Photos by Michael Caples/MiHockey

Top 2001 birth-year players to know for draft season

Photos by Michael Caples/MiHockey

By Matt Mackinder –

State playoffs wrapping up in the state of Michigan means only one thing – junior draft season is on the way.

The OHL draft for 2001 birth year players is slated for April 8 while the two-part USHL draft takes place May 1-2 and the NAHL draft runs June 6.

As always, some of these players may also wind up playing for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in Plymouth.

Longtime OHL Midwest United States scout Kevin Hess recently took time with MiHockey to reflect on the top 2001s (in no particular order) for the upcoming drafts.


Arthur Kaliyev – Compuware U16

“Good skater with deceptive speed. Has a pro shot and pro release. Has elite scoring ability.”


Andrew Perrott – Honeybaked U16

“Two-way defenseman that has shown steady improvement throughout the season. Always has his feet moving and head up to make a play.”


Josh Nodler – Honeybaked U16

“Good north and south skater, with a high-end skill set. Very good in tight spots. Makes every player on the ice better. Sees the ice extremely well and is very, very unselfish with the puck.”


Tag Bertuzzi – Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U16

“Highly skilled centerman who does some very creative things when he has the puck on his stick. Does a nice job of creating something when there does not look like there is a play to be made.”


Carson Riddle – Belle Tire U16

“Smooth skating winger who gets up to top speed quickly. Possesses very good skill and does a good job of making something out of nothing. Pro release to shot and has a scoring touch. Does a nice job of shooting in stride and can the puck on the net from any angle.”


Dylan Wendt – Belle Tire U16

“Possesses quick feet and uses them to gain separation from defenders. Has a good scoring touch, especially within 10 feet of the net. Good shot with a quick release. Sees the ice well and is unselfish with the puck. Displays good hockey sense, reading and reacting to the play quickly while making high-end decisions.”


Marcus Gretz – Belle Tire U16

“Big, mobile defense-first defenseman with an offensive upside. Makes a good first pass. Already 6-foot-4, he may have a bit more growing to do. Defends well, using his reach and positioning to keep his man on the perimeter. Poised and patient with the puck and does a good job of moving his feet to find shooting and passing lanes.”


Brendan Kishnick – Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U16

“Smaller puck-moving defenseman. Plays bigger than his size indicates. Has a bit of a mean streak to his game. Possesses high hockey IQ. Good skater with good speed and very good overall mobility. Has end to end rushing abilities. Does a good job of moving his feet with his head up to make a play.”


Patrick Guzzo – Little Caesars U16

“Good skating centerman. Has a good stride with good high-end speed. Has a good shot with a good release. Wins a good percentage of his faceoffs. Plays an honest two-way game.”


Michael Mancinelli – Honeybaked U16

“Centerman with a high-end skill set. Gifted goal scorer from inside the tops of the circles. Heavy shot with a pro release. Can get the puck on net from anywhere in the offensive zone. If I need a goal, I am putting the puck on his stick.”


Jacob Badal – Honeybaked U16

“Left winger with possibly the hardest shot in Minor Midget this year with a pro release. Is very accurate within 15 feet of the net. Good skill set.”


Mitchell Miller – Honeybaked U16

“Forward that converted to defense this year. Plays with a high-end skill set and offensive-minded game. Make very good outlets. Good skater with average speed. Poised with the puck and has his head up to make the play. Has end to end rushing abilities. Walks the line with his head up looking for shooting lanes.”


Mack Guzda – Honeybaked U16

“Big goalie who plays a calm, laid-back style. Seals the ice well when down in the butterfly. Does a good job of controlling his rebounds. Works hard and has shown a lot of improvement throughout the season.”


Evan Orr – Little Caesars U16

“Puck-moving defenseman that plays with a mean streak. Very good skater who gets a lot out of his stride. Defends well, winning a good percentage of his puck battles. Has end to end rushing ability. Makes a good first pass.”


Ethan Szmagaj – Little Caesars U16

“Mobile, two-way defenseman that can be used in any situation. Very strong and plays bigger than his size indicates. Plays a tight gap on the rush and eliminates his opponents’ time and space quickly. Plays a physical game. Displays good hockey IQ, reading and reacting to the play well.”


Alex Trombley – Belle Tire U16

“Smooth-skating winger who is good on his edges. Accurate shot with a quick release. Possesses good skill and does a good job of keeping his feet moving when he has the puck.”


Jayden Jenson – Belle Tire U16

“Big, strong and physical stay-at-home defenseman. Defends well, winning a high percentage of his 50/50 puck battles. Makes a good first pass.”


Max Klanow – Belle Tire U16

“Good skating centerman who possesses high-end hockey sense. Is rarely caught out of position. Competes at a very high level. Plays with an edge. Finishes a majority of his checks and goes to the dirty areas of the ice.”


Dalton Duhart – Belle Tire U16

“Good-sized forward who can play in all three slots. Wins a high percentage of his draws. Plays a responsible, two-way game. Wins his loose puck battles and finishes his checks. Plays very good positionally and plays with an active stick. Has shown nice touch within 10 feet of the net this season.”


Jacob Cook – Fox Motors U16

“Big, physical power forward, natural centerman who has shown he can play on the wing as well. Possess quick first three-step speed that allows him to separate from defenders. Heavy shot with a good release.”


This article originally appeared in the March 2017 edition of MiHockeyMag.