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Spring Report, New Recruits pt. 1: Dhooghe, Frederic, Tufte, Wahlin, Mattson all decide

As we move towards the end of the season, and with it our end-of-season updated Select 70 ranking being released, here’s a look at some of the biggest decisions made in college hockey over the past few weeks.

1. 99 F Sean Dhooghe (#2 Bantam) – Ohio State

Arrival: 2017

What type of player is he? Talented forward from the Chicago Mission, with disarming skating ability and an apparent extra gear, if at a sub-optimal height (listed 5’3).  Dhooghe’s lightning speed is complimented by a sharp hockey mind and no shortage of skill on the puck. The type of player who drives possession and make others better through heady positioning, an ability to create time and space and a capacity to make quick, decisive plays that many can not, we see Dhooghe projecting as an elite playmaker at the Division 1 level.

Chicago Mission Hockey Director Gino Cavallini noted:

Since Dhooghe joined the Mission as a squirt major, “Sean, along with his fellow 1999 birth year teammates, have been one of the most dominant teams in North America. During the last five years he has led this team to a 293-32-14 record while winning virtually every tournament entered including a pair of Silver Stick Championships at Peewee Major and Bantam Major along with a USA Hockey Peewee National Championship and most recently USA Hockey Bantam National Finalist.
[Dhooghe] is a driving force who cannot be contained. He does everything well and it is not often a player of his ilk comes along. His hockey IQ is off the charts and he knows how to take full advantage of his ability. What separates him from his peers is his capacity to make everyone around him better. A great person both on and off the ice.”
 ***

Coverage on Dhooghe over the 2013-14 season: In October, we named Dhooghe the top performer at an HPHL Bantam Major showcase. in Chicago, we wrote “It was clear what Dhooghe could do in Faribault just over a week ago, but we got to see the top uncommitted against a few teams that aren’t the probable #1 in the country and he took it to another level. Uses his high-end hockey sense and breakneck speed to disarm defenders and always seems to be a step ahead of the play. It seemed like every puck that got tossed into open ice was swooped up by a streaking #71 and quickly turned into an opportunity. Wheels around the zone with purpose and has a nice release.”

In January, Dhooghe was our #8 prospect in the country, and highlighted that he may very well end up a Buckeye: “We didn’t expect to have a 1999 within our top ten, let alone one that stands sub-5’5, but Dhooghe’s a special player in our eyes. The younger brother of OSU recruit Jason Dhooghe has a natural feel for the puck and off-the-charts hockey sense, anticipating everything on the sheet and using his quick feet to get where he needs to be before everyone else. Even if he grows to only 5’6, the younger Dhooghe is arguably the fastest, smartest skater in the 1999 age group and tough as nails to boot. If he ends up a Buckeye, it should be viewed as a major coup for the program and the Big Ten. Has 20 points in 12 games, including 11 goals, to lead the HPHL’s Bantam Major division.”

Last month, after taking out the Bantam skaters from our Select 70, we ranked Dhooghe as the #2 Bantam (1999) Prospect in the country: ”The HPHL’s leading scorer owns a 15-15-30 line that highlights his ability to make cerebral plays as well as bury the puck at key times. His speed and toughness put him at a high level, but his hockey sense and the razor-sharp clip at which he processes the game make him elite – even at 5’3, if that’s still his height. Brother Jason (1997) is committed to Ohio State.”

Talented Teammates: Dhooghe may have been the only Mission skater we ranked in our top 25 1999′s this month, but seven of his fellow Mission 1999 products cracked our first look at the top 85 Bantams, and specifically Cole Coskey, an offensively gifted, skilled goalscorer, has really climbed in our eyes this season. A few other teammates, like prolific defensemen Joey Keane and Jackson Decker, or forwards like Tommy Altounian and Graham Slaggert could all make a lot out of a strong 2014-15 campaign and garner a commitment early.

For Dhooghe’s part, he finished the season to lead the HPHL in scoring and alongside a talented roster, found their way to the last game of the season. Even though the season ended up in a win for Shattuck-St. Mary’s, if Dhooghe continues to arc upwards, we can safely suspect Ohio State fans will welcome Dhooghe to campus already well decorated, as he just wins: his Mission ’99 teams have posted an over 90% winning percentage since he’s joined the program. Attracted serious interest from at least half of the Big Ten, and will likely garner an NTDP invite after next season. OHL Draft Eligible in 2015.

2. 98 F Trent Frederic (#5) – Wisconsin

Potential Arrival: 2016

Wisconsin added one of the nation’s top power forward threats and furthered their St. Louis pipeline when pivot Trent Frederic made his decision to commit to the Badgers. Our #5 uncommitted prospect in the country, Frederic’s rise in ability this season has been impressive. Though his upside was evident as a bantam, this season he came ready to show and prove what he could do. Scratching the surface of his eventual skillset and frame, Frederic is bound for the NTDP and could very well emerge as a high-end 2016 NHL draft prospect.

What type of player is he? Honest, two-way center with a 6’2, 180 frame that hasn’t completely filled out and is already very imposing. Tough to contain with athletic, explosive speed, owns a long reach and a wrist shot hard as a bullet that can intimidate a goaltender as effectively as his body checks can wear down opposing skaters. Defensively responsible and attentive, Frederic was selected by Niagara in the 6th round, a pick that is not indicative of his overall skill level and likely places him as less of an OHL flight risk for the Badgers, though with any player this talented, that’s going to be a concern.

The Badgers, having to scramble a bit this season to gather forwards for next year (four forwards for this fall’s class were committed in the first four months of 2014), have been working on tying down a strong nucleus of talent for the fall of 2016 and beyond, and Frederic should be a key part of that group.

Talented Teammates: Frederic’s St. Louis Blues AAA U16 team has seen a number of D1 scholarships already: Luke Martin (Michigan), Joseph Woll (Harvard), Ty Farmer (MSU), and more are to come. While women’s college hockey recruiting isn’t our strong point, teammate Jincy Dunne is one of the more impressive skaters on defense that we’ve seen this year and we assume will be a huge get for whichever D1 program lands her.

3. 98 F Riley Tufte (#10) – Minnesota-Duluth

Potential Arrival: 2016

Minnesota-Duluth has, in the past year, seriously taken care of in-state talent. The fact that Tufte isn’t even the current gem of their 1998 MN forward recruits is less of a slight to Tufte and more of a nod to how stellar the Bulldogs recruiting has been, picking up Jared Bethune, Nick Swaney, Kobe Roth, the aforementioned Joey Anderson, Nick Wolff, Hunter Miska and now Tufte, whose stock has risen about as astronomically as any of the 1998′s in the country.

What type of player is he? The 6’4, 195 lb forward seemed to have his coming out party this season. At Select 15s last spring, he was 6’2 and 12 pounds lighter, displaying finesse and playmaking ability on the puck of a typically much smaller skater. While we got the impression he brought a physical edge to the table, this fall for the MN Blades U16s we noticed a penchant to shy away from the rough stuff in favor of making skill plays and showcasing his vision. Within his age group for the Blades, it became very clear that Tufte was close to really taking his game to the next level.

This sophomore season saw Tufte go from 3 points as a freshman to third in goalscoring (17) on a very good Blaine team. He added 18 assists and the fact that Prince George of the WHL already listed him has to have frustrated many a WHL scout this winter. If Tufte’s developmental curve over the next two years matches what this year did for him – an NTDP camp invite and a Division 1 scholarship – the Bulldogs have an absolute stud coming to campus in 2016. Tufte is said to be heading back to Blaine for another season of high school hockey.

4. 96 F Jake Wahlin (#13) – St. Cloud State

Potential Arrival: 2015

Former UMass recruit Jake Wahlin, the Pioneer Press Minnesota HS player of the year, decommitted from the Minutemen in March and by April, he was headed back to his home state for his college years.

What type of player is he? Wahlin started the year off with a bang. He finished with forty-one goals in just twenty-seven games, though questions regarding quality of competition continued to persist. What he brings for sure is a goalscorer’s tendencies in a 5’9 body that is very fleet of foot. How much of his scoring translates remains to be seen, but the Huskies had 5’10 Kalle Kossila, 5’7 David Morley, 5’10 Joey Benik and 5’7 Jimmy Murray combine for 124 points in 2013-14, including 47 goals; 13 came on the PP and 5 were game-winners. So the precedent has been set for smaller scorers to thrive. Wahlin also isn’t afraid to mix it up; make an enemy on the ice or take a hit to make a play, a trait shared by fellow SCSU recruit and high school rival Mitch Slattery (Hill-Murray).

Wahlin had a solid fall, posting a hat trick on the opening weekend of Elite League play, and finished 4th on Team Northeast in scoring with an 11-10-21 line in 20 games. Just examining his scoring rates this season, like many scorers do, Wahlin catches fire for stretches and then his numbers get a little quieter. For example, he finished the Elite League with no goals in his final five games, and just two in his final ten. Sophomore year, he had ten goals (and seven assists) in his first five high school games of the season. Junior year saw two hat tricks and ten total goals in his first four games, an unsustainable clip that would have seen him tally 60-something goals in 25 games. Instead, he posted a still impressive 39 goals in 25 games, but in the post-season he bowed out with no points in a 2-1 upset loss to Stillwater’s Ponies. Three days before that, he had dropped 7 points on North St. Paul in the quarterfinal in a 10-0 W.

Scouting the Elite League’s Forwards, September 2013:

“Wiry, explosive skater brings a frenzied pace to his game every shift but Wahlin is a lot more effective when he cools down. Doesn’t particularly push the tempo of the game because his play can get so hectic that no one else can read/react to him, which works for and against him at times. Would like to see him focus more on the game and less on getting under the skin of other players as he is the most exciting player to watch out of the group when he is concentrating on creating offense. Whistler of a shot that can really punish. Great hockey sense but tries to do too much with it sometimes, underestimated his competition here.”

You can catch a glimpse of Wahlin’s speed breaking into the zone here. He is wearing #20.

5. 98 F Mitchell Mattson (#17) – North Dakota

Potential Arrival: 2016/2017

The construction of North Dakota’s 2016 (and/or 2017)  class began in full this month as the staff in Grand Forks secured commitments from top Minnesota 1998′s Mitch Mattson and Elk River’s Matt Kiersted.

What type of player is he? Mattson is a case somewhat like Blaine’s Riley Tufte (UMD), in that they’re both big forwards with an offensive ceiling yet to be reached. Tufte possesses more body control and polish, but Mattson is 20 pounds lighter and could come on very strong. He was 6’2, 165 last spring, add one 1 inch and 10 pounds over the last year and he’s at 6’3, 175, where it is becoming clear that Mattson at his full size will be a handful. As he comes along and adds weight, his skill on the puck and general game as a whole continue to arc upwards and North Dakota surely must have recognized what a gem they could have in the Grand Rapids sophomore forward.

Mattson finished the season – his first of high school hockey – with 11 goals and 26 assists, for 37 points in 25 games. 17 of those points came in his last 10 games.

From GRHSHockey.com:

“Grand Rapids head coach John Rothstein showed great confidence in sophomore forward Mitchell Mattson from day one. Mattson, a lanky and talented forward, was put on the point to run the power play in game one of the 2013-14 season. Fast forward to the end of the season and Mattson had scored 11 goals and picked up 39 points. He transformed into an offensive weapon over the course of the season.”

Talented Teammates: The Grand Rapids Thunderhawks team had some real talent this winter. UNO recruit Avery Peterson won Mr. Hockey, goaltender Hunter Shepard won the Frank Brimsek as Minnesota’s top HS goaltender, and forward Jonah Bischoff started to really make some noise as the season went on. Bantam captain Micah Miller and teammate John Stampohar are strong 1998 talents who should make an appearance for the HS team in 2014-15, while 2000 forward Gavin Hain and 1999 Ryker Brazerol are young prospects to watch at forward as well.

Part 2 will come soon, highlighting Denver’s Matthias Emilio Pettersen (2000), Matt Kiersted (1998), Hank Crone (1998) and others.

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Williston PG Max Willman commits to Brown

Williston-Northampton post-grad forward Max Willman has chosen his collegiate home: Brown University. The 6’0 forward from Barnstable, MA, came on the radar of division one coaches very quickly after a huge showing in the college division of the Beantown Classic. There, he led his division in scoring and went on to score seventeen points in seven games at the Tier 1 Labor Day showcase just a few weeks later.

Willman’s scoring didn’t stop there, either. At the East Coast Tournament (conveniently located at Brown), Willman netted a hat-trick in a 5-1 win over the CT Wolfpack while skating for his Springfield Rifles. Just six days later, he decided that he wanted to spend his college career in that same rink (Meehan Auditorium) and will be arriving in the fall of 2014.

Willman is an athletic skater with hockey sense and an evident scoring touch. He’s smooth in transition and pushed the tempo of the play with good pace and work ethic. At Beantown, he brought a consistent effort every shift like he had something to prove and made an impression on us from his first shift.

A plethora of top programs had wanted the former Barnstable (MA-HS) captain, with Providence, Union, West Point and Sacred Heart offering (alongside Brown), though four other Hockey East schools were interested as well as one from the Big Ten and four others from the ECAC and Atlantic. Coach Brendan Whittet’s staff won the sweepstakes and will enjoy Willman’s offensive flair and skillset for the next set of years. Willman had been ranked #12 in our latest refresh of our top twenty uncommitted prospects.

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College Hockey Commitments – February 2014

New commitment page, same deal. This page will be updated as February’s Division 1 commitments come in and you can find the earlier commitment pages below.Jan/14 – Dec/13 – Heisenberg 2014 list – S70 Listing Oct/13 – S70 Graduates – S70 Newsletter

97 F Wade Allison (#6) commits to Western Michigan

Western Michigan had a huge swing this month when they picked up Omaha teammates Wade Allison and Van Barr. Allison, one of the more physically-developed 1997s in the country with hockey sense, skill and speed to boot, is a premier NCAA prospect who will be a highly regarded WHL prospect as well, because every day that Allison gets closer to fall semester, he develops into more of a potential impact skater in the WHL as well. Lined up for 2016, we wrote this about Allison after our first viewing on OTB Elite, and he only looked better with each subsequent game:

“The Myrtle, Manitoba native is a beast. He hadn’t played in the first time we caught Omaha play, but it took one shift for us to recognize the Canadian’s potential – which is sky-high. Really smart, strong skater has great athleticism and gets a ton of ice under him in his first stride. Active and engaged all over the ice, Allison has a quick release that he lets hard shots off with regularly and can hound puck-carriers for the puck with ease, making plays at a great top speed. Allison simply takes over games with his size and natural ability.

Skates on the wing but when he was taking draws he showed some ability to win in the dots as well, and is tough on his skates, won’t get pushed around anywhere on the ice and can dish out the hits as well. Scored nice goals in both games we saw and has top line upside in college hockey. Will be a major battle if the WHL wants the elite skater as he will be a hot commodity. A 7th round pick of the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2012. Allison skated with the same Pembina Valley team that WMU commit Colt Conrad skated for in 12-13.”

97 F Van Barr (#18) commits to Western Michigan

Since October, picking up Honeybaked’s Nick McKeeby and Virden (Manitoba) young star Wyatt Kalynuk on defense, the Broncos have loaded up a fierce 2016 pipeline with names like Hugh McGing, Grant Gabriele, Wade Allison, and now Allison’s teammate Van Barr. What Barr brings to the table is versatility, a scoring touch and a high compete level all combined with terrific vision that makes him a threat to score on most shifts. Our first viewing of Barr this season, we noted, on OTB Elite:

“Very successful, intuitive scorer picked up 11 points in 5 games this weekend and he really earned them. High-end offensive vision and timing, seems like he’s aware of everything and everyone on the ice at all times in the final third.

Barr ran the powerplay from the point like a QB in the pocket, waiting out the other team and dishing out highly dangerous shots and passes. Saw a slit of an opening on the far side of the net and timed a hard clapper to the middle left just as the bodies aligned out of the lane as if he knew it was going to happen. In deep, Barr buzzes the net with a ton of success and constantly makes plays.”

As we continued to watch Omaha, Barr showcased a willingness to throw the body as well as more of the same on the offensive side of things. If the past five months are any indicator, things are looking bright for the Broncos.

97 D Ben Newhouse (#54) commits to Union

Union swooped up one of high school hockey’s better powerplay quarterbacks this month, the day after his season ended in section finals. Our Minnesota-based scout Gunnar Olson highlighted that game, and coincidentally had been Newhouse’s biggest proponent for us, catching him play a number of times this season and noting how impressive he looked in comparison to last year, where he looked great as well and had been ranked on our May Select 70.

Newhouse, at 5’7-5’8, isn’t big but asserts his force all over the sheet with slick passing and escapability on the rush, which was highlighted on the big sheet at Mariucci where he dictated the pace and his vision really shined through with some zipped, seeing-eye passes as he had some room to breathe. We caught Newhouse up front last spring and loved him at forward as well, which gives the Dutchmen some versatility for when the diminutive puck-mover gets to Schenectady.

