Could this be the year that Eamon Powell returns to wear it all started? According to Elite Prospects Powell, Marcellus, NY native, played for the Syracuse Nationals 14U AAA team along with fellow draft picks Luke Tuch (Montreal) and Hunter McDonald (Philadelphia). Before that happens, though, he will head to Boston College for his third season with the Eagles.
Powell will be one of the players we’ll keep an eye on in the spring and summer to see if the Tampa Bay Lightning sign him to an entry-level contract. The Bolts have until August of 2024 to tender him a contract to avoid another Sammy Walker/Cole Guttman situation so if they feel he needs another year of seasoning at the collegiate level, there is that option.
Is Powell ready to make the jump to the pros? Not right now. After putting up a solid freshman season in 2020-21, he slumped a bit in his second year with the Eagles. The 5’11” defenseman posted just 9 assists in 38 games in a third-pair role. The good news for this season is that due to graduation, there will be some openings on the top pairings for Boston College. The Lightning will be looking for him to seize the opportunity and contribute to a strong college hockey team.
Powell has the tools to excel at the college level where his good-but-not-great skating won’t be as exposed as it might be at higher levels. His ability to cut off lanes and know what spot to get to also helps compensate for any shortcomings he has in the skating department. While he might not have the size to ride forwards off of the puck, he does have the IQ and active stick work to dispossess opponents and break up attacks.
The big question will be if he can find the extra gear that will be needed in the professional levels. Powell is not a bad skater. He is smooth and has a decent first stride, but that might not be enough when dealing with elite skaters. That being said, he doesn’t have to turn himself into Pavel Bure in order to make it. With his hockey smarts, just a little increase in his skating can mean a big difference.
His other tools could lead to a big season. Powell is an excellent passer in both his own zone, helping to move the puck up the ice, and in the offensive zone where he can quarterback a power play unit. It’s unlikely he’s ever going to be a big-time goal scorer, but he does have a quick release and can get it on net.
The general consensus at this point in his career is that he is a good, smart defender who may not excel at any one part of the game, but does everything at a fairly competent level. Players like that tend to fly under the radar a bit, but always end playing somewhere, and for a long time. It also helps that he is a right-shot defenseman in an organization that isn’t exactly stocked to the gills at that position.
It’s not a make or break season for Powell, unlike some other prospects in the organization, but the Lightning (and Boston College) would love to see him step up a level in his play. With a shot at the top-four he needs to start dictating some play from blueline as opposed to just maintaining it.
While it’s a 50/50 shot that he dons his hometown Crunch sweater this season, he does have the opportunity to play most of the year with his brother Seamus, an incoming freshman defender. Hopefully, at some point head coach Greg Brown pairs the brothers up for a few games.
A nice example of his ability to use his stick defensively:
Nice job of receiving a pass and snapping a quick, off-balance shot on net to generate a rebound goal:
Eamon Powell (#2 in white) picks up the secondary assist on this goal. pic.twitter.com/oKgw6Qyf2Y— Future Bolts (@LightningProsp1) February 12, 2022
Two-zone, seam-splitting passes that hit the forward in stride? We love those in Tampa.
Eamon Powell (#2 in gold) picks up the primary assist on this goal. pic.twitter.com/8oqlBgxCHS— Future Bolts (@LightningProsp1) November 20, 2021
Here he reads the play and pinches in along the boards. Powell then picks out his teammate and puts the pass on his stick for a tap-in: