Here are some players who have looked good in the early going.
1) Will Francis – 6-4, 205 – D – Cedar Rapids- He’s an Anaheim pick committed to Minnesota Duluth. He’s very solid defensively. I like the way he strips the puck. He can break up scoring chances with his strength here he was able to stand some players up. His speed is good, and he was good at the point on the power play when he got the time.
2) Erik Portillo – 6-6, 209 – G – Dubuque – He’s a Sabres draft pick and Michigan commit. He’s looked very good from start to finish so far. He sees the puck well in traffic. I like his simple stick clears letting his defenseman do the heavy lifting getting the puck going the other way. He stacks the pads and he hugs the post well. He may commit a bit early in some instances but that was my only criticism.
3) Michael Feenstra – 6-2, 193 – D – Dubuque – Michigan State commit. I really like his willingness to block shots. He has a physical side. He has an active stick on defense. His defensive awareness was really good. He can take the puck up the ice with good speed and his vision is good. Played on the third pair but I think that’ll change later this season.
4) Joe Molenaaar – 6-0, 178 – LW – Tri-City – St. Cloud State commit. He scored a goal with a wrist shot high far side with the goalie having full view of him. That was impressive. He has some good dekes in his arsenal to keep the defense at bay. Made a nice steal to turn defense into offense. He had 15 goals and 33 points last season as a 19-year-old. He will be 20 in October.
5) Danil Gushchin – 5-8, 165 – LW – Muskegon – He’s an 02 birth year. He’s very fast and has a solid wrist shot. He shields the puck well and he’s a very good passer. He’s pesky on defense. If he can figure out to finish a little better, there’s something here for sure. Last year he had 16 goals and 36 points. I think he can improve upon that. He has a good chance of being drafted this year if he checks off the boxes.