Tuesday, January 24, 2017

UNH Commit Corson Green: NHL Draft Prospect

Defenseman Corson Green
2018 UNH Commit

Corson Green, a 2018 UNH commit, first officially appeared on the radar of the NHL Central Scouting Service last July. That's when the CSS included Green on it's 2016-17 NHL Draft "Futures List". The 6'3", 207 lbs. defenseman's size and accelerated development were turning the heads of professional scouts.

Last season, as a 16-year-old, Green (DOB: 3/4/1999) was promoted from the Northern Cyclones 16U Tier 1 team to their Premiere team in the Eastern Hockey League. In 16 EHL regular season games, against much older competition, Green scored 3 goals, including a game-winner, and distributed 6 assists including a power play and short-handed assist. He also posted 4 assists for the Northern Cyclone in 6 EHL playoff games.

This season, Green made the jump to the top junior hockey league in the United States - the USHL. The Chicago Steel invited him to their summer tryout camp and he made the team. In late June, the Neutral Zone** scouts evaluated Green at the USA Select 17 Development Camp and pinpointed his skill set:

"While Green is still raw and tends to be undisciplined at times, he very well may have the highest upside of anyone here at the position. He has a big frame and room to grow, he’s super athletic, has a rocket wrister from the point that he gets off easily with his head up and a soft set of hands. He carries well, handles well and can make people miss. His defensive game isn’t poor, but it can be sloppy as he runs around, drifts towards the puck and leaves some of the primary scoring threats wide open. However, he is very tough to beat in the open ice or out of the corners because of his size, athleticism and skating ability. He maintains tight gaps, has an active stick which leads to a lot of steals and poke checks and can transition from a rear guard to leading the rush almost instantly. Very high ceiling once his game matures. He’ll likely be playing for Dan Muse of the Chicago Steel next season where he’ll really benefit from the coaching and structure of the league."
Rating - 4 out 5 Stars.

** Reprinted by permission of Brendan Collins, Director of Scouting at Neutral Zone.

In late September, Corson Green began his season with the Chicago Steel. The NHL Central Scouting Service identified him as a "Player to Watch" and a candidate to be drafted in the 4th, 5th, or 6th round of the 2017 NHL Draft. Green scored his first USHL goal in his seventh game and added another two games later in mid-November. At the time, the NHL CSS updated it's "Player to Watch" list and continued to identify Green as a "C" prospect.

As anticipated, Green's play continued to improve under the tutelage of the Chicago Steel coaches. In December, he tallied 2 more goals and 5 assists. Green was one of 53 USHL prospects on the NHL CSS "Players to Watch" list. As such, I wondered whether he would be named to the 2017 USHL/NHL Top Prospects game. Although he was not named to the original rosters (i.e., two, 20-man rosters), he was a top alternate and was added to the East squad to replace the injured Eero Tervainen (also a "C" prospect).

The USHL/NHL prospects game on January 10th featured one "A" prospect (candidate for 1st round draft), 8 "B" prospects (candidate for 2nd or 3rd round), and 26 "C" prospects (candidate for 4th/5th/6th rounds). Considering the high caliber of the competition, Corson Green played a solid, all-around game. He played right defense (he is a left-shot) on the East squad's second pairing. His play in the defensive zone has improved since the Neutral Zone scouts assessed him last summer. Green demonstrated physical play, corner control, smooth back-checking, puck control, crease defense, and accurate passing:

Green also displayed the offensive skills described by the Neutral Zone scouts last June. His burst of speed out of the defensive zone, through neutral ice, and to the net was particularly impressive:

In his first game back with the Chicago Steel after the USHL/NHL event, Green's speed, puck-carrying ability, and shot lead to this goal in the first period against Team USA:

It was Green's 5th goal of his rookie season. He also has 6 assists. Last Wednesday, the NHL CSS released its Midterm Rankings and Corson Green was identified as the 149th North American skater. There are 7 USHL defensemen ahead of him on this list. UNH's newest commit Benton Maass, who plans to enroll next fall, is ranked #158 on the NHL CSS list of North American skaters.

At this point in the season, it's difficult to predict whether Corson Green will be drafted at the 2017 NHL Draft next June in Chicago. Looking back at last year's NHL CSS Midterm Rankings, defensemen who were ranked at #142, 147, 153, and 156 did not get selected in the 2016 Draft. If Green's development continues at the current, upward trajectory, his chances are bound to improve.


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