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.

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