Thursday, December 15, 2005

Former Marlies Update

Today's Wisconsin State Journal contains an update on Brendan Smith and Sam Gagner, two of the Marlies mentioned in my last post. It would seem that Smith has narrowed his college choices down to Wisconsin and Boston University. The story also mentions that Evan Trupp, from the BCHL Penticton Vees, is expected to make a college decision soon, choosing between Wisconsin for this year, or UNH or North Dakota in 2007.

Also having decided on a college route recently was Trent Palm from the US National Program, who chose to remain home at Minnesota Duluth rather than take offers from Cornell, Harvard and Providence. Carter Camper, from the Cleveland Barons, selected to attend Miami-Ohio when he graduates in 2007 over offers from Michigan State and Bowling Green.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Former Marlies Everywhere

Last year's Toronto Marlies midget team featured a core group of stars, several of which chose to pursue the NCAA route, and today rate as the top of the NCAA market. Of course, the player who will become its most famous alum is John Tavares, the 15 year old for whom the OHL changed its draft age rules. He is today in the OHL on his way toward becoming the next Sidney Crosby. Leading that team in scoring was Sam Gagner, who since has moved down the USHL to play with the Sioux City Musketeers. He has broken into the league's top 10 in scoring - a testament to his skills as a 16 year old in the veteran league. Recently, his father told the Wisconsin State Journal that he currently favors the University of Wisconsin, although Minnesota, Boston College, Boston University, and Michigan remain on his radar.

The other winger on the team with NHL bloodlines, Justin Vaive, now plays for the US National Development Program. Although he also may pursue the NCAA route, he was drafted by the Sudbury Wolves in last summer's OHL draft. For those who may not know, the Wolves are coached by Mike Foligno, who teamed with Vaive's father with the Buffalo Sabres in the mid-80s, and who enticed his own son (Nick) to jump from the US National Program in favor of the OHL.

On the blueline, the Marlies were led Brendan Smith, who was mentioned in the October 18th entry. Teams have lined up to speak with Smith at St.Mike's, and it is reported that Wisconsin, BU, Miami-Ohio and Michigan are at the forefront of that bidding. He, like Gagner and Tavares, were named last week to the Ontario Under-17 team, representing the top talent from the province.

Hidden somewhat behind Brendan Smith's shadow is Cody Goloubef who stepped out of that shadow in a big way by also being named to the Ontario Under 17 team. He is being recruited by Maine, New Hampshire, Boston University, Ohio State, Miami of Ohio, Cornell and Notre Dame

Speaking of the Milton Icehawks, they have seen both ends of adversity during this season. On the positive, the team is a juggernaut, chugging along at a 26-1-1 clip. Matt Price committed to Boston College late last season, and Jason Fortino committed to RPI back in October. Recent addition Jason Bergeron from the Brampton Capitals has a deal lined up with U.Mass-Lowell. Uncommitted forward Matt Read has attracted serious NCAA interest from schools such as Maine, New Hampshire, St. Lawrence, Niagara, Canisius & Massachussetts, and Chase Langeraap and Kevin Morrison also merit attention. Rearguard Jeff Caister also has parlayed his strong final season into scholarship offers. Fellow rearguard Ryan Bernardi recently landed a scholarship with Wayne State. Goalie Zach Kleinman also has drawn interest from NCAA programs such as Northeastern.

A black cloud hangs over the team, however, in the wake of a challenge by the rival Streetsville Derby team over the compensation Milton paid for two former OHL players, Luke Dubbin (formerly of Western Michigan) and Dan Falbo. The investigation into those charges resulted in Milton being fined $12,000, and having coach George Dupont suspended for the balance of the season. Milton owner Mario Forgione has threatened to sue the OHA because of the sanction. The "paying" of players at the amateur level -- amounts paid in excess of reasonable expenses -- is something often whispered about, but rarely can it be proven. The NCAA has declared the Major Junior Leagues to be professional leagues because of similar stipends paid to its players, with the assumption being that the Amateur Junior A leagues were different. Whether that distinction is more than fiction is open to debate, but it serves the NCAA.

