Had an opportunity to watch the U-18 team last night. Many thought that they would simply dominate the Soo Indians (a Junior A team in the NAHL), considering how they have been faring against NCAA competition, and while they did control the play the Indians acquitted themselves quite well and made a game of it, losing 4-1 with the last goal being an empty netter. The Indians certainly had nowhere near the talent of the NTDP but they are a well-coached team who played a sound positional game. I will not comment on all the players on the NTDP but I will give a brief synopsis on the more top rated prospects. Jack Johnson - easily the best player on the ice last night and its not hard to see why he ranked only behind Crosby for this year's draft. An absolute rock in terms of strength and physical play. Threw thunderous body checks with reckless abandon causing many Indian turn overs in both ends. His physical play alone will get him into the NHL but coupled with a good skating stride and an ability to handle the puck on the rush and the PP will make him a number 1 Dman and a potential franchise player. The only problem may be that he is too aggressive and while this may be a problem in the NCAA next year, it won't in the NHL. Phil Kessel - elite speed, great hands, slick passer, wicked shot ect ect. Made a beautiful pass on a two on one to Stoa who roofed it top corner. Was a threat from the blue line in all night. Play in his own end was a bit lacsidasical, however, and its seems that he does not enjoy the physical play all that much as he rarely ventured into the corners and was neutralized along the boards on more than one occasion. He strives to find open ice, which he has an uncanny ability to do so, and is a huge threat when given even a 1/2 foot of space. Mark Mitera - man oh man is Michigan going to have quite the D men with both Johnson and Mitera suiting up next year. A solid Dman who did not make a mistake the whole night. He must have grew 3 inches and added 20 pounds from the time I saw him last and he uses his size quite well. Does not have the vision or offensive upside as Johnson but is steady and dependable as they come. Has a good low shot and good skating abilities. Was used on both the pp and pk. A sure fire top 4 NHL Dman and a first round pick in the 06 entry draft. Peter Mueller - an 88 born player who was one of the better forwards on perhaps the best U-18 team yet assembled. Has all the attributes to be a great pro; size, skating, skill and shows a willingness to get his nose dirty. Perhaps his most impressive attribute is vision. He sees the ice real well and turns a no play into something. Many are saying he will pass Kessel in the rankings and while he is not as flashy as Kessel, his size and physical play may be the reason he moves ahead of Phil. Ryan Stoa - tall and lanky player who has a good combination of skating and stick skills. Makes good on his chances, as evident by his two goals. A good skating stride and long reach will ensure his success at Minnesota next year. Not a very physical player and his strength may be called into question next year but will be a solid contributor from the get go. Jack Skille - somewhat of a disappointment. Has good speed and can handle the puck but seemed stymied by the Indians style of play. Had a great opportunity on a mini break away but couldn't burry it. Jimmy Fraser - not considered a high ranking prospect but was quite impressive none the less. Did not figure in the scoring but was a buzz saw the whole night. Incredible work ethic, his feet never stop moving. A real heart and soul type of player.