Ian McCoshen may be young, but one shouldn’t mistake that for inexperienced.
Yes, even though he’s only 17-year-old, McCoshen is in his third season in the USHL. The Hudson, WI product broke into the league as 15 year-old. According to coach PK O’Handley, that was a tribute to not only his physical maturity, but the way he could handle himself off the ice at such a young age.
“It’s a big jump for a 15-year-old to come and play with some 19 and even 20-year-olds,” said the coach.
That experience has blossomed into maturity for McCoshen, who hasn’t had the easiest of seasons as he awaits the 2013 NHL Draft.
He missed most of November after being diagnosed with mononucleosis, costing him an opportunity to play for Team USA at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. It would have been his second trip to the event as he played for the red, white and blue the year prior in Langley, BC and won a bronze medal.
“It was the first time I put on the United States sweater,” McCoshen said. “I loved the experience, the team was unbelievable and they were all really good guys too so it was overall a really good trip.”
Scouts missed an opportunity to catch the potential first round pick at the event, but being seen isn’t an issue. McCoshen is no stranger to larger stages.
Last year his Blackhawks lost in the league finals to the Green Bay Gamblers and then kicked off their season by finishing second at the Junior Club World Cup in Omsk, Russia. He followed that up by playing in the first ever USA Hockey All-American prospects game in late September and most recently suited up late last month for Team West – was named a captain for the game – in his second USHL Prospects Game in Muskegon, Michigan.
“It was a huge honor (to be a captain), the USHL has done a lot for me,” McCoshen said. “This is pretty much where I’ve developed all of my skills and have played my entire junior hockey career so far.”
The United States Hockey League has taught McCoshen well.
“I think Ian is a very good student of the game. I think all those (events) allow him to see other teams and other talented players,” O’Handley said. “Being able to adapt your game to an environment and all those experiences just complete the package for Ian. He’s had a great three year run (in Waterloo) that has allowed him to see and experience a lot of different things.”
Now McCoshen is focused on finishing up the regular season strong while gearing up to make another deep playoff run with the Blackhaws. Then come June, he can figure out which NHL organization he’ll begin his pro career with as he’s all but assured to have his named called in New Jersey.
“I don’t know if he’s a bona fide offensive guy, but he’s going to give his college team or pro team some offense because he can shoot it so hard,” said PK O’Handley, who has been McCoshen’s coach for the three years he’s played in Waterloo. “I don’t know if he’s a number one power play guy in the NHL but he’s a power play guy of some sort because of his ability to shoot.”
O’Handley believes that in the NHL McCoshen can fit into a top-four role on a team’s depth chart if he can up his decision-making skills.
“I think there are some management points to his game he can get better at,” O’Handley admitted. “Sometimes it’s just chipping a puck out and buying some time. He’s a competitive guy and sometimes he tries to be everything for our team and sometimes it counteracts itself. It’s just some fine tuning of management, when to slow it down and when to speed it up for the team’s success as well as his.”
And if he’s able to that, McCoshen will make an NHL team thrilled with their investment.