Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Stacey finds a home

Wahs Satcey has committed to Vermont on Monday after visiting over the weekend of November 25th and seeing its 3-2 victory against Maine (which was another contender). Stacey also had considered Colorado College and St.Cloud State. Although Wahs took a detour out west to play bantam and midget hockey, he has returned home for college, as Vermont is just down the highway from Stacey's native Kanawahke, Quebec.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Grass is Browner

Catching up with Victor Oreskovich, who left Notre Dame for the Kitchener Rangers mid-year last year in an attempt to jump-start his pro career. A second round pick of the Avalanche, he failed to earn a contract this year, so returned to the Ontario Hockey League as an overage player. Now, he's persona non grata with Kitchener, following the footsteps of Alex Lalonde another former golden domer who jumped to the OHL.

It's about Victor Oreskovich.

Apparently, the overage winger is no longer with the team. Rangers coach and general manager Peter DeBoer refused to elaborate on what he called "an internal matter." Oreskovich disappeared after the first period.

"We don't really know what happened," Rangers captain Jean-Michel Rizk said minutes after scoring the winner with 55 seconds left in OT.

"We were sitting in the room. As we were going out, Vic didn't follow. We didn't get a chance to know what's going on there. I think we're going to have a team meeting (today)."

Good idea. Just before the Rangers hop on a bus for tonight's game in Erie, Pa., they can talk about how and why DeBoer sent Oreskovich packing during last night's game.

This had been building.

"It was a series of events," Oreskovich said when reached on his cellphone after the game.

"I don't fault Pete at all here. It's something I have to deal with. It's been my fault. I've been, not disruptive, but I haven't been a good teammate. Pete grew tired of me yelling at guys when they made mistakes. It came to a front tonight. He told me he's had enough, that was the last straw. To just pack up my things."

Oreskovich, a 20-year-old from Oakville who joined the Rangers a year ago next week after leaving U.S. college hockey at Notre Dame, admitted to yelling at a teammate after a Rangers power play last night.

"I can basically take responsibility," Oreskovich said. "Pete was trying to help me throughout the year with the mental side of my game. I have a tendency to get frustrated pretty easily. It's something I have to deal with."

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the OHL trade that saw the Rangers acquire the rights to Oreskovich from the Windsor Spitfires.

Now, his future is uncertain.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wow, you mean they don't dress 9 defensemen?

I wonder when this thought first occurred to Nigel Williams. We know it occurred shortly after Wisconsin's 10th game, last Saturday, where, with another DNP, Williams had seen action in only one game. At that point, he decided that seeing playing time was important to his development, and that with Wisconsin's defensive depth, he might not see regular ice time as a freshman.

OK. He's an NHL prospect, having been ranked 13th overall by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau for last year's NHL draft. He went 51st overal to Colorado. If he got a good education promise from the OHL's Saginaw Spirit (they of the positive Stephen Colbert fame, and the negative Matthew Corrente fame), then hockey-wise this might work out.

But it doesn't answer many questions. Clearly, having gone the NCAA route, he preferred the NCAA route to the OHL. While the question may be "why back out now?", it seems to me the more pertinent question is "if freshman PT was essential to you, why did you choose a team with 8 regular defensemen?"

The context for Williams' choice of Wisconsin is as follows. He was the last memeber of the current defensive group to commit, meaning he was not blindsided by Mike Eaves bringing in too many defensemen. Wisconsin already returned 6 regular defensemen in 06-07 (Klubertanz, Likens, Piskula, Drewiske, Olinger and Engel), received an early commitment in October 2004 from Garret Suter, and another in February 2005 from Jamie McBain. So, with 8 guys lined-up for 2006-07, how exactly did Williams figure he was guaranteed playing time?

Guys, there's a correlation between playing time and scholarship guys already on the depth chart. If you want the prestige of a top program, and one that has an inordinate number of defensive recruits, what can you expect?

Let's hope he can make the best of it up in Saginaw.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Revisiting Stacey

Since it's move to Tier I in 1987-88, the Notre Dame Hounds have used its pipeline from its famous midget program to produce top end talent out of the Saskatchewan league. The latest in the line is Wahs Stacey, a native american Mohawk from Quebec, who moved to the flatlands of Saskatchewan for bantam hockey. Drafted in the Quebec draft, he got 71 points in 44 midget games, and then bypassed the major junior route to move up to the Junior A Hounds. Last year, he earned the SJHL rookie of the year honors with 46 points in 49 games. Along the way, he visited Minnesota Duluth and made a commitment at the end of November. By April he had second thoughts, and withdrew his commitment, opening the process up again. This year he has narrowed his college choice down to a new group of schools: Maine, Vermont, St. Cloud or Colorado College.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

North Dakota legacies

The commitment of Brett Hextall to the Fighting Sioux effectively limited what they could offer Mario Lamoureux, brother of goalie Philippe Lamoureux and son of former Sioux goalie Pierre Lamoureux. Instead, Mario will be joining his brother Jacques with the Northern Michigan Wildcats. An older brother elected to go the WHL route with the Red Deer Rebels, and two younger sisters are highly regarded hockey players at Shattuck St.Mary's.

So, does that end the matriculation of Lamoureuxs to North Dakota? Not quite. Up in Drumheller Alberta, Cam Lamoureux is working through his first junior season. Cam is a '89 born power forward from Calgary. While not a progeny of Pierre, Cam's father Roger starred for the Sioux back in the mid-70s. No doubt the Sioux are keeping close tabs on the young winger.

Another Sioux target is Jason Gregoire, an '89 winger from Winnipeg. Last season's Manitoba Junior Hockey League Rookie of the Year has taken his game down to the USHL where he plays for former Sioux winger Steve Johnson. A fast start to his USHL season (5 points in 2 games) also has him on the radar of Denver and Wisconsin.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Western Canada Updates

The recent story confirms that Tyler Gron will pursue the NCAA route, begining his flydowns this month.

Brett Hextall, son of former NHLer Ron Hextall, and nephew to former North Dakota great Dennis Hextall (1963-66) has committed to North Dakota. Hextall has bounced around quite a bit, growing up in southern New Jersey, moved to Milton Academy as a sophomore, then playing last year at Northwood Prep after being asked to leave Milton. The fiesty Hextall has piled up penalty minutes and points in his rookie BCHL season.

North Dakota picked up another top forward in Brad Malone. Although his family has lots of NHL roots (his uncle Greg was a 15 year NHLer and his father was an NHL first round pick), he grew up in small-town Miramichi New Brunswick. He had western connections, having attended Chuck Grillo's Minnesota summer camps and his cousin Ryan Malone attended St.Cloud State. Ultimately, his college decision came down to Wisconsin and North Dakota and Grand Forks reminded him of home.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Gron Long Gone?

One of the top prospects out of the Alberta Junior Hockey League is Tyler Gron. Gron was a third round pick of the WHL Prince George Cougars, but didn't want to report to the remote city in British Columbia. Yesterday, the Cougars traded Gron's rights to the Medicine Hat Tigers, a team in Gron's home province of Alberta. The question is whether Gron will report to Medicine Hat. Prince George received a somewhat promising prospect in Jordie Deagle, and a conditional third round bantam pick. My take on the trade is that the 3rd round pick is equivalent to where Gron was picked by Prince George. Thus, if Gron doesn't report, Prince George receive the equivalent value. That the trade contains this condition suggests that Gron's reporting to the WHL is far from a done deal.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

College Hockey Freshmen

With the startup of the college season just on the horizon, I've taken the opportunity to put together my pre-season ratings for the incoming freshmen. In the coming week I'll also try and assemble a listing of my pre-season all-rookie teams and all-conference teams.

I assembled this listing blind, meaning I did not refer back to the order in which they appeared on my 06 listings. While there are a few differences in order, that can best be attributed to the fact that this is more of an "art" than a science. With this listing I also tried to focus more on initial college impact, rather than overall impact, meaning that players such as James O'Brien and Michael Forney, younger freshmen, may struggle initially, while others will impact sooner.

1.Kyle Okposo, Minnesota
2.Billy Sweatt, Colorado College
3.Blake Gallagher, Cornell
4.Andreas Nodl, St.Cloud State
5.Ted Purcell, Maine
6.Michael Carman, Minnesota
7.Rhett Rahkshani, Denver
8.Ryan Flynn, Minnesota
9.Ryan Lasch, St.Cloud State
10.Matt Butcher, Northern Mich
11.Blake Geoffrion, Wisconsin
12.Michael Forney, North Dakota
13.Chris Auger, UM-Lowell
14.Doug Rogers, Harvard
15.Dion Knelsen, Alaska-Fairbanks
16.Mike Davies, Wisconsin
17.Josh Gillam, Dartmouth
18.David McIntyre, Colgate
19.Aaron Lewicki, Ferris State
20.James O'Brien, Minnesota

1.Erik Johnson, Minnesota
2.Kevin Montgomery, Ohio State
3.Jamie McBain, Wisconsin
4.Kris Fredheim, Colorado College
5.Brian Strait, BU
6.Alex Biega, Harvard
7.Chris Summers, Michigan
8.Nick Schaus, UM-Lowell
9.Keith Seabrook, Denver
10.Michael Ratchuk, Michigan State
11.Carl Sneep, BC
12.Ed Del Grosso, Nebraska-Omaha
13.David Fischer, Minnesota
14.Eric Gryba, Boston University
15.Jason Lepine, Ferris State

1.Joe Palmer, Ohio State
2.Alex Stalock, Minnesota Duluth
3.Brett Bennett, BU
4.Brad Theissen, Northeastern
5.Ryan Simpson, Providence

Monday, September 11, 2006

Training Camps Open

Sure, You're Good at 15, but...
The exceptional Western College Hockey Blog, a usual stopping point for me, contains an interesting analysis of the 2002 Select 15 Festival, and what that snapshot shows about player development.

