Thursday, May 31, 2007

NHL Draft Prospect: Max Pacioretty

The next NHL draft prospect we'll look at is Sioux City Musketeers forward Max Pacioretty.

Max Pacioretty can be considered a bit of a "dark horse" in this summer's NHL Draft, mainly because prior to this winter, when the NHL CSB's mid-term rankings came out, few people had heard of Pacioretty, let alone considered him a top prospect for the draft.

Prior to playing in the USHL, Pacioretty played his hockey for Taft Prep, in Connecticut. As a sophomore, Pacioretty had 5 goals and 14 assists, which was good for fourth on Taft's team in scoring. That summer, he went to the USA Select 17 Festival, and was impressive enough to earn a spot on the US U18 team that traveled to Slovakia to play in the Junior World Cup. Pacioretty returned to Taft for his junior season and scored 6 goals and 30 assists in 25 games. That January, Pacioretty accepted a scholarship to play for the University of Michigan, choosing the Wolverines over a couple Ivy League schools.

Here is what US Hockey Report said about Pacioretty after he committed: "Pacioretty, a New Canaan, Conn. native now in his junior year at Taft, is a big kid with pretty good hands. With his long reach, he is able to protect the puck well, and he has good acceleration for his size. At the very least, he projects to be a solid checking winger for the Wolverines. Depending on how he develops, he could be much more -- there's upside here."

For his senior year of high school, Pacioretty moved on to Sioux City of the USHL, where he really showed off his talent. In 60 regular season games, Pacioretty scored 21 goals and 42 assists for 63 points. He was second on Sioux City's team in scoring, tied for 10th overall in the league, and trailed only Des Moines' Ben Ryan for most points by a player in his first year of draft eligibility by a single point. Pacioretty also had 4 goals and 6 assists in 7 playoff games.

Pacioretty is often described as a "prototypical power forward" because combines his large frame(measured at 6'1.5" 203 lbs. by Central Scouting) and physical play with extremely soft hands, and his skating is very good for his size. Pacioretty is a bit atypical, however, in that he racks up a lot of assists for a power forward. Pacioretty is also pretty intelligent. He fielded scholarship offers from Ivy League schools, and graduated high school a semester early this winter.

NHL Central Scouting ranked Pacioretty 23rd in the their mid-term rankings, making him the highest rated USHL prospect, and Pacioretty moved up to 16th in the final rankings, making him the 5th highest rated American prospect. He will likely be picked in the later half of the first round, though he is a player that could get picked even earlier, as few prospects in front of him have the same size and ability as Pacioretty.

Pacioretty will be as freshman at Michigan next season. The Wolverines lost a significant chunk of offense this summer with the graduation of T.J. Hensick and the Edmonton Oiler's signing of Andrew Cogliano, and Pacioretty will be one of the players called upon to fill that void. Michigan has desperately missed the presence of a high-scoring power forward since Jason Botterill graduated in 1997, and would love for Pacioretty to fill that role. Pacioretty should see powerplay time right away for the Wolverines, and will likely be on one of the top two lines.

Biggest Strength: Hands
Needs to Improve: Goal-scoring ability

Further Reading:

Pacioretty is Named Channel 4 Champion January 17, 2007

NHL Draft Prospect: Mike Hoeffel

Our next draft profile is of NTDP forward Mike Hoeffel.

Hoeffel played his high school hockey at Hill-Murray School in Maplewood, Minnesota. He skated for the Hill-Murray JV team as a freshman. The next year, Hoeffel grew four inches and added 25 lbs. to measure at 6'0 and 165 lbs., and was one of the top sophomores in the state of Minnesota. He was the Pioneers second leading scorer with 44 points, behind only Ryan Guentzel. Hoeffel was invited to the US NTDP tryout camp, where USHR thought he was the best forward at the camp. He returned to Hill-Murray for his junior year of high school. Hoeffel once again grew to the size of 6'2" 180 lbs. and was one of the best players in the state. He scored 70 points as a junior, second only to teammate Nick Larson's 79 points.

I was impressed with Hoeffel at the 2005 Elite League: "Before the tournament, I would have guessed that '07 recruit Mike Hoeffel, the 6th ranked uncommitted forward, would be the best player in the league, and he certainly looked like it. Hoeffel was about as close to a complete package as there is. He has very good size, and uses it pretty well. He can also skate exceptionally well for someone his size, and has a very heavy snap shot that he loves to use. The only problem was that he had the accuracy of a Stormtrooper today. He had three quality scoring chances today and put all three shots over the net. One beat the goalie cleanly, but hit the crossbar, while the other two missed badly. If he improves his scoring touch a little, he'll be a very good player."

