Hockey Recruiting : USA Announces Goaltender Evaluation Roster – Heavy on OHL Talent

These 7 goaltenders were selected to attend an evaluation in Ann Arbor to be considered for the World Jr. Tournament. 

Evan Cowley – Denver – 6’4- 95′ – Cowley is a dual citizen (USA and CAN). He was Sam Brittan‘s backup as a freshman for the Pioneers, Florida Panthers draft choice. Started the season as a 17 year old who hadn’t played AAA hockey at a powerhouse NCAA program. Cowley played A level hockey and then 2 seasons of HS prior to one season in the NAHL. Denver’s staff wanted him to play a season in the USHL, but Juha Olkinoura left for the pro ranks. Cool fact : Cowley is the only Colorado native to be recruited to play goalie at Denver. Really cool fact : Brittan and Cowley were each selected by the Florida Panthers with the 92nd overall pick in their draft years.

Thatcher Demko – Boston College – (2014 eligible) – #1 rated goaltender overall for the 2014 NHL Draft. Demko began the season as a 17 year old – the youngest player in NCAA hockey – at Boston College. He is a player who has excelled at every level he’s played and that’s why he’s considered the best goaltender prospect in his age group. Although this is a spectacular group of goaltenders, a spot on the roster is his to lose.

Edwin Minney – Michigan State – 6’4-201 – 96′ – Played for the USNTDP in 2013-2014. Pennsylvania native is praised for his mobility. He’s a product of the DC Capitals and the USNTDP (2 seasons). Really improved a lot in 2013-2014. Might have the edge here because of his experience with USA Hockey. Drafted by Niagara (OHL) in the 8th round 158th overall.

Alex Nedeljkovic – Plymouth (OHL) – Was selected to play for U-18 team despite not being a USNTDP player. Nedeljkovic is was the OHL’s Goaltender of the Year in 2014 despite playing behind an unusually average Plymouth Whalers team. His reflexes and athleticism are what separate him from the average young prospect. Focus is top notch.

Plymouth Whalers OHL Carl De Lucia Hockey
Alex Nedeljkovic – Plymouth OHL 

Devin Williams – Erie (OHL) – Really solid goaltender. Shared duties with Oscar Dansk in Erie, could be a pro. Has a lot of talent. Erie has the best player available for the 2015 NHL Draft (Connor McDavid) and should be really good in 2014-2015, so Williams will have plenty of opportunity to really move himself up scout’s lists.

Brandon Halverson – St. Saulte Marie (OHL) – 6-4-179 – 96′ – The Traverse City, MI native is a product of the Little Ceaser’s and Oakland Jr. Grizzlies midget program. Saw 19 games as an OHL rookie. Tall and thin, plays the puck a lot. A bit of a long shot to be on the World Jr. team because he’s a year younger and not as battle tested as the other goaltenders in the camp.

Brendan Burke – Portland (WHL) 6’4-185- 95′ – Played on a loaded Portland team. The Scottsdale, AZ native is the son of former NHL’er Sean Burke. The Phoenix Coyotes took him in the 6th round, 163rd overall in the 2013 NHL draft. Burke came up with the PF Chang’s and Phoenix Jr. Coyotes organizations. Portland took him in round 3 – 49th overall in the WHL Bantam Draft. Burke has the size and the bloodlines to be successful. He’s practiced with pro’s since he was in youth hockey, definitely a prospect to watch.

Prediction : Demko and Nedeljkovic will likely be selected from this group. Cowley is a really interesting prospect and I personally think he will be very successful in his career. Outside of those 3, I’d say Burke is the next best option followed by Williams. That being said, these are the best goaltenders in their age group and each has the talent to be a star.

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