Player Movement
With the major junior training camps now open and exhibition season in full gear, a few potential NCAA picks have made their decision about their future course. Two highly regarded Ontario '89 defenders, Steve Tarasuk and Kevin Mole each selected the OHL route, after having their rights traded from the Ottawa 67s. Mole, whose brother is at Yale, plays for the Kingston Frontenacs, and Tarasuk was traded to the Kitchener Rangers. Ottawa also had Scott Pitt ('88) leave the team after having earned a roster spot, choosing instead to take a scholarship with Mercyhurst. Lastly, Ohio State lost its first '90 commitment when Kelly Geoffrey, who had been picked in the 3rd round of the OHL draft, elected to play with the Erie Otters.

Early Returns
Getting out of the gate strong in the BCHL is Riley Nash, a highly regarded 89 with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. In Vernon, tiny '90 dynamo Kyle St.Denis, a top scorer in Jr.B and a member of this year's BC Under-17 team, recorded in 4 points in his first game of the year. In Alberta, highly regarded Tyler Gron has set an early pace that should make him one of the top recruits from the league.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Wisconsin State Journal Updates

Today's Wisconsin State Journal reports that Brad Malone, featured here back on February 25th ("you looking at me?") has narrowed his choices to 4 western schools, including Wisconsin, North Dakota, Denver and Michigan. Malone's narrowing of his choices to western teams seems a change of perspective, as the web page he created at Cushing while a sophmore reported that he wanted to attend school in the Boston area.

It also notes that Finnish forward Jan-Mikael Juutilainen, who I reported as having verbally committed to Nebraska-Omaha back in March, is still being recruited by Miami-Ohio, UNH and Wisconsin. At Omaha he'll play with Omaha native Brett Bruneteau, who also is in the middle of a recruiting battle between Wisconsin, hometown Nebraska-Omaha, Colorado College, Denver, Minnesota and Michigan.

Edit: Correction, Juutilainen will be playing for Waterloo, not Omaha.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Odds and Ends

Early Frost
Back on April 26, I noted the numerous allegations against agent and former Junior A operator Dave Frost, as they related to a TV report on misconduct by the Pembroke Lumber Kings. Last week Frost was arrested on charges of
sexual misconduct. While this is a positive step, one question that remains is how the Central Ontario Junior League has reacted to the news. Background on the relationship between Frost and Marty Abrams was in my earlier blog entry. And the earlier news related to misconduct by the Pembroke Lumber Kings, which was operated by Kevin Abrams. Well, the COJHL obviously realized that it had to do something, so it highlights its policy on its web page:

The CJHL is committed to ensuring that the teams within the league operate in a responsible manner. Any inappropriate conduct directed towards a player within the league will be dealt with firmly. The CJHL encourages anyone with concerns regarding conduct detrimental to the players to report their concerns to the team management or if necessary to the League Executive.

Laudable. So, what is my question? After the incident the COJHL had a major political battle, involving long-time Pembroke coach Mac MacLean(who was fired by new Pembroke owner and Frost protege Sheldon Keefe) who then became league Commissioner. As Commissioner, MacLean banned David Frost from involvement in the league. Well, that battle has been won by the Frost group, by which Pembroke owner Kevin Abrams became the COJHL commissioner. How will Abrams enforce his new zero-tolerance policy?

USHL notes
Some last minute shuffling always occurs heading into the season. Last year it was the exodus of goalies, leaving the USHL pretty weak at that position. This year, the USHL shapes up pretty well so far. Sioux Falls lost Jay Barriball, when he took Phil Kessel's spot at Minnesota. Filling that spot is Massachusetts native Robbie Vrolyk, a promising former member of the 2005 USA Under-17 team. 1990-born Californian Max Nicastro has earned a spot on Omaha's pre-season roster, which will again be a pretty young team, with another 1990 born player, goalie Jordan Tibbett. Chicago retained a good scorer in Brandon Coccimigio, who had looked to be headed to Mercyhurst, but who will instead put in another USHL season.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

USA Hockey has announced the composition of the two Select teams that will compete for at the Under 17 tourney this year. Unlike past years, in which USA sent one team to the Under 17 tourney in Priestany, Slovakia, this year USA will host a tourney August 12-18 in Rochester, NY, featuring teams from Switzerland and Germany. To fill the rosters, USA dipped into the 91 pool, with each team made up of 16 90s, and 4 91s.

Team White, coached by Carey Eades, and assisted by Brian Renfrew is as follows:

2006 United States Under-17 Select Team White

No. Name Ht. (cm) Wt. (kg) Birthdate S/C Hometown 2005-06 Team
1 Jordan Tibbett 6-1 (185) 175 (79) 1/6/90 L Indianapolis, Ind. Honeybaked (Mich.) (midget)
30 Matthew Walsh 5-10 (178) 175 (79) 2/13/90 L Milton, Mass. Neponset Valley (Mass.) River Rats (midget)

2 Cam Fowler 6-1 (185) 180 (82) 12/5/91 L Northville, Mich. Honeybaked (Mich.) (bantam)
3 Ryan Grimshaw 6-0 (183) 180 (82) 1/28/90 R Rochester, N.Y. Salisbury School (Conn.) (prep school)
4 Austin Handley 6-1 (185) 190 (86) 4/4/90 L Clarkston, Mich. Honeybaked (Mich.) (midget)
5 Brett Kostolansky 5-10 (178) 175 (79) 1/27/90 L Denver, Colo. Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Minn.) (prep school)
6 Sam Lofquist 6-1 (185) 175 (79) 3/15/90 R Faribault, Minn. Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Minn.) (prep school)
7 Drew Olson 5-11 (180) 195 (88) 4/4/90 L Brainerd, Minn. Brainerd (Minn.) (high school)

8 Chris Brown 6-2 (188) 180 (82) 2/3/91 R Flower Mound, Texas Dallas Alliance Bulldogs (bantam)
9 Zach Budish 6-2 (188) 200 (91) 5/9/91 R Edina, Minn. Edina (Minn.) (bantam)
10 Patrick Gaul 5-8 (173) 170 (77) 2/27/90 L Pittsburgh, Pa. Pittsburgh Hornets (midget)
11 Ben Hanowski 6-1 (185) 180 (82) 10/18/90 L Little Falls, Minn. Little Falls (Minn.) (high school)
12 Sean Logue 6-1 (185) 183 (83) 11/16/90 L Walpole, Mass. Boston Jr. Bruins (midget)
14 Kellen Michalak 5-11 (180) 185 (84) 6/20/90 R Caro, Mich. Midland (Mich.) Northstars (midget)
15 John O’Neill 6-0 (183) 160 (73) 4/4/90 L Ramsey, Minn. Anoka (Minn.) (high school)
16 Troy Power 5-11 (180) 172 (78) 3/29/90 R Camarillo, Calif. California Wave (midget)
17 Kenny Ryan 5-11 (180) 187 (85) 7/10/91 R Franklin, Mich. Honeybaked (Mich.) (bantam)
18 Shawn Szydlowski 6-1 (185) 210 (95) 8/5/90 R St. Clair Shores, Mich. Belle Tire (Mich.) (midget)
19 Alex Velischek 5-11 (180) 187 (85) 12/17/90 L Kinnelon, N.J. New Jersey Devils (midget)
20 Mitchell Wahl 5-11 (180) 170 (77) 1/22/90 R Seal Beach, Calif. LA Jr. Kings (midget)

Rick Bennett serves as the head coach for the Blue team, assisted by Kyle Wallack and Sean Tremblay.

No. Name Ht. (cm) Wt. (kg) Birthdate S/C Hometown 2005-06 Team
1 Garrett Beckwith 6-0 (183) 165 (75) 1/4/90 L Parsippany, N.J. New Jersey Devils (midget)
30 Josh Watson 6-1 (185) 160 (73) 8/7/90 L Lititz, Pa. Central Pennsylvania Panthers (midget)

2 Joe Gleason 5-9 (175) 170 (77) 3/30/90 R Edina, Minn. Edina (Minn.) (high school)
3 Aaron Ness 5-9 (175) 155 (70) 5/18/90 L Roseau, Minn. Roseau (Minn.) (high school)
4 Max Nicastro 6-2 (188) 175 (79) 3/2/90 R Thousand Oaks, Calif. California Wave (midget)
5 Steven Spinell 6-0 (183) 190 (86) 9/9/90 R Vernon Hills, Ill. Team Illinois (midget)
6 David Warsofsky 5-9 (175) 155 (70) 5/30/90 L North Marshfield, Mass. Cushing Academy (Mass.) (high school)
7 Chris Wideman 5-10 (178) 165 (75) 1/7/90 R St. Louis, Mo. St. Louis Amateur Blues (midget)

8 Mark Anthoine 5-11 (180) 182 (83) 9/6/90 L Lewiston, Maine Portland (Maine) Jr. Pirates (AJHL)
9 Brett Beebe 5-11 (180) 176 (80) 2/16/90 R Redondo Beach, Calif. California Wave (midget)
10 Max Cook 6-1 (185) 160 (73) 6/3/90 R Frankfort, Ill. Chicago Mission (midget)
11 Nate Dewhurst 5-9 (175) 155 (70) 4/1/90 R Johnston, Iowa Culver Academy (Ind.) (prep school)
12 Kyle Jean 6-2 (188) 180 (82) 3/1/90 L Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Soo Indians (Mich.) (midget)
14 Pat Mullane 5-11 (180) 185 (84) 7/31/90 L Wallingford, Conn. Avon Old Farms (Conn.) (prep school)
15 Zach Tatrn 6-2 (188) 210 (95) 2/14/91 R Lower Burrell, Pa. Buffalo (N.Y.) Regals (bantam)
16 David Valek 6-2 (188) 186 (84) 3/19/91 R Orem, Utah Ocelari Trinec (Czech Republic) (Extra Liga)
17 Ryan Walters 5-10 (178) 167 (76) 7/30/91 L Rosemount, Minn. Rosemount (Minn.) (bantam)
18 Steven Whitney 5-6 (168) 155 (70) 2/18/91 R Reading, Mass. Lawrence Academy (Mass.) (prep school)
19 Jake Youso 6-0 (183) 173 (78) 6/8/90 L International Falls, Minn. International Falls (Minn.) (high school)
20 Matt Zarbo 6-1 (185) 185 (84) 5/7/90 L Grand Island, N.Y. Boston Jr. Bruins (EMJHL)

Friday, July 28, 2006

More on Mass hockey

I've had a college coach chime in with his insight on the issues confronting the lack of player development in Massachusetts. Below was his input, followed by my response:

I think the decline has to do with the state of high school hockey in Massachusetts. I grew up in Massachusetts and played youth and high school hockey there. I was neither the best player ever to skate for my high school team nor the worst, however much like my friends and teammates, I bled the school colors. And the reason for this love is clear to me. There is a sense of belonging and identity in growing up playing youth hockey on successful town teams; its almost like you are in the farm system of the big club, and that hopefully you'll get called up for a chance at the apple. We all wanted to taste it, the crowd, the prestige, the win.