Notes: Another alum of the Toronto Midget league (this time, from the Red Wing program), Louie Caporusso, who played for the Toronto Red Wings midget team last season, also made his college choice last week. He had narrowed his college choice down to UNH and Michigan, and ultimately chose to follow the path to Michigan, which has been travelled by his neighborhood (Woodbridge, Ont) friends Mike Cammalari and Andrew Cogliano.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

LOI Signings

With the early signing period now completed, here are the announced official signings released by schools:

BC - Matt Price
Maine - Purcell, Dee, Sill
U.Mass - Marcou, Grasso & Keane
Providence - Fayne
Colgate - MacIntyre & Williams
Quinnipiac - Duncan, Wong & Beaudoin
Alaska Faibanks - Campos, Knelsen, Lee
Bowling Green - Perkin, Ceplis, McIlrath, Greer
Lake Superior - Perkovich, George, Gysbers, Baird
Miami-Ohio - Palmer, Steffes, Wingels
Michigan - Summers, Kampfer, Lebler
Michigan State - Sprague, Rowe & Ratchuk to go with previously signed Turek.
Nebraska-Omaha - Klimek, Agosta, Kemp, Del Rosso, Olimb, Dupont
Notre Dame - Minella to go with previously signed Deeth, Lawson & Thang
Ohio State - Montgomery & Palmer
Western Michigan - Ludwig, Stockdale, to go with previously signed Letestu, Clackson & Zamparo
Alaska-Anchorage - Selby, Clark, Olthuis, Felde, Lunden, Hunt, Crowder
Colorado College - Quirico, Fredheim, Sweatt
Denver - Cheverie, Ruegsegger, Ostrow, Martin, Glasser, Rakhshani, Brookwell to go with previously signed Gifford
Minnesota - Flynn, Okposo, Carman, Johnson, Whers, Fisher
Minnesota Duluth - Stalock, Ryan, Dahlberg
Minnesota State - Mouliaret, Stewart, Irwin, Gunderson
North Dakota - Genoway, Marto, VandeVelde, Forney
St.Cloud - Gale, Noedl, Roe, Lasch, Ammerman, Gaudet
Wisconsin - Mitchell, Williams, McBain, Bearson, Geoffrion, to go with previously signed Suter
Robert Morris - Freiday
Canisius - Kostuch, Weeks
Wayne State - Bernardi

And, the US National Program announced that all of their 16 verbal commitments also executed letters of intent.

More updates as they come.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Updates during the early signing period

* Alaska-Fairbanks has secured a commitment from explosive Alberta forward Dion Knelsen, a move that was not unexpected following the verbal earlier this year from his older brother, Brandon.

* A surprise decision by Brian Lebler to commit to Michigan, who, it seemed as late as last week, was leaning toward Wisconsin.

* Vermont freshman Mike Atkinson has withdrawn from school after having been arrested for DWI, and will play for the Omaha Lancers this season. It will be interesting to see if that has any impact on the college choice of his younger brother, Chris, who has verballed to Vermont.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Playing catch up

In my last post I mentioned Erik Felde wanted out of Chilliwack, and probably would return to the USHL. Well, it turns out Vernon was able to trade for his rights, and he'll finish out the season there.

The USHL page has a profile on Des Moines center Trevor Lewis, who is selecting among Boston College, Maine, Ohio State, Ferris State, Michigan and Alaska-Anchorage.

Goalie Marc Cheverie has chosen to attend Denver in 2007, joining a class of Jesse Martin, Tyler Ruegsegger and Kyle Ostrow.

Anchorage has secured commitments from shifty center/winger Kevin Clark from Manitoba, along with Ken Selby, a 6'2 winger from Dauphin, who recently was identified as a potential NHL player by the NHL Central Scouting bureau, as he has picked up his offensive production. The third commitment up front came from Chilliwack winger Josh Lundeen.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Coming "Home"

Two committed defensemen are leaving the BCHL and returning back to the USHL. Garret Suter, who committed to Wisconsin last season while playing for the Green Bay Gamblers, has left the BCHL's Salmon Arm team and is expected to play for the USHL's Waterloo Blackhawks. He was nicked-up for part of this year, and scored only one goal and one assist in his 10 games, while compiling 31 penalty minutes.

Also returning to the USHL is defenseman Erik Felde. Last season, the former US National Development alum played forward for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders, but this off-season he elected to play defense for the Chilliwack Chiefs. There, he showcased his rushing skills on the backline, scoring 25 points in 20 games, and earning a scholarship to Alaska-Anchorage. However, he has left Chilliwack and looks to resurface back in the USHL.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Updates while FTP is down

Because of server issues, I can't update the Recruits page right now. But here are a bunch of new commitments:

Andrew Estey (Union/Alberni Valley-BCHL) - former Salisbury forward originally from New Brunswick. Good junior year, somewhat of a down senior year, now in top 10 BCHL scoring.

