Vantassell is a 6-3 ¾, 190 pound right wing who plays for the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL hails from Basking Ridge, New Jersey. It’s a town known for having the corporate headquarters for Verizon Wireless and a few more companies. Surely, it must have a bit more an allure than just that.
“I didn’t know that. Everything is pretty close. There are some nice towns like Morristown and Summitt. It’s all near you. Not too far drive to the jersey shore and not too far a drive to New York, Vantassell said. “Green Bay has a lot less traffic than New Jersey.”
Being named to play in the 2022 All American Game was a boost to his profile. Teams that are looking for a mid to late-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, one with upside will look at Vantassell. His second half will count, but he’s young, big and a few more of his attributes are solid. This prospect is an accurate passer, he’s good in transition and has a good two-way game.
“It was surreal. It’s a great honor. You can’t take anything for granted,” said Vantassell. “It’s such a great event. There are so many scouts and people. It’s great to be a part of.”
Vantassell starred at Morristown, High School. He had to overcome some adversity, and that seemingly has made him stronger.
“Last year, I wasn’t able to play any games. I had a knee injury. I played my sophomore season. It was great playing in front of your friends and your teachers. It was a great high school experience, and I was playing against older players,” Vantassell pointed out. “I did a lot of PT, and now my knee is 100%.”
Confidence with the puck. Being calm is something that can fuel a player. If you don’t have it, you won’t have good zone entries and probably won’t make good decisions with the puck. If you have it, everything looks easier. You’re not thinking out there and you have a feel for the game, who to pass it to at the best time, and when to go to the net like Vantassell who can do that.
“It’s crazy that’s something I struggled with early on coming into the USHL. At first, I was just lucky to get rid of it. I was too worried about making a mistake,” he admitted. “As I got used to the speed, I got more confident with the puck. Confidence has been the biggest part of that.”
Vantassell is another player who has made big strides since the USHL Fall Classic.
“I went from being worried about making a mistake to worrying about making the right plays. I think different more confidently,” Vantassell stated. “One of my goals is to find a college (he did commit to UMass a few days after this interview). The hockey side and schooling side are important. So much of it is hockey. Looking for atmosphere of the school and studies.”
Driving play is something this big wing can do. As he fills out a bit more, that’s something that can help him in NCAA hockey.
“Especially on the breakout, I will come down the ice with speed. Usually, my center will pass the puck to an area for me to get to. I’ll use my speed to get to the puck. I’ll just push the defense back using my speed and size,” Vantassell said with energy.
This prospect has a good wrist shot, and he’s learning as you move up the ladder, goaltenders are harder to score on.
“The biggest thing is the goaltenders in this league. Changing the angle of your shot is a big factor,” Vantassell remarked.
Vantassell is an emerging talent. You would be drafting him for his ceiling. In the next year or two, I expect him to put it all together.