That November, Hoeffel accepted a scholarship to play for the University of Minnesota in 2007. The summer after his junior year of high school, Hoeffel accepted an offer to play for the National Development Program in Ann Arbor.

Hoeffel got off to a slow start with the NTDP. Most players struggle in their first couple of months with the NTDP, but Hoeffel's was a bit more high-profile because he was with the U18 team and was in his draft year. Hoeffel started to become more comfortable with his role on the team. He suffered a torn ACL and had to miss the end of the season, including the World U18 Championships. It should be fully healed for next fall, but it could hurt his development this summer.

Hoeffel is listed at 6'2" 186 lbs. by NHL Central Scouting. Hoeffel has all the tools to be an outstanding player: he's pretty big, a good skater, and is a nice finisher. But as his low scoring totals with the NTDP might suggest, he still needs to find a way to put it all together to be more effective against top competition. Playing college hockey should give him the time to develop those hockey instincts.

NHL Central Scouting rated Hoeffel #22 in their final rankings, up from 24 in the mid-term rankings. That would indicate that Hoeffel would be picked towards the end of the first round, though he could slip down well into the second round due to his injury and not being able to play at the World Championships.

Hoeffel will head to Minnesota next fall. Much like Jimmy O'Brien last year, Hoeffel could get stuck on one of the lower lines and not see a lot of icetime, especially in special teams situations. But given a year or two to develop, Hoeffel should emerge as one of the top threats for the Gophers. Whichever team drafts him would probably best be served by letting him play at least 3 seasons of college hockey.

Biggest Strength: Goal-scoring ability
Needs to Improve: Hockey sense

Further Reading:

NTDP Feature December 1, 2006

NHL Draft Prospect: Ryan McDonagh

The next prospect we'll look at is Cretin-Derham Hall defenseman Ryan McDonagh.

McDonagh has been a player that has flown under the radar. He wasn't invited to the NTDP tryout camp in 2005, though some scouts felt that he was a very underrated player. In December of his junior year of high school, he was offered scholarships from St. Cloud, Minnesota-Duluth, and Wisconsin, and McDonagh chose to commit to Wisconsin. McDonagh's big break came during the 2006 Minnesota State High School tournament, when Cretin-Derham Hall won the state championship.

McDonagh's solid play carried over into his senior season, where he won Minnesota's Mr. Hockey Award. He is the first player from a private school to win the award. He also earned the opportunity to skate with Team USA at the World U18 Championships.

McDonagh really opened eyes when he was rated 12th in the the NHL Central Scouting Bureau Mid-term Rankings. He moved up to 11th in the final rankings. Red Line Report had McDonagh rated 10th after being impressed with the way he handled the speed of the U18 tourney. He'll likely be drafted somewhere in the middle of the first round.

McDonagh's play has drawn comparisons to Chris Chelios. He's a solid defender that can make the occasional offensive contribution. He also plays with a nice mean streak, and has shown great leadership abilities. He plays like a prototypical NHL defenseman.

McDonagh will head to Wisconsin next fall. It's unlikely that he'll leave after his freshman. If he develops into a top player, he could leave Wisconsin as early as the end of the his sophomore season.

Biggest Strength: Leadership Ability
Needs to Improve: Consistency- Playing high school hockey in Minnesota, McDonagh hasn't faced top-notch competition night in and night out yet. He may face a bit of an adjustment at Wisconsin.

Further Reading:

Is Ryan McDonagh The Next Chris Chelios?

NHL Draft Prospect: Patrick White

Next on our list of NHL Draft prospects is Grand Rapids HS forward Patrick White.

White grew up playing hockey in the Grand Rapids, Minnesota hockey association. After playing his sophomore year for Grand Rapids High School, White was invited to the NTDP's tryout camp. said, "Just OK on the first day, came on the second day, suffered a deep thigh bruise and didn’t play the third day. Strong skater. Good puck skills, good hockey sense, does everything well."

White's stock began to drop a bit heading into his junior year. I wasn't overly impressed with him in limited viewing at the 2005 HS Elite League: "White started the year pretty high on the '07 recruiting board, but has slowly faded as he hasn't lived up to his hype. He had a couple bad shifts and took a bad penalty in the time I saw and certainly did nothing to help his position on the prospect board."

But his stock rose again that spring, and has remained high ever since. It began when White went on a tear at the end of the high school season. He was a key factor in Grand Rapids surprising run to the Minnesota High School state championship game. That played earned him a scholarship offer to Minnesota, which he accepted last June.

A few weeks later, I was impressed with him at Minnesota's Model Camp: "He looks so much better than he did last year. A big part of it is probably confidence. He was good, but not really dominate on offense, but I thought he was excellent defensively. I don't think he'll be a star at the next level, but he'll be a player that Gopher fans are very happy to have." and at the Select 17 Festival: "
On the other side of the ice, the more I see Pat White, the more I'm convinced he'll be a first round draft pick next summer. He had another great performance. Even though he was held off the scoresheet, he was still making his presence felt on the ice."

