Small-framed Rocco Grimaldi could be big
The U.S. National Team Development Program ended up winning the Five Nations tournament in the Czech Republic back before our first mock draft last week. That gave our network of scouts a little longer to fine-tune their assessments of the top prospects in the field. Verbatim reports from the NHL talent scouts on hand at the tournament follow.
Rocco Grimaldi, USNTDP: "The best player in the tournament in terms of getting things done -- not the best NHL prospect, but just very effective against kids in his age group."
Said one scout who scouted Rocco Grimaldi extensively: "He's ahead of Brian Gionta at the same stage in terms of skating and skills, but he doesn't know the game as well as Gionta does. Against draft-eligible kids he doesn't get pushed off the puck and he has a wide stance that gives him real balance. That also keeps him so low that he's hard to hit. When he has played against college players [with the USNTDP] it's a different story. Other [USNTDP players] struggle with the physical play against the older players too but you just can't see him growing enough or getting that much stronger that he'll be able to fight through it. He's not a jockey. He's more like a bowling ball."
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