The state of professional hockey in Boston did not have much influence on the development of my friends and me, and although we dreamed of growing up and playing in the NHL our true heroes were on the high school team. If you ask any of us who graduated around 1990 about our fondest memories watching hockey, they will most likely take place in a packed home rink during high school games against our rivals, at The Garden or in State Championship games.

Our idols and heroes would be the alums at our high school who had successfully moved on to college. For some, the goal after high school was to play college hockey. The route to college hockey was clear as well. Massachusetts high school kids were not leaving for prep-schools and juniors until maybe after their senior year. There was pressure from both sides where high school coaches could promote their talent to colleges and your teammates growing up saw it as a betrayal for leaving the town team. I think that familiarity is gone, with it the desire, and players today might not know what it takes because the path is not clear and lay out in front of them. The goal isn't there every winter weekend for them to feel, hear and see. The passion in those high school games was electric and moving. A sense of pride and respect for the town, the high school players and coaches was created by the local climate you grew up in. The rivalries that exist between different towns stem deep throughout the entire youth hockey system and all school sports. You grow up despising talented kids from other towns and will do anything to beat them in a game. All the moves you make coming up have a major influence on the way the coaches and players view your talent and commitment level when you get to high school. Peter Masters comment as he "refers to the parents' role in creating ego driven players unwilling to work as hard. 'Back then, parents would yell at their own kid, skate harder, move,' now the parents are yelling at the other players or the coaches or the refs" in some ways reflects my opinion. If you were lazy or bad kid, the word spread throughout the whole system all the way to the top, which was the varsity coach. You learn to take what coaches dealt; to get tough, to skate all day, because you had to, there was nothing else. That's what made kids better. Now the kid will just go to another team, which isn't that big a deal because it works for others. Now the coach has no control.

Kids have so many avenues now, that the focus is sometimes gone. It used to be hard for a freshman to make our high school varsity team, almost all played junior varsity. It was a right of passage. God, there were seniors on the j.v.. Now you see tons of freshmen on their varsity teams, because the better developed older players have most likely left. Look at high school hockey in states like Minnesota, and combine it with your comment of "Well, Minnesota did not send its players to the Select 14 festival." Why? They have the protection of the high schools still being the big show (packing the State Tourney), they don't have all the prep schools to worry about, most of their early departures go to the USHL (without all the Junior A, B and C teams that exist out east), they have their own junior elite league which actually promotes the high school hockey culture, the player pool is more condensed and the competition is greater, and because they don't want to turn into Massachusetts. I think that in order for Massachusetts hockey to improve from the bottom up, it would have to change at the top first.

My response on this issue:

You're probably right that this is a factor for many kids, but I still question how much it plays into the issue for the elite kids. No doubt the average hockey player will be more motivated by the prospect of playing HS, but my question focuses more on the lack of elite kids in Mass/NE. As you know, those kids usually hit the radar as early as age 14, as freshmen in HS. But looking at the tourney results for that age bracket, the Mass kids already are behind the curve. There are few Carpenters, Ryan Whitneys, etc. out there, and this is before the impact of their high school coaching or junior hockey. Its not a case of Mass having elite 13 or 14 year olds, but their skills stagnating from 14-18. So the issue to me is whether (1) the kids in Mass no longer have the skills (in comparison to Minn, Mich, etc.), or (2) the Mass. kids with those athletic skills are going into other sports, because they play baskeball/baseball instead of stick hockey at ages 8-13. My sense is that kids in Mass no longer play pond hockey, as hockey in the metro area is all finding a rink, which restricts access to playing (in comparison to the Land of 10,000 lakes, where the culture still has them playing pond hockey). Without the social "pressure" of it being the thing to do (created to a large degree by whether Boston is a hockey town), kids or their parents are less inclined to plunk down hundreds of dollars for ice time during the formative years. Hence, the smaller talent pool manifesting itself as early as age 13.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Mass Development Issues, Redoux

When the top '92 players gathered last week at Rochester, NY for the USA Select 14 festival, it represented further evidence of how far behind Massachusetts has fallen in developing talent. Charles Bando, who finished second in tourney scoring, was the only Massachusetts native to finish in the top 44 scoring. Of course, it would be wrong to read too much into the pure scoring statistics except that these results are consistent with the overall decline that we've seen among Massachusetts prospects.

So, where are the top scorers coming from? Well, Minnesota did not send its players to the Select 14 festival. Leaving aside Michigan and Illinois, which had their now usual strong showings, Pennsylvania had 6 players among the top 44 scorers, and California produced 3. Say, did the Penguins or LA Kings do something in the mid-90s to rejeuvinate the hockey community in the way Bobby Orr did to Massachusetts in the mid-70s? Texas also had 3 players (correlating to the arrival of the Dallas Stars). And, while we're at it, did Jeremy Jacobs do something to the Bruins in the mid-90s that correlates to the decline in interest among Massachusetts kids?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Here come the 91s

Today brings word that the second '91 -- and perhaps the highest one out there -- has committed to the college route. Central Ontario (up north near Sudbury) center Matt Duchene gave his word to the Michigan State Spartans that he intends to enroll in the fall of 2009. The International Scouting Service rankings (ok, crystal ball) for the 2009 draft has him fourth for the draft, meaning that he's a top-end 91. Duchene is the second 91 to commit, after Ferris State's April commitment of Beau Schmitz, and the fourth commitment for 2009, as Nebraska-Omaha already had secured Norweigan center Fredrik Csisar and Wisconsin has Nick Pryor for that fall. Of course, Saskatchewan '91 defenseman Jared Cowen expressed unhappiness with being selected by the Spokane Chiefs first overall in the WHL bantam draft, and already has expressed an interest in college programs such as Michigan.

Bear in mind, that all such commitments from 15 year olds are tenuous as the kids grow and change their perspective - moreso when the OHL plans get more specific after the OHL draft. State needs look no further than over to Ann Arbor to see what happened to A.J. Jenks, one of the first 90s to commit.


USA HOOCKEY announced its' Select 18 team that will travel to the Czech Republic.

No Name Ht (cm) Wt (kg) Birthdate S/C Hometown 2005-06 Team
1 Dayn Belfour 6-0 (183) 195 (88) 5/27/89 L Toronto, Ontario Victory Honda (Mich.) (midget)
30 Jeremy Smith 6-2 (188) 160 (73) 4/13/89 L Brownstown, Mich. Plymouth Whalers (OHL)

2 Jonathon Blum 6-1 (185) 170 (77) 1/30/89 R Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. Vancouver Giants (WHL)
3 David Carle 5-11 (180) 170 (77) 11/9/89 L Anchorage, Alaska Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Minn.) (prep school)
4 Tommy Cross 6-3 (191) 195 (88) 9/12/89 L Simsbury, Conn. Simsbury (Conn.) (high school)
5 Vincent LoVerde 6-0 (183) 205 (93) 4/14/89 R Chicago, Ill. Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL)
6 Ryan McDonagh 6-1 (185) 195 (88) 6/13/89 L Arden Hills, Minn. Cretin-Derham Hall (Minn.) (high school)
7 Nick Petrecki 6-3 (191) 215 (98) 7/11/89 L Clifton Park, N.Y. Omaha Lancers (USHL)
8 Matt Tomassoni 5-10 (178) 160 (73) 7/30/89 R Carol Stream, Ill. Chicago Mission (midget)

9 Cam Atkinson 5-7 (170) 155 (70) 6/5/89 R Riverside, Conn. Avon Old Farms (prep school)
10 David Brownschidle 6-1 (185) 185 (84) 5/23/89 R Lawrenceville, N.J. Tri-City Storm (USHL)
11 Brett Bruneteau 5-11 (180) 183 (83) 1/5/89 L Omaha, Neb. Omaha Lancers (USHL)
12 Joe Diamond 5-6 (168) 152 (69) 6/16/89 L Long Beach, N.Y. New York Apple Core (EJHL)
14 Shane Harper 5-10 (178) 178 (81) 2/1/89 R Valencia, Calif. Everett Silvertips (WHL)
15 Jimmy Hayes 6-5 (196) 210 (95) 11/21/89 R Dorchester, Mass. Noble & Greenough (prep school)
16 Mike Hoeffel 6-2 (188) 185 (84) 4/9/89 L North Oaks, Minn. Hill-Murray (Minn.) (high school)
17 Tyler Johnson 5-9 (175) 155 (70) 1/4/89 R Cloquet, Minn. Cloquet (Minn.) (high school)
18 Eddie Olczyk 5-11 (180) 172 (78) 6/17/89 R Long Grove, Ill. Pittsburgh Predators (midget)
19 Nico Sacchetti 5-11 (180) 185 (84) 8/21/89 R Virginia, Minn. Virginia (Minn.) (high school)
20 Thomas Serratore 6-0 (183) 170 (77) 7/16/89 L Colorado Springs, Colo. Colorado Thunderbirds (midget)
21 Matt Thurber 5-10 (178) 185 (84) 10/2/89 R Beaver Dam, Wis. Omaha Lancers (USHL)
22 Patrick White 6-1 (185) 190 (86) 1/20/89 R Grand Rapids, Minn. Grand Rapids (Minn.) (high school)

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Yesterday's Quebec midget draft carried a bit less drama than last year's event, during which Angelo Esposito and Patrick Roy played the "NCAA card". This year, 2nd rated Patrick Cormier made a weak attempt at the game, holding out of pre-draft media events, but them emerging from the shadows to become the 5th overall pick.

