Never saw either of them play as youths and am curious if there is anyone even close to the skill set they had at peewee major and up.
Never saw Eichl, but I saw Hanafin from about 11-15 and he was head and shoulders above everyone else His skating was off the charts and he played with a nasty edge
Eichel did not stand out during pee wee age elite games.
Hanifin and Colin White were on the same SSK team from Mites through PeeWee. They were a completely dominant team. Both moved on to Prep School straight from PeeWee.
Hanifin was a starter at St. Sebs as a true 8th grader, 13 going on 14. Got his commitment to BC in the middle of what would have been his Bantam Minor year. White was top line at Nobles as an 8th grader, although he repeated back in elementary school. Got his commit in what would have been his Bantam Major year. And verbals meant something then, unlike today. Both finished HS in 3 years so they could play at BC.
I saw them play multiple times in Prep school. You would never have thought they were 5 years younger than other players on the ice.
Hanafin and white played on VJW as PW's with Casey Fitzgerald and Cam Askew.
Watched Hanifin play from age 7 to 13 with the SSK. Team was stacked and absolutely killed every team they played. In regards to Hanifin he played varsity hockey as a 13 year old 8th grader went on to NTDP for one year BC at 17 and played in NHL AT 18 all while playing the toughest position. I would say that's pretty impressive and doubt we'll see it again. Eichel didn't see him much as a kid but I'm sure he dominated as well .
I guess every thread leads to EHF vs NEHL/E9...
My son played with Hannifin for a split season at BA during Bantams. The thing with him was yes he was very good but also he was a very early growing kid and a big kid so he stood out early. For defensemen the biggest young kids don't always end-up being the best players as you will see many late bloomers move past the Peewee 'can't miss prospects' and the can't miss kids fade. Look at the Boston Mission defesnemen - stud Peewee kids and really not many panned-out.
This is why few young defensemen get college commits. If they are good but smaller the coaches want to wait to see if they will grow, if they are big and young the coaches want to see what else is coming along before they select a kid....unless of course he is a legacy kid, they always move to the front of the line. Afterall it is hockey.
Hanifin played BA split yes, but not bantam he played U18 as a 13 year old. He was big for his age and did stand out but he was standing out against kids 5 years older than him! Don't make it sound like he stood out because he was big. the kid was a stud at a young age ..... He just turned 20 and has 150 NHL games under his belt as a Dman, not bad!
I guess my kid played U18 as a 13 year old too as they are the same age...my kid has 150 fewer NHL games though.