 94 D Marc Biega commits to Merrimack

Merrimack committed the fourth Biega brother, the youngest of a four-brother family that came down to Salisbury School (CT) from Quebec. Biega’s three other brothers headed to Harvard, while Marc, a 6’0, 182 lb. defenseman, headed to the BCHL to find a different D1 home after it seemed that path wouldn’t be his. In his second BCHL season, Biega has 17 goals in 55 games and 38 total points.

OTB’s BCHL scout Jeff McCarthy described Biega as “someone I believe is a darkhorse in terms of being one of the better uncommitted prospects in the BCHL. An extremely calm defender who doesn’t catch your attention with his size or his skating, but plays an excellent positional game, using his stick to break up passes, Biega anticipates the play well and can read the ice in both ends of the ice, definitely also willing to throw the body around if need be, a very strong upper body who can finish checks hard, extremely hard to get past in the offensive end, great hustle and work ethic who can make a crisp pass out of the zone.

With his head up, his transition game from offense to defense is nothing short of impressive and is the main reason why he plays top minutes, a potential minute-eater at the college level, and if he keeps getting better and perfects his game, a professional career could be in the horizon.” Biega was also highlighted in McCarthy’s 2014 draft hopefuls preview from the BCHL, though as a 1994, Biega will really have to sell his case as a re-entry candidate.

95 F Danton Heinen commits to Denver

Denver picked up another out of Western Canada in hard-working pivot Danton Heinen, of the Surrey Eagles. The 6’0, 160 forward has 62 points (32 goals) in 59 games this season.

OTB’s BCHL scout Jeff McCarthy noted, “Hardworker is the best way to describe Heinen, he always is giving his full effort which is why he plays in all situations. Can throw his size around and move the puck up the ice. His skating could use work but he has great offensive awareness and hands in the zone, a great hockey IQ leads him to scoring opportunities off of scrambles and loose pucks. Heinen’s size compared to many in the BCHL sets him apart as he can score and play physical, something that NCAA scouts will look for in terms of a bottom six player in the college level.” Teammate Matthew Dawson is another member of the Eagles to keep an eye out for in the future, per McCarthy.

96 F Jared Fiegl commits to Cornell

After committing to Denver back in 2011, before joining the NTDP, 6’1 forward Jared Fiegl’s path has shifted towards the ECAC. The Colorado Rampage product committed to Cornell out of the NTDP this season, where he is in his second full year skating with the U18s. He hasn’t skated much for the NTDP this season due to injury, but still has eyes from the NHL as a prospective draft hopeful and joins NTDP teammate Ryan Bliss as fellow Cornell recruits. Fiegl, on paper at least, fits the mold in Ithaca, and could be a prescient pick-up.

96 F Ryan Lohin commits to UMass-Lowell

Lowell furthered their ties to Pennsylvania (and Team Comcast) this month, picking up Team Comcast U18′s most effective forward, and Tier 1′s most productive skater at the U18 level. His 68 points (30 goals) are impressive, and Lohin’s ability to create scoring chances consistently and play with a high level of engagement clearly pay dividends for his team. Teammate Michael Ufberg is a stellar, puck-moving prospect playing as an underager who could garner a commitment soon as well.

97 F Justin Fregona commits to UNH

It was a good week for SAC as they sent two more skaters to the D1 ranks in a span of two days in late February. Fregona, a 5’6 forward, will join teammate and draft hopeful Warren Foegele at the University of New Hampshire in a few years. He has 58 points in 50 games this season. Teammate Matt Graham is a nice talent headed to the BCHL next year who should garner a commitment as well, while young defenseman Otto Saarimaa is a rising talent as well. Fregona looks to be a part of the puzzle at St. Andrew’s next year as the program continues to improve and produce NCAA talent.

97 D Austin Cho commits to RPI

RPI honed in on this year’s St. Andrew’s team, a talented group, for a blue line commit this month in Ontario-native Austin Cho. The 6’0 tall 1997 has 43 points in 49 games for SAC this winter.

95 F Brendan Taylor commits to Union

Nanaimo native (and Nanaimo Clipper) made his commitment to Union this month, as the BCHL regular season comes to a close. Taylor led his Clippers in scoring with 55 points and looks to be on track for 2015.

94 D Jake Horton commits to UMass

UMass found a college-ready blueliner to help them jumpstart their frenetic, high-octane offense in Aberdeen defenseman Jake Horton. The Lake Elmo, MN native is a Benilde-St. Margaret’s alumnus, one of the NAHL’s leading skaters in blue line scoring.

95 G Zac Hamilton commits to Colgate

Colgate picked up a prep school veteran goaltender in Ottawa native Zac Hamilton, who captained a solid Westminster team this winter. The 5’11 goaltender had previously been committed to Williams (D3), alongside former Edina goaltender Connor Girard, who made his commitment to the Air Force. Hamilton is a solid goaltender, moves well and makes the requisite saves. He could be a good one for the Raiders and has held it down for the Martlets for a while.

93 G Connor Girard commits to Air Force

Brookings Blizzard goaltender Connor Girard, a former Edina Hornet, committed to Air Force this month. He had previously been committed to Williams (D3).

94 D Sam Piazza commits to Michigan

Michigan picked up former Boston College recruit Sam Piazza, who now captains the NAHL’s Wichita Falls Wildcats and was rumored to be headed to the NESCAC (D3) prior to the Wolverines entering the race. Piazza, who has had a circuitous route before securing this commitment, will land in Ann Arbor this coming fall.

95 F Marco Richter commits to Connecticut

Connecticut picked up a high-scoring Euro prospect, in 6’0 Wien, Austria native Marco Richter. He has 62 points in 41 games playing in Austria’s top U20 circuit, though he’s been playing at this level since the age of 15/16, so his numbers are likely pretty inflated.

93 G Nick Lehr commits to Minnesota

Minnesota, looking for a man to fill the back-up void on the bench that would soon appear, committed Austin Bruins stopper Nick Lehr this month. Lehr’s consistency in the pipes seems to have won him the spot over a number of other candidates. The Roseville native’s got a gaudy 1.79 GAA and .935 SV% this season for Austin.

96 F James Anderson commits to Mercyhurst

Mercyhurst picked one up out of PAL’s USPHL Premier outfit, who have sent a number of prospects to Atlantic Hockey over the past month or so. This one is for a few years out, as Anderson is a late-1996, though he certainly has a promising stat-line, posting 33 points (10 goals) in 47 regular season games.

93 F Matt Sieckhaus commits to Bentley

Amarillo Bulls (NAHL) alternate captain Matt Sieckhaus committed to Bentley this month. The 5’9 forward from St. Louis is one of the Bulls leading scorers this season with 36 points in 41 games. Matt is likely related to Mike Sieckhaus, a talented defenseman on St. Louis’ U18 team this season.

95 F Kevin Lavoie commits to Robert Morris

RMU recruited a 5’10 forward from Ontario’s GOJHL circuit this month, Kevin Lavoie, who captains his Thorold Blackhawks and landed third on his Blackhawks in scoring with 57 points (24 goals) in 49 games over the course of the regular season.

96 F Nathan Bryer commits to Mercyhurst

Mercyhurst picked up Victory Honda U18′s second-leading scorer in forward Nathan Bryer. The 5’6 forward skates with Miami commit Gordon Green on that team, as well as Michigan State recruit Zach Osburn, who all stand out offensively for VH despite being some of the younger players in the circuit. Teammates Shane Switzer and Garrett Jenkins are prospects to watch from that VH team as well.

95 D Erik Autio commits to Penn State

Slowly-but-surely, NCAA teams are looking to Europe where domestic players won’t suffice, and Penn State did that when they picked up a left-shooting defender from Finland this month. Autio is an alternate for his Espoo program’s U20 team, as an 18-year-old, and has worn the Finland jersey for the past U16, U17 and U18 seasons of competition when he was within his respective age group for those years.

93 F Conor Lemirande commits to Miami

Miami’s roster got bigger for next year with the commitment of Youngstown Phantoms big man Conor Lemirande, a 6’6 forward from the Janesville Jets (NAHL) who broke into the USHL full time this year. Lemirande has 250 PIMs over his past 100 junior hockey games between the two leagues.

93 F Janick Asselin commits to Clarkson

Clarkson added another prospect out of the Great White North’s many junior circuits to their recruiting pipeline this month, in Quebec Jr. A product Janick Asselin, who skates for the Sherbrook Collége Champlain Cougars. Asselin has 84 points in 45 games for the Cougars this season. He is the team’s captain. Fellow recruit Kelly Summers, who leads CCHL U18 skaters in scoring as a defenseman, is one other Clarkson recruit to keep an eye on from up north.

96 F Hunter Racine commits to Colgate

Colgate netted a young talent out of the CCHL in Ottawa native Hunter Racine this month. The Jr. 67′s youth hockey product is second in U18 scoring for the circuit with 40 points in just 33 games, 7 games behind most of his competition. He looks to be on pace for 2015, where he should be making an impact early in his career.

93 F Stanislav Dzakhov commits to Niagara

Niagara picked up a Russian skater who crossed the pond a while ago, and made his introduction to junior hockey in 2011-12 with the USHL’s Fargo Force. The 20-year-old Dzakhov wasn’t able to stick in the league after a season and a half as a young skater, moving to NAHL outfit Bismarck, where he’s spent the past two years. This season, he’s struck for 35 points in 41 games, including 19 goals, and the 6’2 forward will arrive to Niagara’s campus this fall.

95 F Tyler Sheehy (#7) commits to Minnesota

Minnesota landed a big recruit up front in former OSU recruit Tyler Sheehy. The Burnsville (MN) product was our Elite League MVP and raised his stock with a stellar campaign this fall, before departing for Waterloo of the USHL where his scoring talents have proved intensely valuable, posting 32 points in 31 games so far. Talk in the rinks was that Sheehy, hoping to play in college this fall (potentially Denver), wanted to play at Minnesota but a logjam of talent up front meant a likely 2015 arrival instead, making it a tough call. Whether that was case, it can all be conjecture, but depending on where the pieces fall, this is a nice get if he arrives in 2014, and an excellent pick-up if he’s for 2015. An extra year in the USHL can’t hurt the 5’10 scorer, who we named our #7 uncommitted prospect just a few weeks ago.

97 F Taggart Corriveau (#34) commits to St. Lawrence

St. Lawrence added another prep schooler to their class of 2016 in Westminster star sophomore Taggart Corriveau. One of a number of D1 prospects on his squad, Corriveau leads his Martlets in scoring and that’s no surprise as he’s very refined in the offensive zone, with mature offensive timing and an ability to cut into open space and key times, alongside a sharp release and short-passing ability. Whether he turns into a top tier D1 player over the next few years remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a possibility for Corriveau. Now eyes will turn to teammate John McDermott, who will look to be the next big commit out of a relatively young group in Simsbury. SLU has done a good job picking up prospects from prep school – draft hopeful Gavin Bayreuther is starring on the Saints blue this winter, while a number of coaches and scouts seem to be high on Cushing’s 97 F Bailey Conger, the other 2016 target recently picked up.

95 D Cole Bjugson commits to Bemidji State

Bemidji State picked up something of a coup in 1995-born defenseman Cole Bjugson, of Roseau (MN-HS). A skater we had a tough time getting a clear read for in the Elite League, but it’s clear there’s something there with Bjugson and among the MN hockey contingent, the general consensus seems to be very warm on the late 1995 defenseman. He spent a game with Fargo of the USHL, before coming back to the Elite League this fall. This season, Bjugson has 41 points in 19 games, including 32 assists.

96 F Tanner MacMaster commits to Quinnipiac

AJHL forward Tanner MacMaster, who had been committed to Boston College, has flipped to Quinnipiac. When MacMaster had committed to BC, just under a year ago, he was considered a pre-eminent draft prospect from the AJHL this year, and murmurs out of those who’ve visited the league are that his college and draft stock have dropped a bit, while BU’s Brandon Hickey and Wisconsin’s Cameron Hughes have instead surfaced as the league’s top prospects. Never-the-less, the 5’10 forward has some evident offensive skill, so time will tell whether this was a prescient pick-up for the Bobcats. The former AJHL rookie of the year is scoring at a similar clip as he did last season, and will enter school as a true freshman next fall.

95 F Chad Otterman commits to Cornell

Cornell added another one built out of the mold in Ithaca: a big, strong scorer who can skate. Otterman, an athletic, 6’3 forward who garnered looks by a number of top D1 lacrosse programs, chose hockey and that’s a win for the Big Red who will love the Delbarton (NJ-HS) forward. Otterman can barrel down the ice, contribute offensively and finish strong checks.

97 G Frederic Foulem commits to Harvard

The Crimson have shored up their situation in net until 2020 in recruiting Stanstead College (Canada) goaltender Frederic Foulem. The 6’1 stopper from New Brunswick joins 1998 goaltender Joseph Woll, who is one of the best in his age group among american goaltenders, in what will likely be the Crimson’s goaltending tandem down the line, especially if Foulem arrives in 2016 with Woll.

94 F Liam Kerins commits to RIT

The Tigers secured a commitment from one of the OJHL’s leading scorers in North York Raiders forward Liam Kerins. The 6’1 skater has a gaudy 54 points – including 25 goals – in 38 games this season, and will look to help the Tigers next season.

93 D Scott Dornbrock commits to Miami

Miami looked to the NAHL to add size to a defense that has been struggling in a big way this year, for next season. The Michigan native is 6’3 and spent the last two seasons with Minot, where he’s posted 17 points in 41 games this season.

95 F Brandon Salerno commits to Alabama-Huntsville

Alabama-Huntsville picked up a recruit who hasn’t been a major producer this season for UAH but has shown an ability to produce in the past, in 18-year-old forward Brandon Salerno. The 5’7 forward from Toronto posted 21 points in 59 games last season, but has posted just 5 in 31 games this year.

97 F Jacob Hayhurst commits to RPI

RPI snagged one of the OJHL’s premier young scorers this week in Toronto Lakeshore Pats forward Jacob Hayhurst. The 5’9 forward leads U17 OJHL skaters in scoring with a 12-16-28 line in 41 games this season. He played with the Mississauga Rebels Minor Midgets last season, and the Mississauga native reportedly had quite a bit of interest from D1 programs looking to lock down his services. Teammate Michael Prapavessis, a 1996, is also committed to RPI.

93 F Brennan Saulnier commits to Alabama-Huntsville

Brennan Saulnier, UAH’s newest recruit, has travelled quite a bit: a Halifax-native now plying his trade for an AJHL power program in Fort Mac’s Oil Barons, he committed this week to play his college hockey down south in Huntsville. The 6’0 forward has 11 points in 21 games as an AJHL rookie this season – prior to this year he had skated in the Maritime Jr. A circuit.

94 D Cameron Heath commits to Canisius

PAL’s USPHL outfit sends another prospect to Canisius College, their fourth D1 recruit this season, in defenseman Cameron Heath. Heath joins Jimmy Mazza, who committed earlier this month, as future Golden Griffins blue liners. A 6’0 defenseman, Heath is a former captain from Michigan HS hockey powerhouse Cranbrook-Kingswood, and has 13 points in 25 games this season.

99 F Ryan Poehling commits to St. Cloud State

96 F Nick Poehling commits to St. Cloud State

96 F Jack Poehling commits to St. Cloud State

St. Cloud swooped into Lakeville North and locked down commitments from the trio of Poehling brothers, and in the process secured the first commitment from Minnesota’s 1999-born class of players in the youngest brother, Ryan. All three have produced majorly this season for an arguably best-in-state Panther team, but Ryan, a 6’0 forward already thriving at the high school level is now this year’s “Joey Anderson”, though he might be a different type of a player, cited by YHH’s Tony Scott as an “outstanding player with great quickness” back in October when we previewed some of the state’s top 1999s.

94 F David Parrottino commits to Canisius

Canisius’ busy month of decision-making continues to be fruitful for the Golden Griffins, as they picked up Lincoln Stars forward David Parrottino. The Detroit Honeybaked product from West Bloomfield, Michigan has produced a handful of goals and 12 assists through 36 games this season after bouncing between the USHL and NAHL last season, finding his groove in Port Huron.

97 F Shane Sellar commits to Dartmouth

Dartmouth added scoring to a 2016-17 freshman class this February in recruiting Canterbury School stand-out Shane Sellar. The 6’1 forward from PA has a bit of an awkward stride, but he gets to top speed quickly and brings frenetic, lightning-quick playmaking ability. A constant threat to break through and score offensively, Sellar’s skating and offensive instincts to get to the net are assets he isn’t afraid to use gratuitously. Has a knack for hanging onto the puck under duress, will handle it with one hand at a decent speed under duress with ease. Alongside quick scorer Cam Smith (Youngstown) and recent recruit Anthony Wyse, Dartmouth’s again bringing the heat in the long-term recruiting market that the ECAC as a whole is cornering in on. We had Sellar earmarked as a top 30 skater in the upcoming Select 70 ranking, but, of course, he won’t be there now.

94 D Logan Day commits to Providence

The USPHL’s marquee uncommitted college-ready defenseman this season, Providence picked up a big one for next year in South Shore Kings stand-out  Logan Day this month. Day is reportedly a strong skating defenseman with stellar offensive faculties, backed up by a blue line-leading 37 points in 44 games. The USPHL is a relatively low scoring league this season, and Day’s numbers are good for 12th among all skaters in the circuit.

With back-end threats Anthony Florentino and John Gilmour on roster now, plus Flyers pick Terrence Amarosa coming in next year with Day, the Friars offensive threats on the back-end look potent indeed. Northwood star defenseman Cam Lee is bound to reach campus in a few seasons as well, a puck-rushing skater with some swagger.

97 F Ty Pelton-Byce (#52) commits to Massachusetts

Massachusetts added a high-upside recruit to their pipeline this February in Madison Memorial high schooler Ty Pelton-Byce. Alongside premier young prospects in the midwest like Alex Debrincat (Lake Forest Academy) and Jake Wahlin (White Bear Lake HS), Pelton-Byce adds size, smarts and playmaking ability. Where the others lack size, they all bring goalscoring ability, and quite a group is shaping up for the 2016 through 2019 seasons in Amherst. We highlighted Pelton-Byce, who had been our #52 uncommitted prospect, earlier this month.

98 D Simon Butala commits to Maine

Maine’s future, over the past month, has gotten very bright. They made quite a spark with the commitment of 2000-born phenom Oliver Wahlstrom, but soon followed it up with NJ Rockets U19 goal-scorer AJ Drobot, who is just 15, and a potential blue line gem in WBS U16 defender Konstantin Chernyuk. Butala is the latest addition, a mobile, well-built defender at 6’1, 175 lbs who contributes a strong, hard-working game all over the sheet for the talented LI Gulls U16 outfit this year. Moves the puck well and breaks plays apart with ease in his own end.

95 F Josh French commits to MSU-Mankato

MSU-Mankato made a shrewd pick-up this week, in committing Hill-Murray captain Josh French. French ended the 2012-13 season scoring HM’s only 2 goals against Edina in the state tournament, which they lost 4-2. Ever since, he’s been a man on a mission, exploding for 21 goals in 23 games this season, and adding 15 assists. That’s a big step up from his 10 goals and 15 assists last winter. A solid skater, his vision assists him in making plays up the ice and his natural offensive intuition thrives with the confidence French possesses on the puck. Hounds loose pucks and decisive all over the sheet. His upside may not scream pro, but Mankato’s getting a real player in French. He’s tendered to Rio Grande (NAHL) for next season.

97 F Bailey Conger commits to St. Lawrence

St. Lawrence picked up a nice one in Bailey Conger, a forward that’s been impressing Division 1 coaches this winter in a big way for Cushing. The former Utah Regulator is the team’s third leading scorer alongside recent Boston College recruit David Cotton.

96 F Cameron Hughes commits to Wisconsin

Wisconsin added another big recruit at forward from Western Canada in AJHL star Cameron Hughes, a late 1996-born forward from Edmonton. Hughes, a 5’11 forward, has a team-leading 17-32-49 line in 44 games this season for Spruce Grove.

95 G Hunter Miska (#59) commits to Minnesota-Duluth

What a swing for Minnesota-Duluth’s goaltending depth. After picking up one NHL draft hopeful in MN Wilderness (NAHL) goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo, the Bulldogs shored up the next few years in net by adding one of the safest college goaltending prospects in the league, giving the class some extremely valuable insurance. Miska, a stand-out for the BCHL’s Penticton Vees, is an NTDP alum and Minnesota native who came relatively late to the goaltending position, but has come a long way – now one of America’s top draft eligible goaltenders.

95 D Johnny Austin (#47) commits to Connecticut 

Connecticut’s third pick-up in Minnesota this season was Benilde-St. Margaret’s captain Johnny Austin, a skating defenseman with an exciting hockey mind. His vision and passing ability down the sheet are impressive, as is Austin’s ability to cut up the ice on the rush when he seems to have a fire under him. His 18 points in 21 games aren’t explosive, and Benilde seems to be fading out of serious title contention down the stretch (they’ve lost their last four, and

98 G Joseph Woll commits to Harvard

Harvard secured a stellar netminding recruit out of St. Louis this month in STL Blues U16 stopper Joseph Woll. One of the higher upside 1998-born stoppers in the country, the young, athletic stopper stands at 6’1, 180 and has 11 wins in 15 starts this season. His 1.72 GAA and .930 SV% are both some of the best in Tier 1, alongside crease partner and fellow 1998 prospect Tommy Nappier.

94 F Jarrid and 93 D Alexx Privitera commit to Vermont

Vermont swung two former Terriers away in the Privitera brothers to start this month off. Jarrid, a former BU recruit and Alexx, a former sophomore defenseman for the Terriers, will both be headed to Burlington after this season as key parts of the leadership group in Dubuque (USHL). Both were fairly highly regarded recruits when BU had secured their commitments. Alexx had been thought by some as a replacement for former blue line star Dave Warsofsky, and a promising freshman year solidified those hopes, but a sophomore year did not go as hoped and the two cut ties with BU.

95 F Dan LaFontaine commits to Canisius

Canisius landed a nice one out of the OJHL in cerebral, playmaking center Dan LaFontaine. A skater who had been ranked 40th on our October Select 70, LaFontaine’s season seems to have been cut short by injury but he was a stellar talent coming up with the LI Royals. On that team, coached by father Pat, a long-time NHLer, they were featured by the NHL in “Making of a Royal” and LaFontaine himself had a fantastic season, outscoring prospects like Harvard recruit Brandon Fortunato, Union recruit Cole Maier and St. Lawrence’s Mike Marnell with a 13-21-34 line in 20 games.

97 F Matt Filipe – Northeastern

Northeastern grabbed a prospect out of their backyard in Malden Catholic forward Matt Filipe this month. One day from being a 1998, the 6’1, 185 lb forward is a monster on skates and at the CCM Invitational this past November he showcased that he could have an intensely high ceiling, though he’s likely peaked in height and will have to continue to show and prove what he can do at this size. He’s on track for 2016 or 2017, and by then, Filipe could be a serious force off the wing.

93 G Aaron Nelson commits to MSU Mankato

Mankato secured a commitment from an NAHL veteran in net this month in Bismarck native and Bismarck Bobcat, Aaron Nelson. The 1993-born goaltender has posted great numbers for the Bobcats over the past few years standing at just 5’9, so his transition to Mankato will be fun to watch.

 96 D Billy Sweezey commits to Yale

Yale picked up a draft hopeful from Nobles (NE-Prep) in defenseman Billy Sweezey this month, a well-built skater who had a hell of a showing at the Flood-Marr this past December when we caught him. Showcasing some of his best hockey for one of the most scouted events in the country, Sweezey’s stock rose quite a bit and his ability to make plays on the puck as well as play an effective, bruising power game all over the sheet are going to be highly regarded assets in New Haven.

93 F Mathieu Tibbet commits to Merrimack

Merrimack snagged a recruit for next year out of the BCHL in 1993-born forward Mathieu Tibbet. Mike McMahon has all the details over at The Mack Report.

97 F AJ Vanderbeck commits to Colorado College

Colorado College secured the commitment of a top in-state prospect, AJ Vanderbeck, this month. The Colorado Rampage AAA U16 sharpshooter has a gaudy 38 goals in 32 games this season to lead the Tier 1 Elite League by a wide margin. His 38 goals are over 40% of his Rampage’s totals this season, and the Tigers will hope he can continue that by the time he gets to campus. His season totals? 56 goals in 48 games, with 31 assists to boot.

94 F Alec Butcher commits to Sacred Heart

Sacred Heart locked down the NAHL’s leading scorer, Alec Butcher, a marquee recruit headed to a program that’s making some real strides in the recruiting department. The Pikes Peak Miners (CO) product via Alaska has 48 points in 41 games, and his scoring touch should be well received in Connecticut.

95 F Dylan Sikura commits to Northeastern

Northeastern’s potent recruiting continued when they secured a commitment for next year from Aurora Tigers star Dylan Sikura. The OJHL forward, skating for his hometown Aurora team, has 43 points through 28 games, a shorter season than most in the league but one that would put him on pace as one of the league’s top scorers. The 5’11, 150 scorer will join former Aurora stand-out Jarett Fennell, a 6’2 defenseman who will be a junior in 14-15, and based on how the Huskies have recruited the great white north previously, this has the earmarks of another good one. Dylan’s brother Tyler is a junior forward for Dartmouth.

94 D James Mazza commits to Canisius

Canisius picked up a former USHLer now plying his trade in the USPHL when they committed 6’2 defenseman Jimmy Mazza this week. The former LI Royal and LI Gull from Kings Park, NY has pitched in a handful of points in every season playing since midgets, but he’ll be looked to more for his play off the puck when he gets up to Buffalo.

95 F Zach Yon commits to North Dakota

Roseau star forward Zach Yon, a staple of their offense for the past few seasons, gave his commitment to North Dakota this month. An intriguing pick-up as Yon has never came close to matching his production out of the regular MN-HS circuit, seeing his numbers fade drastically in the Elite League, but there’s no denying his talent. The quick skater from the far north is always in the mix and is a sharp skater offensively, winning battles for loose pucks and has a cerebral hockey mind that links plays together smartly. This one has the earmarks of a skater that could turn out beautifully in Ralph Engelstad arena.

 94 D Shane Poulsen commits to Nebraska-Omaha

UNO assistant coach Alex Todd won a recruiting battle in the BCHL to garner the commitment of Merritt Centennials defenseman Shane Poulsen this month. The 6’0 defenseman has produced some nice numbers in the final third for the Cents this winter, and was being pursued by UVM as well.

94 F Hans Gorowsky commits to Lake Superior

Former Centennial (MN-HS) stand-out Hans Gorowski landed at LSSU this week, after a strong season with the NAHL’s Fairbanks Ice Dogs. He’s posted a 9-17-26 line in 39 games after a 25-23-48 line in HS through just 30 games.

94 D Cody Hendsbee commits to Robert Morris

Robert Morris’ 9-game win streak is impressing all around the country, clearly, as they picked up a nice recruit from the CCHL’s Kemptville 73s in Cody Hendsbee. The 73s assistant captain has 27 points through 44 games this season, and the 6’2 defenseman is leading his team in blue line scoring.

96 F Connor Wood commits to Alabama-Huntsville

UAH tapped TPH for another recruit, this time picking up 1996-born forward Connor Wood, making a neat pipeline from one of hockey’s foremost producers of talent in the south, to hockey’s only D1 program in the south. Wood and teammates Teddy Rotenberger (UAH), Mitch Fossier (Maine) will be up in Blaine this weekend, so we’ll try and get a look at who else might be a target for the Chargers – but we already know of one intriguing prospect on the younger team. 1999-born Bantam Major captain Kyle Kawamura seems to be TPH’s pre-eminent star, and he’s likely going to be a high-pedigree talent. Should UAH find a way to secure that commitment, it could instantly provide a boost to the program’s future prospects and push them towards becoming a premier choice among top-end southern talent.

93 D Jakob Reichert commits to Bowling Green

Bowling Green added size to their forward group, picking up Langley Rivermen forward Jakob Reichert. His 24 points in 37 games this season alongside a 6’4, 230 lb frame could spell out an imposing offensive threat on the wing next year.

Your Home for College Hockey Recruiting and Amateur Hockey Scouting

College Hockey Commitments – September 2013

A new month, a new season, a new way to cover college hockey commitments. The plan is to keep this page updated with every college hockey commitment that goes down in September, with a few insights where applicable.

97 F August Von Ungern-Sternberg commits to Brown – September 30

Former Cardigan Mountain (Jr. Boarding School – NH) forward August Von Ungern-Sternberg has committed to Brown. August skated with the Idaho Jr. Steelheads of the WSHL this past year, where he had 12 points in 17 games as one of the youngest skaters in the league. He made it to national camp in upstate NY this summer and picked up 3 points in 5 games there against the best in his age group. A Cardigan graduate in 2012, he skated alongside some noteworthy uncommitted skaters such as 97 F Charley Borek (Choate) and 97 F Ace Cowans (Groton). Brown’s going after it pretty hard this month.

94 D Ben Tegtmeyer commits to Brown – September 29

From West Kelowna, Brown nets yet another commit this month in former Breck (MN-HS) stand-out Ben Tegtmeyer. After heading north to the Alberta circuit last year, Tegtmeyer jumped west to the Warriors mid-season and produced a bit, returning this year to garner a commit early in the season. Won’t be the last time we hear from West Kelowna, who ice top uncommitted prospect Liam Blackburn among a few others, including Saskatchewan-born winger Matt Anholt.

95 F Jeff Wight commits to Connecticut – September 28

Merritt Centennials forward Jeff Wight has made his college decision out of the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials. Per UConn Hockey Broadcaster Will Moran, the second-year forward – who has a 4-2-6 line in just 7 games – will arrive in 2014 or 2015. Wight is already 6’2, 185 lbs at the age of 17, but is a late 95.

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93 F Braeden Russell commits to Brown – September 26

Former Oakville Blades veteran, now in the BCHL, 6’3 forward Braeden Russell has committed to Brown University. Lots of Canadians committing this month.

94 F Jordan Heller commits to Bemidji State – September 26

Bemidji native Jordan Heller has committed to his hometown program after moving West to Aberdeen of the NAHL for a season. In his final two years playing MN-HS, Heller had been a consistent point-per-game producer but saw his production drop off a predictable amount in the NAHL this past year.

93 F Dominic Trento commits to UMass – September 26

UMass nets an EJHL veteran (four years) in forward Dominic Trento, who has steadily improved in production to becoming an impact, point-per-game guy for the New Jersey Hitmen this past season.

97 F Jason Dhooghe commits to Ohio State – September 26

The Buckeyes land one of many to commit division one from the Chicago Mission program this season in 1997 forward Jason Dhooghe. It will be interesting to see if younger brother Sean (a 99) follows in his brother’s footsteps.

97 F Marcus Vela commits to UNH – September 25

Marcus Vela, a 6’1 forward in his first season with the Langley Rivermen (at age 16), has already given his commitment: New Hampshire. He had 80 points in 30 games last season, so there’s that.

97 F Michael Floodstrand commits to Harvard – September 24

Harvard nets an NTDP newcomer in Chicago Mission product Michael Floodstrand. The early 97 born is 5’8 and has a point-per-game clip through three games with the NTDP this season.

96 D Bradley Bell commits to RPI – September 24

RPI picks up their third Canadian commitment this week – this time from Ontario – in Sudbury Nickel Baron (NOJHL) defenseman Bradley Bell.

97 F Tarek Baker commits to Minnesota – September 23

Minnesota picks up a huge get out of Verona, WI, in Omaha U16 captain Tarek Baker. Our initial report described Baker as: “Natural athlete has an explosive stride that gets him to top speed extremely quickly. Rocks opposing skaters on the forecheck and is just tough as nails, going wherever it takes to come back with the puck and make something happen. Is dominant in the transition game as no one can match his combination of velocity and physicality.”

This weekend, we said this about Tarek on OTB Elite following this weekend’s showcase: “We were pleasantly surprised to find Tarek playing with Omaha instead of Janesville of the NAHL, where he had tendered for this season. The high skill, compact, focused skater with speed outworks everyone on the ice and was flat-out dominant here shift-to-shift, posting 18 points in just 5 games. Backchecks hard, can deke his way up and down the ice and release a hell of a shot off the transition that rings off some metal with enough of a clamor to rattle any netminder.

Omaha captain disguises his intent around the ice and wheels around the zone awaiting a play to develop, though there was a bit of individualism here inherent with that – not enough to call him selfish by any measure, however. Thrives in traffic, elusive and seems magnetized to the puck. Places his shots beautifully. Intense competitor who finishes really hard checks. Is going to be a hell of a college player. If there’s a downside it’s that at this level, where he simply should not be playing at this stage of his development, he seemed more intent to chase the puck down all over the ice and follow the puck carrier than he was to slip into open ice.”

That last comment came out a little prescient unintentionally – Tarek will be making his debut with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL this weekend.

96 G Alec Dillon commits to RPI – September 23

Victoria Grizzlies back-up netminder Alec Dillon has committed to play his college hockey in Rensellaer for coach Seth Appert, following his junior hockey career. The 6’6 goaltender is largely unproven at the junior hockey level but clearly has some size you can work with.

95 F Casey Jerry commits to Minnesota State – September 22

Mankato picks up a high school hockey stand-out in Casey Jerry, who played for River Falls (WI-HS) last year and tallied 33 goals in just 24 games, adding 29 assists as well. Jerry is with Cedar Rapids of the USHL this year. Jerry announced the news via his twitter. There are going to be a lot more commitments to come in the next few days as the NAHL showcase has concluded while the USHL’s newest talent are starting to make a name for themselves in the best junior hockey circuit in the country.

Scout Dan Shrader noted: “Has some offensive ability but it doesn’t show consistently. Good player, just has to put it together every night. He’s got skill and quickness. I liked him last year for [Team Wisconsin].”

95 D Anthony Walsh commits to Yale – September 22

Chicago Mission product Anthony Walsh, who spent last season playing a handful of games for Green Bay, has committed to Yale. Walsh was playing up with the Mission U18s two years ago at the age of 15 and has clearly impressed Yale coach Keith Allain’s staff to start off his second season in the USHL. He announced it via his twitter.