White was offered a spot on the NTDP team, but chose instead to return to Grand Rapids for his senior year of high school. He got off to a slow start in his senior year of high school. He sprained his ankle in a preseason game and it took over half the season for him to recover. White returned to full health in time for the section playoffs, and led Grand Rapids back to the state tournament, where I said this about his play: "Pat White(Minnesota commit) was easily the best player on the ice. He's incredibly strong, and a smart hockey player. I was very impressed."

After his high school season, White went to Tri-City of the USHL, where he scored 8 goals and one assist in 12 games, and registed a +5 +/- rating. He also played for the US U18 team at the World Championships.

White is incredibly strong with the puck. In last year's state championship game, Roseau head coach Scott Oliver instructed his players to try and play off White, because of his ability to bounce off of checks. White also has a hard, accurate shot which allows him to score a lot of goals. He is also responsible on his own end of the ice, which should make him even more attractive to NHL teams.

White was ranked 23rd in the NHL Central Scouting Bureau Final Rankings, which was up from 25 in the Mid-term Rankings. White will likely be on the borderline between the first and the second round.

White will head to the University of Minnesota next season. Whichever team drafts him will likely want White to play at least 2 or three years as he develops physically. White has a great deal of strength, but there is a big difference between being high school-strong and NHL-strong, and it takes time to build that strength. White projects to a solid two-way player that can be a solid finisher on a powerplay. White is one of the more complete players in the draft, with no glaring weaknesses. It will just be a matter of how he continues to develop.

Biggest strength: Goal-scoring ability
Needs to Improve: Strength

Further Reading:

Research on Ice feature: Pat White March 12, 2007

NHL Draft Prospect: Ian Cole

We’ll continue our 2007 NHL Draft coverage with a look at some individual players. Today, we’ll look at NTDP defenseman Ian Cole.

Cole is originally a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and played his early years of hockey in the Ann Arbor Amateur Hockey Association. As he started to develop into a top prospect, Cole moved on to the famed Compuware AAA program. When he was 15, he chose to play closer to Ann Arbor with the Victory Honda Midget Minor team.

That spring, he was offered a spot on the NTDP team. Cole was known as a strong, physical defenseman, but there were questions about his foot speed and skating ability. Notre Dame was very interested in him, however. Cole was familiar with Notre Dame because he had been coached by Notre Dame assistant Andy Slaggert. He also received interest from Michigan and Wisconsin. In the end, Cole picked Notre Dame and became Jeff Jackson’s first ever recruit at Notre Dame.

With the NTDP, Cole continued to develop thanks to his impressive work ethic. He gained 20 lbs. in the weight room to put over 200 lbs. That size not only makes him effective physically, it also makes it extremely difficult for him to be knocked off the puck.

Cole made another jump in development in his second year with the NTDP, becoming one of the team’s top defenseman. Cole became more comfortable with his role on the team, and started to show more offensive flair, as well as playing better defensively. He capped off his NTDP career with an impressive showing at the World U18 championships where he impressed scouts as one of the team’s top defenseman.

He is probably best described as an all-around defenseman. His strongest area is probably on the defensive side, where he can use his size to his advantage. While he probably won’t rush the puck up the ice much, he can also contribute offensively with solid passes and a hard shot from the point. He may have to improve his skating a little more to play at the NHL level, but he’s improved dramatically every year and could develop even more at Notre Dame.

Cole was ranked 81st in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings, though that didn’t take into account his performance at the World Championships. He moved up from 118th in the mid-term rankings. Cole could go much higher though. Red Line Report’s Kyle Woodlief went so far as to put him at 9th in his draft rankings. It’s unlikely that he will go that high, but I could see Cole being drafted as high as the second round. The most likely scenario would be that he will be drafted in the 3rd or 4th round.

Cole will likely play at least 2 or 3 years at Notre Dame before an NHL team even thinks about signing him. The Irish have big expectations for Cole, and he should develop into one of their top defenseman.

Biggest strength: Work ethic
Needs to Improve: Skating ability

NTDP Coach Ron Rolson said: “Ian’s a big, strong kid who plays with a physical presence. He’s solid defensively and keeps the game simple. Ian has a great work ethic and is able to dominate opponents physically.”

Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said: "Ian is a solid defenseman who has good vision on the ice and will give us a great presence because of the way he plays the game. He's a big, gritty kid who is strong in the corners and in front of the net. He's a solid two-way defenseman who puts an emphasis on the physical aspect of the game. He will be a top collegiate defenseman for us in the years to come."

