Cole Eiserman of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 Team is filing a draft diary for NHL.com this season leading up to the 2024 NHL Draft. The 17-year-old left wing (6-foot, 197 pounds) and native of Newburyport, Massachusetts, is No. 8 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters for the 2024 draft. He leads the NTDP with 57 points (36 goals, 21 assists) in 35 games this season. He scored his 105th career goal with the NTDP in a 5-2 win against Finland in the 5 Nations Tournament on Wednesday to pass Phil Kessel (104 goals, 2003-05) and move into second place on the all-time list. Cole Caufield (2017-19) tops the list with 126 goals.
Hello hockey fans:
We've gotten off to a good start at the 5 Nations Tournament this week with wins against Switzerland (7-1) and Finland here at USA Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. We play Czechia on Friday and Sweden on Saturday to close out the tournament.
I think it's a pretty huge tournament for us, being the last international event until the World Under-18 Championship beginning in April. We're trying to make a statement as a country and I think we've been doing a really good job of playing the American style, which is hard-paced and skilled, and it's kind of been working so far.
Having a good tournament will be a really good confidence-booster as well. For other countries to see how well we've been doing might put them on their heels, knowing we're aiming to be the best country entering U-18 Worlds. That's something that will give us a lot of confidence and it'll enable us to be on our toes.
It's nice to be playing the tournament in Michigan. My mom is here so it's good to see her and I always play better when there's family in the stands. It gives you even more to play for and it's obviously good to see my mom.
We're preparing for our game against Czechia on Friday. They are a country you can't take lightly. They play a really hard style and don't allow you to get into the zone easily. That's something the Czechs do really well. They're not trying to win a game 5-4, they're more used to the 2-1 games and that's something they do a good job of against us. But we just have to stick to our game. If we do that, I think we will have a lot of success.
Overall, I think I've been playing well. I think our line (with James Hagens and Max Plante) has been doing a good job. Even though it might not look like it on the score sheet, I feel like we're doing a good job getting out there and establishing momentum for our team and opening up time and space for a lot of other players. So that's great to see.
It's huge to have that chemistry with Hagens and Plante in a tournament like this. They are two linemates who make the game easier because, at this level, you can't really do it yourself. You need everyone going for any kind of success and we all know that. It's something that allows us to jell together very well.
Finally, it was pretty special to move into second place on the NTDP's all time goals list. Obviously, Phil Kessel (who was second) is a really good player. I didn't really catch too much of him growing up since I was really young. My dad and my brothers were more excited of the milestone than me, actually.
It makes me feel a lot better because while I see it as just another day, they see it completely different because they're watching from a different point of view and it's cool to see how happy they are for me. Obviously when you see your dad happy and proud, it's something special.
Thanks for reading this month. I'll post my next update in March.