The season has just now come to a close after the National Championships in Michigan, and we have a new updated set of rankings for you! This won’t cover the play from Nationals though, as these updates were submitted before the end of the month of March, so those will take place in an ensuing update. This will be based upon the game I covered from the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League Playoffs as well as other views I logged. We have 12 new names coming to the 2008 rankings so let’s dive in and talk about some of the movements that were made!
New Number One Alert
For the first time this season we have a new name atop the 2008 rankings as Dallas Stars Elite forward, Jeffrey Hurlbert III, has nabbed the top spot with his dominant displays over the last couple of months. His ability to perform at such a high level on a consistent basis really forced my hand here. Every time I sat down to watch DSEHC play it seemed he was controlling play for his team and dictating the outcome of the game. His shot is one of the best in his age group, it’s insanely accurate and he knows how to use the defender in front of him to screen the goalie and time his release perfectly. He generates excellent power on it as well and has proven he can score from just about anywhere in the offensive zone. His ability to create space for himself using his long reach, size, and slick puck handling provide him with all the tools to be a one man wrecking crew on offense. He has impressed me for a long time and it finally felt like the time to make the move to the top of the rankings for him.
New Faces in High Places
Easton Walos of Milwaukee Jr. Admirals is the highest debuting player on this list as he comes in hot at 49th in the rankings. He was an absolute force at the T1EHL Playoffs and was the clear leader of his team and his talent jumped off the page in every viewing. He was doing a bit of everything on the ice from blocking shots, to creating shorthanded chances, working his way past players with smooth dekes, and an excellent shot and positional instincts in the offensive zone. His game was so well rounded and even though he was a player I was unfamiliar with coming into this I knew he had to immediately slot into the top half of the rankings. I am excited to continue tracking his progress.
In that same vein, Daniel Peate of the Anaheim Jr. Ducks is jumping in at 68th after some equally exciting performances at the tournament. His high pressure game at both ends of the ice make him a nuisance to deal with and his intelligence and creativity in the offensive zone make him a dangerous threat at all times. He has good 1 on 1 skills and the confidence to try his luck at any given moment, but understands that not every situation calls for that type of play.
Blake Kiley-Ram of the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes is another new addition whose game stood out in a string of games for me. His debut at 92nd on the list is a byproduct of some strong play that he showed on a somewhat lacking offensively Coyotes team. He has some solid playmaking skills that he was able to use to establish himself as a threat for defenders, and showing a good ability to get to the net and finish off opportunities with some good offensive instincts.
Alec Johnson has moved up to 56th on the list, he’s a player I enjoy watching and he continues to show excellent skills on the puck, hard work at both ends of the rink with his forecheck and backcheck, and a relentless motor.
Landon Amrhein moves up to 64, he has begun showing more of a playmaking side to his game as he teeters on being a dual-threat. His shot and puck skills are still his strong suits, and he is not afraid to mix it up and play a physical brand of hockey.
Evan Hubbard of Buffalo Jr. Sabres has been standing out to me as of late and plays an intelligent game that was deserving of recognition. He seems to be in the right place at the right time and his playmaking skills along the half walls make him a key member of the offense. He works well in the slot as well setting screens and getting his stick on point shots with great hand-eye coordination.
View the entire ----> 2008 American Player Rankings