By: Andy Miller
Cole Eiserman could be the next American hockey superstar.
His dad played for UMass Lowell and his uncle was drafted by the Predators. Hockey is in his blood and he seems to have gotten all of their skill sets and more. He is from the hockey hotbed of Massachusetts and recently switched his commitment from Minnesota to be closer to home at BU.
He previously played at Shattuck-St. Mary with his friend Macklin Celibrini. At Shattuck-St.Mary he collected 154 points and 88 points in successive years. In 2022-2023 he spent most of the year with USNTDP U17 team and recorded 72 points in 42 games, including 43 goals. In 20 games with the U18 team he scored 26 goals and 32 points. He was electric most games in his DY-1 season and left fans and scouts on the edge of their seats waiting for what he would do next. Eiserman will be at BU with Celibrini next season and they will be one of the favorites to make the Frozen four in 2025. Celibrini and Eiserman have been reported in the media as being good friends and the two are likely to go 1-2 in the draft this June.
On the International scene he recorded 20 points in 7 games and as a 17-year-old at the U18s he recorded 11 points in 7 games. As an underaged player at the U18’s in April 2023 Eiserman was tied in the lead with 9 goals in 7 games and was electric for the American squad at the tournament.
This upcoming season with the USNTDP, Eiserman has the possibility of breaking records set by Cole Caufield (goals) and Gabe Perraeualt (points).
Eiserman is already off to a hot start again this season with the NTDP U18 squad and will be a joy to watch as this season moves along as he chases NTDP scoring records.
The question is why is Eiserman seen as a top prospect for the 2024 NHL Draft in June? Andy Miller with Draft Prospects Hockey breaks down Eiserman’s game as he tries to answers that question.
Cole Eiserman is a solid skater who is well balanced and has strong edge work. He changes directions with speed and purpose. He has decent top end speed and tries to use that to create separation from checkers all over the ice.
In Clip 1, Eiserman picks up the puck in his zone and uses his skating ability, great edge control and utilizes excellent puck protection to lose checks through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone. In this clip you see how he reads the play well and makes excellent decisions. He is a very creative player who can drive the middle lane with confidence.
Offensive Vision & Awareness
Eiserman’s vision on the offensive side of the game is next level. He sees options out there that most don’t. He finds the puck or it finds him and he can create time and space to gain zone entries or to create chances if in the zone. Eiserman constantly has his eyes scanning the ice so he is aware where everyone is and knows who is covered and who is open.
Eiserman’s awareness on the ice is exceptional and would in many other years have locked him in as first overall, but he is a lock for top 5. He makes great reads with his IQ too, not only does he see what is happening but decides what to do quickly. Eiserman seems to love pressure and being tested and rises to the challenge of the situation. Offensively Eiserman makes great decisions almost all the time and defensively he does pretty well too.
In the below clip, Cole Eiserman, #34, absorbs the hit and capably makes a play with the puck to set up a shot from the point. You then see him disengage and that allows him move to the high slot to be both an offensive option and capable of covering his defensive responsibilities too.
In the next clip, Cole Eiserman, #34, he reads the play well while in the slot in the defensive zone. You can see him maintaining speed by circling in the zone and tracking the puck and all the players on the ice exceptionally well. He outsmarts and out works three opponents to win the puck battle and start the breakout. Eiserman then takes the bouncing puck up the wall and does not force the puck elsewhere, gains control and enters the zone with possession. He creates a quality chance at the other end of the ice by driving the net. Towards the end of the net front battle in the offensive zone he drifts out and picks up the loose puck and misses a quality chance. He at times plays like a centre often to be found in the high slot.
Puck Retrieval & Work Ethic
Eiserman is very consistent on the offensive side of the puck and is driven to be a difference maker on that side of the puck. He is incredibly competitive and appears to want to be the top player on the ice. His defensive play is very good for someone with his skill set and age, as you can find him playing the 200 foot game often, but this could still improve over time.
Eiserman has a level of physicality to his game and uses it to protect the puck from defenders. He frequently uses his frame to retrieve the puck in the corners. He can throw his weight around and can take hits too.
