Former U.S. National Team Development Program coach Kurt Kleinendorst tells it how it is.
For the duration of a recent half-hour phone call, he backs up that statement by picking apart some of his former star pupils in Ann Arbor. He paints a collection of crystal clear portraits for the NHL draft prospects, never hiding the warts when they are worth mentioning. But when he starts speaking of lightning-quick winger Matt Nieto, his tone changes slightly.
The cool analysis cracks, just a little, and in creeps an unmistakable inflection of awe.
"Matt is an absolutely beautiful player," he waxes. "He's a thoroughbred. He's strong as an ox. He's got toughness. His skating and puck skills are never going to be an issue."
In short, Nieto is a natural.
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