Login:  
    
    
Valley Jr. Warriors Put Massachusetts Back on the NHL Map - Part I of III

2014_NHL_Draft.pngWhile the NHL playoffs continue on, there is one date – June 27 – that is top of mind with all hockey fans.

On that day, 30 NHL teams will come together for the NHL Entry Draft and shine a spot light on the league’s future stars. It is a day that hockey enthusiasts from around the world mark down on the calendar every year.

In recent memory, the NHL Entry Draft has been dominated by Canadian and European players. Thanks in great part to the Valley Jr Warrior program, however, the next three years will feature top New England talent.

The following is the first of a three-part feature called "Valley Jr. Warriors Put Massachusetts Back on the NHL Map" that highlights the Warriors’ impressive impact on developing local talent.

Part I examines the top New England talent in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Part I and III will look at the top local prospects in the 2015 and 2016 drafts, respectively.

The Rise of New England in 2014

When the draft is held on June 27-28, experts predict that 10 New England players will be selected in the draft and five of those outstanding prospects are VJW alums.

Players must have been born by Sept. 15, 1996, to be eligible for this year’s NHL draft, which will be held in Philadelphia. Eighteen-year-olds not selected last year may also remain draft-eligible this time around.

Topping the list of New England prospects is Newburyport native Shane Eiserman, who has already committed to the University of New Hampshire. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Eiserman shoots left and has been tabbed as a big-bodied winger who is able to generate scoring changes by overpowering opponents.

Eiserman played for the Valley Jr Warrior Junior B team and then spent a season at St. John’s Prep (Danvers) and Cushing Academy before heading to the Midwest.

Also high on the prospect list is J.D. Dudek, who has already committed to play for Boston College following a season of junior hockey next winter. Prior to taking his talents to prep school, Dudek was a key member of the VJW ’96 Elite squad.

Talent runs deep in the Dudek family as his father played briefly in the NFL for the Denver Broncos and still holds the NCAA record for most career touchdowns and 100-yard rushing games as a halfback with Plymouth State College in the mid-’80s.

The younger Dudek has clearly carried on the family tradition of excellance. It was recently reported – by New England Hockey Journal’s Kirk Luedekethat Dudek is “one of the most creative playmakers in New England” and predicts that he “has the talent to be a late first round, solid second-round player.”

That is high praise from Luedeke, who has been covering the NHL draft for 15 years.

Dudek is very familiar with two other New England prospects in Tyler Bird and Bobo Carpenter.

Bird, a member of the VJW Junior B team who also played for St. John’s Prep (Danvers) his junior season, was a linemate of Dudek’s this past year at Kimball Union. An Andover native, Bird stands at 6-foot-2 and 200-pounds and is considered to be a power winger who drives to the net and has a strong and accurate shot.

Bird has committed to Brown University and the scouting report says that he has “impressive NHL upside”. If he or Eiserman are drafted it would mark the fourth consecutive year that a St. John’s Prep product has had their name called by an NHL team.

Interestingly, Bird and Eiserman also continue what has been a continuous stream of top VJW players who played for St. John’s Prep and then committed to a Division 1 college. Included in that list are Colin Blackwell (currently a junior at Harvard University), Sam Kurker (who played part of last season for Boston University) and Brian Pinho (who is committed to Providence College).

Carpenter is another Division I talent who last May became the second player to commit to the Boston University program since Jack Parker announced his retirement. A teammate of Dudek’s on the VJW ’96 Elite team, Carpenter is coming off another stellar season at Austin Prep and his head coach Louis Finnochio has nothing but the highest praise for him.

“He’s one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever coached,” said Finnochio during an interview with the Eagle Tribune. “Bar none. He goes and goes and goes. Bobo’s relentless. (He’s) already a leader as a sophomore and he’s got one of the hardest shots I’ve seen from a schoolboy. From afar, up close, anywhere on the ice he’s a threat.”

Carpenter and Ara Nazarian are two players who have come to know each other through fierce Super 8 battles. Nazarian plays for Austin Prep's arch rival Malden Catholic, which has to date collected four straight Division 1A Championship titles.

Much like Eiserman and Bird, Nazarian was a standout player for the VJW Junior B team where he finished as the team’s second leading scorer. He netted 30 goals and 20 assists in 34 games.

The Boxford native, who was the Boston Globe’s 2013 Division 1 Athlete of the Year, made University of New Hampshire fans very happy last spring when he committed to play for the Wildcats.

Looking ahead to 2015, the list of local prospects is even more impressive as projections show that three VJW alums may be selected in the first round. Part II of the "Valley Jr. Warriors Put Massachusetts Back on the NHL Map" feature will take a look at those Warrior standouts.