Brian Roloff (Vermont/Green Bay-USHL) - jumped to the USHL from the EJHL.

Pat Maroon (Ferris State/Texarcana-NAHL) - big rookie defenseman.

Matt Jones (Merrimack/Sioux City-USHL) - Follows Marty Quarters to Merrimack.

Kyle Friedlay (Robert Morris/Oakville-OPJHL)

More later.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Staying East, Staying West

Defenseman Kris Fredheim has made his decision, selecting Colorado College over Wisconsin and Maine (and a host of other offers). Also joining him at Colorado will be California native Dan Quilico, a speedy winger playing for the Trail Smoke Eaters of the BCHL (Peter Gerenazzo's old stomping grounds). The two visited Colorado this past weekend, along with Cushing goalie Rich Bachmeier, and committed shortly after the visit.

Deciding to stay out East was '07 defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, whose family hails from the New York City suburbs and whose older brother, Keith, plays for Princeton. Conventional wisdom, supported by recent indications, had Shattenkirk deciding to extend his stay in Ann Arbour and play for the Wolverines after his stint with the US National Program. However, that changed last week and Shattenkirk accepted BU's offer. Joining him on BU's '07 Blueline will be Philadelphia native, Colby Cohen, another US National player. The two represent two of USA's better 16 year old defensemen in the future.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Buzz

Up in Toronto, the St.Michael's Buzzers have restocked for another season in the Junior A circuit. The proud franchise has a long history as a feeder to the NCAA and to the OHL, going back to the 40s. The franchise operated in the old Metro Toronto Jr.B circuit back in the 70s and 80s, producing a host of college players such as Bryan Deasley, Ken Klee, Jason Muzatti, Mike Pikul, John Samanski, Jason Woolley, Wes Macauley, Andrew Will, Vince Bellisimo, Joe Cooper, Brian Ihanacek, Kevin Schmidt and Dan Pegoraro, and NHLers such as Tony Tanti, Eric Lindros, Sean Burke. The franchise took a year off in 1989 and again in 1997, but returned to the Ontario Junior A ranks. Since then NHL first rounders Wojtek Wolski and Andrew Cogliano have skated with the team.

This year's team carries on the strong tradition. The squad is led by winger Mike McKenzie, who already has secured a spot with St.Lawrence for next season. After skating in Cogliano's shadow last season, McKenzie has exploded out of the gate this year. In 15 games he has 32 points to lead the league in scoring. Among his 15 goals were a natural hattrick against Oshawa on the 12th. Making the feat even more remarkable -- indeed a record -- was that the goals were scored within 32 second, and two of the tallies were shorthanded.

Also on the forward lines is hulking 6'4 winger Brayden Irwin, who also has a scholarship tucked away for next year. The Vermont recruit has a good all-around game, and his developing his scoring touch.

Riding in the shadows this year is rookie Louie Caporusso, a 16 year old from Toronto. He ranks second on the team in scoring with 21 points, and his exciting play already has garned him a scholarship offer from, among others, UNH.

On defense two veterans lead the charge, with 6'4 Stephen Duffy and Western Michigan bound Julian Zamparo holding the fort. The young star is Brendon Smith. A first round OHL pick by the St.Mike's Major Junior team, Smith held true to his pre-draft statements that he wanted to explore the college route. After being turned away by the Sioux City USHL team because of his '89 age (his fellow Toronto Marlie midget teammate Sam Gagner was allowed to play because of his dual citizenship), Smith returned to Toronto to suit up for the Jr. A squad. With 10 points in his first 15 games, he has shown his offensive strength and skating abilities, and programs such as Michigan, BU, Wisconsin and Miami-Ohio have lined up to make their offers. Finally, Harry Taylor is another sturdy 6'3 defenseman who can move the puck up to the forwards.

The final line of defense is goalie Kain Tisi, who will accompany McKenzie to St.Lawrence next fall. Tisi holds all of the franchise goaltending records, and gets the majority of the playing time ahead of a capable backup Mike Binnington, who is himself an NCAA prospect.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Defensemen taking the plunge

Penticton's Deron Cousens, mentioned in last week's entry, has accepted an offer from Michigan Tech to play for them starting in '07.

