By DraftPro Staff

There was a palpable excitement in the air at the USA Hockey Arena when hundreds of NHL scouts, GM’s and other hockey ops personnel gathered back on Monday January 15 for the 2024 Chipotle All-American Game.

The rosters participating in this annual event were full of highly skilled, intriguing 2024 draft eligible as well as 2025 draft eligible prospects.

The split of the NTDP combining with other USHL top talents had scouts excited to see how these kids would play with peers they were not used to playing with on a regular basis. The game did not disappoint with team White coming out on top in overtime of team Blue by a score of 5-4.

Our scout Liam Staples was in attendance and submitted this report on who stood out to him.

January 15, 2024

USA Hockey Arena


#24 F Cole Eiserman, USA Blue (USNTDP), 6’0” 197, L. 29-08-2006

From early on into the contest, Eiserman was showing off his great speed, leading the rush and crashing hard to the net. He was noticeable on the ice every shift, trying to find open space so his linemate Trevor Connelly could feed him the puck. He was able to find quick chemistry playing alongside Connelly. Eiserman displayed his quick release by scoring the game-tying goal down low in the zone. It became evident that Eiserman knew the cameras were on him. He bobbled a few breakout passes and tried to make the fancy play when the smarter play was available. Early in the first period, he tried to skate through three opponents in the offensive zone, turning the puck over during the entry while he had a teammate available cross ice. The skill and speed were definitely evident in Eiserman’s game but he lacked certain elements, he needs improvement in using his teammates more and developing the habit of making correct choices with the puck, even if the play does not make the highlight reel.

#10 F James Hagens, USA White (USNTDP), 5’10” 168, L. 03-11-2006

As the potential number-one pick in the 2025 NHL Draft, Hagens had a terrific game displaying why he is the best player for his age group. Awarded Player of the Game with a multi-point effort, Hagens was the best player on the ice for every shift. He drove the play offensively for team White and scored a nice goal on a two-on-one short side. Hagens has a wide skating base making him more difficult to knock off the puck. His wide skating base allows him to match the pace of play very nicely. On the goal he scored off the rush, he had to beat his man to the net by accelerating hard and quickly slow his speed down to match the speed of his teammate in order to become a scoring option. Hagens overall skill, skating ability, and hockey IQ is next level. Be prepared to hear his name a lot in the future because he will be a top talent in the NHL very soon.

#23 D Cole Hutson, USA Blue (USNTDP), 5’10” 158, L. 28-06-2006

Much like his older brother Lane Hutson, a Montreal Canadiens prospect, Cole Hutson is a smooth-skating defenseman with strong foot speed. In the offensive zone, Cole can create passing lanes for his teammates through his great ability to walk the blue line with the puck as well as use a variety of head fakes to deceive his opponents to find an open passing or shooting lane. He was one of the highly notable top prospects to not record a point in the game. For a player standing under six feet, Hutson defends zone entries extremely well through his play with his stick as well as how he positions his body to separate his man from the puck. The question remains as to whether Hutson could grow into becoming a #1 type of defenseman in the NHL or will he develop into a top 4 type of defenseman.

#16 D Logan Hensler, USA White (USNTDP), 6’2” 197, R. 14-10-2006

Hensler is another name to familiarize yourself with because the hockey world will get used to hearing his name a lot next season, alongside teammate James Hagens, as a top prospect for the 2025 NHL Draft. Hensler is an outstanding skater through his ability to use his edgework to spin off opponents escaping pressure. Hensler displayed his ability to escape pressure by using his feet as well as his passing ability. Hensler did not record a point in the game however, his skating and IQ showed he has the tools to be a #1 type of defenceman at the NHL level. He can quarterback a powerplay through his strong lateral crossover ability and poise with the puck, he does not settle, he waits for shot lanes to open up before releasing a shot. Hensler is committed to the University of Wisconsin next season. The Badgers are receiving arguably the top defenseman in the 2025 NHL Draft.

#23 F John Mustard, USA White (Waterloo), 6’0” 185, L. 17-08-2006

Mustard may be a name that goes under the radar in regards to the American prospects pool in this years NHL Draft. Mustard caught the eye of scouts through his powerful skating ability & great speed with the puck. Mustard scored the overtime winning goal for Team White displaying his strength with the puck to keep possession & release a nice shot far side beating the goaltender. Mustard is committed to play at Providence College next season.

#19 F Lucas Van Vliet, USA Blue (USNTDP), 6’1 181, L. 10-01-2006

Lucas got the offence started for Team Blue by scoring the first goal of the hockey game. Van Vliet capitalized on the mistakes of his opponents, taking advantage of the time and space he was given, showing off his shot release beating the Team White goaltender from the faceoff dot. Lucas finished the night with one goal and one assist in the hockey game. Van Vliet was noticeable throughout the hockey game playing with speed and creating turnovers through his combination of stick play and excellent skating ability. Van Vliet is committed to play at Michigan State next season. It certainly helps scoring the first goal of the hockey game while your future college hockey coach, Adam Nightingale is in attendance. By the end of the game, Van Vliet was a player to keep an eye on moving forward.


For more on the 2024 NHL Draft Class be sure to pick up a copy of the DraftPro 2024 NHL Draft Preview Magazine and be sure to come back to order your 2024 Draft Guide in June.