One player who is serious about the NCAA route is Dartmouth NS defenseman Alexi Pianosi - who followed Blake Gallagher as the Nova Scotia midget league MVP - who is headed to Salisbury Prep.

Of the US players, the only high selection was Junior Bruin forward Mike Cichy, who has a spot with the US National Development program and lots of NCAA offers. He became a 3rd round pick of Halifax. As is par for the course, their local paper is bullish about Cichy's chances of reporting.

Cichy has not yet committed to the QMJHL, but he is a safe bet to report. He toured Moncton and Quebec City earlier this year and Mooseheads American scout/liaison Chris Hamel and Patenaude met with him and his family several times last year.
"The thing for me and Chris, but mostly Chris, is that we have a good relationship with his father," Patenaude said. "We went to see him often this winter and he likes what we do, likes our program. He’s very interested in Halifax so if he comes now or he comes later, that’s something we’ll have to wait and see. But we’ve got the feeling they like what we’re doing and they like the organization. We’ve got a good feeling from them."

U.Mass recruit Danny Hobbs appears to be less of a risk , although the article also is high on him:

One independent scout said 11th-round pick Danny Hobbs out of Stanstead College in Quebec was a major sleeper who has "top 10 ability."

Friday, June 09, 2006

Ontario Goalies

With North Dakota's Jordan Parise choosing the pro route, today brings confirmation (long rumored by the North Dakota fans) that Wellington Dukes goalie Anthony Grieco will be enrolling this August to back up Phil Lamoureux.

Another Ontario goalie who may soon get a college offer is '85 goalie David Wilson of Streetsville. One rumor has Wilson next in line at Maine, after USHL goalie Josh Murray gave up trying to gain admission and instead chose the OHL route.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Eastern Development Issues

A recent article in the Boston Herald has provoked a fair amount of discussion concerning the decline of the Massachusetts talent pool.

“No question, no question at all,” said York. “Through the 80s and early-90s we were really producing some tremendous players. We still have some good players, but for some reason - and I really can’t put my finger on why - it’s not like it used to be. We see it at the college level and the pros see it at the next level.”

The article then identifies potential factors for a drop-off. However, the factors identified by those addressing the subject would seemingly apply everywhere in the U.S., and therefore not explain the decline in Massachusetts, but the rise in Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois. For example, the Junior Bruins' Peter Masters refers to the parents' role in creating ego driven players unwilling to work as hard.

“Back then, parents would yell at their own kid, ‘Skate harder, move,’ ” he said. “Now the parents are yelling at the other players or the coaches or the refs. It’s everyone else’s fault. When you’re sending the wrong message for 10 years, that has to have an effect on players by the time they’re 16 or 17.”

NHL Scout Tom Songin focuses on hitting being allowed at a younger age:

“The contact is killing the development,” said Bruins New England amateur scout Tom Songin. “Massachusetts hockey is really in trouble. The last few years, I’ve seen the quality of play go way down. If they don’t fix this fast, in a few years there won’t be anyone around here for me to scout.

Finally, Bob Turow, the President of and the chief scout for the USHL, cites the starting talent pool:

For Turow, one simple fact is at the core of the apparent growing ability gap between the Mass. and Canadian youngsters:

“In Canada, our best athletes are playing hockey,” he said. “An awful lot of your best athletes down there typically are playing baseball or football or basketball. Those are the sports that are ingrained in the USA, and I don’t see it shifting to hockey in huge numbers.

Again, while the point may be valid, it applies equally to kids in Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois. Yet, those areas are cranking out the Phil Kessels and Eric Johnson's of the world, both of whom will be going in the top 3 of the 2006 NHL draft, or Kyle Okposo, Peter Mueller or Michael Fortney who should go in the top 15. The development lag does not seem to be prevailant outside of Massachusetts.

Ultimately, the article concludes with the one real factor unique to the Massachusetts system: its "midget" system.

A city like Chicago has just four so-called youth teams at the AAA level - denoting the highest-quality of play. Pittsburgh has only two. Immediately around Boston, there are at least two dozen teams purporting to AAA status - and not nearly enough legitimately talented players to stock them. But youth hockey has become big business, with a single AAA team typically earning a team owner more than $30,000 - with rink owners also raking in thousands in ice rental costs.

This undoubtedly is true, as the New England development system remains entrenched in the school model, rather than hockey-affiliated bantam/midget teams. This distinguishes the Mass system from the Illinois and Michigan systems dominated by midget teams, but Minnesota also follows the school system, and they have flourished.

Moreover, if the development gap is caused by the lack of premier play at the midget stage, one would suspect that the development gap would become apparent at ages 16 through 18. Yet, checking the USA Select festivals, the drop off in Mass talent viz. the rest of the US already is manifested at the Select 14 and 15 festivals. At the 2004 Select 15 Festival for 1989s, for example, none of the top 20 scorers, and none of the top rated defensemen were from Massachusetts. At the 2005 Select 15 Festival for 1990s, only Torin Snyderman was among the top 20 scorers, and none of the Mass players were ranked among the top 15 forwards or top 10 defensemen as rated by USHR. Bear in mind, these are all players prior to any potential development issues created by a midget vs. HS argument.

So then, what is it? I would defer to others closer to the situation, but it does not seeem coincidental that the rise and drop in Mass talent correlates with the rise and fall of the role-models Boston Bruins. Back in 1981 to 1983, when Mass produced Bobby Carpenter, Tom Barrasso and the like, and routed the Minnesota All-Star teams during their March head-to-head competitions, everyone noted that the players born in 1963 to 1965, started playing in early 1970s when Bobby Orr lead the Bruins to the cup. Today's picks, born in 1988, started playing in the mid-1990s, a time when Jeremy Jacobs and Harry Sinden killed the Bruins. I wonder how many kids were lost to other sports rather than being forced to emulate Hall Gill? Of course, Hockey East is glad for the NY Rangers' 1994 cup, which helped spawn the New Jersey development curve and 2006 and 2007 NHL first rounders Bobby Saguinetti, Nick Petrecki, Kevin Shattenkirk and James Van Riemsdyk.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Maine's Goalie Situation

Goalie John Murray, who had been attempting to gain admission to U.Maine for next season, has abandoned those efforts by signing with the OHL's Kitchener Rangers. It will be interesting to see who Maine brings in to back up Ben Bishop, with incumbent Matt Lundin leaving school to transfer elsewhere after a USHL season. One name floated about was Fairbanks (NAHL)'s Bryce Christiansen, who was a top pick of the USHL draft and figured to spend another season before entering college.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

CHA extends deadlines on Junior A 16-year olds

Acknowledging the strong feedback and revolt (and, it in some cases, threats of secession) that it was hearing from the Junior A teams under its umbrella, the CHA (led by OHL guro David Branch) deferred the restrictions it was set to impose after this next season. Instead of barring all 16 year olds from playing junior A in 2007-08, as was first proposed, the CHA announced that it now will allow the same 2 per team through the 2007-08 season, and thereafter reevaluate the proposed rules.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

OHL Draft update

As suspected, the first round selection of Cushing defenseman Zach Bogosian in the OHL draft was a result of a pre-draft deal orchestrated by Bogosian's agent, Bobby Orr:

Bogosian was heavily courted by the U.S. national program, Cedar Rapids of the USHL, who drafted both bogosian and his older brother Aaron, or he could have stayed in Cushing for a third year. On Friday night, bogosian committed to the Petes, paving the way for GM Jeff Twohey to draft him.

"I really wasn't sure," bogosian, who turns 16 July 15, said. "I had an opportunity to play with my brother for two years who is going to play in the USHL. I had an offer to join the U.S. national team but I felt Peterborough would be the best place for me and that's really what I want to do."

He said Orr's agency, which represents the Staals and Petes' Steve Downie, Aaron Dawson and Jordan Morrison praised the Petes. He said he and his family were also comfortable with Twohey and the Petes' organization.

The Colorado Gazette reports on two possible late Colorado recruits. The first, Addison DeBoer, has committed and will join the '06 class. The second, Troy Mattila, is deciding between an '06 offer from Colorado, and '07 offers from St.Cloud, UNH, Miami-Ohio and Mercyhurst. "I'm kind of gathering everything, so I can try to figure everything out," Mattila said. "I've been back and forth (over CC's offer) about 20 times. I just keep changing my mind."

Monday, May 08, 2006

OHL Draft Notes

Like the Quebec league draft, the OHL draft is becoming less of a "draft" and more of a recruitment process. A few of the top teams with ample resources are becoming confronted with more-aggressive players asserting their right to control their destination. While the fans of OHL teams picking early in the draft complain about the rigged process, and want OHL President David Branch to impose rules evening the playing field, it is clear that the OHL is not unhappy with this process. Any rules that would force players to declare for the OHL route -- and bar players who refused to declare for the OHL -- carries with it the risk that too many top players would opt out of the OHL. By allowing players to choose their ultimate destination, the OHL retains more top-end talent than they otherwise would. Hence, the OHL's inaction at curbing the rigged process.

Among the top-end players this year, Markham's Cody Hodgson rattled the NCAA sabre for the top teams, and rather than being a top-3 pick, dropped to a Toronto-area team, which is what he wanted. Look for him to sign with Brampton.

Steve Stamkos, another Markham center, also voiced some reluctance at the OHL, but Sarnia made a good financial deal with him prior to the draft, and he was selected first overall.

USA Under-17 Team center Philip McRae fell to the end of the first round, where he was picked by London. The Knights were thought to be the only potential OHL team to which he would report, because his father (former NHLer, Basil) is a part owner of the Knights. Again, it would seem to be a NCAA loss.

Another American, Zach Bogosian, had a spot on the USA Under-17 team, but his first round selection by the Peterborough Petes suggests he will go the OHL route.

