Northeastern’s recruiting trail success continued through the second week of August as they landed their third verbal commit in a week, securing the pledge of Eero Butella, a 2006 birth year out of Chicago, Illinois.
Butella is a right shot forward who already has impressive size at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds. A power forward prospect, we can expect that frame to fill out and possibly even grow some more as he ages and develops, making him an intriguing prospect for the collegiate and professional hockey stages. He was rated as a four-star prospect and a top 45 player in the ’06 year by Neutral Zone scouting services. He played last season for the Chicago Mission 15U team, one of the premiere youth programs in the nation, and his team won the USA Hockey 15 Only championship this past April. Per his Elite Prospects page, in 29 games with the Mission he had 25 points (14 goals).
Butella is also a veteran of multiple camps and tournaments for elite players in his age range, including the Brick Invitational, USA Hockey Select 15 and Select 16 camps. He has showed his scoring abilities at each camp against the best of his age group. He was selected by the Waterloo Blackhawks, one of the USHL’s consistently excellent franchises, in the second round of the 2022 USHL Futures Draft, and the 10th round of the OHL Draft by the Mississauga Steelheads. He is eligible for the 2024 NHL Draft and at this time we expect that he will be taken.
As we said earlier, Butella is a power forward prospect who knows how to score goals. After being taken by Waterloo, Puck Preps detailed that Butella “does a nice job finding open passing lanes and hitting them with accurate passes. Positions himself well defensively and does a nice job disrupting play in the neutral zone.” Neutral Zone rated his selection by Waterloo as a Grade A pick, saying that he has a quick release with a hard shot and uses his size to make plays in both the offensive and defensive zones.
Alexander Annun of Puck Preps adds “Butella is a smart playmaker with some nice speed and skilled hands. He is responsible in possession of the puck and works very hard to win it back when he loses it. He was a key member of the 15U National Champion Chicago Mission team.” After viewing him at the Select 16 camp, Neutral Zone scouting praise Butella saying “long, athletic, smooth skater, soft set of hands with good touch on the puck. This kid’s a gamer, he’s one of the best forwards in the camp.”
On the heels of Ben Miller’s commitment, it’s clear that the Huskies are prioritizing a combination of size and skill going forward with their recruitment. Miller and Butella are both power forwards who will continue to develop a skilled yet heavy game that Jerry Keefe prioritizes, and fellow August commit Joe Connor adds the sandpaper and work ethic that will be a premium addition to the Huskies down the line.
We project Butella currently for the Fall Class of 2024, which will be the earliest he can enroll to Northeastern. There’s a high chance that he returns to the Chicago Mission for his 16U season and then plays 2023-24 with the Waterloo Blackhawks for a year before enrolling. As always there’s potential for deferment to 2025 depending on what happens in the next two years but at this time we project him to arrive in 2024 and will update as we gather new information in the next couple years.
Congratulations to Eero on his commitment! We look forward to following his development ahead of his arrival at Matthews Arena.
As always, go Huskies!
Feature photo via Import Sports Management on Twitter @ISM_hockey, of whom Eero is a client in their development program.