In the USHL, Cedar Rapids' Kevin Wehrs elected to stay home and play for the Gophers in '07, rather than take offers from Duluth, St.Cloud, UNH or BU to play for them next season.

One top remaining defender is Notre Dame (SJHL)'s Kris Fredheim, an NHL pick this season, who has added offense to his game. Fredheim appears to have narrowed his college choices down to three schools - Maine, Colorado College and Wisconsin, and could make his decision before the November early signing period.

Over in the AJHL, Camrose Kodiak Chris Barton will visit Duluth, where Kodiak alumni Mason Raymond, Matt McKnight and Macgregor Sharp are playing.

Mismatch of the week comes from the USHL, where 5'5 Waterloo Blackhawk (and UMass recruit) James Marcou came out on the wrong end of a collision with 6'4 Cedar Rapids forward Ray Kaunisto.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Son of a Badger

The Penticton Vees have begun their return to prominance. Starting in the late 90s when it produced NHL players such as Chuck Kobasew and Duncan Keith, the franchise suffered recruiting wise because of dissatisfaction with Coach Bryan Perrier's style. Last season brought new ownership, and with it a new Coach in alum Bruno Campese, and new local recruits. Today's Wisconsin State Journal mentions that forward Brian Lebler (Penticton-BCHL), son of Badger Ed Lebler, has a scholarship offer from Wisconsin, and will decide between Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State.

Defenseman T.J. Miller, a native Californian who played significant minutes last year with Surrey, recently accepted Northern Michigan's scholarship offer. The playmaking defenseman on the squad is Ontario import Deron Cousens, who earned Rookie of the Year honors last year in the OPJHL. Another rookie defenseman is Ryan Wagner, who won the Saskatchewan Midget League's top defenseman honors over Eric Gryba. He's a 5'10 powerplay quarterback, but probably will take another year of juniors.

Robert Skinner is the playmaking center who has originated most of the passes for Lebler's goals. An '88 skilled prospect, he has lots of skills and vision, but is a very slight build that probably would benefit with more time at the junior level. He also is unselfish to a fault, meaning he scores few goals. Another new recruit who is in a recruiting battle is Evan Trupp. Trupp's father also played with Penticton before moving up to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. A speedy dangerous forward, Trupp has an offer from his hometown Anchorage squad. Unfortunately, big winger Alex MacLeod's knee injury has put him on the shelf for the season.

Notes out West:

The paths of two promising Alberta rookies collided last weekend, when 16 year old Spruce Grove rookie scoring sensation Jesse Martin (13 points in his first 8 games) was hammered into the boards by 17 year old defender Ian Barteaux of Ft.Saskatchewan. Martin lay motionless on the ice for several minutes and appears to have suffered a significant head injury, and will miss substantial part of the year. Barteaux received a 10 minute match misconduct and has been suspended indefinitely by the league while it evaluates the appropriate penalty -- expected to be a lengthy suspension.

An intersting note on Notre Dame's Blake Gallagher, who is tearing up the Jr.A circuit with 10 goals in his first 10 games. Because of the new Canadian Hockey rules on out-of-province players under the age of 18, Gallagher technically is an "affiliated" player on the Jr.A squad, meaning he has to play at least half of the season with the Notre Dame midget Hounds. As a result, he'll have to suit up for 22 midget contests in addition to the 55-game Jr.A slate.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Rust never sleeps

Michigan continues to pick up early commitments, the most recent being the commitment from US National Team player Matt Rust. A shifty 5'10 forward, Rust joins defensman Tristan Llewylyn in Michigan's 07 class that will be called upon to replace T.J. Hensick and defensemen Matt Hunwick, Jason Dest, and Tim Cook.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Small Man, Big Stick

Blake Gallagher, perhaps the purest goal scorer among the Canadian players this season, has committed to Cornell. Gallagher's pedigre is strong, having been named MVP of the Nova Scotia midget league for the Dartmouth Subways (Sidney Crosby's alma matter), and then moving on to the famed Notre Dame Hounds. There he has not missed a beat, scoring 5 points in his first exhibition game, and scoring once in his regular season debut. He also finished in the top five in scoring with seven goals and an assist in six games at the World Under-17 tourney last January.