97 G Ryan Larkin commits to Miami – September 21

Honeybaked U18 has a number of surprisingly young talents that impressed pretty much all of Division 1 this week in Blaine, but it was goaltender Ryan Larkin’s efforts both in a starting role as well as in relief against TI and the Chicago Mission which garnered a big commit – on the bus ride home, no less. We didn’t catch the netminder play, unfortunately (par for the course with over 80 teams there), but he’s 6’1 and playing for one of the best AAA programs in the country alongside fellow underage prospect Mike Latorella (a 98) in nets, so this could be a nice get for the Redhawks.

95 F Max Willman commits to Brown – September 20

Feature: Williston’s Max Willman commits to Brown

96 F Josh Blanchard commits to St. Cloud State – September 19

Yet another from the Penticton Vees, this time it’s forward Josh Blanchard committing to St. Cloud for the fall of 2015 or 2016. The 5’8 forward picked up a 29-26-55 line in 39 games in Midget with the Okanagan Rockets last season and is in his first full year with the Vees. I haven’t seen Blanchard live, but he’s clearly got some offensive talent. He’s also featured in this aptly-titled video: “Coastal Showcase Sick Shoot-Out Goal“.

It’s been a stellar start to the season commits-wise for the Vees, but that’s been no shocker to anyone. There are still a few more to come out of Penticton, including forward Max Coatta. Of note, Blanchard’s former Okanagan Rockets program is where Penticton Vees (BCHL/NCAA) and Everett Silvertips (WHL) prospect Tyson Jost, a prolific-scoring 98, is skating now. Blanchard had also been listed by the Silvertips.

94 D Jared Wilson commits to RPI – September 19

Defenseman Jared Wilson, a 6’3 skater who has a 2-4-6 line in 5 games from the blue, has committed to play his college hockey in Troy. Wilson, who currently leads all BCHL blueliners in points, is a Calgary native and a product of his local Calgary Royals AAA program. USHR says that Engineers coach Seth Appert caught Wilson play on the 18th and jumped. 2014 seems like the logical arrival date.

96 F Dylan Malmquist commits to Notre Dame – September 18

Feature: Edina Star Dylan Malmquist commits to Notre Dame

97 D Kris Myllari commits to Penn State – September 17

Penn State is becoming major junior’s worst enemy at this rate with top QMJHL prospect AJ Greer developing like a future pro and now a stud defenseman in Kris Mylarri. A scout who had been filling us in on Ontario prospects for our October Select 70 noted the following about the 2nd round OHL draft pick: “Very good skater who plays with the poise and presence of a veteran – even as a 16 year-old CCHL rookie. Can play in all situations and makes great puck decisions. Smart and solid in his own zone, has a good stick and isn’t afraid to play physical. I would think he’s a top 4 guy at Penn State, growing into the top pair as he develops.”

Suffice it to say he won’t be making our next Select 70 now, but he certainly will have the Kingston Frontenacs kicking themselves for not being able to make the pick count. The word on arrival date looks to be fall of 2016, but who knows for the 6’1, 170 blueliner until it gets closer to the date.

93 D Trey Phillips commits to Vermont – September 17

Per Chris Heisenberg’s list, Vermont picks up another from one of their favorite recruiting hotbeds, the AJHL. Trey Phillips is a 5’10 defenseman who played a game for his Canmore Eagles in 2009-10 and has spent every subsequent season with them, improving his offensive numbers each season. He’s been listed as both a defenseman and forward.

94 D Matheson Iacopelli commits to Western Michigan – September 17

Big (6’2) defenseman from just outside Detroit has played for Little Caesers and Belle Tire, picking up 26 goals and 20 assists playing with the latter last season. Will be skating with the Muskegon Lumberjacks this season.

92 D Nolan Valleau commits to Bowling Green – September 15

Another former OSU commit from the Mark Osiecki days, Nolan Valleau, has found a collegiate home for this season in Bowling Green. The 6’2 late 1992 birthyear split last season between Des Moines and Chicago of the USHL after a good year with Port Huron of the NAHL. The Novi, MI native adds a much-needed four years of eligibility to a fairly old d corps in Bowling Green that will see a ton of turnover within two years.

95 F Tipper Higgins commits to Army – September 12

The final piece of Berkshire (NE-Prep) star returning forward line has committed – Tipper Higgins choose Army. Craig Puffer (UVM), Charlie Corcoran (Brown) and Tipper Higgins (now Army) were one of the more dominant lines in high school hockey last season and Higgins, a South Burlington, VT-native now gives even more credibility to a team that will look to really make a run this year.

95 F Scott Conway commits to Penn State – September 12

Penn State picks up a dual-citizen (British/Canadian) in forward Scott Conway, who is with the Indiana Ice this season. Kevin Conway, his father, was playing pro hockey for the “Basingstoke Bison”, an hour west of London, when Scott was born and thus the dual citizenship. A forward with quick hands and a scoring touch, Conway has plied his trade for Belle Tire and Victory Honda since crossing the pond a number of years ago. He spent last year in juniors with the Texas Tornados, where he continued to flex his offensive muscle. Conway should be in State College for the fall of 2014.

For much, much more on Conway’s commit – Thank You Terry: Conway, Son of British Legend, Joins 2014 Class

96 D Seamus Donohue commits to Air Force – September 11

Following a set of performances in the Elite League where he raised his play as the games went on, St. Thomas Academy defenseman Seamus Donohue has committed to Air Force. Our re-cap for the defense and goalies isn’t slated to go up yet so I won’t reveal where Seamus is ranked, but this is what we felt about the up-and-coming blueliner:

Donohue has really come on strong as of late. His decision-making was a question mark for us last season and that has become less of a concern for us, specifically in his own end, but it’s still something hampering his effectiveness. That said, Donohue is a creative, resourceful blue liner who can usually get the puck out of his zone and onto someone’s tape with efficient, non-telegraphed passes. In the offensive zone, he was too trigger happy for our taste – not that he released the puck whenever he got it, but Donohue seemed too willing to bite at a potential opening even though he may be the only defender back and the puck regularly was blocked and thrown the other way for an odd-man rush. Donohue positions himself well offensively but struggled a bit to be effective regardless of where he was. Lots of natural talent, the odds are stacked firmly on Donohue’s side.

That was after the weekend’s slate of games, but last night Donohue started getting those pucks through and even got an entire article detailing his offensive exploits from the good folks at MN Hockey Hub. Donohue was able to score twice in the first period and it bodes extremely well for Seamus that he has adjusted to become effective in Elite League play so quickly.

 

93 D John Furgele commits to New Hampshire – September 11

John Furgele, an NAHL veteran and now in his second year with the Hitmen, has committed to the University of New Hampshire. A smaller defenseman, Furgele re-discovered a potent scoring touch last year in Wayne and will spend another year there before moving on to Durham.

95 D Matt O’Donnell commits to Vermont – September 11

Per Ted Ryan of the Burlington Free Press, Loomis-Chaffee (NE-Prep) senior defenseman Matt O’Donnell has committed to UVM. O’Donnell led all Pelican blue-liners in scoring and finished the season 3rd for all skaters. The California native is an alumnus of the LA Jr. Kings and Jr. Selects programs.

 

95 F Michael Laidley commits to St. Lawrence – September 11

OJHL rookie Michael Laidley gives his commitment to St. Lawrence following a successful midget career which saw him finish his career as captain for the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves. The Sudbury Wolves bantam product had a 21-20-41 line in 31 games last season and clearly has showed a little something to the Saints coaching staff.

93 D Chris Rygus commits to Clarkson – September 11

Yet another from Penticton, defenseman Chris Rygus will join Ben Dalpe in Potsdam next season after committing today. The Vees alternate captain spent last year in Nanaimo. A big (6’3) blueliner from Ontario (Dalpe is also from the province), Rygus has progressed up the junior hockey ranks with success, going from the OJHL, to the Maritimes Circuit before making his eventual entrance to the BCHL last year.

94 F Ben Dalpe commits to Clarkson – September 10

Penticton sends another to the college ranks in 94 forward Ben Dalpe. The BCHL rookie had a great two years with Pembroke of the CCHL, exploding in his second for well over a point-per-game and is slated for a 2014 arrival.

96 F Chris Brown commits to Boston College – September 10

Boston College picks up a goal-scorer out of Michigan in Cranbrook’s (MI-HS) Chris Brown. Brown, a good-sized (6’0) forward with speed, seems to find a way to score goals from all over the zone with a laser of a shot that he flips off in no time. Scored 23 goals and 27 assists in just 31 games for a dominant Cranbrook team which boasts Miami commits Austin and Alex Alger, as well as Michigan commit Sam Miletic. While Cranbrook did blow out a number of teams in the MI-HS circuit, Brown was not often the beneficiary of those games (statistically) and typically got his goals in the tighter affairs. Looks to be a nice pick-up for the Eagles. Older Brother Patrick is a senior Eagle hockey player right now.

97 D Jarod Hilderman commits to Minnesota-Duluth – September 9

A product of legendary Saskatchewan boarding school, Notre Dame, big (6’1) defenseman Jarod Hilderman gives the Penticton Vees yet another commitment for the new season. A rookie Vee, the 16-year-old won’t make it to Duluth for a little while but his size and uptick in scoring at the end of his midget hockey career indicate their may be some real potential in the blue liner.

97 F Sam McCormick commits to Ohio State – September 8

Notre Dame Academy junior forward commits to Ohio State after two good seasons in the Wisconsin HS circuit. McCormick broke out for 27 points in 22 games last season. Sam is following his brother Max to Ohio State, who is an Ottawa Senators draft pick and in his junior year as a Buckeye.

 

95 F Trevor Yates commits to Cornell – September 6

Per his twitter, Deerfield Academy (NE-Prep) star Trevor Yates has committed to Cornell. The Beaconsfield, QC native spent a year with the well-known Lac St. Louis Tigers Midget Espoir program in 10-11, before heading down to Deerfield in 11-12 where he put up a respectable 9-16-25 line in 25 games played. Yates as a junior was a power forward who was particularly tough on the puck and scored a few nice goals when I caught him that season. While the 6’0, 187 forward doesn’t project as a pure scorer, Yates clearly broke out offensively his senior year for both the Big Green (scoring 18 goals in prep), as well as for his U18 Neponset Valley River Rats team, where he was a key contributor in their title-winning run through nationals.

Yates is the second Neponset Valley River Rat (U18 National Champs) to commit this month, following the commit of Mile Gendron a few days ago.

 

95 D Anthony Conti commits to Alaska Anchorage – September 4

Alaska-Anchorage picks up their second commit from the Penticton Vees this week, after picking up what looks like a diamond-in-the-rough Quebeçois goaltender in the Vees’ Olivier Mantha in late August. Conti is a big (6’2, 190) defenseman who skated in the same BC Midget Circuit that Liam Blackburn (#52 uncommitted) skated in, as well as top WHL prospect Matthew Barzal, and this will be his first full go-around in the BCHL. Last season, Conti posted an 18-30-48 line in just 35 games for the Vancouver NW Giants.

First-year Head Coach Matt Thomas has some talented partners in his recruiting efforts, as Shattuck alum TJ Jindra hailed previously from Notre Dame (no slouch in the recruiting game) and new assistant Josh Ciocco is about as familiar with the uncommitted player pool as it gets. Watch out for the Seawolves in the coming months while they work to really right the ship, as it all starts with the recruiting.

97 D Jake Gingell commits to Michigan Tech – September 4

Michigan Tech has snagged a good young defenseman in 16-year-old Jake Gingell, who played for Compuware U16 last season. The in-state prospect was selected by the always-talent-savvy Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the OHL draft, in the 13th round, but it looks like it will be the USHL’s Omaha Lancers whose pick he will be rewarding. Gingell, a 5th round pick of the Futures draft this year, will likely spend a few seasons in the league before heading to Tech following his USHL career, but likely starting after this year. Gingell is now the youngest player committed to Tech. There are three 1996 birthyears committed to spend their college career in Houghton, but no 1997s or younger.

96 F Michael Houle commits to Bowling Green – September 3

A second Detroit Honeybaked product has committed in as many days, as 17-year-old Michael Houle commits to Bowling Green. The 6’2, 150 forward was selected by Green Bay of the USHL in the later rounds and will likely see a few years in the league to fill out his body and game after this season. Houle is the cousin of fellow BGSU commit Brandon Hawkins.

96 D Miles Gendron commits to Connecticut – September 3

Rivers (NE-Prep) forward-turned-defenseman Miles Gendron has made his college decision and it is UConn. The 6’2, 175 blueliner is dynamic in the final third and should only get better in his own end. The Neponset Valley River Rat broke out and came second on his Rivers team in scoring in 2012-13, with 12 goals plus 16 assists for 28 points in 28 games.

98 F Mitch Lewandowski commits to Michigan State – September 2

Michigan State picks up another top offensive talent from last season’s U14 National Champion Detroit Honeybaked squad in 5’8 forward Mitch Lewandowski. Somehow, that team has three players (Noah Lalonde and Mitch Eliot as well) now committed to Michigan State in what will surely be viewed as a coup for the Spartans in a few years time. The question is will any more players from that team commit? That Honeybaked bantam squad (featured in THN last year), has plenty of uncommitted talents still on the board, which is a weird thing to say about what was a U14 team a few months ago, but regardless. Keep your eye out for Pat Khodorenko, a WHL 2nd round draft pick and our #24 uncommitted prospect, as well as the Pastujov brothers and a few others from this roster.

97 F Colt Conrad commits to Western Michigan – September 1

One of Manitoba’s best prospects has chosen the NCAA. Per Chris Heisenberg, Colt Conrad (6th round pick of the USHL’s Fargo Force) has committed to Western Michigan. Conrad is a 16-year-old center who posted a 25-42-67 line in just 39 games playing for Pembina Valley of Manitoba’s AAA Midget Hockey Circuit. The year prior, the 5’8 forward put up 79 goals and 71 assists in 53 games playing Bantam, and also posted 36 points in just 8 games playing in a Canadian High School circuit that year. The young forward has had division one attention for a few months and will be headed to Shattuck-St. Mary’s this season, so we’ll include some more notes when we get a look at him ourselves later this month. Conrad was a 3rd round pick of the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes, so his heading south wasn’t exactly predictable.

Your Home for College Hockey Recruiting and Amateur Hockey Scouting

Select 70 Top Uncommitted College Hockey Prospects, May 2014

Here is our latest ranking of uncommitted college hockey prospects. This particular list is the conclusion of our time in the rink over the 2013-14 season, prior to summer hockey and the start of 2014-15 in August. It is also the last edition before we include the 1999s amongst the group once again. For a more in-depth primer on what goes into this ranking, see our February edition.

To reiterate one point: we do not factor in a player’s interest in the CHL route into this ranking at all. Some recent Major Junior signees that were slated to be ranked among this group include Kailer Yamamoto (Spokane Chiefs, WHL), Kyle Rhodes (Guelph Storm, OHL) and Brandon Crawley (London Knights, OHL). To give an idea of how highly we regard them, Yamamoto and Rhodes would have been staples of our top 20. Similarly, Chicago Mission U16 defenseman Jake Toporowski is a sharp prospect on defense (1998) that would have been highly ranked by us but petitioned the WHL to be drafted last year so we assume he is locked into that route. We’re excited to follow their progress north of the border.

A few prospects were at one point slated to be in this ranking but made their college decisions prior to release over the past three months. They are:

98 D Sam Rossini (Minnesota), 98 F Dominick Mersch (Wisconsin), 98 F Willie Knierim (Miami), 96 D Jack McNeely (Nebraska-Omaha) and 96 F Austin Beaulieu (Alabama-Huntsville).

We’ve also scrapped our limited viewings section for this go-around — the player pool of skaters we’ve seen now is simply too large and that section would be as long, if not twice to three times as long as the actual list itself. When the concept of that section is “players we don’t yet (or currently) have a read for”, it becomes nearly impossible (and in some ways, arbitrary) to determine who does and doesn’t make that section. We’ll find a way to highlight those players in time, but we’ll catch many of them play again before long as well. Instead we’ve included a handful of omissions at the top of our rankings, which include some talents we are aware of but do not have recent reports on.

Key Omissions: 97 F Auston Matthews (NTDP U18), 98 F Max Jones (Honeybaked U18 -> NTDP), 97 F Justin Szeto (NW Giants -> Langley Rivermen), 98 D Jamie Armstrong (Portsmouth Abbey -> AOF), 98 D Victor Mete (Toronto Jr. Canadiens), 98 F Tyson Jost (Okanagan Rockets -> Penticton Vees), 98 D Dante Fabbro (NW Giants -> Penticton Vees)

At the bottom of this ranking is a simplified list without annotations for quicker reading. You can see the list of players ranked in the past who have since chosen Division 1 or CHL homes at our graduates page.

1.    97 D Zach Werenski – NTDP U17 – 6’1 – 201

London Knights (OHL) 2nd round draft pick shines all over the sheet and has been our top uncommitted prospect since summer. Among Boston College recruit Noah Hanifin (NTDP U17) and Swedish phenom Oliver Kylington (Färjestad BK), who is already playing pro hockey, the 2015 group of top-end blue liners is an exciting group. Where Werenski falls among them is still up in the air, but should he head to the NCAA, one has to expect he’d be in a top pairing role as early as 2015.