Barrie took Brian Lashoff in the third round. His older brother, Matt, had made a college commitment to BU before his advisor, Bobby Orr, steered him to the Kitchener Rangers (and a first round selection by the Boston Bruins). I would guess that Brian, too, will go the OHL route, although as a tools player, he is less of a college prospect than his brother was.

Another American third rounder, Matt Zarbo, is a Rochester, NY native who spent part of the year with the Junior Bruins. A third round pick is more than a flier, and although Zarbo wasn't rated as a first rounder, Brampton must be pretty confident to have selected him at or before his real "value". (Zarbo's brother has committed to Sacred Heart).

Of the top rated Candian players, the only one who really fell to "flier" teritory was Toronto Marlie midget center Corey Trivino. Trivino reportedly is close to making an NCAA committment, and his later selection reinforces the notion that he will choose that route.

Kitchener took a surprise 6th round flier on Lake Superior State recruit Matt Martello. According to the Waterloo Record, Martello does not have a deal with the Rangers:
All the Rangers picks from Saturday were born in 1990, except for 1987-born Vaughan Vipers Jr. A centre Matt Martello. DeBoer said Martello, Kitchener's sixth-round pick, has a full U.S. college hockey scholarship to Lake Superior State, but will decide over the summer whether to go the NCAA route or come to Kitchener.

Kitchener has a history of taking NCAA-committed players, as a fall back should the college game not work out (Matt Auffrey, Victor Oreskovich being recent examples.)

Another OHL team known for taking college players is Owen Sound, and they selected Bowling Green bound Wayne Simmons in the sixth round. Simmonds really came on during his rookie Junior A season, and, having been undrafted in the 2004 and 2005 OHL drafts, was available for this draft.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Revisiting Frost

Today's ROI newsletter, written by Paul Shaheen and available by request, revisists more of the expanding web of allegations that surround not just the David Frost, but those who have a close allegiance to him. In this case, the story surrounds the Pembroke Lumber Kings, a storied franchise in the Central Ontario Junior Hockey League. As ROI writes:

Two weeks ago, a piece prepared and broadcast by The Fifth Estate, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's equivalent to 60 Minutes, linked the Lumbers Kings to not only a lack of control over its players...In The Fifth Estate piece, a former Lumber Kings billet family claimed the club was far too lenient with its players, and accused the Kings of allowing rampant drinking, partying, and wild initiation rights. It went on to suggest Frost's relationship with the club--he'd served as an occasional team advisor--had something to do with this alleged lack of institutional control.

Those allegations mirror many of the allegations for the 1997 Quinte Hawks, outlined in my earlier blog entry.

As I noted in my blog entry, the franchise is owned in part by, Sheldon Keefe, one of the "Brampton gang". The ties do not end there, however. The co-owners of the Quinte Hawks who brought Frost aboard were Marty Abrams, a former NHL pick, who now coaches the Wellington Dukes of the OPJHL, and his brother Kevin, who now coaches the Pembroke team. Marty Abrams also has his own legal issues as he was charged by the Candian authorities for misappropriating not-for-profit charitable funds for his own private use at his summer cottage. (It should be noted Marty Abrams has denied the allegations.)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The New CBA

Today's Minnesota Daily has a story about the new NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, and the impact it has on college underclassmen signing early. Unfortunately, the story is a bit off target, in that while it identifies the correct factors that influence the decision, it incorrectly analyzes their impact.

For example, the article's premise is:

Essentially, the agreement extends the amount of time teams have drafted players’ exclusive rights

While this is technically true in a limited number of cases, the CBA in fact shortens the amount of time for virtually all college players. The change that the article mentions is of small significance: designed to close the "Van Ryn loophole" by which players in college could leave college, play an "overage" season in the CHL, and then become free agents. The article correctly points out that teams drafting college players will keep exclusive rights “until the fourth June 1 following his selection in the Entry Draft,” thus precluding college players leaving early for the major junior route. However, the closing of the loophole is a positive development for the college game, even though it applied in only a handful of cases (Van Ryn, Mike Comrie, Anthony Aquino).

The broader impact of the CBA's language is that it shortens the period of exclusivity for college players. The prior CBA provided for exclusive rights for a year following the "conclusion of his playing of hockey in college." In its place, the new CBA provides exclusivity only "through August 15 following the graduation of his college class." Because the period of exclusivity extends principally during "non-playing" summer months following the senior year, a college senior finishing his college career will not miss any playing time before he becomes a free agent. Without "losing" anything by sitting out a year (as he would have had to under the prior CBA), he can gain unlimited leverage. The shortening of this exclusivity is the dynamic changing the relationship between the college game and the NHL.

All of which suggests that Minnesota Wild Assistant GM Tom Lynn's quote that:

“(The NHL and NHL Players’ Association) took care to make sure (the change to the agreement) didn’t hurt the college game by giving the teams four years after drafting a guy to sign him,” Lynn said. “The teams wouldn’t have to rush a guy out of college just in order to have his rights.

“(Before) they’d only have one year after he left school. So, if a player, after his freshman year, was thinking, ‘Huh, I’ll leave school for a year, then I’ll be free’. Now, the team gets him for four years, so the player will either stay in school or sign with his team.”

is correct for one or two kids who had left school (but not for the NHL) but is utterly incorrect for the vast majority of college players.

Additionally, the article correctly notes the rookie salary cap and signing bonus as an additional factor. However, this too works in favor of encouraging players to leave college before their senior year. If the maximum amount that a player can achieve is the rookie cap, and that amount is offered by an NHL team prior to the senior season, there is no incentive to "increase" leverage by potentially becoming a free agent during the summer after graduating. Again, Lynn's quote that “there’s less incentive to come out of college right now” seems to miss the point.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Today's Grand Forks Herald has a nice article on the NCAA vs. Major Junior choice facing top hockey prospects, such as North Dakota's Jonathan Toews, and how this year's NHL draft reveals that many top Americans and some Candian players have chosen the NCAA route.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Chucko Leaves Minnesota

Minnesota's Kris Chucko has signed a pro contract, leaving after his sophomore year. Interestingly, Don Lucia took the opportunity to express his displeasure with the NHL's Calgary Flames in an interview with the Star Tribune.

Lucia is happy for Chucko, whom he called "a quality kid with a strong work ethic and a lot of character." He used less-glowing terms regarding the Calgary organization.

"They're an organization that is not big on college hockey," Lucia said. "They put Kris in a difficult situation by contacting him during the season and trying to get him to leave. That's not very professional on their part. I've never had that happen before."

Calgary's anti-NCAA views are not a surprise to anyone who knows the Sutter clan and their old-time hockey mentality. All six brothers worked their way through the Canadian major junior system, and Brent Sutter is a coach with the WHL's Red Deer team. To various degrees, many NHL teams still view the NCAA with skepticism, in part because they maintain less control over the players and the system. The NHL maintains a development agreement with the CHL, and provides development money for each player chosen in the draft from a major junior team (totalling more than $5.4 million in 2004). No such NHL monies go to college or junior A teams. Moreover, a player in the junior ranks has little control over his career, as items such as for what team he'll play, or when he can turn pro, are governed by major junior drafts and age restrictions. While the NHL likes the NCAA route for later-round picks (because they can develop for 4 or so years, rather than having to be offered a contract by age 20), many NHL teams still feel the CHL route is best for their top picks. Thus, many organizations pressure their players toward the major junior route, with Chucko (and Kobasew before him) being the latest example.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sorting Through David Frost's Junior A Roots

Today's Ottawa Citizen has an incredible story about David Frost's rise with the now-infamous Quinte Hawks the old Metro Toronto (Ontario) Junior A League. By now most people know the NHL story of Mike Danton, formerly Mike Jefferson, and his conviction for attempting to have his "agent", Frost, killed.

Although others have written about it, the Ottawa Citizen story explores to how the "Brampton five" gang moved into junior hockey with Frost, and the eerie parallels of that relationship to that of Sheldon Kennedy and the other unnamed NHL players who were abused by Graham James out in Saskatchewan in the mid-80s. Although the story mentions some of the Frost players, it does not contain the full epilogue for the players. For example, Sheldon Keefe and Shawn Cation thereafter moved with Frost to the Caledon Candians in the final season for the Metro Junior league. Both Cation and Keefe then backed out of scholarships to Northern Michigan and moved on to the St.Mike's OHL team. By mid-year St.Mike's concern about the group resulted in a trade for Cation, Keefe and Barnes to the Barrie Colts. After a brief NHL career, Keefe left pro hockey in 2004, and now owns part of the Pembroke Lumber Kings of the Central Junior A team.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

College or Pro Hockey - The Battle Continues

Back in 1980, the NCAA decided that players participating in major junior hockey (the Ontario Hockey League, the Quebec Major Junior League, or the Western Hockey League) no longer were amateurs, regardless of whether or not they were being paid for their participation. Since the erection of this steadfast wall demarking "amateurs" and "professionals", there has been a continual tug of war between NCAA programs and the junior leagues as to which side of the wall talented players would choose. During verious periods, the NCAA has had great success in taking top Canadian prospects from the CHL route, and at other times, the CHL has adjusted its rules so as to make its product more appealing, thereby retaining many of its talented players. (As an aside, I always get a good laugh about the various leagues citing statistics -- e.g. the number of NHL draft picks or NHL players from the league -- to support its claims that it does a better job in "developing" players. To players making a choice based on those numbers, here's a hint: if a league gets 80% of the talented 16 year olds, but produces only 60% of the NHLers, while another league gets 20% of the 16 year olds, but produces 30% of the NHLers, is the league with 60% of the NHLers doing a better job developing talent?)

The Battleground
Much of the battle between major junior teams and the NCAA pivots around timing, particularly the archaic NCAA rules that restrict how and when NCAA coaches can make contact with prospective athletes. The NCAA model originates with the pre-supposition that most of the prospective college athletes are American, and that they have few options but the NCAA game. Therefore, the waiting periods which restrict NCAA contact is beneficial in shielding kids from overanxious NCAA recruiters who otherwise might bombard High School Sophomore and Juniors.

