
Vernon Vipers BCHL 12 4 3 7 2
Liam Darcy  (D) Islanders Hockey Club USPHL 16 1 5 6 0
Aaron O'Neill  (F) Chilliwack Chiefs BCHL - - - - -
Tri-City Storm USHL 8 0 1 1 2
2017 Recruits
Eric MacAdams  (F) Sioux Falls Stampede USHL 20 4 4 8 29
2017 or '18 Recruits
Eric Esposito  (F) Youngstown Phantoms USHL 20 0 3 3 22
Jason O'Neill  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 20 1 6 7 0
* = Signed National
Letter of Intent

News & Notes

British Columbia Hockey League:

~ Last weekend, UNH Commit Justin Fregona and 59 players from the five Western Canada Junior A leagues participated in the Team Canada West selection camp. On Tuesday, Hockey Canada announced the 22-player team that will compete in the 2015 World Junior A Challenge and Fregona is on it. The tournament will be contested from December 13-19 in Cobourg and Whitby Ontario. Canada West will face teams from Canada East, the United States, Russia, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland.

~ The Chilliwack Chiefs of the BCHL have acquired 2016 or '17 UNH Commit Aaron O'Neill from the Tri-City Storm of the USHL. O'Neill is expected to be in the Chiefs' lineup on Sunday.

United States Premiere Hockey League:

~ 2016 UNH Commit Charlie Kelleher extended his scoring streak to 7 games last Saturday. In the 6-2 Junior Bruins' win over the Philadelphia (Junior) Flyers, Kelleher dished out 3 assists. He has scored at least one point in 18 out of the 19 games this seasons. Kelleher is tied for 5th in USPHL scoring (31 points) and has the 3rd most assists (24 assists).


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