2.    97 F Luke Kirwan – NTDP U17 – 6’1 – 232

The 2016 draft eligible has a huge frame and the heaviest, most lethal wrist shot around right now. Very hard on the puck and comfortable with a frame that defines “imposing”, Kirwan’s highly regarded by the OHL (Guelph). He gets up the ice straight-away with velocity and has hands not often seen in a skater of his figure. Very effective in the offensive zone because he brings a combination of assets rarely seen and an undeniable nose for the net.

3.    98 F Logan Brown – Indiana Jr. Ice U16 – 6’4.5 – 200

NTDP Camp Invite

The skater with the highest upside on our list, especially without Jakob Chychrun ranked, has to be Brown. Unless he gives a commitment soon, the son of NHLer Jeff Brown is earmarked to be our number one prospect soon and stay there for a while. He’s smart and skilled in the offensive third, making some really eye-opening plays right now and is an excellent skater for a prospect his size and age. With the Jr. Ice, he’s on pace for a big season offensively, at a goal-per-game pace and will be looked at to make offensive magic at every level.

4.     98 F Pat Khodorenko – Honeybaked U16 – 5’10 – 182

NTDP, 2014-15

Natural playmaker with rare skill and ability with the puck. A sharp shooter who wants to create high-quality chances but will bury when the opportunity presents itself. Sells his fakes well and makes high-percentage plays at top speed. His Honeybaked team was a great fit – one of the more elite, skill teams in the world – and allowed his gifts to shine. Bound for the NTDP, Khodorenko has had a few years of learning how to use his extremely talented teammates to their full potential and should thrive with an even high caliber of skill around him.

5.     98 F Nick Pastujov – Honeybaked U16 – 5’11 – 189

NTDP, 2014-15

Highly skilled forward from Honeybaked displays his skill in a myriad of forms. Pastujov is often in full control of the puck and can absolutely rifle a shot with a clean, quick release that makes him even more dangerous. Holds his ground in the tougher areas and plays with a lot of tenacity. Desires the puck and can impose his will on the game with power routes to the crease or simply by weaving his way around opponents. Younger brother Mike Pastujov (1999) is a high-end talent as well.

6.    98 D Chad Krys – NJ Rockets U19 – 5’11 – 165

NTDP, 2014-15

If Krys, a pre-eminent prospect for the QMJHL draft, chooses the college route, he’ll be a major coup. The son of former BU captain Mark Krys plays loose, dynamic, opportunistic hockey for the Rockets U19 team and is impactful on nearly every shift. At the U19 level, his anticipation and ability to dictate the tempo are at an elite level, as few skaters can orchestrate the play from the point like Krys can at any age – let alone at 15 years old. Has some Erik Karlsson in his ability to shrug opposing skaters off leading the rush and jump-start the offensive attack at will, but fellow CT-native Kevin Shattenkirk is a closer long-term projection. Scouts will look to see his game round out, especially defensively, though skating ability and sharp stick-work save him now, and he doesn’t lack for defensive awareness.

7.    97 D Ivan Provorov – Russia U18 National Team – 6’0 – 193

Has left Cedar Rapids for Russia

The former Wilkes-Barre Scranton U16 stand-out made the decision to jump up and play the best amateur competition available to him this season in the USHL, and he’s come out a much stronger player for it. He’s tough to play against, and he skates hard for his build, getting up the ice with pace. Brings an edge to his play off the puck, and highlight reel playmaking ability on it. In 51 games for WBS last season, Provorov tallied a 42-55-97 line in 51 games. With two of those old WBS teammates already committed to Penn State, Provorov too has talked to the Nittany Lions and would be a great pull for them, though other programs are in the mix too, and Major Junior will never be out of the conversation.

8.     98 F Kieffer Bellows – Edina High School – 5’11 – 195

NTDP Camp Invite

Continues to excel and improve. Bull of a forward with game-shattering scoring ability and a pro build, Bellows is built to dominate and does just that, as he’s tough to contain and has skill to spare at the high school level. WHL rights are owned by Portland.

9.    98 D Matt Hellickson – Rogers High School – 6’0 – 165

NTDP, 2014-15

Committed to Notre Dame, 6/1/2014

Very sound defenseman with excellent awareness on and off the puck. Makes smart decisions to distribute the puck and breaks up plays efficiently in his own end. An ideal fit for the NTDP where he can come into his frame and emerge as a defensive force with some offensive upside as well. Should be an all-situations defenseman in Division 1 if he does not go the WHL route – the Victoria Royals own his rights.

10. 98 D Callan Foote – Colorado Thunderbirds U16 – 6’1 – 170

The son of NHLer Adam Foote is weeks away from being a 1999 and that thought is scary. The tall, athletic defenseman was consistently one of the best skaters on either team as an underager at the Tier 1 U16 playoffs this month, whether it was using his quick feet and skating ability to get into position to pick apart plays defensively or moving the puck up to a breaking out forward. Reads the play as it develops extremely well and quickly glides into position to negate clear attempts and restart the offense. Isn’t an elite powerplay quarterback defenseman, but a two-way defender with upside in most facets of his game. WHL rights are owned by Kelowna, who selected him in the second round in last summer’s Bantam Draft.

11. 98 D Luke McInnis – Hingham High School – 5’10 – 165

NTDP Camp Invite

Remarkably polished skillset, skating ability and maturity for such a young defender, McInnis can zip seeing-eye passes through an entire team and makes decisive plays beyond his years.

12. 97 F Robby Jackson – Chicago Steel – 5’9 – 174

California-native’s hockey sense and offensive ability has seen him emerge as the USHL’s leading under-17 goalscorer, with 18 goals. WHL rights are owned by Tri-City.

13. 98 F Zach Walker – Colorado Thunderbirds U16 – 6’1 – 175

NTDP, 2014-15

Speed, speed, and more speed – draws explosive bursts from a powerful lower half, but just as impressive are some of the plays Walker can make at top speed. As he continues to come into his body and play to his gifted offensive traits, the Boise, Idaho native should emerge as a premier talent.

14. 97 F Walker Duehr – Chicago Young Americans U16 – 6’2 – 190

We caught Duehr at the mid-point of the season and noted the upside, but as he continued to add weight and improve in the offensive zone, he started to realize that potential. Big skater who is tough to contain, Duehr can play with a frenetic intensity that disrupts the flow of the opponents attack and can really rip it, too. Teammate James Sanchez (Michigan) has been a top power forward target for 2016 for a little while – but Duehr could be even better by then if he continues to improve at this pace.

15. 97 F Dennis Yan – NTDP U17 – 6’0 – 173

Opportunistic, athletic scorer has a pro upside and knack for getting the puck to the net, but shades of one-dimensional play can be concerning. Great shooter. Eligible for the CHL Import Draft this summer.

16. 98 F Ben Lown – SSM U16 – 5’6 – 150

Diminutive, compact skater defines dynamic. Uses bursts of speed to create separation and disarm defenders, constant motor and processes the game very quickly. Clinical around the net and pushes the pace of the game.

17. 98 F Josh Dunne – St. Louis Blues U16 – 6’1 – 150

NTDP Camp Invite

Has steadily emerged as another nice prospect from the Blues program. For a December-born 1998 standing at 6’1, Dunne has terrific body control and first-step speed. Looks to create time and space for his teammates and doesn’t fool around with the puck. Brother (and teammate) of 16-year-old women’s hockey phenom Jincy Dunne, who will be a very heavily pursued recruit in her own right.

18. 97 F David Brumm – Omaha U16 – 6’2 – 162

Brumm’s Omaha team is loaded, but over the course of the season he too has been coming into his own. Posted a 50-54-104 line in 82 games this season and still has a lot of weight to put on. His poise and ability to create offense are uncanny and refined, while a 6’2, lanky frame brings a high ceiling to his game. WHL rights are owned by Vancouver, USHL rights owned by Cedar Rapids. Heading to the MN Magicians of the NAHL for 2014-15.

19. 97 D Ryan Shea – Boston College High School – 5’11 – 150

Slick defenseman plays locally for a high concentration of NCAA teams and his ability to run the powerplay and bring the offense up ice attracts attention. Smooth skater can defend the rush with competence but very tough to contain streaking up ice and gift-wraps outlet passes from his own end. There’s a nice upside with Shea that should only become more evident as he adds polish to his overall game and succeeds at a higher level of hockey. Said to be returning to BC High.

20. 98 D Alec Mahalak – Compuware U16 – 5’8 – 155

Quick defenseman is a catalyst offensively, uses explosive skating ability and intuition to create dangerous opportunities in the final third. Can lead the rush and spark an offense.

21. 98 D James Greenway – SSM U16 – 6’3 – 188

To NTDP, 2014-15

Younger brother of BU recruit Jordan Greenway hasn’t turned the corner into a dominant force, but it’s easy to forget that he was only 15 this season. Drafted by the Plymouth Whalers (OHL) in the 5th round this spring, who also own his brother’s OHL rights.

22. 98 F Patrick Harper – NJ Rockets U19 – 5’6 – 140

Like Lown, scouts may shy away because of his size, but Harper is regularly the most effective forward on the ice for a team that includes Maine recruit AJ Drobot as well as skaters two to three years his senior. Sharp passing ability, the natural finisher is decisive around the offensive zone and loves to have the puck.

23. 98 F Cole Gallant – Honeybaked U16 – 5’10 – 170

Slick offensive forward is simultaneously smooth and aggressive, lashing out at skaters in possession of the puck and hungry to have it on his blade. Plays with a lot of skill and isn’t afraid to showcase his hands when the opportunity arises.

24. 97 F Luke Stevens – Noble and Greenough School – 6’3 – 180

Could be the next 1997 to really emerge as his draft year looms: Tall, athletic forward has inherent offensive upside, willing to pay the price to make a play and processes the game quickly. If he can add a killer instinct in the offensive zone and become a more consistent threat, Stevens could be an elite talent.

25. 96 D Jalen Chatfield – Belle Tire U18 – 6’0 – 175

Quick, decisive defenseman uses explosive skating ability to thrive in all facets of the game. Possesses a pro upside because of his skating, a frame to work with and how active he is with the puck on his stick. Attracts a lot of attention on the blue line. Tendered to expansion Madison Capitols of the USHL.

26. 97 F Colton Fletcher – Omaha AAA U18 – 6’1 – 180

The Wasilla, AK native is quick, smart and has good hockey sense to boot. Doesn’t force a thing and is just lethal on the transition.

27. 97 F Alec Mehr – The Gunnery – 5’11 – 187

A Californian product who went out East to play prep this year, Mehr’s game seems to be maturing for it. A fluid skater who loves the puck, possesses a great release and offensive instincts that could see him tally 15-20 goals per season in the NCAA one day. USHL rights owned by Bloomington, WHL by Everett.

28. 97 F Tage Thompson – PAL Jr. Islanders U16 – 6’1 – 170

Lanky, smart, high-end center naturally conduits the offense up the sheet. Strong face-off man with a feel for the puck who makes his teammates better. Headed to Salisbury School.

29. 98 D Anea Ferrario – Colorado Thunderbirds U16 – 6’1 – 189

Tall defender with a high ceiling, Ferrario plays an effective game. Takes care of the puck and makes plays with it, unafraid to jump up into the offensive assault. Strong picking apart plays in his own end. WHL rights owned by Tri-City.

30. 98 F Sam Huff – Maple Grove High School – 5’11 – 170

Skilled forward is unafraid to mix it up and play crash-bang on the boards when necessary. Helps to push the pace with his ability to make quick, creative decisions offensively and keep defenders guessing at an up-tempo.

31. 96 F John Peterson – Holy Family Catholic – 5’11 – 175

Confident skater accelerates to top speed very quickly and has a ton of skill on the puck. Makes plays at high speed and really thrives on the transition. Posted 62 points (29 goals, 33 assists) in 25 games to lead his team in scoring this season.

32. 97 D Jalen Smereck – Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U18 – 6’0 – 179

Athletic, all-situations defender is tough to play against, effective against older competition and sees the ice well.

33.  97 D Zak Galambos – San Jose Jr. Sharks U18 – 6’2 – 170

Big, smooth-skating defender slips around the offensive zone with purpose and gets back on defense, too. Can lead the rush and mans the point with confidence and scoring ability.

34. 97 F Jonah Bischoff – Grand Rapids High School – 5’10 – 190

On a team with some legit prospects (Avery Peterson – UNO, Mitch Mattson – UND), the younger brother of Gopher defenseman Jake Bischoff finished 2nd overall in team scoring with a 16-24-40 line in 26 games. A versatile forward who has really made the most out of his build, he’s a force on the ice at times with a nice wrister.

35.  97 F Alex Limoges – Selects Academy at SKS U16 – 6’1 – 185

Deceptively agile for his size, Limoges hockey sense and awareness make him an unignorable offensive threat. Intuitive on and around the puck with great short-passing, though his skating can improve.

36.  97 F Eugene Fadyeyev – Wilkes-Barre Scranton U16 – 5’11 – 170

Electric playmaker is a shrewd, possession-driving skater and has a great stick. Creates time and space and comes out of a lot of 1-on-1 battles with possession.

37. 97 F Mark Kaske – Benilde-St. Margaret’s – 5’9 – 164

Dynamic, elusive skater can bewilder opposing skaters coming off the wall with his quick feet and hands. Remarkably consistent.

38.  97 F Alex Overhardt – Colorado Thunderbirds U16 – 6’0 – 175

Agile, tall skater with quick hands creates a lot of offensive action. Portland own his WHL rights, Green Bay in the USHL.

39.  97 F Mike Gelatt – New Jersey Jr. Titans U16 – 6’0 – 160

Strong-skating forward is decisive on the puck and catches the eye often with his ability to slip around and contribute in the zone. Pushes the pace and drives possession.

40.  97 F Mike Graham  – Eden Prairie High School – 6’0.5 – 185

Minnesota’s Lake Conference (Edina, Eden Prairie, Wayzata, Minnetonka and Hopkins) continues to bring the heat. Graham has legit size – an assertive power forward whose confidence and effectiveness seems to have blossomed this season, protects the puck well and does a lot of little things to help the Eagles succeed. Should emerge as a big contributor next season – points aren’t everything, but he was the conference’s fourth leading scorer as a sophomore with a 16-18-34 line. That was ahead of Notre Dame’s Dylan Malmquist, Ohio State’s Tyler Nanne and Wisconsin’s Matt Freytag, not to mention prospects Kieffer Bellows and Max Zimmer.

41.  97 F Alec Broetzman – St. Thomas Academy – 6’1 – 185

Tough on the puck and a well-rounded, consistent threat who can rifle it. Projects well and wears down the opposition with skill and willingness to go to the hard areas.

42.  97 F Max Zimmer – Wayzata High School – 5’10 – 170

Emerged as the second-highest scoring sophomore in the Lake conference this season, leading his ranked fourth-in-state Trojans in scoring over the course of the regular season. Steadily becoming a more imposing, playmaking skater with puck skill. USHL rights owned by Sioux City.

43.  97 F Tanner Tweten – East Grand Forks High School – 6’2 – 198

Big, coordinated hybrid power forward with some skill and craftiness to boot. Doesn’t force plays and can cause fits on the forecheck. Works hard at both ends of the ice. USHL rights owned by Des Moines.

44. 96 F Elijah Barriga – Anaheim Jr. Ducks U18 – 5’11 – 190

Hard-working forward is an explosive skater and effective in the offensive zone, where he wears defenders down with his ability to process the game and make an impact.

45. 97 D Jared Mickelson – Omaha U16 – 5’10 – 170

We liked Mickelson at forward for St. Paul Academy in 12-13, but he moved back to defense with Omaha this season and by the end of the year we felt like he emerged as one of the most effective skaters on a very good team. Great wheels that allow him to streak up ice with the puck – acceleration is a forté, with an above-average top speed, giving Mickelson that escapability and quick steps to elude capture. Smart on the puck and forces players to make decisions when containing the rush. Posted 41 points (9 goals, 32 assists) in 81 games, with just 22 PIMs and +57 on the season.

46. 98 F Max Gerlach – Colorado Thunderbirds U16 – 5’8 – 150

Quick, intuitive forward is very skilled on the puck and effective on the transition, where he weaves through defenders, creating time and space for himself and teammates as they step over the blue line. Pushes the pace and protects the puck well.

47. 98 F Luke Cowan – Honeybaked U16 – 5’8 – 154

We only caught Honeybaked a handful of times this season, so this may be low, but Cowan’s star-studded team can monopolize much of the attention. Strong-skating forward plays an effective, productive offensive game and always seems to be in the mix.

48. 97 D Joseph Matthews – St. Louis Blues U16 – 5’8 – 160

Fast skater straight-away with a big time shot on the blue, Matthews is highly skilled, very mobile and competes, but lacks size. The Blues captain reminds us of an undersized Kris Versteeg at times, while at other times seems a lot like the Bruins’ Torey Krug. USHL rights owned by Cedar Rapids.