Further Reading:

"Cole Mining" from Paul Shaheen's Research on Ice June 22, 2005.

NTDP Feature November 4, 2005

NTDP Feature March 30, 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pat White

(The following story was written by me for the Research on Ice newsletter last March)

Grand Rapids forward Pat White was faced with a number of different options for his future after leading Grand Rapids to the Minnesota Class AA championship game last season. He could have spent his senior year of high school in Ann Arbor Michigan, playing for the National Team Development Program and wearing a Team USA jersey, or he could have chosen to head to the USHL where he would play more games and face stronger competition. But for White, the decision to stay in Grand Rapids for his final year of high school was an easy one.

“That game right there is the best example of why I came back for my senior year,” said White, after scoring two goals to lead his team to a victory over the tournament’s top seed, Edina in front of a sellout crowd at the Xcel Energy Center. “There’s nothing more that I could ask for than just playing one hockey game out there. I’d give anything in the world to for it. I don’t think I’m ever going to forget it. All my friends and buddies are in the locker room, we’ve been together all the way together all the way and I don’t think I could leave them.”

Things haven’t been always been as fun and rewarding for White this season. White suffered a sprained ankle in a preseason scrimmage, which forced him to play the first part of the season at less than his full effectiveness, before sidelining him for a few games while he tried to let his ankle heal.

“It doesn’t get much more frustrating than that. You sit up in the stands and you watch your team win, and you watch your team lose. When the team wins you want to be out there to celebrate with them, and when the team doesn’t come out on top you’re feeling the exact opposite. I want to contribute to the team, and I want to help them win hockey games.

White’s ankle now feels better, to the point that it no longer has to worry about it on the ice.

“I guess I’d say it’s 100% now. I hope it is, anyway. I’m certainly not thinking about anymore.”

White’s return to health has been a big boost to Grand Rapids. Some losses in the first half of the season while White was battling injury made Grand Rapids the third seed in Section 7AA, but with White at full strength, Grand Rapids knocked off second seeded Duluth East in overtime, with White scoring the game-winner, and then beat top-seed Cloquet in the final, where White added another goal. After defeating Edina, Grand Rapids proved themselves as one of the best teams in the state with White healthy.

Once his high school season is over, White will still end up with the opportunity to wear a Team USA jersey. White will join the US U18 team that will travel to Finland for the World Championships.

When asked which he would he would prefer, if he had to choose between winning a state title and winning a gold medal, White responded, “I don’t know if I could choose off the top of my head. Either one would probably feel better than anything else.”

If White continues his stellar play, he just might get both.

Friday, May 25, 2007

WCHA Goalies


The Situation: Jon Olthuis is back for his second year, along with freshman Matt Gordon.

Survey Says: Olthuis should be the starter, at least to start the season. If Gordon plays well, he may earn more playing time.

Colorado College

The Situation: The Tigers lose Matt Zaba. Junior Drew O'Connell was highly-touted coming out of juniors, but has struggled whenever he has gotten playing time. Freshman Richard Bachmann started off slowly in the USHL, but played well in the second half of the season.

Survey Says: The door is wide open for Bachmann to earn the starting role. Goaltending probably won't be a strong point for the Tigers though.


The Situation: Peter Mannino is back for his final year, and should be backed up by freshman Marc Cheverie.

Survey Says: Cheverie struggled this past season in juniors. Mannino shouldn't face a ton of competition for playing time.

Michigan Tech

The Situation: The Huskies return two top goalies in Michael-Lee Teslak and Robbie Nolan.

Survey Says: The Huskies duo should be one of the best in the nation.


The Situation: Junior Jeff Frazee and freshman Alex Kangas will compete for playing time.

Survey Says: Both are talented goalies. I think they will split time for most of the regular season, with Frazee playing in the playoffs.

Minnesota State

The Situation: The Mavericks return juniors Mike Zacharias and Dan Tormey, and freshman Austin Lee.

Survey Says: I think Tormey and Zacharias will both be great this season. If the defense plays well in front of them, they should be right up there with Teslak and Nolan.


The Situation: Alex Stalock is back for his second season, and Kenny Reiter will join the Bulldogs.

Survey Says: If Stalock reigns back some of his aggression, he could be a very good goalie. Reiter will likely be the back-up.

North Dakota

The Situation: Same as last year. Phillippe Lamoureux will be the starter with Anthony Grieco as the back-up.

Survey Says: Lamoureux isn't a great goalie, but has shown the ability to rise to the occasion when needed. He should be a good anchor on a talent Sioux team.

St. Cloud

The Situation: Jase Weslosky will take over for Bobby Goepfert as the starter, with Dan Dunn as the back-up.

Survey Says: Weslosky was great in his first couple of starts, then really struggled at the end of the year. Still, the college experience should really help him this year. He won't be Goepfert, but he'll be good enough.