Today's Halifax Daily News has additional information about Gallagher's commitment"

Gallagher, who fielded offers from 17 U.S. colleges, plans to study business at the Ivy League school. He said Cornell offers the perfect mix of academics and hockey. “To be able to get an Ivy League education and play for somebody who could contend for a national championship … I don’t think I could find that good of a mix of both anywhere else,” said Gallagher, whose father, Paul, is a National Hockey League scout for the St. Louis Blues. “That just kind of sold it for me.” Gallagher became interested in Cornell two years ago, when he attended a Big Red game. “I’ve never been to a game with that kind of atmosphere,” said the 17-year-old. “The students who go to the game all stand up and chant. It’s kind of an unwritten rule not to sit down. It’s just unbelievable.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Josh Gillam

Thanks to the comments section on the blog, I've located the following article on Ontario prospect Josh Gillam. Gillam was named his division's top rookie in the Ontario Provincial Junior League, and projects to be a very good scorer. As the article states, he is equally gifted in lacrosse, and therefore has drawn scholarship offers in that sport from Dartmouth, Yale, Johns Hopkins and Duke.

"Gillam, 17, has offers from Yale and Dartmouth universities for field lacrosse scholarships. There is a possibility he could play hockey at both schools, as well, but Gillam said the coaches want to see him play for the Stars this season.

In addition, Duke and Johns Hopkins universities have expressed interest in Gillam, an A student, for field lacrosse. Neither school has a hockey program.

'The schools haven’t had the opportunity, yet, to come up and watch me play hockey,' Gillam said. 'In all fairness to them, I should give them the opportunity to do that over the next two months. I want to still keep the door open for a hockey scholarship as well as lacrosse. All the schools coming up have shown interest in lacrosse and they need to see the hockey part now.' "

'07 prospect Travis Oleksuk also is a two-sport star: one as a playmaking centerman and one pitching and playing shortstop on a travelling team. Considered one of the more talented players in the OHL draft, he fell to the 6th round because of his interest in pursuing a college scholarship (he's already been recruited by WCHA teams.) This past week he was chosen by the Sioux City Musketeers in the USHL's future's draft (he was one of several top Ontario players to attend their tryout camp this August.) He's since returned to play for his Thunder Bay midget team.

Kief Orsini, the top scorer at the Beantown Classic tourney (see August 31st entry) has accepted a scholarship to Union, where he follows former Tabor teammates Chris Potts and Matt Cook.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Dartmouth nabs two from Alberta

88 center T.J. Galiardi from the Calgary Royals committed to Dartmouth over the weekend, followed a day later by 87 center Andrew Owsiak from the expansion Okotoks Oilers.
Galiardi is a top-end prospect who ranks with Nick Johnson as one of the best Alberta products to head down to Dartmouth. Even though he is one of the younger players in the league, Galiardi has not missed a step in his rookie campaign, scoring 4 goals in 3 pre-season games, and then netting one and assisting on another in the regular season opener. He looks to make an immediate impact once he steps onto campus next season.
Owsiak centered the top line for the famed Notre Dame (Sask) midget hounds, finishing second in the league scoring race with 80 points in 44 games. This season he moved on to the Alberta league, where he will be relied upon by the new franchise.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Update on Red Deer

In yesterday's notes, I linked an article from the Red Deer Advocate in which Red Deer's coach, Brent Sutter, commented on the status of Tri-City (USHL) forward Mario Lamoureux. The main focus of the article, however, was on Coach Sutter's disdain for the new WHL rules (which mirror those being adopted by the NHL). To those who remember Coach Sutter's hard-nosed playing style, his views on permissible obstruction and physical play vs. wide-open play is not surprising. Apparently, however, Coach Sutter's comments did not sit well with the WHL hierarchy, and today he was fined $1,000 for the comments.

Returning to roots:
Yesterday's news brought word that defenseman Pat Cullity from the Berkshire School would be playing for the University of Vermont, not Boston University, as was originally thought. According to the Burlington Free Press, BU and Cullity came to an agreement over the summer to release him from his commitment. On the hockey end, Cullity decided to return to Bershire rather than trying out for a spot on the deep Omaha Lancers blueline.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Pre-Season All-Rookie Picks

As the new freshmen step on campus last week, I thought I'd take a crack at predicting the league All-Rookie teams.

