Noah Hanifin, who was given an A rating on NHL Central Scouting's November players to watch list, is a freshman at Boston College in Hockey East. The 6-foot-3, 203-pound defenseman, who has two goals and seven points in 17 games for the Eagles this season, was one of 30 players invited to the United States National Junior Team selection camp on the campus of Boston University from Dec. 16-19. He had eight goals and 33 points in 45 games for the United States Under-18 National Team Development Program in 2013-14. Hanifin, considered by many to be the best defenseman available at the 2015 NHL Draft, had one goal and five points for the United States at the IIHF 2014 World U-18 Championship. The native of Norwood, Mass., has offered to maintain a blog for NHL.com leading up to the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, Fla.
Hello from Boston!
It's been an extremely competitive camp so far and everyone here is so talented. I don't want to say it's easier, but it's such a high tempo that I really feel like I fit in here. I like to play an up-tempo game and play the game fast and it's been nothing but that, so it's been really competitive and everyone is fighting for a spot. And no spot is guaranteed. It's been great so far and I just can't wait to get back on the ice for the next drill and practice in order to prove myself.
Every single day it's a battle and we all know someone is going to cut (beginning Friday night). Obviously I don't want it to be me, so every day I'm going to go out there and work as hard as I can to make certain it's not me. At the same time you don't want to think about that too much and just focus on the drill. I'm trying to do what I can to get better that day, impress the coaching staff and help the team win a gold medal if given the chance.
I haven't really been paired with one particular player yet but the coaching staff has had me with Ian McCoshen and Zach Werenski a lot. I played with Ian this year (at Boston College) and Zach last year (with the Under-18 National Team Development Program), so it's nice having some guys you are comfortable with back there. We know how we play, so it's obviously making me a lot more comfortable. Hopefully if all three of us make it we can still play together during the tournament.
I really feel (coach) Mark Osiecki has been unbelievable with us. I really like him a lot. He's obviously very knowledgeable about the game to have this position as head coach of this team. I'm just going to try and be a sponge and soak everything in and it's also great that coach Don Granato is out there too since he coached me last year (on the U-18 NTDP).
I'm looking forward to the exhibition match against Boston University on Friday. After that game is the first round of cuts, so everyone will have to bring their 'A' game or else you might be going home, so it'll be a really big step for our team.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
Follow Noah Hanifin on Twitter at @nhanifin