However, in hockey, the vacuum created by this limitation on contact between NCAA hockey programs and potential hockey players when they are 16 and 17 allows the Major Junior programs a virtual monopoly in which to sell their programs. Thus, one of the primary advantages that the major junior leagues can exploit is the well-intentioned, but likely ultimately harmful, restrictions on having colleges sell their option to kids during this influential time. As discussed below, the OHL in particular has moved its rules in order to exploit that weakness.

The Draft and Affiliation Process
Back in 1999, the OHL began its reaction to the outflow of talented players to the NCAA. The reaction was in the form of lowering its draft age from 17 to 16, a move that the OHL scouts lamented because it made a risky evaluation process even more of a crapshoot. But the OHL went this route so as to place the 16 year old players under their control for a full year before the NCAA would allow teams to initiate in-person recruitment. Should these 16 year olds attend the OHL camp for 48 hours without paying their own expenses, their NCAA eligibility would be shot. Even if the players keep their eligibility by not signing right away, the OHL clubs maintain an affiliation with the players, and so can develop a relationship and sell the major junior route during this year without any interference by NCAA programs.

The Latest Salvo: The New Canadian Development Model
The most recent foray into the area is the Canadian Development Model created by the Canadian Hockey, driven principally by CHL presidents such as the OHL's David Branch. A pdf copy of those rules can be found here.

While sounding like a model to assist young hockey players and protect them from the pressures to play at levels above their abilities, that rationale falls away once the details of the new system are exposed. In fact, the model constitutes Hockey Canada's attempt to induce young players to choose the CHL route, by creating an unequal system in which 16 year olds chosing the major junior route are allowed to compete at higher levels, while forcing all 16 year olds to play midget hockey if they have not signed with a major junior club.

The new system works as follows: the Model phases out the ability of 16 year olds to play at the junior A, B or C level, unless they are sponsored by major junior clubs. In the past, junior A teams were able to play 16 year old players, so that players such as Andrew Cogliano, Brendan Smith or Cody Goloubef, having just been drafted by the OHL but not wanting to go that route, would be able to play at a semi-advanced Junior A level in the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League. Under the new Model, the number of 16 year olds allowed to play Junior A will be phased down, from last year's unlimited number, to the current 2 per team. However, by 2007-08, only 16 year olds reassigned by an OHL club will be able to play Junior A hockey. For talented players such as Cogliano, Smith and Goloubef, that means the choice becomes even more stark: Do you follow the pressure imposed by pro scouts to play at the "NHL development" league, or play a year of midget hockey? In the past this deferring playing at the "top level" took a lot of will power for players like Cogliano who have NHL ambitions. This makes the the choice even more difficult.

Why the double standard? The Model suggests that they want to allow 16 year old players to develop at lower levels where they can get more playing time and learn to dominate more. If this rationale is accepted, it is not explained in the Model why 16 year olds are allowed to move on to major junior where they get less playing time than in junior A. If it is deemed more harmful for the a Cogliano-type to play Junior A instead of midget hockey, is it less harmful when the Coglianos of the world signs with a major junior team? To me, it seems quite apparent that the Model is a heavy-handed way to create a tremendous dis-incentive for talented prospects to pass on the OHL route. All this takes place against the backdrop of NCAA prospects already being told that they are jeopardizing their development and pro prospects by playing two years of Junior A (including their NHL draft year), rather than playing in the OHL game. [As an aside, there doesn't seem to be evidence to support that fear that players such as Cogliano are punished in the draft for playing at a lower level during their draft year - something I'll blog on later.] Nevertheless, the new system now compels Ontario kids to face a prospect of playing below their level as a 16 year old in midget hockey, and as a 17 year old in Junior A.

The Model's Limiting Alternatives.
One obvious question: If Canada is limiting the options for non-professional players, how about moving to the US to play at a higher level? In the last few years the United States Hockey League has became a Tier I league, which is the hockey quivalent to the Canadian Major Junior ranking. However, players participating in the league maintain their amateur status. So, it would seem that the USHL would provide an amateur avenue by which 16 year olds could play at a very high level while maintaining their amateur status. As we saw, last season the USHL began to reach out to these displaced Canadians, starting a "Canadian Futures Draft" and also inviting a number of 16 year olds down for tryout camps. Well, the CHL took notice, and the Model, in conjunction with the USA Hockey officials, will put a stop to such migration to another Country or Candian Province. The stated motive is couched in protective terms, so that 16 year olds are not forced to move far from home at that age simply for hockey purposes. Once again, however, the Model creates a double standard between those playing major junior, and those choosing to maintain their options. 16 year olds playing major junior can move thousands of miles away from home (for example, Eric Gryba from Saskatchewan would have been permitted to move nearly 2,000 miles to Portland to play for the WinterHawks, but he was not permitted to play in the BCHL, and faced a challenge for leaving to play for Green Bay.)

USA hockey's rules honor the Model's rules, which is why Cody Goloubef, Brendan Smith and Tyler Oleksuk were prohibited from playing in the USHL this year, and why Sam Gagner was able to play only after moving his family to Minnesota.
That consideration is valid, but ultimately must be weighed against the reasons for players fleeing and seeking refuge in the USA. If the only reason is to play in the USHL rather than the Ontario Junior A leagues, that reason may not support the move. However, if the difference is being coerced into a professional league (with no junior alternative), perhaps the USA Hockey officials will need to modify their export rules. It is interesting that the Model is pleased to enforce such export restrictions, expressly prohibiting such moves:

Players Sixteen (16) years of age and younger(Hockey Canada to USA Hockey)
Players wishing to obtain a transfer to USA Hockey from Hockey Canada, and who are NOT moving with their parent(s), are not permitted to do so under the new Regulation K.6 (b). Should the player wish to challenge this regulation, the player is required to file an appeal with the Hockey Canada National Appeals Committee as per the procedure set forth in By-Law TWELVE. In this instance, the decision of the National Appeals Committee is final and binding.

The Hockey Canada rules, however, maintains no such reciprocal prohibitions. By Rule F.51, it will be up to the Major Junior teams to decide how many Americans they will allow into their leagues. Thus, while the outflow of talent is restricted, there presently is no restriction on the inflow of American talent. Would USA hockey consider imposing a reciprocity requirement, that if 16 year old US players can play in Canada, that Canada would have to release 16 year old Canadians who want to play in USA's premier "junior" league?

For example, would the NCAA allow coaches to contact 15 and 16 year olds once solely for the purpose of providing generic information about the NCAA option, and to at least indicate an interest in the player? Currently, that process takes place through the convoluted mechanism of an NCAA coach contacting the player's coach and letting him know they have interest, and that the coach should let the player know the school would be receptive to a call, and then waiting and hoping. That process leaves a lot to chance, and if it takes place too late, the player will already have deeper connections with the major junior teams that have drafted the player.

In the end, it will be interesting to see how this new system evolves, and whether it has the effect desired by Hockey Canada of driving younger players into the Canadian junior leagues. If so, then the ball goes back into the USA hockey court, to see what steps they will take to counter this challenge.

89s making the move

Just a couple of quick commitments to report on, some of which I have been unable to post on my page.

Thunder Bay midget center Travis Oleksuk, first mentioned here in October based on his having rejected the OHL route, has decided to follow his dad's route through Duluth, Minnesota. This coming year you can expect to see Travis suited up for Thunder Bay native Dave Siciliano, the coach of the Sioux City Musketeers in the USHL.

Another 89 already playing for Sioux City, although originally from a warmer climate than Thunder Bay, is Frank Grzezcszak. The Florida native is a small, mobile defenseman, who this week chose to play at Nebraska-Omaha in 07.

Sioux City went with a young squad this year, but the dues-paying will bear fruit next year if all of the eligible returnees come back. Both Sam Gagner and Dustin Gazley will be playing their second years, and team leading scorer Philip DeSimone is scheduled to return (although there is some thought that Dan Winnik's defection may alter his scheduled 07 arrival in Durham.) Also probable for a break-out year is Anthony Maiani, an 89 whose older brother already skates for Ohio State.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

From Andover to the Ivies

Joe Haggerty of the Woburn Daily Times Chronicle and writes that Phillips Andover '07 forward Joe Smith has committed to Harvard.

"I had a really good season personally, and I'm pretty excited about heading off to Harvard after next year," said Smith, who was the leading scorer for a senior-laden Andover squad this past season. "They were my top choice given how academically strong the school is; it's one of the Ivies and I've been in the stands for every Beanpot for as long as I can remember. I'm looking forward to playing in it in a couple of years.

"(Harvard coach) Ted Donato is a great coach, and he's somebody that I'm really looking forward to playing for," added Smith.