Eiserman is a good forechecker and does an effective job hunting down the puck. He has a decent level of responsibility but he will have to grow into being a penalty killer at the top level of the game. He has demonstrated the ability to backcheck with speed and purpose in many viewings.
In the below clip, Cole Eiserman gets to his net front and effectively reads the play and goes to the player at the back door and ties up his hands. This is a player in a dangerous spot by keeping his feet moving and using his stick to tie up his opponent’s stick at the right time.
In this next clip, Cole Eiserman is playing the high slot in the defensive zone and makes an excellent read on the defenders going D to D and picks off the puck with his quick first few strides and great hands. Next he continues up ice after the interception and changes speeds effectively and makes great use of toe drags to buy time and space. If he decided to lower his shoulder and drive the centre lane I wonder if he could have taken the puck in alone behind the defender. Here is where some extra power in his stride would give him the confidence to drive that lane a bit more. He makes a good pass to his teammate that results in an opportunity at the net front. Being a bit more selfish here might result in a higher quality chance. He then follows the rebound to the corner and is first on the puck with ease and ensures they maintain possession and pressure in the offensive zone.
Eiserman’s hands are exceptional with the puck on his stick as he is incredibly smooth with it. He receives good accurate passes well and capably adjusts to poor passes that others would struggle to corral.
In the below clip, Cole Eiserman picks the puck up the wall just outside his defensive blueline, attracts attention and starts a rush that creates a quality chance. At the end of the rush he goes to the net front but is off by a foot or so to be able to get a quality rebound chance and his body language here made him look like he was watching the play as opposed to being engaged.. You are also able to see Eiserman take a hard hit to gather the puck off the wall and corral it smoothly; he then rotates on his edges and demonstrates a very high end skill set. Then he gets on his horse and hustles back and nullifies a quality chance with his skating and his body. The check doesn’t look like much, but he has a lot of speed and to maintain edge control and throw your body weight in a different direction is something that demonstrates great skating, core strength and balance. He could target the players hands or body a bit more to be more effective with the hit. This is the type of clip that makes people discuss the potential for Cole Eiserman to go first overall, he plays the 200 foot game, much like a responsible centre, even though he is on the wing.
Shooting & Scoring
Eiserman’s scoring ability is elite. His recent draftee rivals include Cole Caufield and Austin Matthews. These are two elite NHL scorers and he has such a good release that he will certainly be among the top scorers in the NHL within a few years of being drafted. Eiserman looks to shoot the puck and when he does it is at worst a great chance and very often, a goal. He is a generational type scorer in the likes of Matthews and Caufield, when he is around the net it is regularly going to end up in it. He averages about 8 shots a game and scores 1.2 goals a game, which means he has an above average shooting percentage for the NHL, but it is not out of the realm of reasonableness to eventually get to that level again at the NHL.
In this clip, shows Eiserman getting open and it shows his impressive release that is quick, accurate and lethal. You can see how dangerous of a player he will be on the Powerplay, but also at even strength, as his shot could rival Caufield, Matthews, maybe even Ovechkin.
Eiserman is an incredibly creative player who has magical hands with the puck on his stick. His imagination on the ice and finds the openings and/or his teammates. Eiserman’s creativity benefits from his ability to pass the puck on the tape is incredible. His vision is exceptional and he sees what is going on before it happens. Eiserman is not likely to be anywhere near leading his team in assists, but he still has the ability to make plays.
In this clip, Cole Eiserman receives the puck off a pass that is not on the tape and he adjusts well and maintains his speed. As he gains the offensive blueline he decides to pull the puck behind him unaware of the backchecker whom he gives the puck to with this move. This play shows his creativity, but how he at times can get too focused on what is in front of him and forget about who is behind him.
Areas of Improvement
In our last clip, Cole Eiserman, #34, makes an obviously scripted drop pass in the neutral zone that creates a turnover by dropping to the opposition. He does keep his head up after the error and keeps engaged in the play with no obvious negative body language. He could have demonstrated a bit more drive after the turnover, but he responded reasonably well. This shows while he is a very creative player even he can be lulled into routine.
Be sure to pick up your copy of the DraftPro 2024 Draft Preview Magazine today in either digital or physical copy versions.