Rookie of Year: Chris Trafford, Mercyhurst

F-Trafford, Mercyhurst
F-Trapp, Sacred Heart
F-Robinson, Mercyhurst
D-McAdam, Holy Cross
D-Hostetler, RIT
G-Giffin, Canisius

Rookie of Year: Grabarek, Wayne State

F-Reaney, Niagara University
F-Grabarek, Wayne State
F-Jackman, Robert Morris
D-Bostock, Bemidji State
D-Kalinchuk, Alabama-Huntsville
G-Pagliero, Niagara Universtiy

Rookie of Year: Andrew Cogliano, Mich

F-Cogliano, Mich
F-Abdelkader, Mich St.
F-Condra, Notre Dame
D-Johnson, Mich
D-Eckford, Fairbanks
G-Spratt, Bowling Green

Rookie of Year: St.Pierre, Colgate

F-D'Alvise, Clarkson
F-Bellows, Dartmouth
F-Vokes, Brown
D-St.Pierre, Colgate
D-Fensel, St.Lawrence
G-Lange, RPI

Rookie of Year: Gerbe, BC

F-Bradford, BC
F-Lawrence, BU
F-Gerbe, BC
D-Motherwell, BC
D-Wild, PC
G-Quick, U.Mass

Rookie of Year: Phil Kessel, Minn

F-Kessel, Minn
F-Toews, N.Dakota
F-Gergen, Minn-Duluth
D-Lee, N.Dakota
D-Niskanen, Minn-Duluth
G-Nolan, Mich. Tech

Recruiting updates: Defenseman Barry Goers, who made the All-star team at the Beantown Classic, secured a scholarship from Lowell for the '06 season, where he will join his Green Mountain (EJHL) teammate, forward Paul Worthington. Lowell will be graduating its huge senior class, and already has put a big dent in replenishing the ranks by securing commitments from five forwards, two defensemen and goalie Neven Hamilton, who will become eligible in '06. Previously a member of the '06 class slated to play for Nanaimo (BCHL), Mark Roebothan has moved his commitment to this year to take the spot vacated when Ben Walter signed with the Bruins.

Red Deer Awaits: Red Deer Coach Brian Sutter continues to be vexed by Mario Lamoureux's indecision. As noted in the Red Deer Advocate Sutter still hopes the youngest Lamoureux will chose the WHL route, where his brother plays.

The 17-year-old American forward talked to Sutter on Sunday from his home in Grand Forks, N.D., and admitted he still hasn't decided whether he'll play a second season with Tri-Cities of the United States Hockey League or join the Rebels.
"He says he can't make up his mind, so how long do we go on like this as an organization?" said Sutter, who feels Lamoureux could play a regular shift with his team this season.
Lamoureux, who has dual American/Canadian citizenship, is hedging on committing to the Rebels because he has already been offered a hockey scholarship for the start of the 2007-08 season at the University of North Dakota.
"If he can't make up his mind we have to move in a different direction and he might over time find the one option is taking away from him," said Sutter.
"Here's a kid who as a 17-year-old would be one of our four centres, and yet he's chosen to stay and play at a lower level, which is junior A hockey. He does have a scholarship in place, but it won't take affect until he's 19 so for the next two years he'll play at a lower level. Is that what's good for him?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Ryan Flynn

US National Team winger Ryan Flynn, is visiting Boston College campus today, according to the Minnesota Gopher Puck Live message board. This comes on the heels of Flynn's visit last week to Wisconsin, and several unofficial visits to the hometown U. As that board speculates, BC would seem to have the inside track on Flynn, and certainly can use his size (6'2 212) to supplement the existing '06 class of Matt Price (5'10) and Ben Smith (5'11) and the '07 class of Ryan Gibbons (5'6) and Joe Whitney (5'7). By my guess, BC looks to have two more forward spots available in '06, and a spot on D. They have had interst in Phillips Andover winger Chris Cahill, although it is more likely that they will go out of the region to fill the remaining forward spots.