49. 97 D Jack Ahcan – Burnsville High School – 5’7 – 160

Undersized but highly effective defenseman has an elite hockey mind and a very polished, mature game. Showcased an ability to produce offensively, coming 3rd on the Blaze in scoring. USHL rights owned by Cedar Rapids.

50. 98 D Hank Sorensen – Wayzata High School – 6’0 – 170

NTDP Camp Invite

Tenacious and tough to play against defensively, which bodes well, though he’s still a little rough around the edges in his own end. Showcased some vision on the puck and quarterbacked a powerplay unit pretty well for a freshman. Possesses a high ceiling that he only appears to be scratching the surface of.

51. 98 D Alec Semandel – Chicago Mission U16  – 6’3 – 185

Massive defenseman bears down on offensive threats and neutralizes them with above average footspeed and decisive defensive-zone actions. Plays hard and doesn’t give up a chance easy. Does not bring much in the way of offense – this is a pure shut-down guy at the next level.

52. 97 D Mike Ufberg – Team Comcast U18 – 5’9 – 175

May be the best powerplay quarterback in the Tier 1′s U18 ranks, Ufberg was on our May listing and shines as a puck-moving, rush-leading defenseman with Team Comcast’s 18s. USHL rights owned by Green Bay.

53. 97 D Caleb Jones – NTDP U17 – 5’11 – 186

The younger brother of Nashville Predators defenseman Seth Jones is a mobile, smart skater who keeps a nice gap. Doesn’t wow you in any one way but should make for a nice top four defenseman in the NCAA. WHL rights owned by Portland.

54. 97 D Brad Budman – Anaheim Jr. Ducks U16 – 5’11 – 165

Crafty defenseman has excellent puck patience and loves to create offense, led his Jr. Ducks in NAPHL scoring and projects as a two-way top six defender with offensive upside at the D1 level.

55.  98 D Keegan Mantaro – Colorado Thunderbirds U16 – 5’9 – 160

Fluid puck-mover is a strong skater but economical in nature, glides through the sheet and reads the play well. Smart and measured for a late-1998.

56. 97 D Tye Ausmus – East Grand Forks High School – 5’7.25 – 150

Where similarly-sized Jack Ahcan unveiled an offensive side, Ausmus’ production went down this season, but he’s still effective defensively and uses his speed and athleticism to negate opportunities and be impactful over the full sheet. USHL rights owned by Lincoln.

57.  98 F Matt Gosiewski – Millbrook School – 6’3 – 200

Huge freshman is well-coordinated and a natural with the puck. Smooth skater is very competent with the puck and can be a force surging up ice. Processes the game quickly and is a smart passer. QMJHL draft eligible.

58.  98 F Collin Adams – Honeybaked U16 – 5’9 – 158

Similar boat as teammate Luke Cowan, another skater we love to watch but don’t have a terrific read on yet. He brings a lot to the table, an effective, hard-to-play-against forechecker with good feet and a nice top speed with offensive faculties.

59. 97 F Zach Sitarz – Andover High School – 6’0 – 195

A tough, athletic power forward with strong straight-away skating ability. Plays hard and doesn’t give up the puck without a fight. Could be a physical force at the Division 1 level with offensive production as well – tallied 50 points in 25 games as a sophomore, led team in goals (27).

60. 97 F Larry Jungwirth – SSM Prep – 5’8 – 150

Skilled forward has a nose for the net and has a knack for making big offensive plays. Jungwirth has been a big contributor on one of the nation’s top U18 teams.

61. 98 F Kevin Fellows – Prior Lake High School – 5’9 – 160

Just a month and a half from being born in 1999, the Prior Lake product is one of the fastest 1998-born skaters in the country: a sharp pivot who can pickpocket the puck and snap it off with a clean release that punishes at top speed. He’s fun to watch, and he’ll likely be getting watched for a long time. Only got better as the high school season went on – ended up leading his team in scoring as a freshman, though he picked up a lot of his points in games that weren’t big and vacated the scoresheet against most of their best competition.

62. 98 F Brett Crossley – SSM U16 – 6’0 – 160

Poised, playmaking forward seems to be scratching the surface of his potential, though he’s only gotten better in the past year. QMJHL draft eligible, ranked #26 overall by their central scouting.

63.  98 F Garrett Wait – Edina High School – 6’1 – 170

He comes through with production consistently and will stand his ground, taking a hit in stride to make a play. Great release and isn’t afraid to take it wide with speed, simply loves to have the puck on his blade and his short-to-medium passing through the neutral and offensive zone can hit a teammate in the perfect spot. Puck just seems to follow him everywhere – fourth-highest scoring sophomore in the Lake Conference.

64. 98 D Andrew Peeke – Selects Academy at SKS U16 – 6’2 – 178

NTDP Camp Invite

Big defenseman in his second year at South Kent has grown as a player over the season – makes some sharp reads, owns nice athleticism and solid footwork that could lead him to being a defensive force as he continues to improve.

65. 98 F Luke Paterson – Wayzata High School – 6’1 – 155

Still a ways away from the player he’s going to be, Paterson’s offensive instincts and athleticism are exciting traits. One-third of Wayzata’s talented sophomore line.

66. 98 F Vlad Dzhioshvili – Wilkes-Barre Scranton U16 – 5’10 – 165

A strong burst on his first step and an uncanny ability to get open and fire it home, the Dynamo (Moscow) product is a super elite talent in the final third and buried 34 goals in 26 AYHL games this season. The rest of his game needs a lot of rounding out, but based on the athletic tools and unteachable offensive skill, Dzhioshvili could be a legit NHL prospect come draft time – especially if he grows to the size of brother Maksim, a 6’5 skater for Little Caesars U18s.

67.  96 F Will Harrison – Cleveland Barons U18 – 6’0 – 185

Deceptively quick for his size, Harrison enters the zone with the puck and takes command of the offensive assault. Very effective hands complemented by a hockey mind that doesn’t force much of anything, should continue to produce offense as he moves up the levels.

68. 96 F Kale Kane – Salisbury School – 5’10 – 165

With the losses to graduation that Salisbury’s going to endure, we think Kane is going to be an excellent fit to pick up some of the slack – brings an offensive upside that doesn’t seem to have been fully unearthed yet, but his versatility and athleticism help to project him out best. Seems to thrive in big games, plays with a high compete and when he’s on, Kane makes some extremely sharp decisions with the puck offensively. Lays the body hard, and clean, too – may quietly be one of the most physical forces in prep hockey next season.

69. 96 F Kevin Dineen – SSM Prep – 5’11 – 155

Catches your eye on nearly every shift, makes other skaters force plays and always seems to take advantage of whatever is available to him. Just plugs away and makes good decisions. Has a high compete level that sets him apart from his peers. USHL rights are owned by Muskegon.

70. 95 F Sam Saliba – Sioux City Musketeers – 5’11 – 172

Late 1995-born forward is a versatile skater with scoring ability, sandpaper, skating and poise. Was called up to Sioux City the week after we caught him play with the Chicago Mission’s U18s.

Simplified Ranking

  1. 97 D Zach Werenski – NTDP U17
  2. 97 F Luke Kirwan – NTDP U17
  3. 98 F Logan Brown – Indiana Jr. Ice U16
  4. 98 F Pat Khodorenko – Honeybaked U16
  5. 98 F Nick Pastujov – Honeybaked U16
  6. 98 D Chad Krys – NJ Rockets U19
  7. 97 D Ivan Provorov – Russia U18 National Team
  8. 98 F Kieffer Bellows – Edina High School
  9. 98 D Matt Hellickson – Rogers High School
  10. 98 D Callan Foote – Colorado Thunderbirds U16
  11. 98 D Luke McInnis – Hingham High School
  12. 97 F Robby Jackson – Chicago Steel
  13. 98 F Zach Walker – Colorado Thunderbirds U16
  14. 97 F Walker Duehr – Chicago Young Americans U16
  15. 97 F Dennis Yan – NTDP U17
  16. 98 F Ben Lown – SSM U16
  17. 98 F Josh Dunne – St. Louis Blues U16
  18. 97 F David Brumm – Omaha U16 AAA
  19. 97 D Ryan Shea – BC High School
  20. 98 D Alec Mahalak – Compuware U16
  21. 98 D James Greenway – SSM U16
  22. 98 F Patrick Harper – NJ Rockets U19
  23. 98 F Cole Gallant – Honeybaked U16
  24. 97 F Luke Stevens – Nobles
  25. 96 D Jalen Chatfield – Belle Tire U18
  26. 97 F Colton Fletcher – Omaha U18 AAA
  27. 97 F Alec Mehr – The Gunnery
  28. 97 F Tage Thompson – PAL Jr. Islanders U16
  29. 98 D Anea Ferrario – Colorado Thunderbirds U16
  30. 98 F Sam Huff – Maple Grove High School
  31. 96 F John Peterson – Holy Family Catholic
  32. 97 D Jalen Smereck – Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U18
  33. 97 D Zak Galambos – San Jose Jr. Sharks U18
  34. 97 F Jonah Bischoff – Grand Rapids High School
  35. 97 F Alex Limoges – Selects Academy at SKS U16
  36. 97 F Eugene Fadyeyev – Wilkes-Barre Scranton Jr. Knights U16
  37. 97 F Mark Kaske – Benilde-St. Margaret’s School
  38. 97 F Alex Overhardt – Colorado Thunderbirds U16
  39. 97 F Mike Gelatt – NJ Jr. TItans U16
  40. 97 F Michael Graham – Eden Prairie High School
  41. 97 F Alec Broetzman – St. Thomas Academy
  42. 97 F Max Zimmer – Wayzata High School
  43. 97 F Tanner Tweten – East Grand Forks High School
  44. 96 F Elijah Barriga – Anaheim Jr. Ducks U18
  45. 97 D Jared Mickelson – Omaha AAA U16
  46. 98 F Max Gerlach – Colorado Thunderbirds U16
  47. 98 F Luke Cowan – Honeybaked U16
  48. 97 D Joseph Matthews – St. Louis Blues U16
  49. 97 D Jack Ahcan – Burnsville High School
  50. 98 D Hank Sorensen – Wayzata High School
  51. 98 D Alec Semandel – Chicago Mission U16
  52. 97 D Mike Ufberg – Team Comcast U18
  53. 97 D Caleb Jones – NTDP U17
  54. 97 D Brad Budman – Anaheim Jr. Ducks U16
  55. 98 D Keegan Mantaro – Colorado Thunderbirds U16
  56. 97 D Tye Ausmus – East Grand Forks High School
  57. 98 F Matt Gosiewski – Millbrook School
  58. 98 F Collin Adams – Honeybaked U16
  59. 97 F Zach Sitarz – Andover High School
  60. 97 F Larry Jungwirth – SSM Prep
  61. 98 F Kevin Fellows – Prior Lake High School
  62. 98 F Brett Crossley – SSM U16
  63. 98 F Garrett Wait – Edina High School
  64. 98 D Andrew Peeke – Selects Academy at SKS U16 National
  65. 98 F Luke Paterson – Wayzata High School
  66. 98 F Vladislav Dzhioshvili – Wilkes-Barre Scranton U16
  67. 96 F William Harrison – Cleveland Barons U18
  68. 96 F Kale Kane – Salisbury School
  69. 96 F Kevin Dineen – SSM Prep
  70. 95 F Sam Saliba – Sioux City Musketeers

Thanks for reading. Our updated list of potential goaltender recruits will come in June, along with lots of other content — NHL draft month!

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College Hockey Recruiting: Weekly Series

We’re happy to announce the schedule for our weekly look at college hockey recruiting efforts around the country. This tentative list leaves two open spots for our readers to help us pick which other teams to review. We mentioned this feature a few days ago, but I’ll reiterate what we want to accomplish with this.

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WCHA Recruiting Preview: Alaska Anchorage and Alabama-Huntsville

As summer and the NHL draft approach, OTB is back to recruiting previews for the next few months as college programs prepare for their incoming freshmen to start their careers. For this feature, I spoke with Alaska Anchorage assistant coach Josh Ciocco, as well as Alabama-Huntsville head coach Mike Corbett, about their incoming freshmen classes. I also touched briefly on the start both programs have made on recruiting for 2015 and further.

Alaska Anchorage

A year after Seawolves head coach Matt Thomas (RIT ’98) took the reins in Anchorage, he and assistants Josh Ciocco (New Hampshire ‘07) and TJ Jindra (Notre Dame ‘07) have quickly stockpiled a recruiting class they can feel proud about bringing to campus this upcoming season. I caught up with coach Ciocco, to talk about their incoming group of NLI-signed freshmen.

One of the early pick-ups of this ’13-14 recruiting season was Penticton Vees newcomer Olivier Mantha, a veteran goaltender out of Quebec that shared the lowest combined GAA in the BCHL with Minnesota-Duluth bound stopper Hunter Miska. Down the stretch, Mantha emerged to post three shutouts in seven post-season showings for the Vees, and Ciocco is excited about what Mantha can bring for the Seawolves, who graduated two goaltenders this season. On Mantha, Ciocco noted “I think [he] is extremely talented – very polished, very mature kid, very skilled goalie. I definitely think he can step in and play a lot of minutes, and losing two senior goalies it was very important to get a guy who can do that right away. It was also very good for us that Olivier is 21 – he’s got it together, and is pretty much exactly what we’re looking for.”

The Seawolves also bring in one of the AJHL’s star stoppers in Jared D’Amico, a 20-year-old veteran of the Alberta circuit who, at 5’9, compensates for a lack of size with quickness and smarts in the blue paint. The two help UAA to have a stable battery of experienced stoppers even in a year where they graduate two.

Moving up from the crease, defenseman Tanner Johnson is someone coach Ciocco thinks is “going to be a big time steal.” The Seawolves did their homework on Johnson, watching him emerge as a more premier talent in the BC circuit as the year went on. Ciocco noted, “We watched him a lot in the second half and for Langley, one of the most talented teams in North America, down the stretch he was one of their best defenseman. He’s grown about 2 inches, put on about 10 pounds and plays a physical game, defending well and making plays.” On the back-end Johnson is joined by defenseman Jarrett Brown of Cowichan Valley, an Alberta native who made the jump from midget to the BCHL two years ago.

Up front, Saskatchewan native Tad Kozun has been lighting it up for three seasons, posting 79 goals in 143 games, netting 38 tallies (to go with 27 assists) in his final season for Kozun’s hometown Nipawin Hawks. On Kozun, Ciocco noted, “Tad was a kid, he just kept scoring. He was really lighting it up at the start (22 goals in 23 games) and I thought, I gotta go watch the kid – if you’re scoring that much, you’ve gotta be doing something right. He’s going to come in and there will be an adjustment period, but since bantam hockey, he’s always got his points. So he definitely has the skill level, but what really attracted him to me is his compete, he’s got a little Andrew Shaw (Blackhawks) in him, certainly not afraid to work and fight for the puck.” More importantly, Kozun represents the type of older, experienced junior star out of Western Canada that can help UAA be successful, with Ciocco commenting “These are the kids we need, we need to have the right guys and I felt like Tad was one of those kids.”

Matt Anholt (West Kelowna) and Austin Azurdia (Langley) also join the 2014 forward group as freshmen, both second-year forwards in the BCHL who posted a combined 90 pts in 108 games. Anholt, another Saskatchewan native, captained West Kelowna’s squad and came fifth in team scoring. Azurdia is a Washington state native, a one-time Connecticut recruit who was fourth on the Rivermen in scoring.

The Seawolves also have Anthony Conti slated for 2015, a 1995-born forward that at 6’3, 200 lbs is “absolutely fearless”, commented Ciocco, continuing, “he’s younger than we would typically bring in but he has a lot of upside. I think [Conti] is somebody that is just going to get better everyday.”

Twenty-year-old forwards Jake Larson and Mason Mitchell are parts of that 2015 class as well. Larson, a former Minnesota high school star (STMA), is a skilled forward who put up prolific numbers for most of his career, coming off somewhat of an off-year in the AJHL. He could take a step and end up as one of the Seawolves top playmakers as an upperclassmen if all pans out. Mitchell is a 6’3 skater described as a physical “ball of energy” from Alberta. He spent the last two seasons in the BCHL with Nanaimo, and brings high-end skating ability and an intimidation factor with his frame and ability to impact the physical side of the game.

With a strong group pulled together in just one season from, primarily, Western Canada, Ciocco notes their staff will always do the diligence on other regions and junior circuits, but knows they can find the talent they need very close all the same. For example, lined up next season, the Seawolves have a potential star defensemen in Wyatt Ege, who skated for an in-state NAHL franchise, Fairbanks, but they’ve also lined up a nice mobile talent who calls Anchorage his hometown in Aaron McPheters, one of a number of Selects Academy (CT) defensemen to pick up Division 1 attention this year. Forward Alex Jackstadt is another recruit that only started playing hockey out of state this season, moving from Kenai River (NAHL), just three hours away from Anchorage, to below the border with the USHL’s Fargo Force. He’s set to arrive in 2015 alongside Penticton’s Cam Amantea.