The Situation: Brian Elliott is gone for the Badgers. Shane Connelly and Scott Gudmanson will compete for playing time.

Survey Says: Connelly struggled early on in his career, but the plan was always to have him ready to start as a junior, which I think he'll do pretty well playing in front of Wisconsin's stout defense.

CCHA Goalies

The situation: Chad Johnson and Wylie Rogers both return. Both had down years last season, but have a lot of talent.

Survey Says: They can prevent goals, but can they also score them for the 'Nooks?

Bowling Green

The situation: Goalie has been one of the biggest holes for BG ever since Jordan Sigalet left. Jimmy Spratt has had awful statistics, and last year, freshman Eddie Neville didn't do much better. NTDP goalie Josh Unice will be joining the team and should have every opportunity to win the starting job.

Survey Says: BG needs Unice to be very, very good, or it could be another disastrous season.

Ferris State

The situation: Mitch O'Keefe won the starting job over Derek MacIntyre two seasons ago, but didn't play all that well last season. Freshman Pat Nagle will join the Bulldogs after being one of the NAHL's better goalies.

Survey Says: If O'Keefe can't return to his freshman season form, Nagle could earn a lot of playing time.

Lake Superior

The Situation: The Lakers lost a great goalie in Jeff Jakaitis. Pat Inglis played well in limited minutes last season. Brian Mahoney-Wilson will also compete for playing time.

Survey Says: I think Inglis will be the full-time starter and will surprise people by having a great year.


The Situation: Jeff Zatkoff and Charlie Effinger have both been very good and are both back for next season.

Survey Says: More of the same from the RedHawks goalie duo.


The Situation: The maligned Billy Sauer will be back as a junior. Freshman Bryan Hogan will compete for playing time, as will freshman Shawn Hunwick.

Survey Says: Michigan fans would love to see Hogan win the job, but Sauer will likely be the starter the majority of the time. Sauer made strides last season, and should make another big stride this season.

Michigan State

The Situation: Jeff Lerg is back for his junior season.

Survey Says: It will be impossible for Lerg to live up to the legend he built in the four NCAA tournament games last season, but he should still be an exceptionally solid goalie.


The Situation: Jeremie Dupont was one of college hockey's youngest players last season. He split time with Jerad Kaufmann.

Survey Says: With an extra year of experience, Dupont should be better, and should see the majority of the playing time.

Northern Michigan

The Situation: The Wildcats have sophomore Brian Stewart, freshman Reid Ellingson, and returnee Derek Janzen.

Survey Says: Stewart may get more playing time to start the season, but Ellingson is likely the long-term solution for Northern.

Notre Dame

The Situation: Notre Dame lost Hobey candidate David Brown to graduation. The Irish will have two former NTDP goalies in junior Jordan Pearce and freshman Brad Phillips.

Survey Says: Pearce hasn't been outstanding in his limited playing time. I think the two may split time to start the season, with one emerging as the starter later in the year.

Ohio State

The Situation: Joe Palmer will be back for his second year.

Survey Says: Palmer has a lot of talent, and should get even better this season.

Western Michigan

The Situation: I don't think Daniel Bellissimo will be returning for his senior season. That leaves sophomore Riley Gill and freshman Jerry Kuhn to compete for playing time.

Survey Says: Gill played very well as a freshman, and should continue to be the starter.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

USHL Draft Live Blog

Here are the results from this year's USHL Entry Draft. For more information, check out the Western College Hockey Blog

10 minutes in, and nothing has been posted yet.

1st Round 1st Overall Chicago Selects: Will Weber, Gaylord HS(MI)

I thought Weber might go first overall. He's a big, offensive-minded defenseman that is an excellent skater. He kind of reminds me of Derrick Lapoint last year. He's committed to Miami for 2008.

1st Round 2nd Overall Ohio Selects: Alden Hirschfeld, Mahoning Valley(NAHL)

8th Round 77th Overall Green Bay Selects: Taylor Johnson, White Bear Lake

Johnson is a very talented defenseman from White Bear Lake. I believe he'll be a senior next season, so he might only play before/after the USHL season.

8th Round 78th Overall Waterloo Selects: Matt Marshall, Nobles Prep

One of the more talented players from out East.

Sioux City done drafting in Phase 1 of the draft
I don't remember a lot about Hirschfeld after seeing him early in the year, but he is also committed to Miami for 2008.

1st Round 3rd Overall Green Bay Selects: Joe Schiller, Detroit Lakes HS

I didn't think Schiller would go this high. He's an excellent stickhandler/playmaker with pretty decent size. He's committed to Minnesota State for 2008.

