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Playing on one of the deepest US NTDP squads in the history of the program was both a blessing and a curse for John Beecher. Obviously, the chance to play on a talented team gives a player the opportunity to play with skilled teammates and rack up points and wins. However, with other talented centres such as Jack Hughes, Trevor Zegras, and Alex Turcotte on the roster, Beecher never played above a role as the third line centre. His power play time was also severely limited. He still put up 15 goals and 43 points in 63 games for the Under-18 squad despite those limitations.
Beecher has also performed in a number of international tournaments. Last season he was part of the USA’s gold-medal winning entry at the World Under-17 Hockey Championships, putting up one goal in six tournament games. He was better at this year’s IIHF Under-18 World Championship, with three goals and one assist for four points in seven tournament games. The United States would come home from that tournament with a bronze medal. Beecher is committed to attend the University of Michigan next season. Should he change his mind and go the CHL route, his rights are owned by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
John Beecher Scouting Report
Centre — shoots Left
Born April 5th, 2001 — Elmira, New York
Height 6’3″ — Weight 210 lbs [191 cm / 95 kg]
Beecher’s skating stride is a bit unconventional, but it works for him. His top end speed is good and if he gets a step on a defender, he can drive past him and cut to the net. His acceleration is average though, as it takes him quite a few strides to reach that top speed. For a big man, he has very good footwork. He shows the agility and edgework to get around defenders. Beecher has a powerful stride. He can fight through checks and stickwork and continue driving forward. He also is very strong along the boards and in front of the net. Beecher’s balance allows him to be strong on the puck and protect it on the cycle game.
Beecher is able to play a power game. The majority of his goals are scored in tight to the net. He has the quick hands to pounce on rebounds, get deflections, and bang in one-timers in close. He also has the soft hands to deke a goaltender in tight. Beecher’s size and power allow him to get the puck to the net as well as to battle for position in close to the goal when he doesn’t have.
Beecher can also play the role of playmaker. He extends plays on the cycle, controlling the puck down low and giving his linemates time to get open. He shows the quick hands and the agility to make creative moves to shake a defender and open up a passing lane. Beecher has the vision to find an open teammate and can pass the puck through tight openings. He can also create offence through pressuring opposing defenders on the forecheck and creating turnovers. He is not afraid to throw a big hit and uses his size to its fullest advantage.
Beecher brings that physical game to the defensive end of the ice as well. He helps his defence down low, throwing hits as well as battling in the corners and in front of the net. Beecher is also willing to put his body on the line to block shots. He is strong in the faceoff circle. Beecher reads the play well and is strong positionally, using his size to cut down on passing lanes.
Projection and Comparison
Beecher has the size, skating and defensive game to be an effective forward in the NHL. His offensive game shows flashes but questions remain. Will he produce more with more ice time and some opportunities on the power play? Is there untapped offensive potential there? The team that drafts him could have a real steal if they are willing to be patient. His game is reminiscent of Sean Couturier, but 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 John Beecher that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect in our NHL Draft series.
Embed from Getty Images
ST. PAUL, MN – SEPTEMBER 19: Team Leopold forward John Beecher (17) skates with the puck during the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game between Team Leopold and Team Langenbrunner on September 19, 2018 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN. Team Leopold defeated Team Langenbrunner 6-4.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)