Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Sam Colangelo.
Sam Colangelo was part of a dominant Chicago Steel team in the USHL this year. His 28 goals and 30 assists for 58 points in 44 games helped the team to a 41-7-1 record and first place in the regular season. When the USHL season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were also awarded the league championship. With a +32, Colangelo led the league in that statistic. In 2017-18, Colangelo split time between three teams. He had three goals in 11 games for the Steel. He also put up 19 goals and 48 points in 28 games playing prep-school hockey for Lawrence Academy. Colangelo put up seven goals and eight points in nine games for the Boston Little Bruins U18 club.
Colangelo also represented the US on the international stage. At the 2018 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, he scored two goals in five tournament games. He also played at this season’s World Junior A Hockey Challenge, scoring one goal and one assist in six games and picking up a silver medal. Colangelo is committed to playing hockey for the Northeastern University Huskies next season. If he changes his mind and goes the CHL route, his rights are owned by the Charlottetown Islanders.
Sam Colangelo Scouting Report
Centre/Right Wing — shoots Right
Born December 26th, 2001 — Stoneham, Massachusetts
Height 6’2″ — Weight 205 lbs [188 cm/93 kg]
Colangelo is a good but not great skater. More quick than fast, he has a good first step and very good acceleration. This helps him to win short races for loose pucks, or to quickly speed up when going past a defender. His overall top-end speed is just slightly above average though. Colangelo also excels on his edges. He is able to make quick changes in direction and has the agility to move well laterally. Colangelo has a powerful lower-body and good balance. He can fight through checks and is very hard to knock off the puck. This helps him to control the puck down low. He is also good at winning battles for a loose puck in the corners, or for positioning in front of the net.
Colangelo plays a game based on both power and skill. He is a goal scorer, with an excellent wrist shot and snapshot. Colangelo loves to shoot, getting off shots from all over the ice. His release is extremely quick and his quick hands change angles and make it deceptive. His size also allows him to get to the dirty areas of the ice where his quick hands can beat goaltenders with a quick move, banging in a rebound, one-timing a pass from a teammate, or deflecting a shot.
Colangelo can also play the role of a playmaker. He controls the puck well down low, maintaining possession in the cycle game. He moves the puck to teammates with smart passing and then finds a way to get open on the give and guy. Colangelo also has good vision and the ability to fire a pass through a tight opening to set up a scoring chance. He is relentless in his forechecking and puck pursuit. Colangelo finishes his checks and defencemen must be aware when he is on the ice and move the puck quickly. This can lead to mistakes, which he can convert into scoring chances. He’s bigger and stronger than most of his opposition in the USHL and this leads to Colangelo winning battles on the boards and getting the puck to the front of the net. He will need to continue to gain strength to keep this advantage in college and eventually the pros.
Colangelo is willing to bring his gritty game to the defensive end of the ice as well. His non-stop motor and physical play help in supporting the defence down low. He is willing to throw a hit to separate his man from the puck. Colangelo provides effective backpressure when defending against the rush. He is a smart player, reading the play well and getting himself into positions to intercept passes and create turnovers. Colangelo uses his long stick to cut down passing lanes. He is effective on the penalty kill and his offensive ability makes him a threat to score short-handed.
Projection and Comparison
Colangelo’s power game has been very effective in the USHL. If he can continue to add strength, he may be able to make it work in the pros as well. There are some questions about his offensive upside when he plays against bigger and stronger opponents though. Colangelo could develop into a top-six winger if things go well. However, even if the offence does not completely translate, he brings enough speed, physicality, size and defensive play to still have a role in the NHL. Colangelo’s game is reminiscent of Blake Wheeler. However, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Sam Colangelo that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Sam Colangelo Main Photo:
— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) December 19, 2019