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.