Neutral Zone – Men's
In-Depth Amateur Scouting Coverage and Rankings


Billy Norcross

Billy NorcrossPenticton VeesBCHLRC6’2″186Northeastern | 2023Lynn, MA20032022-2023: Free Agent
2021-2022: C
2020-2021: C

BCHL: February Re-cap, March 3, 2023: Billy is a good size 2-way forward. He is a good blend of size and finesse. He can be a frustrating player to play against thanks to his size effort and relentless pressure. He won’t wow you with puck skills but positively affects the game at both ends of the ice. He showed good speed and energy to get in on the forecheck hard and create problems. He routinely got in on the forecheck quickly into the body of the puck carrier and forced turnovers. He drove the net hard off the rush. He battled hard along the boards for the puck. He showed good puck protection down low. He leaned into the defender and protected the puck away from his body. He created a good chance early in the 1st period using good puck protection down low and then sweeping a backhand wrap-around that ended up on his teammate’s stick at the top of the crease for a chance. Grade: B+

Lawrence-Groton Holiday Tournament, January 10, 2022: The leader of the Penguins team, Billy is used in all situations and plays a ton of minutes. He is a big, strong forward that plays a heavy game and his physicality is unmatched at the prep level. He uses his body well to separate opponents from the puck and is almost impossible to contain down low. He has a slick set of hands and smart playmaking ability in tight. He made several nice passes in tight space to create options and positive scoring chances.  Gets in quickly on the forecheck and plays with a high compete and motor and constantly forces turnovers and bad decisions. He has a big shot and a quick release and gets pucks to the net any chance he gets. He will need to keep rounding out his skating and agility but he is trending in the right direction and has high upside at the next level. Grade: A-

U18: Dexter at Cushing, December 4, 2021: This is in his second year of draft eligibility and I think he’s realizing what type of an impactful player he can be. In this one I saw a maturity in Norcross that I’m not so sure I would have seen twelve months ago. To recap, the first few shifts for Norcross were tough. He came out going hard and trying to do too much. In transition he had a grey area turnover at the defensive blueline. On a zone entry he drove wide into his strongside corner and exposed the puck to a Sean Keohane poke check which led to an odd man opportunity heading the other way. And he got absolutely rocked as he tried to squeeze by a Dexter defender by making himself small. In the past Norcross might have continued down the road of trying too hard to be perfect, but not versus Dexter. He simplified. He used his speed to his advantage by moving the puck and jumping into the open ice that had been created. And the 6’2″ 180 pound large human stopped trying to make himself small. He played big by initiating contact in every situation and by driving through opponents to get to where he needed to be. His playing like a man on a mission led to one of the prettiest passing plays we have seen in a long time. He received a pass in the high slot and sold that he was ripping it high glove before making a beautiful pass to Ethan Gardula who put the puck into an open net. To me this was a statement for Norcross that he has a short memory and can stay focused on the task at hand.

U18: Cushing Academy vs Mount St. Charles, November 22, 2021: Norcross played a maximum effort game that led to scoring opportunities and quality shots. The right shot worked the left side mid-wall on the power play where he was a constant threat to attack the box, find the bumper or rip a hard snap shot off the far pad for a rebound. We feel like he physically dominated in defensive 1 on 1 situations. He consistently led with his stick when making body contact and separated his man from the puck to generate turnovers. He showed good acceleration as a puck carrier through the neutral zone and looked very confident on his edges when cutting laterally to create open ice for himself. His release was quick and he showed the ability to shoot while his feet were moving. In his second year of eligibility Norcross has an National League frame that teams will be interested in watching.

Morandom Thoughts, September 13, 2021: I really like when Billy Norcross plays an abrasive in your face style. It translates to higher levels and he’s got the size to be abrasive for a long time.

PHL Off-Ice Testing Top Performers, April 26, 2021: Please click the link to see Norcross and the other top performers in the Pandemic Hockey League’s testing.

Morandom Thoughts, December 15, 2020: When Billy Norcross is an abrasive SOB he is an incredibly effective player. He’s so big and strong that he can impact a game in a lot of ways, but he can make a living below the goal line and in the paint.