He was part of a strong Andover team that also featured defenseman Tom Dignard who is off to Yale, and forward J.P. Martignetti, who also has a Division 1 potential.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


USA Hockey National Team Development Program Evaluation Camp Roster



18 Michael Cichy LW L 6-0 170 07-08-90 New Hartford, CT Jr. Bruins Midget (Mass.)
10 Justin Florek LW L 6-4 190 05-18-90 Marquette, MI Marquette Midget Major
21 Tucker Hunter LW L 6-1 175 03-18-90 London, Ontario London Reps
15 Sean Logue LW L 6-0 170 11-16-90 Walpole, MA Xaverian H.S. (Mass.)
11 Jordy Murray C L 5-9 150 01-08-90 Faribault, MN Shattuck-St. Mary's Prep (Minn.)
19 Max Cook C R 6-0 150 06-03-90 Frankfort, IL Chicago Mission Midget Major
22 Kelen Corkum C R 6-0 175 07-17-90 Newbury Port, MA Portland Jr. B Pirates
16 Colin Reddin C L 6-0 170 06-23-90 Corona Del Mar, CA LA Jr. Kings Midget Major
12 Robbie Czarnik RW R 6-0 165 01-25-90 Washington, MI Honeybaked Midget Major
17 Keegan Flaherty RW R 6-0 165 03-25-90 Duluth, MN Duluth East H.S. (Minn.)
20 Kevin McCarey RW R 6-0 175 03-24-90 Baldwinsville, NY Syracuse Stars (EJHL)
24 Anthony Schooley RW R 5-11 170 08-01-89 Romulus, MI Honeybaked Midget Major
23 Jordan Schroeder RW R 5-8 155 09-29-90 Prior Lake, MN St. Thomas H.S. (Minn.)
5 Zach Bogosian D R 6-0 170 07-15-90 Massena, NY Cushing Academy (Mass.)
3 Joe Gleason D R 5-9 165 03-30-90 Edina, MN Edina H.S. (Minn.)
9 Ryan Grimshaw D R 6-0 165 01-28-90 Rochester, NY Salisbury School (CT)
2 Ryan Hegarty D L 6-1 180 05-16-90 Arlington, MA Belmont Hill H.S. (Mass.)
4 Kevin O'Neil D L 6-2 200 01-26-90 Dix Hills, NY New York Apple Core (EJHL)
6 Nick Pryor D L 5-10 165 09-06-90 Woodbury, MN Hill Murray H.S. (Minn.)
8 Ian Ruel D R 6-1 170 01-31-90 Ann Arbor, MI Victory Honda Midget Major
7 Grant Scott D R 6-2 200 01-07-90 Scwickley, PA Shady Side Academy (PA)
Jack Hanna G L 6-0 170 04-30-90 Lino Lakes, MN Cenntennial H.S. (Minn.)
33 Nick Maricic G L 6-2 185 1-20-1990 Alta Loma, CA California Wave U-16
35 Jordan Tibbett G L 6-0 170 01-06-90 Indianapolis, IN Honeybaked Midget Minor


10 A.J. Jenks LW L 6-3 185 06-27-90 Wolverine Lake, MI Honeybaked Midget Major
24 Greg Burke LW L 6-1 175 05-16-90 Lee, NH NH Jr. Monarchs Midget
18 Ben Hanowski LW L 6-1 170 10-18-90 Little Falls, MN Little Falls H.S. (Minn.)
15 Stephen Rogers LW L 5-11 165 07-23-90 Watertown, MA St. Sebastian's H.S. (Mass.)
21 Cory Thorson LW L 6-0 170 07-04-90 Crystal, MN Armstrong H.S. (Minn.)
22 Patrick Gaul C L 5-9 170 02-27-90 Pittsburgh, PA Pittsburgh Hornets Midget Major
16 Brock Montpetit C R 5-11 185 04-03-90 Somerset, WI Somerset H.S. (Wisc.)
19 David Wohlberg C L 6-0 170 07-18-90 South Lyon, MI Honeybaked Midget Minor
11 Jacob Youso C L 6-1 170 06-08-90 International Falls, MN International Falls H.S. (Minn.)
17 Vern Cooper RW L 5-8 160 12-30-90 Sudbury, Ontario Sudbury Midget Major
20 Colin Moore RW R 5-11 170 05-21-90 Medfield, MA Belmont Hill H.S. (Mass.)
23 Isak Quakenbush RW R 6-4 210 04-17-90 Fairbanks, AK Arctic Lions Midget
12 Vinny Saponari RW R 5-11 165 02-15-90 Powder Springs, GA Culver Prep. (Indiana)
3 Danny Heath D R 5-11 165 03-20-90 Glendale, AZ VOSHA Phoenix Mustangs
9 Ross Henry D R 5-10 180 07-02-90 Franklin, WI Team Illinois Midget Major
8 Sean Lorenz D R 6-1 180 03-10-90 Littleton, CO Colorado T-Birds Midget Major
2 Joe Marciano D R 6-2 165 01-19-90 Faribault, MN Shattuck-St. Mary's U-16 (MN)
5 Andrew Panzarella D R 6-0 170 02-13-90 Columbia, MD Washington Jr. B Capitals
4 David Warsofsky D L 5-8 155 05-30-90 North Marshfield, MA Cushing Academy (Mass.)
7 Steven West D R 6-0 175 02-23-90 Milford, MI Honeybaked Midget Major
6 Micah Williams D R 6-1 175 03-09-90 Valrico, FL Lawrence Academy (Mass.)
30 Garrett Beckwith G L 6-1 170 01-04-90 Parsippany, NJ New Jersey Devils Midget Minor
31 Michael Clemente G L 6-2 185 01-09-90 Great Falls, VA Washington Jr. B Capitals
32 Joe Phillippi G L 5-8 160 06-06-90 Shoreview, MN Hill Murray H.S. (Minn.)

US National Invites Update

Per today's Newburyport News, add Plum Island, MA (and Portland Jr.Pirate) winger Kelen Corkum to the list of players invited to try out for the 2006 US National Under 17 team.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

USHL Goalies

As we near the end of the USHL season, it has proven to be an odd year for USHL goalies, from start to end. Whereas past years have been marked with a fair amount of stability in the ranks, this year started with uncertainty, and for many teams, the task of finding the right goalies has been ongoing.

Coming out, Des Moines had a potent one-two combination in former Cornell goalie Troy Davenport and youngster Brian Foster, committed to UNH. Those two have performed as expected (save for a recent dip), and in the process, Davenport elected to return to Cornell next year to resume his college career.

An equal, but more unexpected, tandem also developed in Sioux Falls, where touted Minnesotan Alex Kangas came in to challenge incumbent John Murray. Behind a stingy defense, both put up spectacular numbers. Kangas's season earned him look from North Dakota before today selecting his homestate University of Minnesota. Murray got looks from several programs, including Northeastern, but to date has not made a college choice.

Cedar Rapids' Alex Stalock, already committed to Minnesota-Duluth, solidified his position atop the USHL goalie chart, carrying the load for the Roughriders, ahead of NHL draft pick Pat McGann, who likely will have to await the 2006-07 season to really showcase his skills.

Two teams were thrown into the lurch right at the end of the summer. Chicago had hoped to have Billy Sauer in net as the main man, but when the NY Rangers signed Michigan's Alvaro Montoya in August, Sauer was called upon by U.Michigan, leaving Shaun Williams as Chicago's lead goalie. Williams parlayed his opportunity into a scholarship at Union, even though his season came to an end with an injury in February.

Similarly thrown into chaos on the eve of the season was Tri-Cities, where the expected loan of U.Maine's Matt Lundin fell apart when Jimmy Howard signed with Detroit. Fortunately, it was able to secure Aaron Rock from the OHL, and while not college eligible, he's been strong.

The USHL also has featured a group of talented goalies who flashed potential, but did not find their niche with their original team. This includes Omaha's Eddie Neville, who has performed well during stints with Cedar Rapids (04) and Omaha (05), but then got traded mid-year to Green Bay, where he now mans the nets. Earlier today he committed to Bowling Green next year. He was traded to Green Bay for another college-bound goalie, Dan Rosen, who is headed to Brown. At Omaha he is backing up Mike Spillane, who established himself as Omaha's goalie and who will be at Vermont next year. Undoubtedly each aspires to become the next Dan Tormey, who had inconsistency in his games until his strong stretch run last year, which he parlayed into a starting assignment for Minnesota State.

Finally, there are some interesting stories of teams that thought they had solutions, only to find that the understudies won the jobs. Lincoln went into the season with Steve Jakiel, committed to Michigan, but little-known Bryan Hogan wrestled the position from him. Similarly, Sioux City selected former US National Teamer Billy Blase, but after he struggled early in the season, the Musketeers went with Jerry Kuhn, who has brought stability to the position. (Blase went on to Salmon Arm of the BCHL, where he secured an offer from Yale).

Piecing Together The US National Development Tryout Invites

As a rite of spring, the US National Development Team hands out 40 invites to the top 16 year olds to participate in tryouts for next year's US National Under 17 team. The full list has not been released, but so far the following '90-born players appear to have been invited.

G-Michael Clemente, Washington
G-Joe Phillipi, Hill-Murray
G-Jack Hanna, Centennial
G-Jordan Tibbett, Detroit

D-Joe Gleason, Edina
D-Jack Hanna, Centennial
D-Drew Olson, Brainerd
D-Nick Pryor, Hill-Murray
D-Steve West, Detroit
D-Ian Ruel, Detroit
D-Sean Lorenz, Colorado
D-Joe Marciano, Shattuck
D-Kevin O'Neill, Capital District

F-Robbie Czarnik, Michigan
F-A.J. Jenks, Michigan
F-Sean Logue, Xaverian
F-Mike Cichy, Jr.Bruins
F-Greg Burke - NH Monarchs
F-Kevin McCarey, Syracuse
F-Ben Hanowski, Little Falls
F-Brock Montpetit, Wisconsin
F-Jordan Schroeder, St.Thomas
F-Cody Thorson, Armstrong
F-Vinnie Saponari, Culver
F-David Wohlberg, Michigan
F-Justin Florek, Marquette
F-Max Cook, Chicago
F-Keenan Flaherty, Duluth East
F-Jordy Murray, Shattuck
F-Colin Moore, Belmont Hill

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Goloubef decision today

According to Andy Baggot in today's Wisconsin State Journal, Cody Goloubef will be deciding today between offers from Wisconsin and BU (or the OHL's Sarnia Sting)

Recruiting update UW coaches will know Friday if their 2007-08 recruiting class will have another dynamic addition.

The father of Cody Goloubef, an elite 16-year-old defenseman with Milton of the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League, said Wednesday that a decision would be made that day.

Peter Goloubef said his son is deciding between UW, Boston University and Sarnia, the Canadian major junior club that owns Cody Goloubef's Ontario Hockey League draft rights.

"We had a meeting with Sarina (officials) on (Tuesday)," Peter Goloubef said. "They came back with some things that we're looking at."

Cody Goloubef is a 6-foot, 175-pounder who has 9 goals, 29 assists and 38 points in 42 games for Milton. He grew up with and played major midget hockey alongside Sam Gagner and Brendan Smith, two highly regarded recruits who have verbally committed to the Badgers for the 2007-08 season.

"It certainly is a factor," Peter Goloubef said of his son's friends heading for UW, "but Cody has to do what's right for him. He understands the magnitude of this decision."

