No, this doesn't necessarily have to do with the New Jersey Devils; but this does have to do with New Jersey hockey. Central Scouting Services released their watch-list for both European and North American based prospects for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at NHL.com. When I say it's a watch list, it's exactly that. CSS won't be ranking any players until the middle of the season. It's a guide for scouts to pay attention to certain players when they are in the region. Of course, when they do rank players, they will include players not on the list - and those on the list aren't necessarily guaranteed high or low rankings.
The European list contains both junior and professional players; but the North American list consists of only Junior A and U.S. high school players. There are three New Jersey-based players on the North American list; one in each of the three ratings, and two who are in high school.
Matt Killian is a defenseman who has been honing his skills for the NJ prep powerhouse Delbarton. The same prep school who won their seventh state championship and won their third straight Star Ledger Top 20 title last season. Delbarton has produced a few draft picks; most recently Kenneth Agostino in the 2010 draft. Expect to hear more out of Killian come June 2011. Already he's got the attention of the US National Team Developmental Program. According to the NHL.com article about the North American list, he's currently loaned to the U-18 team. Should he do well, it shouldn't shock anyone if he gets to play more for the USNTDP.
The accolades aren't completely new; he was picked out by Gary Eggleson of CSS in this NHL article in March (and notes his 15 goals and 26 assists in 09-10) regarding 2011 prospects. CSS thought highly enough of him enough to give him an "A" rating, meaning that they feel has first or second round potential. No matter where he's drafted, he's committed to Yale for 2011.
Killian isn't the only Delbarton player on the watch list. His teammate on the blueline, Tommy Davis, also made it to the watch list. He only got a "C" rating for potential as a late draft pick, but it's definitely compliment to be on the list at all. I couldn't find too much on Davis, but per NJ PowerRanking - a NJ high school hockey resource - Davis was named to the NJP 09-10 All-State Sophmore First Team for Private Schools (link to PDF - Killian was named to Juniors first team) If you follow Delbarton or NJ high school at all, then keep your eyes on those two on defense for this season. You could very well be seeing them in the NHL someday. If you've seen either Davis or Killian play in Delbarton, then please let us know what you thought of either in the comments.
The third player actually plays in the Eastern Junior Hockey League. Charles Orzetti of the Wayne-based New Jersey Hitmen is hard to miss; standing at just under 6'4" and 208 pounds. The Wyckoff-native has had a slow start to the season with only a goal and an assist in 8 games with the Hitmen this season. Hopefully, he'll turn it around. Nevertheless, he's committed to Yale for 2012. CSS gave him a "B" rating, projecting him early as a potential third-to-fifth round pick. I don't know if anyone follows the EJHL, but if someone does, feel free to share your thoughts about Orzetti in the comments or by e-mail.
We know the Devils support youth teams, as the jerseys of high school and youth teams are set up around the Rock for fans to see. I know they take part in other community initiatives. Should any these three (and any other players) continue to get more attention for the 2011 NHL Draft, I don't think it would be a bad idea to feature them on the official website or elsewhere about their accomplishments as a player. It doesn't have to be huge, they are prospects, after all. I just think highlighting the best young talent in the state (especially if they are potential NHL draft picks) - would establish that the Devils are further aware and supportive what's going on with high school and junior A hockey in New Jersey. Not to mention that more people outside of high school/junior A hockey and scouts would know who they are. I think it would certainly befit Jersey's Team, for what it's worth.