One Player From Each NL U18 Major Team Who Could “Pop Off” in 2023-24
Posted on August 19, 2023
We are just one month away from a new Male U18 Major season; lets begin our league coverage by throwing out one name from each team who could break out in 2023-24!
Criteria – player had to play U18 Major last season, has to be an ’06 or ’07 birthyear, can be any position.
Central Impact – Carter Lambert
I’m sure some of you are saying – a guy with a 20 point season in the U18 Major League has already broken out! However, we think there’s a monster season in store for the Twillingate, NL native. The Impact graduate some really important pieces from last years team – Adam Pinsent packs his bags and heads west this Fall (Olds, AJHL). Alex Kelloway will follow him, but will only go halfway (Rockland, CCHL). Ethan Simms and Michael Canning also graduate from the Central program. Subtract offensive threats like Pinsent, Kelloway and Simms and Bryan Casey needs a player like Lambert to fill the net for him in 2023-24.. I have a feeling he does just that. The platform is there for Lambert to almost double his point production from a year ago.
Fearless Prediction: 35 points for Lambert in a breakout 2023-24 campaign.
East Coast Blizzard – Ben Spurrell
The big righty from the Northeast Avalon will absolutely shatter his 4 points in 27 regular season games in 2023-24; that prediction is about as guaranteed as getting a speedy oil change at Mr. Lube (Chris Sparkes, you owe me one for that little company plug. Just kidding, man). The Blizz wave goodbye to a slew of wingers from last season; Loveless and Vokey graduate, plus Mitchelmore and Farrell will live in other province/country this year. Add it all up, and there will be plenty of opportunities for the athletic big-man to capitalize on starting next month.
Fearless Prediction: Spurrell tucks at least 10 goals in 2023-24
Pinnacle Growlers – Micah Tucker
When you analyze the Growlers potential line-up in 2023-24, a lot of familiar faces from the top of the scoring heap are likely to return. That said, this player breakout is more in the form of a larger responsibility than point production. We foresee Tucker to play a prominent ‘jack-of-all-trades’ role for Trevor Budgell and co this season, being a relied upon player in a lot of big spots and being one of the better penalty killers in the NL U18 Major league. It takes all kinds to win a title, and if the Growlers wish to 3-peat, we see Tucker as a major reason why.
Fearless Prediction: Tucker helps the Growlers lead the league in PK %age in 2023-24
Tri-Pen Osprey – Jackson Barrett
Replacing the 2022-23 production from Alex Crane and Nick Crosbie will be a tough ask. The aforementioned duo teamed up for a whopping 114 points last year (jaw hits floor)! But let’s not look past Jackson Barrett here. Rest assured, he’s going to get a lot of ice-time; a lot of the big guns from this team a season ago have graduated, and the U15AAA Ice had a difficult time scoring last season. Barrett is a sneaky good player, a good skater with some offensive upside and vision which we had an opportunity to see first-hand at the Beast of the East tournament in May. With an uptick in minutes and a favourable set of linemates, Barrett could be a sleeper pick for a near point-per-game year in 2023-24
Fearless Prediction: Barrett hits the 20 point mark in 2023-24
Western Kings – Morgan Pevie
The second ’06 birthyear on this list, Pevie has Ferrari-esque wheels in open space and showed flashes of brilliance in only 19 games for the Kings last season. Like the Osprey, the Kings have to fill a void in offence with the departures of Liam Dutcher (Amherst, MHL), Spencer Caines (Victoria, BCHL) and Caylen Blake (Mount St. Charles, US Prep). In a small sample size, Pevie could move into a prominent role with Caleb Rashleigh (30 pts in 30 games last year), or Carter Decker (former 15-point U18 Major scorer) and put up some nice digits. Time will tell.
Fearless Prediction: Pevie triples his assists production in 2023-24 (at least 12)
1 Honorable Mention from Each Team
Central – James Strickland
Blizz – Logan Andrews
Growlers – Paddy Gillespie
Osprey – Russell Monk
Kings – Michael Cumby