NCDC: IHC at Northern Cyclones, November 1, 2020: Billy was excellent while killing penalties, using his feet and tenacity to disrupt set plays and generate 200 foot clears. He forced plays up the ice and created two quality shorthanded scoring chances all through anticipation, work ethic and speed. On the forecheck he hunted pucks creating chaos as an F1 and was at his best when he attacked the blue paint from below the goal line. After not playing for the majority of the Fall, we feel Billy improved and looked more comfortable as the game went on, leaving little doubt that the more involved physically he got, the more impactful he was.

Neutral Zone NHL’s Ian Moran’s comments, April 2020: Just to be upfront, I think Billy’s best days are ahead of him. He can play wing and center, but he’s a player that I think is a center long term. And not just a center, but a 200′ center who is incredibly difficult to play against. Offensively, he’s got the puck skills to make plays coming through the neutral zone and he’s good around the net, especially attacking off of a cycle. Billy’s really good at creating space along the wall and spinning. Almost like a basketball player in the low post. He can protect the puck while feeling the pressure and then roll out the opposite way. That’s a big time skill to have in professional hockey. He’s got a good first touch that keeps improving and I think his stick quickness will improve as he matures. His motor doesn’t stop. He naturally maintains net side positioning in the defensive zone and he communicates well with his defensemen. It might not sound sexy, but those little things matter. There were games over the past 12 months where I thought Billy was the best NHL prospect on the ice. He just battles and competes. He willingly, almost naturally, does the little stuff that matters. He has strong hands and is good on draws. He blocks shots. Protects his teammates and goaltender. Plays stick on puck all over the ice and stops on turnovers. Again not overly sexy… they’re just the little details that help a team win. There were also times over the past 12 months where Billy looked like an awkward teenager who was still getting used to being 6’2″. Kind of stumbling and bumbling or getting out leveraged by a 5’8″ opponent and possibly getting knocked down, but you know what? I don’t care about that. At all. Not one little bit. I care about his intangibles. All those little things that don’t end up on the score sheet. That’s what makes Billy an NHL prospect for the 2021 Draft. Again, I’m a fan of Billy’s future. I don’t really know him or know who he trains with, but I do know that he does a lot of the little things that make a good NHL player and he does them well.

Groton-Lawrence Holiday Tournament, January 2020: Billy was not at his best here on the weekend, but still was noticeable on most shifts. He is a long body that is strong, tough and physical. He has a strong base which allows him to pick-up speed quickly. Has a strong first step which lets him spring off the wall and drive the net. He has a slick set of hands which let him break down defenders in space or make quick moves in tight areas. He is strong and uses his reach well to protect the puck and give himself time. Smart, and sees the ice well which allows him to make skilled plays in transition and on zone entries. Grade: B

2019 American QMJHL Entry Draft, June 10th 2019: Billy was selected in the 2nd round at #31 overall. Familiar names Timmy Delay went 1st overall, Declan Loughnane went 3rd, Jack Hughes went 6th, Matty Copponi 8th, JP Turner 13th while Aidan LyonsJoe FlemingPatrick MorrisseyCullin Wilson and Cooper Flinton were all taken within the 36 selections.

Mass Festival Final 40 – Team NZ Mass (2003s), May 2019: Team NZ Mass, the most important aspects for the players chosen were compete level and difficulty to play against. Then there had to be a bit more, like skill, consistency and effort. Why Billy was selected by Neutral Zone scouts; We thought he was the best two-way forward in the 2003 age group. He will serve as our Patrice Bergeron. He stops on pucks and always has his head up. Plays on the correct side on 50/50 pucks and has some jam near the net. He would log a lot of ice on Team NZ Mass. Every situation and end of games. He has size and enough snarl to go to tough areas. He was relentless in puck pursuit and used his reach and smarts to create turnovers. Plays with high end pace and used his body to shield the puck. Showed he can score and was strong on the puck along the wall. Played a pro-style as he played through traffic, didn’t chase when there was no chance of getting a puck and slipped into good offensive and defensive spots. He has to improve his overall skating and that will come. One of the smartest players here. The other 2003s who were chosen Joe Fleming, Will Killoran, Brendan Gorman and JP Turner.

