Coming into this past season Hudson Fasching was expected to be a first round pick. He left behind a spectacular career at Apple Valley High School to join the US National Team Development Program. His numbers fell short of expectations, which in turned caused his draft stock to fall from possible first-rounder all the way to being selected in the 4th round (118th overall).
His combination of size (6'3", 214 lbs.) and skill is exactly the type of thing that makes scouts drool. In profiling Fasching before the draft, Last Word on Sports wrote
Fasching takes the puck to the net, and can score goals in tight, or via a good wrist shot and snap shot with a quick release. He gets to the front of the net, where he uses his big body to establish position, and his soft hands to bang in rebounds or make deflections. Fasching is a load to handle in the corners and loves to play a strong, physical game, with plenty of hits on the forecheck. He has also shown good vision and passing skill off the wing.
On the other hand, his production with the USNTDP left scouts tepid. He scored 11 goals, 25 assists and totaled 36 points in 65 games. That was good for only 8th best on the squad. Some of the issues with Fasching's game seem to be the same issues that plague another big winger whom Kings fans are familiar with: Dustin Penner. Although Fasching is a big forward, he sometimes forgoes playing with an edge and relies on more of a skill game. As Corey Pronman wrote of him, "he will, at times, compete hard, protecting the puck effectively. Still, his physical game can come and go. He has a very solid set of hands, showing the ability to control the puck, and display good creativity when puck handling."
Outside of the world of hockey, Fasching has proven himself to be a compassionate and inordinately mature teenager. His two younger siblings suffered from a mitochondrial disorder that left them without the ability to communicate or walk. In a profile in USA Hockey Magazine Hudson's father said of him, "[he] could do near anything a nurse could do with Cooper and Mallory...he knew how to feed, how to give them medicine. The nice part was, and remember he's a teenager, not once in the 15 years did he ever complain. Not a once. To me, as a parent, those are the things that make it special" (Also in 2011, Scott Burnside also penned a compelling profile on Fasching which is a must-read.)
Now Fasching looks to embark on the next step of his hockey career. He has committed to playing for the University of Minnesota (in large part to be able to stay close to his family). He also was invited to take part in the US National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid last week. By all accounts Fasching had a stellar effort and is bolstering his case to be a part of the US team that will look to defend its under-20 gold medal.
If Fasching can sustain this momentum in his freshman season and onward into his career as a pro, it won't just be Kings fans that will be rejoicing. It is pretty safe to say that just about everyone is rooting for Hudson Fasching and his family.