Bobby Butler, who was mentioned in the August 31st entry, committed to UNH on Friday. Butler is an intersting prospect who is the subject of divergent views in the scouting community. Against top competition he has played very well, and Butler's strong play at the recent Beantown Classic solidified UNH's interest, and well as drawing offers from Northeastern, Merrimack and U.Mass-Lowell. Butler's ties to UNH freshmen Kevin Kapstad and Jerry Pollastrone ultimately swayed him to join UNH in '06.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Gryba to USHL

The Nanaimo Daily News reports that Hockey Canada has denied the appeal of Saskatchewan-born Eric Gryba (see my August 25th entry), who was hoping to play in Nanaimo, BC this season. With the denial, Gryba is heading to the USHL to play with Green Bay. Gryba was named the top defensman at the Canadian national midget tourney, and is a good student, so will have many college options.

YearTeamGP GAPTS PMLeague
2003-04Saskatoon Contacts391 101189 SMHL
2004-05Saskatoon Contacts3211 294083SMHL
2004-05Melfort Mustangs 20004SJHL

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Quick hits

Just a couple of notes from around major junior training camps.

Defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who Bemidji discovered last year in the lesser-scouted Maritime Junior league, played his way onto the roster of the Moncton Wildcats and has elected to give up his '06 scholarship to Bemidji.

Tabor center Kief Orsini, fresh off an all-star performance at the Beantown Classic tourney (, had his major junior rights aquired by the Halifax Mooseheads. The Montreal, Quebec native has not yet made up his mind about which route to take, and had drawn interest from Colgate, Union and UNH. His linemate, Bobby Butler, was named tourney MVP, and he too continues to draw interest from UNH.

Out west, Mario Lamoureux has left the training camp of the Red Deer Rustlers in order to think over his options. His older brother, Philippe, is a goalie with North Dakota, and his other brother, Pierre-Paul, plays for Red Deer. Mario has an '07 offer to North Dakota on the table.

In Ontario, notables who have determined to keep their NCAA options open are St.Mike's first round OHL Bantam draft pick, defenseman Brendon Smith, who is suiting up for St.Mike's Junior A squad. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, he alread has made a summer tour of Wisconsin, along with BU, Michigan and Miami-Ohio.

Also on the plus side, Windsor's 2nd round pick, 6'2 defenseman Robert Bortuzzo from Thunder Bay, has rebuffed Windsor's offers, and did not attend training camp. His Thunder Bay teammate, center Travis Oleksuk, also looks to be headed the NCAA route, and therefore fell in the draft to the 6th round.

Finally, Waterloo defenseman Josh Duncan has committed to Quinnipiac.

Monday, August 29, 2005

That 90s Show

Paul Shaheen's informative Research on Ice (available by email at reports that Michigan received its third commitment this month from a homestate 1990 player, when David Wohlberg joined Robbie Craznick and A.J. Jenks as part of Michigan's Class of 2008. Also committing this month -- to Northern Michigan -- was another 1990 Michigan native, Justin Florek. That means that all of the 2008 commitments are from Michigan natives. So, what gives? Well, the Michigan group of 1990s stood out during the Summer's Select 15 Festival, and their play there helped secure the scholarships. (Czarnik and Wohlberg also stood out at last year's Select 14 Festival.) Also a potential factor is that the 1990 group follows the 1989 Michigan group that has not distinguished itself as clearly, as Andrew Yarber, Matt Rust and Anthony Maiani -- although strong college prospects -- have not attained the same star status as the '90 group.

It's likely that other schools will wait some time to secure commitments from the remainder of the 1990 class. Phil McRae also stood out, and parlayed his performance at the Festival into an invite to play as an under-age player with the USA National Development Team, but being from Missouri, has less exposure to the college scene. Minnesota's top ranked players, Jordan Schroeder and defenseman Nick Pryor will only be freshmen, so would take spots on the 2009 class. Out east, Jr.Bruins player Michael Cichy repeated his strong performance in the 2004 Select 14 Festival, but no 1990 defenseman established himself as warranting an early commitment. While few eastern 1990 forwards have cemented their 2008 standing, power forward Jimmy Hayes heads the 2008 wish list for nearly every eastern program, and solidified his top 1989-forward ranking during the recent International Under-17 tourney in Switzerland. Conventional wisdom has Harvard and BU gaining Hayes's attention, although others have offered.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Big Men Not Yet On Campus

Two towering defensemen are sure to make big splashes on the NCAA recruiting scene when they announce their college choices. Eric Gryba, a 6'4 farm boy was a second round pick in the 2003 WHL Bantam draft by the Portland Winter Hawks. He spent the last two seasons playing midget hockey with the Saskatoon Contacts, leading them this past season to the Canadian Midget championships. Gryba rebuffed the advances of the Winter Hawks, and the plan was for Gryba to make the oft-travelled path from Saskatchewan midgets to the Nanaimo Clippers of the BCHL. However, new Hockey Canada rules prevent midget-aged players from moving out of their home province, and rejected Gryba's attempts to circumvent that rule by moving in with a relative living in British Columbia. As a result, it looks that the NCAA recruiters will have to drive to Melfort Saskatchewan, where he'll suit up for the Mustangs of the SJHL.