Alabama-Huntsville

For a team that struggled offensively last season, the Chargers actually return a lot to look forward towards on roster. Returning sophomore Jack Prince (13 points) and up-tempo freshmen Regan Soquila (7 points), Matt Salhany (12 points) helped to lead the team in points, but as a whole the ice time situation last year saw a ton of underclassmen playing big roles. Coach Corbett sees the freedom in being able to provide serious ice time to whoever earns it as a boon, noting “we have those minutes available across the board. Whether it’s an underclassman or a freshman coming in, we need to improve our program and the best 20 guys are going to get those minutes. For next year and the following years: if you want them, grab ‘em.”

That means skaters who were offensive sparkplugs in junior hockey, like Soquila, see enough ice to measure out and improve themselves in all situations. Similarly, fleet-footed freshmen like Salhany, UAH’s rookie of the year, can have a baptism-by-fire introduction to college hockey, skating in key situations – often – and likely coming out all the more ready for the next three years and any professional seasons to follow. That available time on ice is another truth to keep in the back pocket as a recruiter at UAH right now, as any prospect that might be marginalized on a more high-profile program’s roster knows that the UAH staff isn’t kidding when they say serious ice time is available for those who can earn it.

With a schedule that included Notre Dame, St. Cloud and Wisconsin, the Chargers went with a battery of two freshmen goaltenders, Matt Larose (19 games) and Carmine Guerriero (18 games), and the roster got a good taste against all the top teams in the country to build on moving forward. Corbett sees that experience for returners as crucial, “[they] gained a ton of experience. The success of our program is going to be based upon our freshmen becoming sophomores, our sophomores becoming juniors, our juniors becoming seniors. That’s what it is for us, the kids we’ve got coming in, they’re gonna help us, they will, but it’s about what those guys gained last year. We gave those freshmen and sophomores a ton of ice time against a tough schedule.”

That experience is important, but it can only take the Chargers so far. With this new class, they wanted to remedy an issue that had nagged all season, game-to-game: team speed.

“What this class gives to us”, says Corbett, “as a whole, is we wanted to upgrade our speed. Whether it’s on the forward lines or even on the back line being able to upgrade our mobility. We’ve got a very good mix and our mobility will be that much better. All of our kids win races to pucks and add speed. Say what you want about the WCHA, Minnesota’s gone, North Dakota’s gone: these are hard working teams, they get the details. Night in and night out [this season], the WCHA was fast. Every night, everybody was competing in an entertaining, up-and-down the ice type of game. For us, when the game got a little faster, that’s where we struggled.”

The freshman class as a group is diverse, with some size, some speed, and some junior hockey experience all in varying amounts. From the Dubuque Fighting Saints, alternate captain Max McHugh will be looked to as one of those aforementioned freshmen that can make some real strides early on, potentially in the top six.

From the NAHL, Filip Starzynski (Bismarck), Cody Champagne (NAHL), Richard Buri (Minnesota Wilderness), Brandon Parker (Brookings) and Tyler Poulsen (Topeka) will all hope to prove themselves as one of those key freshmen as well. Starzynski hails from Poland, by way of Western Canada’s Okanagan Hockey Academy and four seasons in the NAHL. Buri, Champagne and Parker are all blue liners with different M.O.s: Buri, a Slovakian, stands at 6’5 and has been playing internationally for Slovakia since age 15, crossing the pond for his club hockey in 2012. Champagne is a prep school product (South Kent/Avon) from Connecticut who has produced on the back-end in the past as well as this season for Topeka, and Parker is a MN native who played for the high school team in Faribault, tallying 42 points in 25 games for the Falcons before moving on to AAA hockey with Russell Stover and ultimately landing in the NAHL for parts of three seasons. Poulsen, a 5’7 forward, rounds out the NAHL’s contribution to this class. A NORPAC product by way of Arvada, Colorado, Poulsen has skated in the NAHL for the past five seasons, posting 156 points in 219 games. All will start the season with UAH at 20 years of age or older.

Out of the Greater Ontario circuit comes local Huntsville boy Josh Kestner, who tallied 40 goals in 47 games to lead the Sarnia Legionnaires.  The great thing about Kestner, says Corbett, is “you don’t just bring in kids because he’s local. He deserves to be here, he’s a kid we recruited and we liked. He has a knack for scoring goals – he’s a 40-goal scorer coming out of Sarnia. For a team that scored roughly one goal a game last season…” At 6’1, even coming out of a less than elite level of completion, Kestner could end up a hidden gem for the Chargers if he can seize some minutes in key situations early and prove his offensive prowess at the Division I level.

From the USHL, 5’7 forward Brandon Salerno (Waterloo) and goaltender Jordan Uhelski (Muskegon) join the program. Salerno had 25 pts in 46 games as a 16-year-old in the OJHL, though he posted just six through 35 showings this season at age 18. Uhelski backed up uncommitted prospect Eric Schierhorn in Muskegon and should add depth to the already-experienced tandem already installed in Huntsville.

Alberta league product Brennan Saulnier, by way of Nova Scotia and the Maritime Jr. A circuit, is the last member of the incoming class, a 6’ forward who played for oil boomtown franchise Fort MacMurray, one of the top Jr. A programs in Canada last season. His 8 points in 17 playoff games were good for fourth on the team, and Saulnier finished the regular season again fourth with 49 points, 33 of which were helpers. The Chargers will hope Saulnier can keep up his offensive magic in the NCAA.

Down the line, the Chargers have started to lay the foundation of their 2015, 2016, and 2017 classes. With the TPH Thunder program emerging as a premier club option for AAA hockey in the south, and UAH hockey alum Nathan Bowen (’00) at the helm of the program, it’s no surprise that coach Corbett and staff have tapped the Thunder pipeline. Forwards Austin Beaulieu and Connor Wood are the most recent recruits from TPH, but defenseman Teddy Rotenberger is on board for a few years out as well. Rotenberger is an efficient, strong skater with puck competence: he should make for a good, poised option with the puck on the blue in a few years. Beaulieu is one of those up-tempo additions that can be really dangerous with some speed behind the puck. He posted 70 points in 49 games this season, including 23 goals, second only on the team to Maine recruit Mitch Fossier. Wood, for his part, is a smaller forward at 5’7, but absolutely tenacious – a compact, energy forward who plays on the man advantage and isn’t afraid to make himself a presence at the net. On whether the Thunder program is a priority for them as a way to become the destination school for elite southern hockey talent, coach Corbett agreed, “We’d love to have that niche,” continuing to note that regions all over the south are producing talent, from Atlanta to Nashville, to Florida and Dallas. Florida recently produced an OHL first overall pick in Jakob Chychrun, while Dallas has had Seth Jones (4th overall, Nashville) and is witnessing the rise of young stars like Hank Crone (Boston University) and Max Gildon.

For the Chargers, TPH U18 teammates Logan Orem (1997), Nathan Krusko (1996) and Tyler Tate (1996) could all be intriguing looks, though there is plenty of talent coming up from the U16 and bantam ranks for TPH, such as 1999-born U14 captain Kyle Kawamura. That bodes well for Corbett if his program can keep some of that more-highly regarded talent committed to furthering their careers in the south.

Another scrappy, hard-working forward committed for a few years out is Joey Marooney, out of Minnesota high school program Holy Family Catholic. Marooney brings a game like fellow recruit Wood, and his 46 points in 25 games are pretty on-par with Wood’s production as well, despite being in pretty different leagues. Both seem tailor-made for the type of roster the Chargers are working towards, as never-say-die skaters who can play versatile roles within the framework of the top nine. With a brother on roster (Cody), and a talented younger brother (James, 1999) on Holy Family’s Varsity as well, Joey could someday end up the second of three Marooney brothers to play at UAH.

From New England, the Chargers have a pair of prospects in Lawrence Academy’s Cam Knight and Selects Academy’s Roberts Smits, both committed for a year or two out. Smits is a 6’1 center from Latvia with a nice power game and hockey sense that allows him to be dominant at times. Last but not least, the Chargers also have 17-year-old Ivan Bondarenko committed, a Russian forward who broke the 100-point ceiling in the Norpac this year, tallying 50 goals in 37 games in the process. The 5’9 forward from Moscow isn’t due to arrive on campus for a while, though how he’s able to perform at a higher level of junior hockey should give Chargers fans an idea of what level they can temper their expectations of Bondarenko to.

All in all, recruiting efforts are on the up-and-up for these two WCHA programs and if they can keep it up, it spells good things for parity in college hockey. Alaska Anchorage’s group addresses needs all over the roster, while the Chargers seem well positioned to become a team that could start to push the pace on opponents over the next few years with a combination of mobility, skill and work ethic.

Thanks for reading.

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College Hockey Recruiting Class Rankings

Well, the season is just over a month away and with that it’s time to release our College Hockey Recruiting Class Rankings. Like our Select 70, this list has been in the making all season long and weighs a number of factors. The list is just ten schools, but it’s a good amount of reading so I’ll keep the primer short.

The factors weighed were Collegiate Upside, which is fairly self-explanatory, alongside Four-Year Impact, or in other words, propensity to turn pro early. Lastly, but just as important, Positional Needs met or not met were a huge factor in differentiating some classes that would otherwise be too close to call. For example, if a team has one rising senior goaltender who played all the games and no potential starters sitting on the bench or coming the following year, the recruiting class takes a big hit if an adequate replacement isn’t in the class. For every class, I’ve also highlighted a Key Recruit. This is who has the chance to impact the class most with their play, be they inadequate or phenomenal.

Feel free to share your opinion about the rankings with us via Twitter. On with the rankings…

1. Boston College

Key Recruit: 95 G Thatcher Demko

Why: Demko has plenty of hype, but it’s easy to forget he accelerated high school and won’t turn 18 until half of the Eagles regular season is in the books. It’s a measured gamble for York and company, but most have learned not to doubt such highly regarded freshman goaltenders in Hockey East.

Forwards: Chris Calnan (CHI, 3rd rd, 2012), Ryan Fitzgerald (BOS, 4th rd, 2013), Austin Cangelosi, Adam Gilmour (MIN, 4th rd, 2012), Evan Richardson and Matt Gaudreau

Defense: Ian McCoshen (FLA, 2nd rd, 2013), Steve Santini (NJD, 2nd rd, 2013) and Scott Savage

Goaltending: Thatcher Demko (2014 draft eligible)

How scary is Boston College’s freshman class to the rest of college hockey? A potential franchise goaltender in Thatcher Demko to replace Parker Milner and the best incoming defensive defenseman in the NCAA in Steve Santini were a good start. But don’t forget about the four other freshman all drafted in the fourth round or above, nor the other four undrafted freshman, all of whom are premier recruits as well. While this class might have more future pro signings than four-year players, no one touches the Eagles in either depth, positional needs met, or pure talent level this year. It’s almost no contest.

For a more in-depth look at this class, check out our Recruiting Preview.

2. Minnesota

Key Recruit: 95 F Taylor Cammarata

Why: Cammarata’s play seems tailor-made for the college game, and even if he gets so much extra attention from opposing defenders that he can’t convert, the rest of the team (and this class) are more than prepared to be beneficiaries of the resulting negligence.

Forwards: Taylor Cammarata (NYI, 3rd rd, 2013), Justin Kloos, Gabe Guertler,  Hudson Fasching (LAK, 4th rd, 2013) and Vinni Lettieri

Defense: Tommy Vannelli (STL, 2nd rd, 2013), Mike Brodzinski (SJS, 5th rd, 2013), Jake Bischoff (NYI, 7th rd, 2012)

About that ‘no contest’ – the Gophers could give the Eagles a run for their money when you consider that it’s entirely plausible that this entire class will be in school for four years. A number of shifty, deceptive forwards with a knack for making a difference in the final third will make the Class of 2017 tricky to contain, and big man Hudson Fasching seems poised to only get better as his career wearing the ‘M’ goes on. As far as positional needs go, the Gophers were already strong at every position (even with a number of pro departures), so this looks more like adding ammunition than solving a particular weakness.

For a more in-depth look at this class, check out our Recruiting Preview.

3. North Dakota

Key Recruit: 94 F Adam Tambellini

Why: The case could be made for a number of North Dakota’s eight freshmen, but coach Dave Hakstol himself said the SSAC product and Rangers draft pick will have “the opportunity to step in and contribute with [the team] right away,”, so that’s always a good sign. Twenty-six points in sixteen games after a trade to Surrey at the midpoint of last season, followed by a 10-8-18 line in seventeen high-stakes BCHL playoff games showed everyone that the son of Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini is more than ready to make an impact in Grand Forks.

Forwards: Adam Tambellini (NYR, 3rd rd, 2013), Luke Johnson (CHI, 5th rd, 2013) and Wade Murphy (NSH, 7th rd, 2013)

Defense: Keaton Thompson (ANA, 3rd rd, 2013), Gage Ausmus (SJS, 5th rd, 2013), Paul LaDue (LAK, 6th rd, 2012) and Troy Stecher

Goaltending: Matt Hrynkiw

This is just such a solid class from top to bottom. From high-end Anaheim prospect Keaton Thompson, to former Top Uncommitted Gage Ausmus (previously committed to Denver), to USHL All-Star Paul LaDue (who led the USHL in points from the blue line), this would be an intriguing group by itself. Then you add Penticton (BCHL) captain Troy Stecher, who nearly hit a point-per-game for the Vees on their blue, and this is going to be a fierce group of defensemen as upperclassmen indeed.

There are also three weapons up front in Adam Tambellini, Luke Johnson, and Wade Murphy, as well as an intriguing, talented goaltender in Matt Hrynkiw being added to an already deep (but soon to be less deep) crease. And in case you’re wondering, Coach Hakstol’s class next year is literally shaping up to be one of the best in college hockey. Ever. So there’s that.

For a more in-depth look at this class, our North Dakota Recruiting Preview comes out October 1.

4. Michigan

Key Recruit: 95 F JT Compher

Why: Talented, clever NTDP product with breakneck speed and hockey sense brings it all on every shift. Compher is about as close to a sure thing impact freshman as you can get. The only downside? The Sabres could come calling as soon as sophomore year.

Forwards: JT Compher (BUF, 2nd, 2013), Tyler Motte (CHI, 4th rd, 2013), Evan Allen, Alex Kile, Alex Talcott and Max Shuart

Defense: Michael Downing (FLA, 4th rd, 2013), Nolan De Jong (MIN, 7th rd, 2013), Spencer Hyman and Kevin Lohan

Goaltending: Zach Nagelvoort

Michigan’s class is good, for sure, but this is where it becomes much easier to debate teams up or down the list. Premier forward JT Compher is the equivalent of a ‘five-star’ commit, while NTDP teammate Tyler Motte is a deceptively quick forward who can contribute in every situation as well. Evan Allen and Alex Kile are terrific in-state prospects at forward as well.

Defenseman Michael Downing is a stellar skater and looks like he is going to be a great collegiate defenseman for potentially four years, considering how much his NHL-rights-holding Panthers have invested in college hockey prospects lately. Victoria Grizzlies defenseman Nolan De Jong is a six-foot-one, two-way defenseman out of the BCHL, formerly committed to Cornell, that THN Prospect Guru Ryan Kennedy dubbed a “Gentle Giant”.

5. Boston University

Key Recruit: 94 D Doyle Somerby

Why: The big (6’5, 225) defenseman coming straight out of high school will definitely be tested early, but looks to have the fortitude to make it through the early going and eventually become a dominant force on the back-end for the Terriers.

Forwards: Brendan Collier (CAR, 7th rd, 2012), Nick Roberto, Robbie Baillargeon (OTT, 5th rd, 2012), Kevin Duane and Tommy Kelley

Defense: Doyle Somerby (NYI, 5th rd, 2012), Dalton MacAfee and TJ Ryan

The youngest recruit here turns 19 in September, despite half of this class coming straight out of high school. That said, a big intangible here is that this class has a boatload of inherent chemistry from the past. Brendan Collier is a heart-and-soul forward who captained Malden Catholic (MA-HS) to back-to-back state titles, while Nick Roberto is an electric goal-scorer who put up 23 goals in just 29 games for KUA (NE-Prep) last season. Dalton MacAfee and Tommy Kelley are teammates from St. Seb’s (MA-HS), while Ottawa pick Robbie Baillargeon put on a clinic in prep school heading to the USHL for the past two seasons and produced quite a bit there as well, though his scoring did (predictably) drop off.

For a more in-depth look at this class, check out our Recruiting Preview.

6. Minnesota-Duluth

Key Recruit: 94 F Dom Toninato

Why: A natural leader and skilled pivot with a ton of offensive awareness, the Mr. Hockey finalist plays the game the right way and makes his teammates better. The hometown recruit led Duluth East (MN-HS) to a ton of success before a terrific year with Fargo this past season, where he broke the Force’s single-season scoring record.

Forwards: Dom Toninato (TOR, 5th rd, 2012), Alex Iafallo, Sammy Spurrell and Kyle Osterberg

Defense: Carson Soucy (MIN, 5th rd, 2013), Willie Raskob and Dan Molenaar

The Bulldogs class at the six spot almost feels like a slight for how strong this class is. From top to bottom, every player is a seasoned prospect who seems poised to really contribute at Amsoil Arena before they become upperclassmen. Alex Iafallo is another Fargo veteran who had a good year for the Force with Toninato, while Kyle Osterberg will help to push the pace for the Bulldogs. Carson Soucy is a huge defenseman with pro upside and Willie Raskob out of Faribault is a sharp defenseman with an elite skill-set who was born to run Coach Sandelin’s powerplay.