1st Round 4th Overall Indiana Selects: Pat Cullen, Washington Jr. Nationals

Cullen is an interesting prospect, because he played in such a non-traditional area. He had an excellent year, but was playing HS hockey in Maryland. He's committed to RPI for 2008.

1st Round 5th Overall Des Moines Selects: Trent Vogelhuber, St. Louis Jr. Bandits(NAHL)

The third Miami recruit in the first round of the draft. I can't say I know a whole lot about him.

1st Round 6th Overall Sioux City Selects: Adam Hout, LA Jr. Kings

Pretty nice defenseman. The Jr. Kings had a lot of very talented players last season.

1st Round 7th Overall Sioux Falls Selects: Jack Connolly, Duluth Marshall HS

I'm a huge fan of Connolly. He's small, but an excellent passer and stickhandler. He's very fun to watch. He'll also more than likely be playing two years in the USHL, so a great pick-up for Sioux Falls.

1st Round 8th Overall Chicago Selects: Aaron Schmidt, Culver

Linconln traded this pick to Chicago. I didn't get to see Culver play this year.

1st Round 9th Overall Tri-City Selects: Mike Cichy, Boston Jr. Bruins

A bit of a gamble, but a nice pick. Cichy left the NTDP and went to play for the Jr. Bruins. He'll likely play in the USHL next season, though the QMJHL will probably still make a big push for him this summer.

1st Round 10th Overall Cedar Rapids Selects: Matt Donovan, Dallas AAA

1st Round 11th Overall Omaha Selects: Donny Harris, NW Regulators AAA

I'm not even sure who the NW Regulators are.

1st Round 12th Overall Waterloo Selects: Drew McKenzie, Taft School

6th defenseman of the first round. McKenzie is committed to Vermont.

2nd Round 13th Overall Chicago Selects: Andrew Miller, Cranbrook Kingswood

The Steel pick up the other big prospect out of Michigan HS hockey. Miller is a smaller player, but has great hands and good scoring ability. He should be a very nice player. He's committed to Yale.

2nd Round 14th Overall Ohio Selects: Matt Leitner, Anaheim Jr. Ducks

Didn't get a chance to see Anaheim play this year.

2nd Round 15 Overall Green Bay Selects: Christian Morrissette, St. Andrews College

Committed to RPI.

2nd Round 16th Overall Indiana Selects: Timothy Syner, NO Jr. Falcons(EJHL)

2nd Round 17th Overall Des Moines Selects: Locke Jillison

Good skater and a solid two-way player. Committed to Cornell.

2nd Round 18th Overall Sioux City Selects: Steve Quailr, Rocky Mountain Wranglers

2nd Round 19th Overall Sioux Falls Selects: Gabe Guentzel, Southern Minnesota Express(NAHL)

Guentzel's brother played at Sioux Falls as well. Gaber is a decent defender that doesn't really stand out, but plays a smart, quiet game.

2nd Round 20th Overall Lincoln Selects: Jeff Cecacci, Surrey Eagles(BCHL)

Only listed at 5'8". 1988 birthdate. 21 points in 53 games this year as a defenseman.

2nd Round 21st Overall Tri-City Selects: David Carle, Shattuck-St. Mary's

Carle may be ready to make the jump to the USHL next season. He's not a superstar like his brother, but he has a pretty decent mix of size and skill and should be a solid player in the USHL.

2nd Round 22nd Overall Indiana Selects: Corbin McPherson, Cowichan Valley(BCHL)

Pick traded from Cedar Rapids.

2nd Round 23rd Overall Omaha Selects: Aaron Lewadniuk, Winkler(MJHL)

Committed to Bemidji State.

2nd Round 24th Overall Waterloo Selects: Chad Billins, Alpena(NAHL)

I really like Billins. He's not huge, but he is a very smart, responsible defenseman. He's committed to Ferris State.

3rd Round 25th Overall Sioux Falls Selects: Michael Juola, LA Jr. Kings

Juola is a very talented forward. He's got good skating ability and can shoot the puck.

3rd Round 26th Overall Tri-City Selects: Chris Franks, Burnsville HS

I'm really surprised that Franks lasted this long. He's a big defenseman that has great offensive potential, including a huge shot from the point.

3rd Round 27th Overall Green Bay Selects: Phil Ginand, NE Jr. Huskies

3rd Round 28th Overall Indiana Selects: Peter Boyd, Northwood School

3rd Round 29th Overall Lincoln Selects: Hunter Bishop, Vernon(BCHL)

Bishop left North Dakota midway through last year, and will be looking to find another school to play at.

3rd Round 30th Overall Sioux City Selects: Will MacDonald, Culver Academy

<3rd Round 31st Overall Sioux Falls Selects: Tom Healy, Team Illinois/span>

3rd Round 32nd Overall Tri-City Selects: Colin Smith, Belle Tire

3rd Round 33rd Overall Tri-City Selects: Nick Jaskowiak, Salisbury Prep

Had committed to Harvard, though there are rumors that that offer is no longer there.