The second towering '88 defenseman is Simon Danis-Pepin, a 6'6 defenseman from Gatineau, Quebec. The two met up in the Canadian Midget tourney, and like Gryba, Danis-Pepin rejected overtures from the Quebec League, where he would have been a top-5 pick in the midget draft. Late this summer he was one of 40 players selected to try out for the Canadian Under-18 team. Although Danis-Pepin failed to make the cut, his selection as one of only five 5 amateur players in his age bracket, speaks well of his abilities. He will be playing this year in the EJHL for the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs in Manchester, NH, has narrowed his college choices to two, and should be committing to a Hockey East school before the early signing period. He'll become the second tallest college player, behind North Dakota's 6'7 Joe Finley and next to BU's 6'6 Tom Morrow.

Update: With Keith Yandle's decision to move to Moncton, Maine moved quickly and secured a commitment from Danis-Pepin for this coming season.

*Gryba won the Saskatchewan Midget League's top defenseman award this past season. The player who won the award the prior year, Kris Fredheim, moved on to the Notre Dame Hounds, and played well enough to become a 6th round pick of his home-town Vancouver Canucks. Fredheim is a well-rounded player, but with decent offensive upside, and also will commit to a college program in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Welcome to the initial posting on my new web log. In the coming months I hope to add some notes, commentary and features on the potential recruits that are listed on my NCAA Recruiting listing (

As major junior camps open, a lot of potential NCAA recruits have made the decision to forgoe the NCAA route and instead sign professional contracts. Among them are Todd Chinova, a 16 year old from Connecticut, who decided to join the Quebec Remparts rather than the offer by the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL. Still up in the air is U.Mass recruit Vladimir Nikiforov, who is at the training camp of the OHL's Barrie Colts. St.Lawrence's Derek Keller also went east with his twin brother Jared so check out the Moncton Wildcats' training camp. As was expected, both left after 48 hours and will return to the Saskatchewan league. Moving on to the Moncton camp, however, is former UNH and Maine recruit, Keith Yandle. Moncton will be hosting the Memorial Cup this year, meaning it will have an automatic berth in the tourney. It's team, however, is far from formidable, and with Chris Bourque looking less likely to join the team, Moncton was a deep pocket team with few marquee players. Combine Yandle's academic struggles with Moncton's assets, and the offer was too good to pass up.

Some last minute shuffling by St.Cloud resulted in Craig Gaudet deferring his commitment for a season, and John Swanson leaving the Chicago Steel (USHL) a year earlier than expected to move up to St.Cloud. Chicago also suffered a late loss of goalie Greg Barrett, who moved on to Nebraska-Omaha when Chris Holt signed a pro contract with the NY Rangers. Combined with the late (although expected) loss of Billy Sauer to Michigan when Alvaro Montoya also signed with the Rangers, the Steel now have little experience in goal.

The Denver Pioneers scored a big coup for 2007 by netting fleet centerman Kyle Ostrow. Ostrow will play for Nanaimo of the BCHL, moving up from the Calgary Flames midget team of the Alberta Midget League. There he finished second overall in scoring, behind Chris Barton. Barton is the younger brother of Ohio State's David Barton, and will attempt to follow the scholarship route of Dan Bertram and Tyler Swystun, who blazed their path through the AJHL's Camrose Kodiaks. Barton's goal and assist per game average in midgets should make him a premier AJHL rookie this year, and a hot scholarship candidate.

Year Team GP G A PTS PM League
2002-03Calgary Flames40 1 1 0 AMHL
2003-04 Calgary Flames34 18 10 28 16 AMHL
2004-05Calgary Flames34 25 32 5742 AMHL

Year Team GP G A PTS PM League
2003-04 Calgary Buffaloes36 17 1027 32 AMHL
2004-05 Calgary Buffaloes 3634356946 AMHL