Photo Credit: Rena Laverty
Up next for Smaht Scouting’s USHL prospect coverage is USNTDP forward Liam Gilmartin.
Gilmartin was born in Falls Church, Virginia (suburb of Washington D.C.) and played his minor hockey in the AYHL for the Washington Little Caps, up until the 14U ranks. The following seasons saw Gilmartin join renowned prep school Shattuck St. Mary’s in Minnesota for two years (14U and 16U), where he was teammates with Chicago Steel defenseman David Ma, and 2021 Biosteel All-American Game standout, Shai Buium.
Gilmartin took his talents to the USNTDP U17 program in 2019-20, where he racked up ten goals and five assists for 15 points in 48 games. He also added six goals and three assists for nine points in 29 games in USHL play. After a successful first season with the USNTDP, Gilmartin made the jump to the U18’s for this season, where he’s seen his game and point totals really take off. So far this season, Gilmartin has amassed 13 goals and 22 assists for 35 points in 50 games. He’s also added seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 23 games in USHL competition.
For the 2021-22 season, Gilmartin is committed to Providence College, where he’ll join a highly successful Friars program, led by Head Coach Nate Leaman. Gilmartin will look to develop his game much like previous Friars left-wingers Brandon Tanev and Mark Jankowski.
D.O.B – January 7, 2003
Nationality – USA
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Height – 6’2″
Weight – 190 lbs
Position – Left Wing/Center
Handedness – Left
Gilmartin’s Style Of Play
Liam Gilmartin is your modern day power forward. He succeeds by using his size and strength to play a physical, yet talented “in-your-face” style of game. He’s a versatile player, and has success in both the offensive and defensive zones. When it comes to the offensive zone, Gilmartin is quite effective with the puck on his stick, and loves to work the puck around the zone.
Quite often watching film of the U18’s this season, Gilmartin has been the start of a beautiful offensive sequence. However, there are 4 other players on that line that also love to snap the puck around, and Gilmartin sometimes doesn’t get rewarded with points for his playmaking ability.
Gilmartin is average in transition, however he has found success using his frame to divert defenders on to his person to generate space for teammates to exploit. I’ll touch a little more on Gilmartin’s transitional game later on in the report.
Defensively, Gilmartin is a force to be reckoned with. He can shut down the opponent’s top line quite often, and punish them with his physical game play. Gilmartin is also a fairly good penalty killer, and can be trusted in every defensive role. He’s seen his penalty kill ice time almost double from last season with the U17’s.
Liam Gilmartin is definitely one of the more underrated prospects suiting up for the USNTDP U18’s. Let’s take a deeper look:
Gilmartin’s skating is definitely not the highlight of his skillset, but it doesn’t necessarily hinder him, either. He has a good, strong skating stride, and can generate speed and power rather quickly for his size.
Once Gilmartin generates speed, he’s quite a nuisance to stop. His unique combination of size, strength and speed allows him to work his way through the neutral zone and wreak havoc on defenders.
His edgework seems to be around average of draft-eligible prospects on the NDTP, although he isn’t considered as one of the more stronger skaters on the roster.
Gilmartin’s overall skating ability seems to have some kinks to work out, as his mechanics aren’t the most synthesized. That being said, he definitely has the tools in his belt to work on it, and with his never-quit work ethic, Gilmartin is definitely on the right track.
Gilmartin’s offense is one of the most noticeable improvements in his game, compared to last season with the U17’s. He passes the puck at short and medium range with little difficulty, and has quite a fair bit of success hitting teammates with long, stretch passes. He is also very useful at being that net-front presence on a sustained forecheck, and can capitalize in the crease, using his size and strength to rack up the points. Gilmartin’s shot is also an underrated aspect of his game, one he should look to exploit far more often than he currently is.
Speaking in more general terms, Gilmartin has a nifty set of hands that he can utilize anywhere on the ice, which is somewhat surprising for a 6’2, 190lbs checking-line winger. He’s also an excellent forechecker, and has little trouble chasing down puck-retrieving defensemen and punishing them with a clean body check. Gilmartin also finds success in the offensive zone along the half-wall, and is creative in keeping the puck trapped down low, using pretty much any body part to keep it from exiting the zone.
As mentioned above, he’s seen his point totals increase by almost double from a season ago, and still, there’s good reason to believe there’s untapped potential for even more.
Gilmartin sees the game quite well, and his vision in the offensive zone does not leave much to be desired. The majority of the pieces are there for him to become a true force in the attacking third of the ice, he just has to work on putting them all together.
Gilmartin’s defensive game can pretty much be summed up in one word: reliable. There aren’t many moments where he’s out of position, and knows his role each and every time he steps foot on the ice.
In watching film on Gilmartin, it’s easy to tell that his defensive zone game is transferrable to an NHL level. He thrives in that shutdown role, a la a James van Riemsdyk. Gilmartin is definitely a carbon copy of the physical, power forward type that has made JVR such a talented forward at the NHL level, and Gilmartin can effectively neutralize opponent’s chances in the defensive zone just like him.
When he’s on the ice, it’s noticeable that he is the hardest working player out there. Teams looking to select a defensive-minded forward who causes them little to no headaches, look no further than Liam Gilmartin.
There’s a few aspects of Gilmartin’s all-around game that could use some work. While he exceeds in a checking/defensive shutdown-style role, he does possess a little bit of offensive upside.
As mentioned above, Gilmartin is a good passer of the puck, but sometimes has difficulty receiving passes. For example, he will receive a pass from a teammate that stretches the neutral zone, that takes a deflection off his stick into the corner, rather than taking the pass in stride and setting up an offensive zone chance. It almost seems like a mechanics issue, but it’s something that can definitely be fixed with some skill work and coaching.
The biggest aspect of Gilmartin’s game that could use some TLC, is his effectiveness in transition. That’s not to say he’s bad at it, but his playing style definitely excels more in a dump-and-chase schemed offense. Watching film on Gilmartin, it’s noticeable that with a little more work on his skating, coupled with some slight mechanical adjustments, will allow Gilmartin to be able to effectively execute more controlled zone entries, and should lead to more offensive production, as mentioned above.
Overall, Gilmartin is your “blue collar, hard hat, lunch pail” style of forward. Perhaps what makes him such a likeable prospect is the fact USNTDP coach Dan Muse never has to worry about much when he’s on the ice. Gilmartin knows his assignments and knows where to be and what to do basically every shift.
Offensively, Gilmartin’s production is adequate, but there is definitely much more room for improvement, especially if he can put together his game as mentioned above.
Defensively, Gilmartin is counted upon to bring a challenging, shut-down style game, and he doesn’t disappoint. His overall drive to compete should take him a long way when it comes to cracking the professional ranks.
Look for Liam Gilmartin to be selected somewhere in the late second to early third round. There’s bound to be a team or two picking in the latter half of the second round who sees his compete level, consistent defensive zone play, and potential for larger offensive numbers, and takes a chance on him.
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Paul Zuk. If you would like to follow Paul on Twitter, his handle is @paulzuk_81.
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