Mass Festival 2003s, May 2019: Was the best player on the ice at times this weekend. Has really started to put his game together over the past couple of months. He is a big, athletic body that is smooth with the puck. He controlled portions of the game with his speed and play making ability. Drives the puck to the net and has the strength and speed to get the edge on defenders wide. Sees the ice well and made several nice plays in transition to create scoring chances. Effective down low in the corners and makes defenders miss. Works hard in all three zones and commits to the defensive game positionally in his own end. He plays physical when needed and uses his body well to protect the puck. Big weekend and just starting to realize his potential. Grade: A

MA Tier 1 Midget Playoffs U16s, November 2018: Billy plays a strong north-south game on the wing. He has a good frame and an athletic build.  He has a long reach which he uses to beat defenders wide and to protect the puck in the offensive zone. He plays hard and drives the net well. Isn’t afraid to play through contact and likes playing in the dirty areas around the front of the net. He will need to add another step which will allow him to separate from defenders. Nice snapshot with a quick release. Grade: B

MA Festival 2003s, May 2018: Played his best on the final weekend. Waterbug type with some slick puck skills. Broke down defenders in space with speed and stick handling. He is still a bit high risk with the puck but that’s OK at an event like this. He is at his best in transition and on the rush. Can change direction quickly with the puck and defenseman have to back off and respect his speed. Used that space he created well. Puck does not slow. Kept moving without possession and was willing to sick his nose in things. Has some snarl and wants the puck. He will have to move the puck quicker as he evolves but his tools are dynamic. Long, explosive player with plenty of room to add weight/strength. Neutral Zone’s 4 highest rated forwards Jack HughesJP TurnerTimmy DelayCullin Wilson and 4 of the highest rated defensemen Aidan LyonsJoe FlemingPatrick Morrissey and Declan Loughnane were QMJHL selections.

Boston Breakout Bantam 2003s, September 2017: Norcross has already earned considerable buzz among the local bantam ranks and we can see why. His feet are very quick, and he can cause problems starting from a standstill, or gaining speed while in stride. His acceleration is very good and it causes problems when his opponents can’t catch up in time. He lives to get pucks deep and then dig them out to create chances at the net. Generally, he is quick enough to win those races and defenders are usually caught flatfooted. He played some D as well and we noted that he has a high compete level and consistently won one-on-one battles in the defensive zone. Has some offensive instincts from the blue line. On one occasion, he activated off the rush and scored a nice backdoor goal on a 2 on 1. Vincent Gould, Nicholas Royster, Will Gaca, Carson Scott, Billy Mrowka, CJ Monturio, Coleman Jenkins, Michael Cataldo, Kyle Kudrna, Ethan Ullrick, Will Winemaster, Calvin Briscoe and Matt Pederson are all sleeper prospects who performed well at the Boston Breakout.

River Rats Jamboree (U14s), September 2017: He plays at a fast pace, and buzzes around the ice. He has another gear that allows him to create and move around defensemen. He plays the full sheet and gets in hard on the forecheck to cause turnovers. Play maker with a motor, noticeable every time he steps he on the ice. Future National Camp Invitees who were evaluated: Timmy Delay, Will Elias, Nolan Joyce, Nick Roukounakis, Culin Wilson, Matty Copponi and Caiden Hess.

Crimson Combine (2003s), August 2017: Started out extremely hot and was noticeable every shift. He plays the full 200 feet; he is gritty below the dots and wins battles. He has a motor that allows him to create offense moving through the neutral zone. He can turn defenseman and be an offensive threat at all times, he’s a play maker. 2019 QMJHL Selections Ryan St. LouisMatthew CopponiJP TurnerPaul DaveyTimmy DelayJack HughesMatthew McGroartyPatrick Morrissey and goaltender Nick Bevilacqua made their mark at the Combine. Interestingly, 2019 QMJHL #2 overall selection Anthony Cafarelli and 2004 birth year Michael Callow were on Neutral Zone’s honorable mention list.

Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images

Post navigation
Scroll to top