The May updates for our North American 2006 class are in! The bulk of the moves this month are adding those who really stood out at the 16U Nationals and making sure they get their due before many take a step up in competition next year, but a few moves have been made around the top 50 as our scouts catch up on viewings (including a new addition to the top three). Not every Nationals standout was added to the rankings now, but we've made note of quite a few who can get a spot quickly with continued quality play.
James Hagens | Forward | U17 NTDP
While he may be a new addition to our top three, James Hagens isn't new to anyone who's even remotely familiar with this age group. The American center has a legitimate challenge for first overall for the 2025 Draft Class and is already playing as high up as the U18's in his D-2. His performance back in November's U17 event was strong enough to start the discussion about having Hagens at three. Since then, his performances since then have done everything to show that he is on the same level offensively as the esteemed top two of Macklin Celebrini and Cole Eiserman.
Cole Hutson | Defenseman | U17 NTDP
With production succeeding his exceptionally talented brother at the same age, all eyes are on Cole Hutson as he begins to prepare for his NHL Draft year. While his offensive playdriving with the USNTDP has been terrific all year, seeing him step up to the U18's and generate the production he did on such a big stage really cements the notion that Hutson will be a dominant offensive defender for years to come. With some improvements to defensive positioning and mobility, Hutson could rise as high as one could imagine on our list by this time next year.
Luke Osburn | Defenseman| Compuware 16U
A very welcome addition to the 2006 North American rankings is Compuware defender Luke Osburn, who has taken an incredible leap forward in the last year. He was always a smart defender with great vision and positioning, but the growth in his frame has really taken his skating and reach to the next level -- unlocking a player that I can only describe as the most dynamic rearguard at Nationals. While this ranking may feel like a big leap, we do truly believe in this player and his projectability when going up against higher levels of competition due to his ability to identify and control valuable space both offensively and defensively, leverage his mobility to stop attacks and quickly facilitate transitions, as well as his sense for activation in the offensive zone.
Eero Butella | Forward | Chicago Mission 16U
It was a marvelous performance from the Chicago Mission forward as he started off the event with a hat trick before the second period even concluded. He has the complete package: strength, size, skill, mobility, vision, in-motion pace, shooting ability and reach. The process of putting it all together has been steady, but the results are really starting to show and his progression as a player this year is something to be proud of. Considering he's still young enough that there is a lot of natural strength for both upper and lower body to come, it's easy to see why we have our eyes on Butella as a player who can really pop at the next level.
Ryker Lee | Forward | Shattuck St. Mary's
Another large increase in the rankings is Ryker Lee, the dynamic Shattuck star who just torched that event with a package of skill and mobility that so few had. He's the type of player that really stood out on every shift, almost like someone who came down from a higher league and had the experience necessary to deconstruct the defenses at National almost seemingly at will. Shattuck unfortunately had an earlier exit than many anticipated due to having to play an overly talented Chicago Mission team themselves, but Lee still played great in that game as well as every other one -- adding another high note to a season that was full of them.