Coming out of Waterloo of the USHL, Ian McCoshen is a great young defense prospect who will most likely be looking at a first round selection in the upcoming NHL draft in beautiful New Jersey.
McCoshen capped off his USHL career with an impressive 44 points in 53 games with the Blackhawks. While at a lower level, those are some absolutely gaudy numbers for a defenseman. Add those to his +35 rating and his numbers seem to represent a stable, offensively gifted defender who can play defense as well.
Ian McCoshen stepped into a big leadership role for his team in Waterloo this past year. As a third year player he ended up being one of the more veteran skaters on that squad and seemed to thrive in that position.
Before getting to offense vs. defense; one of the things that really stands out about McCoshen is his foot speed. He's not the most graceful skater and he still has work to do on that front, but he gets to pucks very quickly and wins a lot of races. This plays right into his role as a two-way defenseman because he can use his speed to both join the rush up the ice and get back to break up a play if an incursion into the offensive zone doesn't quite work out. This is important for any d-man with good offensive instincts because points are great, but as the position name indicates - a defenseman really needs to be able to play defense. McCoshen's defensive zone work is greatly aided by his ability to get wherever he needs to be very quickly.
In terms of the game he plays, McCoshen was actually originally pegged as a defensive defenseman. He does it all in his own zone; he hits like a truck, blocks shots, and thinks defense very well. He closes gaps quickly and well and keeps an active stick in his own zone to constantly break up passes and turn the puck the other way.
Ian McCoshen became much more than a defensive defenseman in Waterloo, however. His offensive numbers grew a lot in every season. After six points in his first season, those totals jumped to 20 in 55 games in 2011-12 and then again to 44 in 53 during the 2012-2013 season. This offense comes primarily from a great slap shot. He shoots extremely hard and has learned to get pucks through bodies which is extremely important at the next level given the amount of shot blocking teams tend to commit to in the NHL. With more confidence he's also become a better playmaker; he can lead rushes and pass the puck off with some of the best offensive defensemen in his draft class and has really polished his game in that regard.
While McCoshen will need a lot more than just a booming slap shot to become on offensive force in the NHL, he's well on his way. His ability to think the game in the offensive zone and his newfound playmaking ability bode well for him. Even more importantly, he has shown throughout his USHL experience that he's ready and willing to learn and that he works hard at whatever he puts his mind to. The ability to improve is crucial to any prospect's ability to tap into his potential and McCoshen is chock full of that ability.
McCoshen is done with the USHL and has committed to play for the Boston College Eagles of Hockey East (NCAA) next year.
Here's some extra reading
Benn Ker at Lastwordonsports.com:
McCoshen has really developed his offensive game this season. He has a powerful slapshot, and has really improved at getting it through traffic and on net. His ability to keep it low and on target, generates opportunities for his teammates to create plays through screens, rebounds, and deflections. His stickhandling and skating with the puck have also improved and McCoshen looks more confident handling the puck and leading the rush. This has also translated into his playmaking ability, as he is more poised and confident. This leads to better passing both in the offensive zone and in starting the transition game with a crisp and accurate first pass. McCoshen could learn to walk the line a little better and keep his feet moving in the offensivezone in order to open up more passing and shooting lanes at times, but again this can come with better footwork and skating technique.
McCoshen's style resembles that of a Francois Beauchemin. However this is a stylistic comparison and not one based on potential. In terms of ceiling, I believe that McCoshen can become an excellent second pairing defenceman and a contributor on special teams in his NHL career, provided that he develops properly. The skill is there, but this is a player who is a little raw, and will need some development time at the minor league level.
International Scouting Services
Solid 2 way defenseman with good upside and pro potential. Smart in all 3 zones. Hepossesses long and powerful stride with good mobility in both ends. Holds the line extremely well and has a good gap. Not afraid to make the simple but smart little plays...chips, glass clears, etc. Shot is not at an elite level. Has excellent size and is efficient at gaining possession of the puck in the corners. Shows great vision on the outlet and when manning the point also has a heavy, good shot. He brings leadership to any lineup through hiscomposure and level headed play. McCoshen missed a month w/mono during regular season.