3rd Round 34th Overall Cedar Rapids: Jesse Brown, Syracuse Stars

3rd Round 35th Overall Omaha Selects: Jake Sloat, Colorado Thunderbirds

3rd Round 36th Overall Waterloo Selects: Ryan Kretzer, Springfield(NAHL)

4th Round 37th Overall Indiana Selects: Brian Harrison, Chicago Chill

4th Round 38th Overall Lincoln Selects: Dennis Brown, LA Jr. Kings

Brown is an underrated defenseman. He can skate very well and is excellent at moving the puck.

4th Round 39th Overall Green Bay Selects: Stephen Carew, Benilde-St. Margaret's

Good finishing ability.

4th Round 40th Overall Indiana Selects: Scott Darling

The first goalie of the draft isn't picked until the 4th round. Darlings is committed to Maine.

4th Round 41st Overall Des Moines Selects: Adam Henderson, Spruce Grove(AJHL)

Henderson is committed to Michigan State. He's a very talented 1990 birthdate. A nice pick-up for Des Moines if he decides to play in the US.

4th Round 42 Overall Ohio Selects: Zach Trotman, Victory Honda

4th Round 43rd Overall Cedar Rapids Selects: Vince Mihalek, Gilmour Academy

4th Round 44th Overall Lincoln Selects: Kyle Delaurell, Colorado Rampage

4th Round 45th Overall Tri-City Selects: Brett Beebe, Anaheim Alliance

Beebe was one of the leading scorers at last summer's Select 16 Festival.

4th Round 46th Overall Cedar Rapids Selects: Justin Bruckel, Syracuse Stars

4th Round 47th Overall Des Moines Selects: Miles Winter, Mahoning Valley(NAHL)

4th Round 48th Overall Ohio Selects: Dalton Speelman, San Jose AAA

5th Round 49th Overall Green Bay Selects: Chris Connolly, Fargo-Moorhead(NAHL)

Connolly is Jack's older brother. Chris is a very talented offensive player. If he can get a good college scholarship offer for next season, he'd likely take note, but if not, he'd be an excellent overage player in the USHL.

5th Round 50th Overall Des Moines Selects: J.P. Maley

5th Round 51st Overall Sioux Falls Selects: Jordan Singer, Centennial HS

Singer did well at the Chicago Showcase Tournament.

5th Round 52nd Overall Chicago Selects: Brian Dowd Thayer Academy

5th Round 53rd Overall Omaha Selects: Jake Hausworth, Marquette Electros

5th Round 54th Overall Sioux City Selects: Jarrod Mermis, St. Louis Jr. B

5th Round 55th Overall Sioux Falls Selects: Augie Hoffman, Valley Jr. Warriors

5th Round 56th Overall Tri-City Selects: Ian O'Brien, Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins

Only the second goalie drafted.

5th Round 57th Overall Sioux Falls Selects: Terry Broadhurst

5th Round 58th Overall Cedar Rapids Selects: Kyle Flanagan, Cornwall

5th Round 59th Overall Omaha Selects: Richard Manley, Chicago Steel(USHL)

Apparently Chicago didn't keep him on their protected roster. Manley was with the NTDP before leaving for the USHL.

<5th Round 60th Overall Waterlook Selects: Chris Slavik, Elk River HS

Slavik is a pretty good defenseman. He was a bit overshadowed by teammate Brandon Martell this year, but he definitely has D1 talent.

6th Round 61st Overall, Chicago Selects: Eric Alexander, East Kentwood HS

Chicago continues to pick top MI HS players, and they get probably the third best player in the state in Alexander.

Ohio done drafting in Phase 1 of draft

6th Round 63rd Overall Green Bay Selects: Brian Yanovitch, Bridgewater

6th Round 64th Overall Chicago Selects: Spencer Anderson, Brampton(OPJHL)

Des Moines done drafting in Phase 1 of the draft

6th Round 64th Overall Sioux City Selects: Steve Thompson, Vernon(BCHL)

6th Round 65th Overall Sioux Falls Selects: Sean Escobedo, Apple Core(EJHL)

Indiana done drafting in Phase 1 of the draft

6th Round 66th Overall Tri-City Selects: Tom Kleidon, Santa Fe(NAHL)

6th Round 67th Overall Cedar Rapids Selects: Paul Phillips, Chicago Chill

I believe he's the first 1991 birthdate drafted in this draft. He tried out for the NTDP team recently, but hasn't been selected for the team.

6th Round 68th Overall Omaha Selects: Joe Sova, Sioux City(USHL)

Apparently Sioux City wasn't holding on to Sova.

