WSBN-TV 2006 Birth Year “Players to Watch” in New Jersey
October 12, 2022
As part of an ongoing series WSBN-TV will be presenting our “Players to Watch” at the 2006-2009 age levels in each state. We do not rank them in any particular order. We are simply acknowledging them for their talent and outstanding play. The players were chosen by the staff at WSBN from discussions with local area coaches and scouts. In this report we are focusing on forwards and defensemen. We will feature goalies separately. Please note; this list is only for players currently living in the State. Players who are Jersey residents but are currently playing for a Prep School or team in a different state are included. Players from outside NJ who are currently playing in the state are excluded. Players who have already committed to play at a Divisions-1 college or are playing for a Junior team such as Cole Longacre and Ryan Hughes are not eligible. So let’s get to it; Here are the WSBN 2006 birth year “Players to Watch” in N.J.;
North Jersey Avalanche Forward John Mustard
Drafted in 1st round 12th overall by NJ Hitmen in the 2022 NCDC draft
Drafted 8th round 109th overall by Waterloo Black Hawks in the 2022 USHL Futures Draft
Mustard is a big, fast, skilled Forward who last season had as good a year a player can have. He led AYHL 15-Pure division in goals and overall points, with a stat line of 22-16-38. He was one of the best players on his Avalanche team that went undefeated in the AYHL, won the AY Championship, and won the Atlantic national District Title where he scored the OT winner that sent them to Nationals. Mustard will almost certainly play Major Jr. and/or Division-1 Hockey in the future. Mustard was named to the 2021-22 AYHL All Star Game
North Jersey Avalanche Forward Ben Wilmont
Wilmont is a highly skilled, smart, physical player with above average size and speed. He is the very definition of a Power Forward. However the best adjective to describe him is winner. Wilmont spent 4-years playing with the 2006 NJ Colonials where he was one of the best players on a team that won the AYHL Championships all 4 years he was there. He went to play for the Avalanche and won another Title. Wilmot’s talent and his leadership ability will ensure he is playing at the next level in the near future.
North Jersey Avalanche Defenseman Charlie Windwer
Windwer is a smooth skating, rugged, in your face shut down defensemen who can be downright nasty when he needs to be. He takes on the challenge of defending the opposing team’s best players and will not back down. Windwer has the size and game to play at the next level.
North Jersey Avalanche Defenseman Lukas Peterson
Peterson is a big Two-Way Defenseman who is good in all three zones. Though not flashy he is a highly productive player with a hard shot, above average speed, and a high hockey IQ. He was the number one defenseman on last year’s undefeated AYHL Champion U15 Avalanche. He both quarterbacked the Power Play and was the Avs top Defensmen on the Penalty Kill. Peterson is currently being recruited by Division-1 Schools.
Peterson was a 201-22 AYHL All Star
North Jersey Avalanche Forward Cooper Snee
As the Grandson of the legendary football coach Tom Coughlin and the son of NFL great Chris Snee, Cooper Snee is carrying on the athletic tradition in his family. Snee is a big skilled goal scoring Forward who uses his size, hard shot, soft hands and puck skills to overpower opposing defenseman while driving to the net to score goals. Snee has generated a lot of buzz from D-1 schools. He was drafted in the 19th rd 242 overall by the Mercer Chiefs in the 2022 NCDC Draft.
New Jersey Titans Defenseman Conor Gagnon
Gagnon is a big,rangy, fast, highly skilled, hard hitting Defenseman who is equally good in all three zones. Gagnon anchors both the Power Play and Penalty Kill while playing on average 30 minutes a game for his Titan team. He is an adept passer which he uses to spring his forwards up the ice to generate offense. He is equally good at carrying the puck through traffic to get his team out of trouble in the defensive zone and to gain zone entries. Gagnon is a shot blocking machine who makes life miserable for opposing fowards when they venture in front of his team’s net. Gagnon was a 2021-22 AYHL All star. His outstanding play has him targeted to play on the Titans NAL Junior team in the near future.
New Jersey Titans Forward Jackson Chicola
Chicola is a tenacious, skilled, Forward, with an above average hockey IQ, great vision, and soft hands. Chicola is especially good in tight spaces where he uses his elite puck skills and his high IQ to beat bigger faster Defensemen in puck battles Chicola scores many of his goals by driving to the net and burying rebounds. He is an elite passer who has the uncanny ability to know where his linemates are without having to see them in his line of vision. He was 3rd in the AYHL with 17- assists last year playing for a team that scored a league low 59-goals. Chicola is on track to play Jr. Hockey in a few years. Chicola was named a 2021-22 AYHL All Star
New Jersey Titans Forward Luke Delaney
Delaney is a super fast, smart, two-way forward with great vision. Delaney uses his speed to carry the puck through the neutral zone to gain zone entry and set up his team’s offense. Delaney is an above average passer with soft hands and a hard wrist shot. He is a tenacious back checker where he often creates turnover in the neutral zone. Delaney has all the tools to play at the next level.