Of note, a thin prospect farm for the Maple Leafs has Toninato and current Bulldog star (sophomore) Tony Cameranesi near the top of the Leafs’ organizational depth chart at center. The better they play at Amsoil, the sooner they may be headed to the Great White North.

Ed. Note: I spent way too long trying to separate BU and UMD. The difference? Three goalies or not, only one on roster (Matt McNeely) has provided results (another is a senior) and what moved the Bulldogs down here is not addressing what I perceive to be a lack of depth in the crease. Otherwise, you can consider this a tie.

For a more in-depth look at this class, check out our Recruiting Preview.

7. Harvard University

Key Recruit: 95 F Sean Malone

Why: Forward with a high compete level and a developmental curve that has turned sharply north in the past few seasons, Malone went from ripping apart scoring sheets for Buffalo-area prep school Nichols to making a serious impact for the NTDP’s U18 squad in no time.

Forwards: Sean Malone (BUF, 6th rd, 2013), Alex Kerfoot (NJD, 5th rd, 2012), Phil Zielonka, Luke Esposito, Devin Tringale and Tyler Moy

Defense: Kevin Guiltinan, Clay Anderson, Alec McCrea and Victor Newell

Despite just a few (late-round) NHL draft picks, this is a pretty deep class for the Crimson. Sean Malone will have an immediate impact, while cerebral pivot Alex Kerfoot was having his way with the BCHL before a shoulder injury sidelined him for the year.

It would not be a surprise if prolific sniper Phil Zielonka were to score more goals than anyone on the Crimson roster did last season, as the Crimson’s new big gun already has serious chemistry with Kerfoot and Esposito from last season. Devin Tringale is an underrated talent up front who won a prep school championship with Lawrence Academy in 11-12, while big defenseman Kevin Guiltinan adds some snarl and raw ability to this class.

This class, too, is used to each other. While it’s tough to pinpoint an intangible such as how used to each other, last season alone Phil Zielonka alone spent time on rosters with Kerfoot, Esposito, Moy and Newell. Newell was later traded to Waterloo where he played with Alec McCrea. If anything, it’s noteworthy.

For a more in-depth look at this class, check out our Recruiting Preview.

8. Quinnipiac University

Key Recruit: 94 F Peter Quenneville

Why: Game-breaking forward will make a home for himself in the Bobcat’s offensive zone very quickly. Quenneville oozes (almost too much) confidence and has a knack for scoring timely goals. The only ‘downside’ is that the Quinnipiac coaching staff couldn’t commit Peter’s highly talented younger brother, David, who has signed with the WHL.

Forwards: Peter Quenneville (CBJ, 7th rd, 2013), Sam Anas, Tim Clifton, Jason Stephanik, and Tommy Schutt

Defense: Connor Clifton (PHX, 5th rd, 2013), Joe Fiala, Brayden Sherbinen, Devon Toews and Derek Smith

Goaltending: Brady Rouleau

From Quenneville to the Clifton brothers, who could make their presence known early and often, the top-end of this class is strong and it doesn’t drop off too much either. Undersized forward Sam Anas, who committed in 2010, has proved doubters wrong at every level and should continue to do so, while Jason Stephanik and most of the incoming defensemen look like potential core players as well.

9. Providence College

Key Recruit: 94 G Nick Ellis

Why: Heir apparent to future Calgary Flame Jon Gillies’ crease. Ellis will have some time to prepare as Nate Leaman’s recruiting efforts come to fruition before he has to produce any results on a regular basis, which is about as ideal as it can get for a goaltender. My only Honorable Mention of the day will be here: Anthony Florentino, who should be a staple on the Friars blue for years to come.

Forwards: Niko Rufo and Conor MacPhee

Defense: Anthony Florentino (BUF, 5th rd, 2013), Kyle McKenzie and Josh Monk

Goaltending: Nick Ellis and Tyler Kapp

The fact that Gillies basically landed gift-wrapped into the Friars’ lap last summer, now looks like a Coach Leaman master stroke, as incoming goaltender Nick Ellis and third netminder Tyler Kapp (recovering from a season lost to injury) will not have the pressure of having to providing results all year, though they will benefit from a D1 goaltending coach all season and be well prepared for the coming years. Forward Niko Rufo could be a collegiate star in the making, as is big blueliner Anthony Florentino.

For a more in-depth look at this class, check out our Recruiting Preview.

10. Northeastern University

Key Recruit: 92 F Mike Szmatula

Why: In June, it looked like Szmatula might be another in an alarmingly long list of recruits who abandoned their commitments to Jim Madigan’s Huskies, as the Dubuque stand-out attempted to follow his junior coach Jim Montgomery to Denver. Madigan stood firm on holding his players to their NLI this time, and it should pay dividends. Szmatula, a tough, tough (yes, twice) opportunistic forward with tenacity and skill plays a game that should translate terrifically to the collegiate level. Szmatula scored 44 goals in his first and only USHL season after spending a season in the relatively unheralded MHL (Maritimes Jr. A). No reason to think he won’t have a similar transition to Hockey East.

Forwards: Mike Szmatula, John Stevens, Zach Aston-Reese, Dalen Hedges, Nathan Ferriero, Mike Jamieson, Will Messa and Tanner Pond

Defense: Matt Benning (BOS, 6th, 2013), Gus Harms and Jake Schechter

Northeastern has quietly assembled one of the best recruiting classes in the country, and slides in at ten to complete a Beanpot sweep here. Matt Benning is a stand-out from the Alberta league who played for Dubuque this past season. A rugged, efficient defenseman, Benning should be a rock for the Huskie’s blue line in the coming four years, while big EJHL defenseman Gus Harms brings some offense and Jake Schechter could bring some as well. Both are one year departed from stellar prep school seasons and had very respectable outings in their brief junior careers.

John Stevens is a former Salisbury (NE-Prep) captain who had a great first-year (with Matt Benning) on Dubuque this past year, and Nathan Ferriero is a prep scorer straight from Governor’s (NE-Prep) and joins brother Cody Ferriero (a senior) on the ice at Matthews this year. Ed. note. Forwards Zach Aston-Reese and Dalen Hedges are also members of this class, Aston-Reese a big forward from the USHL via Staten Island, and Dalen Hedges a prolific, undersized scorer from the CCHL.

2014 Preview

A lot of reading led up to this, so I’m going to do my best to keep myself to two sentences per team. Compared to the effort put into the list above, this is basically an after-thought and not necessarily indicative of 2014′s eventual rankings.

1. North Dakota

Why: Most recruiting classes have one marquee recruit, maybe two. UND has six: Nick Schmaltz, Austin Poganski, Ryan Gropp, Shane Gersich, Ryan Mantha and Chris Wilkie. Trevor Olson and Winnipeg Jets draft pick Tucker Poolman are no slouches either. Suffice it to say the last thing UND is going to be thinking about next season is an identity crisis.

2. Notre Dame

Why: North Dakota might have ‘best class’ all but locked down, but humor me when I say Notre Dame is biting at their heels with blue chips Sonny Milano, Connor Hurley, Cal Petersen and NTDPers Nathan Billetier, Joe Wegwerth as well as a number of other commits.

3. Boston University

Why: Jack Eichel. Two sentences, right?

4. Boston College

Why: Tanner MacMaster, JD Dudek, Zach Sanford, and Alex Tuch are a strong nucleus of players but some of them may instead arrive in 2015 with a little known prospect named Noah Hanifin.

5. Harvard

Why: A number of strong forwards including Dexter (NE-Prep) star Trevor Fidler, and a talented trio of D in Brandon Fortunato, Adam Plant and Wiley Sherman will all finally matriculate in Cambridge this year as the Crimson resurgence hits full swing. Big goaltender Merrick Madsen’s development this year will be a big factor for this class.

Henrik Borgström – A Hidden Gem for the 2016 NHL Draft

Henrik Borgström – A Hidden Gem for the 2016 NHL Draft

HIFK U20 center Henrik Borgström might be the most underrated Finnish prospect for the 2016 NHL draft. He was passed over in last year’s draft after playing only U18 hockey, though he was one of the top prospects on that HIFK team that reached the finals. A 1997 birthyear, he’s currently playing for the U20 team and has been an impact player on the first line. He has currently 25 points in 15 games, including nine points over the last three games.

Borgström has been a very notable player in each of the six games I have seen from HIFK U20 this season. He’s an entertaining player to watch because he can slow the game down and will make plays that no one could anticipate. Borgström can dangle with the puck even when there are two or three players around him. Has great hands and playmaking skills –  makes timid, heady passes in the final third. Also, he has a good wrist shot with a quick release. It’s difficult to defend against him because he can and will also shoot the puck. He’s a quick thinker and anticipates a lot of plays.

An area where he could improve is his physical game. He isn’t a particularly physical player but relies more on his stick and positioning. At times Borgström tries to do too much which can result in some mistakes, but in general he’s efficient and his skill level is much higher than many other U20 players. He’s a good skater as he gets where he needs to, plus his separation speed is impressive. He’s tall but could add some more muscle over the next years, meaning that he could become even more dominant.

At the moment I believe Borgström has a chance to be drafted in the late rounds of 2016 NHL Draft. I prefer him over some first-time Finnish draft eligibles as I think he is just starting to scratch the surface of his potential.

Select 70: Top 10 Uncommitted College Hockey Prospects, January 2014

Select 70: Top 10 Uncommitted College Hockey Prospects, January 2014

The season’s absolutely flown by since our last Select 70 uncommitted ranking in October, and as we move towards releasing an updated edition later next month, we’re going to be highlighting plenty of the top uncommitted talent around the country in preparation. Our refreshed top 20 newsletter this month saw a number of prospects make their commitments, including Jordan Greenway (#2, BU), Tyler Nanne (#9, Ohio State) and Ted Hart (#15, Providence), so we’ve got a new top ten. Other top prospects who recently committed include AJ Greer (BU), James Sanchez (Michigan), Jake Walman (Providence), David Cotton (BC) and Brandon Hickey (BU), but there’s still plenty of high-end talent available. It’s worth noting that top prospects Jakob Chychrun, Chad Krys, and Max Jones, all 1998s, remain omitted as we haven’t caught them live yet. Chychrun, skating with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens, would likely be our #1 in the country, while Krys and Jones are thought to be potential top five talents throughout the nation. With that, here are our top ten uncommitted prospects in the country.

1.    97 D Zach Werenski – NTDP U17

Height: 6’1, Weight: 201

Projected Role: #1 Defenseman – All Situations

London Knights (OHL) 2nd round draft pick shines all over the sheet and has been our top uncommitted prospect since summer. Among Boston College recruit Noah Hanifin (NTDP U17) and Swedish phenom Oliver Kylington (Färjestad BK), who is already playing pro hockey, the 2015 group of top-end blue liners is an exciting group. Where Werenski falls among them is still up in the air, but should he head to the NCAA, one has to expect he’d be in a top pairing role as early as 2015.

2.    97 F Luke Kirwan – NTDP U17

Height: 6’1, Weight: 232

Projected Role: Top Line Power Scorer

The 2016 draft eligible has a huge frame and the heaviest, most lethal wrist shot around right now. Very hard on the puck and comfortable with a frame that defines “imposing”, Kirwan’s highly regarded by the OHL (Guelph). He gets up the ice straight-away with velocity and has hands not often seen in a skater of his figure. Very effective in the offensive zone because he brings a combination of assets rarely seen and an undeniable nose for the net.

3.    96 F Ryan Donato – Dexter School

Committed: Harvard

Height: 6’1, Weight: 180

Projected Role: Top Line Scorer

Noted Active Schools: BU, BC, Harvard

No cerebral, game-breaking forward has seen their stock rise faster over the past year than the son of Harvard coach Ted Donato. At one point leading prep school in points as a sophomore, this year he’s taken it to another level. With 21 goals and a matching 21 assists to go with that, in just 16 games, Donato has Dexter already up 1 or 2 goals going into every game – and he’s even got a goal of the year candidate under his belt already, too. At the collegiate level, his uncanny ability to get past defenders and bring it to the net is going to translate well, as is his finesse in handling and firing the puck, and his deceptive playmaking vision.

4.    98 F Logan Brown – Indiana Jr. Ice U16

Height: 6’4.5, Weight: 200

Projected Role: Top Line Playmaker

The skater with the highest upside on our list, especially without Jakob Chychrun ranked, has to be Brown. Unless he gives a commitment soon, the son of NHLer Jeff Brown is earmarked to be our number one prospect soon and stay there for a while. He’s smart and skilled in the offensive third, making some really eye-opening plays right now and is an excellent skater for a prospect his size and age. With the Jr. Ice, he’s on pace for a big season offensively, at a goal-per-game pace and will be looked at to make offensive magic at every level.

5.    97 D Ivan Provorov – Cedar Rapids Rough Riders

Height: 6’0, Weight: 193

Projected Role: #1 Defenseman – All Situations

Noted Active Schools: Penn State, Yale, Cornell  (Jim Ecker, MetroSportsReport.com)

The former Wilkes-Barre Scranton U16 stand-out made the decision to jump up and play the best amateur competition available to him this season in the USHL, and he’s likely going to come out a much stronger player for it. He’s tough to play against, and he skates hard for his build, getting up the ice with pace. Brings an edge to his play off the puck, and highlight reel playmaking ability on it. In 51 games for WBS last season, Provorov tallied a 42-55-97 line in 51 games. With two of those old WBS teammates already committed to Penn State, Provorov too has talked to the Nittany Lions and would be a great pull for them, though other programs are in the mix too, and Major Junior will never be out of the conversation.

6.    97 F Wade Allison – Omaha AAA U16

Committed: Western Michigan

Height: 6’1, Weight: 200

Projected Role: Top Line Scorer

The Manitoba native is a dominant, athletic goal-scorer for the orange buckets down in Omaha this season, coming down after skating with now-Western Michigan recruit Colt Conrad last season for Pembina Valley (MB). The Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings (who drafted Allison) will want the smart, strong skater especially because he doesn’t get pushed around and has the ability to take over games. Allison would be a premier talent up front for a D1 program in just a few years.

7.    95 F Tyler Sheehy – Waterloo Black Hawks

Committed: Minnesota

Height: 5’10, Weight: 185

Projected Role: Top Line Versatile Threat

Noted Active Schools: BU, Denver, Minnesota, North Dakota, Western Michigan (Andy Baggott, Madison.com)

The former OSU commit has been playing on another level since this fall’s Elite League, where we named him our Elite League MVP, and hit the ice running in the USHL with 24 points in 21 games already. What’s most impressive about Sheehy is his versatility as his game is grounded in hockey sense and offensive instincts, so his compact frame limits his ceiling less than it otherwise would. He’s tough to play against and unselfish, rarely making the wrong play and getting into scoring position in a blink to pierce the opposing crease.

8.    99 F Sean Dhooghe – Chicago Mission U14

Height: 5’3, Weight: 120

Projected Role: Elite Playmaker

We didn’t expect to have a 1999 within our top ten, let alone one that stands sub-5’5, but Dhooghe’s a special player in our eyes. The younger brother of OSU recruit Jason Dhooghe has a natural feel for the puck and off-the-charts hockey sense, anticipating everything on the sheet and using his quick feet to get where he needs to be before everyone else. Even if he grows to only 5’6, the younger Dhooghe is arguably the fastest, smartest skater in the 1999 age group and tough as nails to boot. If he ends up a Buckeye, it should be viewed as a major coup for the program and the Big Ten. Has 20 points in 12 games, including 11 goals, to lead the HPHL’s Bantam Major division.

9.    95 F Alex Rodriguez – SSM Prep

Height: 6’0, Weight: 185

Projected Role: Top Line Playmaker

Hard-nosed forward plays the game fast and intense, using poise on the puck and a willingness to make plays in the hard area to great effectiveness. The late 1995 isn’t an elite playmaker, but his work rate on a shift-to-shift basis and vision serve him extremely well and allow him to wear other teams down. As a whole, the long-time Shattuck product is 5th-leading scorer on the countries top U18 team and plays a style of hockey that seems like it will translate beautifully to the D1 level.

10.    96 F Anthony Petrella – SSM Prep

Height: 5’9, Weight: 186

Projected Role: Top Line Finisher

The Fargo Force just acquired the USHL rights to the Sabres leading goal-scorer (24) for next season, and he’s already got serious interest from major programs through Big Ten and Hockey East. Not unlike Rodriguez, he hits the ice like he’s been fired out of a cannon and has advanced offensive timing that gets him into scoring position to bury with a wicked wrist shot. He’s a lethal threat with sustained possession, where he can slip through lanes as an unignorable threat, or on the transition. Isn’t afraid to throw his body around in the hard areas and make a play.

Thanks for reading. We’ll have a number of previews of top uncommitted prospects around the country as we get closer to our new Select 70 release in late February.

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