Click here for coverage of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

INDEX
VJW '97 Elite Standout Netminder Elijah Harris Commits to Brown University
2015 Set to be an Unprecedented Year for American-Born & VJW Players
VJW Alum Chris Kreider Emerges as An NHL Game Changer
Apr 29, 14
Valley Jr. Warriors Put Massachusetts Back on the NHL Map - Part I of III
VJW Alum Noah Hanifin Named to U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team
Looking Forward to 2014 VJW Tournaments
Former Warrior Mike Vecchione Helps Union College Win First National Title
VJW '97 Elites Cap Off Superior Season at USA Hockey National Championship
It's Game Time for VJW U16's at the 2014 USA Hockey National Championship
Former Warriors - Fitzgerald, Silk & Vecchione - Highlight Frozen Four
Three VJW Junior A Players Announce Plans for 2014-15 Season
VJW ’97 Elites Prepare for 2014 USA Hockey U16 Tier I National Championship
Three VJW '00 Elites Participate in Prestigous East Coast Young Guns Showcase
VJW Players Highlight 2014 Super 8 Hockey Championship
Valley Jr Warrior Junior A Team Soars Into Second Round of EHL Playoffs
A Parent's Perspective: Reflections On Another Great Season of Warrior Hockey
Valley Jr Warriors Post Perfect Record on NEHL Championship Sunday
Valley Jr Warrior Teams Win Three NEHL Championship Titles
In Memory of Paul Gilmartin, Sr.
VJW Alums Lead USA Under-17 team to Another International Title
Thanks to VJW Alum Alex Carpenter For Representing Team USA at Sochi
Valley Jr Warriors Named Charter Member of E9 Elite Hockey League
So Much to Look Forward to - VJW Tryout Season Begins This Week
VJW Alums Ryan Fitzgerald & Brendan Silk Celebrate 62nd Beanpot Tournament Win
Former NHL Stars Ken Hodge & Scott Lachance Named VJW Bantam Coaches
VJW Junior A Standout Charlie Widmar Commits to St. Olaf College
Did You Know? 10% of the Beanpot Players Are Valley Jr Warrior Alums!
Former Warrior Ryan Heavey Stands Tall for Babson Beavers
Former VJW Player Jake Kulevich Has Found a Home at Colgate
VJW Accepting Applications From Experienced and Qualified Coaches
NY Islander Goaltending Coach & Former Olympian Visits VJW Practice
VJW Teams Head to Rhode Island for JWK Tournament
VJW '00 Selects Enjoy A Night at Frozen Fenway
Former Warriors Lead Team USA to a Gold Medal at the gold medal at the World Under-17 Hockey Challen
Alex Carpenter Named to the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team Roster
VJW '03 Elites Advance to Semifinals at the North American Frozen Cup
Two Former Valley Jr Warriors Players Continue Impressive Carpenter Legacy
Mark Your Calendars Today for 2014 VJW Tournaments
VJW '97 Elites - Massachusetts State Champions
VJW '00 Selects Take Time to Give Back During the Holiday Season
VJW '01 Elites Impress and Dominate at 2013-2014 Super01 Series Tournament
Valley Jr Warriors Youth Teams Continue NEHL Player of the Week Streak
Charlie Widmar & Shane Tracy Named EHL Mid-Season All Stars
VJW '00 Elites Make National Statement; Now Ranked 12th In the Nation
Another Major Success For the Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament
VJW Teams Win Three of Six Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament Titles
Former Warrior Chris Kreider Nets First Career NHL Hat Trick
VJW Teams Prepare For Playoffs at Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament
2013 Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament Kicks Off in Haverhill
Four Former Warriors Reunite in NCAA Division I Showdown
Ken Hodge & Ryan St. Jean Backstop VJW '00 Elites to a Great Start
VJW Junior A Squad Scores Four Power-Play Goals in League Win
Cam Askew Takes his VJW Talents to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
From the VJW to the NHL: Chris Kreider and Corey Schneider
Logan Bridgewater Named NEHL Player of the Week
VJW '99 Elites Advance to Mass State Championship Finals
Hunter Wilhoite Named Eastern Hockey League Defensive Player of the Week
Former Warrior Ryan Fitzgerald Named Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week
VJW U16 Tier I Team Capture 3rd State Championship & Are National Bound... Again
VJW Junior A Team Happy to Be Back Home
Four VJW Players Receive NEHL Player of the Week Honors
VJW '00 Elites Capture 2013 East Coast Classic Prep Cup Tournament Title
VJW '97 Elites Dominate and Win 2013 Midget Fall Classic
Jack Toohey Named the New England Hockey League Player of the Week
Fitzgerald, Hanifin & White Suit Up for U.S. National Under-17 Team
VJW Junior A Team Falls to Northern Cyclones in Week 2
Brendan Parent of the VJW '99s Named NEHL Player of the Week
VJW '03 Elites Advance to Finals of 2013 AAA Rochester Invitational
A new season. A new league. A new team. A new opportunity for the VJW Junior A Team
VJW Play Featured in NEHL Weekly Roundups (9/8)
VJW Teams Perform Well During Week 1 of NEHL Qualifying Jamboree
EHL Partners with EDUCATEAthletes for Full Suite of Educational Services
VJW 04 Selects Advance to Finals of Rinks at Exeter Tournament