Update on the Tall Tree from Minnetonka

Earlier this month, Guy Flaming sat down with Troy Hesketh and got some interesting information. The main item of worry for any prospect is injury, so it was disappointing to read that Hesketh could miss several months with a shoulder injury.

Hesketh on his shoulder injury: “It was totally blown out of proportion. It was a slight separation two games before the state tournament. Didn’t miss a shift that game, popped a few Advil and got back in. After the game, went to the doctor specializing on shoulders. You know I wouldn’t have been able to play in the state tournament if something was wrong. My shoulder is fine, never been stronger.”

He plans to head to Wisconsin in fall 2011 and at some point he’ll turn pro before turning 60. I keed. He is a 1991 birthday, so will begin his NCAA career (unless something changes) at age 20. He has stated many times he’ll play for the Fargo Force (USHL) in 2010-11, but there is a chance Wisconsin (NCAA) will move his ETA up a year due to defections to pro hockey (Ryan McDonough, Craig Johnson).

He was 6.02, 170-or-so on draft day but reports have him around 185 now. Hesketh is a stay-at-home defender who will jump into the play, has a good stick and breaks up rushes by reading opposition forwards and reacting quickly. He has good speed and size, an unusual combination that we last saw from NCAA draft Matt Greene earlier in the decade.

Hesketh talked about the USHL-NCAA options earlier this summer: “I’d be playing more in the USHL so I think I’d develop more than playing in the fifth or sixth D in Wisconsin but either route would be great.”

One thing I wonder about is where some folks are getting the idea that he’s an offensive defender. In 30 high school games, he scored 3-17-20 as an 18-year old. He was well down the Minnetonka scoring list for the regular season, and had an assist in 3 games at the state tournament. We need to stop thinking of him as a Chorney-Petry-Wild type; he’s more Matt Greene than any of those players. That +37 is a nice number, though.

Finally, Stu MacGregor and his draft day comments on him: “After the draft was done, other guys were saying ‘you guys snuck one here!’ New Jersey runs their own scouting combine and we knew they’d have him in there and a number of other teams had him on their radar right around that area so we knew we had to step in there if we wanted him. Pretty excited about Hesketh. He’s going to play high school again next year. He’s a player that has some long term potential. He’s a guy that (Oilers scout) Mike Peluso had extreme passion for, he’s a solid defender and smart in his defending skills, his angles in taking away ice from the puck carrier.”

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