Philadelphia Jr. Flyers Forward Michael Schmelzer
Schmelzer is a super fast high scoring Forward with great vision that allows him to make passes through creases that others can only dream of. He uses his speed and above average hands to score a lot of goals. While playing for the Avalanche last season Schmelzer was one of the key players on a team that went undefeated in AYHL, won the AY Championship, as well as the Atlantic District Championship. He showed his passing ability with a nifty pass to John Mustard on his OT goal that sent the Avs to Nationals. Schmelzer was named to the 2021-22 AYHL All Star game where his standout play was noticed by scouts and Jr. coaches. Schmelzer has received a lot of interest from OHL clubs and was selected by the NJ Hitmen in the 6th round of the 2022 NCDC draft.
Philadelphia Jr. Flyers Forward Nicholas Rockey
Rockey is an explosive skater with elite speed and soft hands who can score goals in bunches. Last year while playing above his age level in the 2005 birth year division; Rockey put up a highly impressive stat line of 15-10-25 in 23 games. He was the one of only two 2006 birth year players named to the AYHL U16 all star game. Rockey is currently being recruited by several D-1 colleges..
Mercer Chief Forward Liam Jackson
Jackson is a big highly skilled forward with elite puck skills, a wicked shot, great vision and an above average hockey IQ. Jackson has been one of the leading scorers on his team everywhere year he has played. Jackson has an array of moves that he uses to beat goalies and is the rare player whose backhand is as good as his forehand. Jackson was named to the 2021-22 AYHL All Star team and is being groomed to play on one of Black Bears Jr. teams.
Sioux Falls Power Forward Sam Esposito
Esposito who everyone calls “Espo” is a super quick, shifty Forward with great hands. He is so elusive that defending him is like trying to catch an ice cube with greased hands. He moves really well through traffic to create time and space to set up scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. Espo played at Mt. St. Charles last season who were the #-1 ranked team in the country most of the year then advanced to the Qtr Finals at Nationals. Espo is a tireless worker who has a bright future in hockey. He will be playing with the Sioux Falls Power this year and is being scouted by USHL teams.
N.J. Rocket Forward Mathew Nacinovich
Nacinovich also known as “Matty Nach” is a highly skilled forward who plays a very physical game. He has the speed and skill level to score goals off the rush or in tight. He is so relentless and physical that he wears down his opponents. Nacinovich is as well rounded a player whose playing style will have him playing at the next level very soon.
N.J. Rocket Forward Andrey Barabanov
Barabanov is a super skilled fwd who handles the puck like he has it on a string. His elite vision and soft hands allow him to make passes through traffic that very few can. He is also a strong finisher around the net. Barabanov is drawing a lot of interest from Junior teams.
N.J. Rocket Forward Christian “Chuey” Chouha
Chouha who everyone knows as Chuey is a speedy Forward with great hands, a quick release, and a hard accurate shot. Chuey is a pure goal scorer which is a very rare commodity in hockey. His goal scoring prowess is generating a lot of interest in him from D-1 schools.
NJ Hitmen Forward Dean Toskas
Toskas is a smooth skating skilled Forward who has been a leading scorer on every team he has played on. Toskas is an above average passer with a hard shot and quick release which he uses to score a ton of goals. Toskas is a highly intelligent player who was taught the game by his dad, Greg Toskas who is the highly decorated Head Coach of Don Bosco Prep.
Sleepers; The below have not quite made our “Players to Watch” but are not far behind and may join them soon;
Mercer Chief Defensemen: Brandon Addams
Mercer Chiefs Defensemen: Nicholas Hahn
Mercer Chiefs Defensemen/Forward: Thomas Britton
Mercer Chiefs Forward Carter Wood
North Jersey Avalanche Forward Christopher McIntyre
North Jersey Avalanche Forward Porter Byrd Leitner
Thayer Academy https://www.wsbn.tv: Luke Deangelis
Gunnary School Defenseman: Ryan Rutowski
N.J. Titans Forward: Phil Bermingham
N.J. Titans Forward: Francesco “Franny” Donahue
John Whyte Woodbridge Wolfpack
NY Saints Defenseman Declan Murphy
Philadelphia Jr. Flyers Forward Nicholas Basile
Valley Forge Defenseman James Reagan
Philadelphia Little Flyers Defensemen Zach Larson