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The West, 07 style

As a counterpart to my January look at some of the Eastern teams and where they are positioned for 2007, here is a look at some the Western teams. I've put potential flight risks in italics, and have put my best guesses as to what potential recruits the school might be targeting.

Forwards (15):
Sr.Mike Howe
Sr.Kris Chucko
Sr.Tom Pohl
Sr.Ben Gordon
Sr.Evan Kaufmann
Jr.Ryan Stoa
Jr.Blake Wheeler
Jr.Justin Bostrom
So.Michael Carmen
So.Randy Flynn
So.Kyle Okposo
So.James O’Brien
So.Tony Lucia
Fr.Mike Hoeffel
Fr.Jay Barribal

Potential recruits:
Nick Larson; Brett Bruneteau

Defense (8):
Sr.Derek Peltier
Sr.Alex Goligoski
Sr.Nate Hagemo
Jr.R.J. Anderson
So.Erik Johnson
So.David Fischer
Fr.Cade Fairchild
Fr.Kevin Wehrs

Potential recruit:
Derrick Lapoint

Forwards (12):
Sr.Ratislav Spirko
Sr.Rylan Kaip
Jr.T.J. Oshie
Jr.Ryan Duncan
Jr.Andrew Kozek
Jr.Matt Watkins
Jr.Ryan Martens
Jr.Brad Miller
So.Mike Forney
So.Darcy Zajac
So.Chris Vandevelde
Fr.Evan Trupp

Potential recruits:
Mario Lamoureux; Aaron Marvin; Brad Malone

Defense (7):
Sr.Kyle Radke
Jr.Brian Lee
Jr.Joe Finley
Jr.Zach Jones
Jr.Taylor Chorney
So.Jake Marto
So.Colby Genoway

Potential Recruit:
Derrick Lapoint

Forwards (13):
Sr.Joe Pavelski
Sr.Matt Ford
Jr.Ben Street
Jr.Jack Skille
Jr.Tom Gorowsky
So.Blake Geoffrion
So.Mike Davies
So.Zach Bearson
So.Aaron Bendrickson
So.Ben Grotting
So.John Mitchell
Fr.Sam Gagner
Fr.Kyle Turris

Potential Recruits:
Brett Bruneteau; Colton Grant; Ryan Schnell; Nick Larson; Brennan Vargas; Patrick White

Defense (8):
Sr.Kyle Klubertanz
Sr.Joe Piskula
Sr.Davis Drewicki
Sr.Josh Engel
So.Jamie McBain
So.Nigel Williams
So.Garret Suter
Fr.Brendan Smith

Potential Recruit:
Cody Goloubef

Forwards (12):
Sr.Paul Stastny
Sr.Tom May
Sr.Geoff Paukovich
Sr.Ryan Dingle
Jr.Brock Trotter
Jr.Patrick Mullen
So.Rhett Rakhshani
So.Matt Glasser
So.Brian Gifford
Fr.Jesse Martin
Fr.Kyle Ostrow
Fr.Tyler Rueggseger

Potential Recruits:
Tom Serratore; Brett Bruneteau; Patrick White; Andy Inderieden; Brad Malone

Defense (8):
Sr.Andrew Thomas
Sr.Zach Blom
Jr.Chris Butler
Jr.T.J. Fast
Jr.Julien Marcuzzi
Jr.J.P. Testwuide
So.Cody Brookwell
Fr.Keith Seabrook

Forwards (11):
Sr.Scott McCulloch
Sr.Jim Kilpatrick
Sr.Derek Patrosso
Sr.James Brannigan
Jr.Chad Rau
Jr.Andreas Vlassopoulos
So.Billy Sweatt
So.Mike Testwuide
So.Daniel Quilico
So.Matt Overmann
Fr.Tyler Johnson

Potential Recruits:
Tom Serratore; Brett Bruneteau; Adam Estoclet

Defense (6):
Sr.Jack Hillen
Jr.Cody Lampl
Jr.Jake Gannon
So.Nate Prosser
So.Kris Fredheim
So.Brian Connelly

Saturday, February 25, 2006

You Looking At Me?

Over the last week I've been trying to identify suitors for Cushing Prep rightwing Brad Malone. Malone is the cousin of NHLer Ryan Malone, and his dad Jim was a first round pick of the New York Rangers in 1980. Malone grew up in Miramichi, New Brunswick, and moved on to Cushing Academy as a sophomore last season. While Angelo Esposito drew much of the attention in the Quebec midget this past June, Malone was the 4th rated player, but because of his announced intention to go the NCAA route, he wasn't selected until the 4th round. At 6'3, he's a power winger with good puck skills, having potted 4 goals and an assist in 5 games for the Atlantic team during the recent World Under-17. He projects as a second round pick in the 2007 NHL draft. Malone is a junior, so will be a 2007 recruit. Last year he indicated an interest in going to school in the Boston area, but as I noted in my January 17th post, scholarship spots for the Boston schools are thin. Maine is reported to have interest, as do western schools Denver, North Dakota and Michigan.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

More 07 Info

Andy Baggot in the Wisconsin State Journal writes that Nick Larson, of Hill-Murray (Minn.) High School, has narrowed his choice of schools to Wisconsin, Boston College, Boston University and Minnesota.

Matt Read, a rightwing who really established himself in his first year with the Milton Merchants of the OPJHL, looks to be returning to juniors next year, at which point he has offers from Maine, UNH, St. Lawrence, Niagara & U.Mass.

USA National Development Team winger Ryan Schnell is featured in an article in the Algonquin Pioneer, in which he identifies Wisconsin, Brown and Miami-Ohio as teams interested in his services.

Monday, February 20, 2006


It looks like highly sought after defenseman Cody Goloubef will be making his college choice this week, selecting between BU and Wisconsin. As of now, it appears that Wisconsin has the inside track, meaning that there will be a former Marlie reunion in Madison in September 2007. As I featured at the start of the season, the Midget Marlies represented an amazing amalgamation of talented players, and because the group was particularly aware of the NCAA route, the top end group has bypassed the OHL. Sam Gagner chose Wisconsin, followed in late December by Brendan Smith. Now it appears Goloubef will follow, vaulting Wisconsin to the head of the 2007 listing. The other member of that class -- and first to commit -- Kyle Turris has scored more than 30 goals in his rookie BCHL campaign, were he will challenge Evan Trupp for the rookie of the year award.

The Omaha Herald has reported that Lancer rookie Brett Bruneteau has narrowed his college choices to six western teams: Colorado College, Denver, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and UNO.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The East, 07 Style

With the 06 Recruiting Season pretty well filled at this point, I am taking a look at how the teams are positioned for the 07 season. What we see is that some of the shakeout for the 07 recruiting season already has occurred, with a lot of the HE teams already have secured commitments from all of the players they need. While some slots may open up through early departures or transfers, it appears that the early recruiting by BC, BU and UNH leave them with only a few spots to fill, even while many appealing recruits remain out there.

Jr.Nathan Gerbe
Jr.Brock Bradford
Sr.Dan Bertram
Fr.Joe Whitney
So.Matt Price
Fr.Ryan Hayes
Jr.Benn Ferriero
Fr.Brian Gibbons
So.Ben Smith
Jr.Kyle Kucharski
Sr.Matt Greene
Jr.Andrew Orpik
So.Matt Lombardi
Sr.Pat Gannon
Sr.Joe Adams

Potential Recruits: Brian Day; Barry Almeida; Brad Malone; Mike Cieslak; Brett Bruneteau; Joe Smith

Jr.Brett Motherwell
Jr.Tim Filangieri
Jr.Tim Kunes
Sr.Mike Brennan
Fr.Nick Petrecki
Jr.Anthony Aiello
So.Carl Sneep
Sr.Brian O'Hanley

Jr.Chris Higgins
Sr.Peter MacArthur
Jr.Jason Lawrence
So.Zach Cohen
Jr.Brandon Yip
Sr.Brian McGuirk
Sr.Boomer Ewing
Fr.Greg Squires
So.Luke Popko
Sr.Ryan Weston
Jr.John McCarthy
Jr.Steve Smolinsky
Sr.Ryan Monaghan

Potential Forwards: Pat Kane, Brian Day, Brett Bruneteau; Barry Almeida;

So.Brian Strait
Fr.Colby Cohen
Fr.Keith Shattenkirk
So.Eric Gryba
Sr.Dan McGoff
Sr.Kevin Kielt
Jr.Matt Gilroy

Potential Defendseman: Brendan Smith; Cody Goloubef

Fr.James Van Riemsdyk
So.Peter Leblanc
Sr.Matt Fornataro
Jr.Jerry Pollastrone
Jr.Trevor Smith
Sr.Mike Radja
Jr.Greg Collins
Jr.Thomas Fortney
Fr.Phil DeSimone
Sr.Brian Pouliot
So.Bobby Butler
Jr.Alan Thompson
Fr.Mike Borisenok
Fr.Dan Rossman

Potential Forwards: Barry Almeida; Brett Bruneteau; Brian Day; Matt Read

Sr.Craig Switzer
Fr.David Kolomatis
Sr.Brad Flaishans
Jr.Joe Charlebois
So.Nick Krates
Jr.Kevin Kapstad
Jr.Jamie Fritsch

Potential defensemen: Joey Lavin; Cody Goloubef

I'll try and post more information about the remaining Hockey East teams, and their potential recruits, in the coming weeks.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Wisconsin D?

Reportedly Wisconsin has secured another defenseman for 07. While Wisconsin has commitments from Nigel Williams and Garret Suter for this year, and are also seeking Brendan Smith from St.Mikes for 07, this commitment is from Ryan McDonagh, from Cretin-Denham Hall in Minnesota. He was a member of the USA Under 17 team that played overseas in August, and was supposedly headed for either St.Cloud or Michgan Tech. I'll try and follow up on this rumor for confirmation.

Update: Today's Wisconsin State Journal confirms that McDonagh did commit to Wisconsin, and that his commitment is for the 08 season, rather than after his graduation in 07.