Three Players that really played well in the Central Illinois Flying Aces win over the USA NTDP U17’s Team. Here are the three standouts in the game, two of them are Canadians and one of them is not eligible until the 2020 NHL draft.

D, Ryan Siedem – Central Illinois Flying Aces

Ryan Siedem, D, Shoots R, Central Illinois Flying Aces, USHL, 6-2, 192, 2001-02-25

Ryan is a very smart and reliable defense man that can be seen playing in every situation throughout a game. At six foot two he utilizes his height with his exceptional skating to maintain good gap control on attacking players, while using his reach to take the puck away or tie up another players stick. He is great at staying between the puck and the net and not afraid to sacrifice the body to block a shot, which with his height already he takes up a lot of space. Siedem is not overly physical he usually defers to stick checks or his size and speed to beat players to the puck. He will throw the body around when in the corners or closing a player out along the side boards but, he will not go out of his way to lay a big hit. This however may not be a bad thing to a point as he has terrific hockey IQ and rarely will get caught out of position. Ryan can transition the puck from the defensive zone up the ice very well and can tap into his skating and utilizing his strong stride to carry the puck through the neutral zone. The future Crimson defense man has soft hands and is great with the puck on his stick; he can navigate through tight checking and maintain possession allowing his team successful zone entries. Once in the zone he displays calmness and poise while handling the puck on the blue line, also a reason why he quarterbacks the Flying Aces power play. The Harvard University commit can make the soft saucer passes or zip a scorching tape to tape pass from the point to the back door leaving his teammates with glorious chances. Ryan will not get caught pinching in the o zone as he reads the game amazingly well and will bail out before pinching to deep. When he does pinch he is typically successful gaining control and making a smart simple play to keep the zone. He can walk the blue line keeping his head up always looking for an outlet. The seventeen year old can make crisp stretch passes with ease and finds his teammates in stride. The talented D man will undoubtedly be drafted during his first draft process and his work ethic and discipline will be the intangibles that coaches rave on. With all of his abilities he does not quit even if he is out matched physically and finds success with his strength on his skates. The former USA NTDP U17’s d- man will battle in the corners or absorb a hit to make the smart simple play to his outlet, a gifted young defenseman with the necessary skill set to advance rather smoothly into the next level of hockey.

F, Lynden Breen – Central Illinois Flying Aces

Lynden Breen, F, Shoots Left, Central Illinois Flying Aces, USHL, 5-9, 165, 2001-05-31

Lynden the New Brunswick born forward can be spotted on the ice rather easily due to his very small frame. Don’t let it fool you though because he plays like he is six foot or taller and can be compared to a wrecking ball on the ice. He is extremely fast and after a few explosive and choppy steps the speedy forward is at top speed and leaving defenders behind. Lynden will be the first guy in corner to retrieve a puck and will gladly take a player into the boards despite being out matched in weight and size. Strong on his skates and with his smaller frame and strong core he is usually the player to emerge with the puck and stay on his feet. Breen will beat you in a variety of ways, whether it is his blazing speed or his gifted stick handling skills, there are very few players who will stop him one on one. He can shoot the puck very well and knows where to be on the ice to give him the best opportunity to get a chance on net. The five foot nine forward can take face offs and can get under the majority of opponents thankfully in part to his low sense of gravity. Lynden Breen can move the puck with his head up and maneuver through congested ice with the puck under control, seemingly like it’s on a string. Great vision and a strong hockey IQ make him a great play maker and an all-around offensive threat. A dynamic player that reads and reacts and will make up for any disadvantage it may seem he has, the University of Maine commit will be a welcomed addition to his NCAA team. I watch Lynden play and all I can think is NHL great Martin St. Louis who it would seem Breen emulates on a nightly basis. They’re small in stature but hard on their sticks, strong on their skates and smart enough to elude you. A gritty style game from both players however don’t sleep on their skill set as they will make you a member of the highlight reel, because they likely have just left you in their wake on route to making a spectacular play. I would say his only down side to his game is his height at this point, however I don’t see that being an issue as he has found ways to be successful and I am not a fan of a guy not being a higher pick due to his lack of height. The future U of Maine Black Bears forward will excel wherever he lands and no matter what role he is placed in. He was exceptional on the Flying Aces power play and out worked every player for the duration of his shifts in the game. He was a crucial part of the successful fore check for the Aces and was the first guy back in the corners. Lynden Breen is a hard working player that will impress tons of coaches and GM’s along the way.


Stephen Halliday, F, Central Illinois Flying Aces, USHL, 6-3, 220, 2002-07-02

If you want a forward with size and mobility, well look no further than the Canadian born six foot three Stephen Halliday. The Flying Aces forward has the weight and size to transfer to the pros right now if he could. A dynamic player who plays every shift full speed and wants the puck on his stick, I remember multiple times in the game versus the USA U17’s where he was calling for passes while transitioning through the neutral zone. Stephen is a smart sixteen year old who has lots of growing left to do yet as he continues to develop, a scary thought for his future competitors. Halliday whom hails from Toronto, Ontario, Canada plays the extremely physical, quick pace style game and can be spotted all over the ice crashing into opponents and battling for pucks. The 2020 draft eligible forward has committed to the University of North Dakota for the 2020-2021 season, he will be another year stronger and faster which shall make his coaches very happy once he arrives. He reminds me of Evander Kane in a variety of ways, one being his physical style of play, but also being a productive smart play maker when called upon. When Stephen has the puck on his stick and he enters the offensive end I was surprised at how reluctant he was to shoot and typically wanted to find his teammates streaking to the net. I thought maybe he wasn’t the best shooter until he fired off a couple shots with good velocity and right on target, usually bouncing off the goalie and creating rebounds for second chances, which the Flying Aces capitalized on once during the game against the USA U17’s. The size difference was clearly visible when you compared him to the U17 team that he dominated on multiple occasions down low in the offensive zone and along the boards. At times the two hundred plus pounds forward seemed nearly impossible to move off the puck, a great skill set he possesses in being able to shield the puck and maintain possession. He is a force in his own end and he finished every check never allowing a player to go without some sort of contact, on one or two occasions he was caught well out of position. I see a lot of the run around style play in younger energetic players, but the Aces forward has an extremely great stride and terrific speed that he tends to recover and regain a spot in the play. The future North Dakota Fighting Hawks forward has exceptional stick handling abilities and can feather a pass, and as accurate as anyone. I was impressed with his confidence in carrying the puck while utilizing great speed and vision to navigate the neutral zone and ninety percent of the time finding an open teammate. Halliday can create chances from down low on the ice or from up top above the circles where he ripped off a couple nice shots with defenders all over him. A tremendously talented young player that with his size and skills already will be a sure lock for the 2020 draft, and once he reaches the NCAA he will be a dominant force to deal with on a game to game basis.