6th Round 69th Overall Waterloo Selects: Kory Kaunisto, Traverse City(NAHL)

Talented forward. Already committed to Northern Michigan.

7th Round 70th Overall Chicago Selects: Barron Smith, Chicago Mission

Smith is a '91, but very big for his age. He could have a chance to play for his hometown team next season.

Chicago done drafting in phase 1 of the draft

7th Round 71st Overall Sioux City Selects: Ben Kinne, Santa Fe(NAHL)

Kinne played at Cretin-Derham Hall HS in Minnesota. Not a huge player, but a hard worker with some decent skill.

7th Round 72nd Overall Sioux Falls Selects: Garrett Chumley, Cambridge HS

Chumley is a nice playmaker that racked up a lot of points at a smaller high school.

7th Round 73rd Overall Lincoln Selects: Jake Newton, Texas Tornado

Tri-City done drafting in phase 1 of draft

7th Round 74th Overall Cedar Rapids Selects: Jeff Velleca, New England Falcons

7th Round 75th Overall Omaha Selects: Nick Thielen, Moorhead HS

7th Round 76th Overall Waterloo Selects: Kevin Nugent, Taft Prep

Nugent recently committed to Notre Dame. Apparently there is a chance that he could wait to join the Irish until 2008.

7th Round 79th Overall Sioux Falls Selects: Kristof Reinthaler, Dallas AAA

8th Round 80th Overall Lincoln Selects: Corey Hibbeler, Culver Academy

8th Round 81st Overall Cedar Rapids Selects: Bryce Aneloski, Team Illinois

Omaha is done drafting in Phase 1 of the draft

Round 8 82nd Overall Lincoln Selects: Mark Silverman, Victory Honda

Silverman is an excellent student, and has been looked at by some Ivy League schools.

Round 9 83rd Overall Cedar Rapids Selects: Dan Ford, Syracuse Stars

Cedar Rapids is loving the Eastern kids this year.

Round 10 84th Overall Cedar Rapids Selects: Gustav Bengston, NW Regulators

That completes Phase 1 of the drafting period.

Phase 2 of the Drafting Period

Round 11 85th Overall Cedar Rapids Selects: Bobby Gutsch, Duluth Marshall

Gutsch has potential to make CR's team, and do quite well. He's a big hitter with decent hands. Marshall's Rob Bordson had a great year for CR last season, and Gutsch could do the same.

Round 11 86th Overall Ohio Selects: Jordy Murray, Shattuck-St. Mary's

Probably a flier. I'd guess Murray returns to Shattuck for next season.

Round 11 87th Overall Green Bay Selects: Keegan Flaherty, Duluth East HS

Flaherty is a nice player, that could try to play for GB before/after the HS season.

11th Round 88th Overall Indiana Selects: Angelo Vrachnas

11th Round 89th Overall Des Moines Selects: Mike Mosher, LA Jr. Kings

Mosher is a very talented goalie.

11th Round 90th Overall Sioux City Selects: Cody Butcher, Merritt(BCHL)

11th Round 91st Overall Sioux Falls Selects: Tedd Falk, Team Wisconsin

11th Round 92nd Overall Lincoln Selects: Peter Lompado, Shattuck-St. Mary's

Another flier. Lompado will probably be playing baseball at Minnesota State next season.

11th Round 93rd Overall Tri-City Selects: Anthony DeCenzo, Hibbing HS

Another before/after HS season possibility.

11th Round 94th Overall Cedar Rapids Selects: Derek Arnold, Boston Jr. Bruins

11th Round 95th Overall Omaha Selects: Alex Killorn, Deerfield

Killorn is receiving some hype for this summer's NHL draft. He's committed to Harvard. He must be considering returning to Deerfield or else I think he might have gone higher.

11th Round 96th Overall Waterloo Selects: Michael Montrose, Detroit Little Caesar's

Montrose is a '91 born defenseman and is very talented.

12th Round 97th Overall Chicago Selects: Mark Anthione, Portland Jr. Pirates

12th Round 98th Overall Ohio Selects: Brian Flynn, Pomfret Prep

12th Round 99th Overall Green Bay Selects: Kyle Rank, Apple Core(EJHL)

12th Round 100th Overall Indiana Selects: Brandon Bahnemann, Rochester Lourdes HS

I'm really surprised that Bahnemann lasted this long. He's a very talented prospect that is looking to play in the USHL next season. He should make Indiana's team.

12th Round 101st Overall Des Moines Selects: Jefferson Dahl, Eau Claire HS

12th Round 102nd Overall Sioux City Selects: Justin Brossman, Vernon(BCHL)

Played at Shattuck prior to playing in BCHL.

12th Round 103rd Overall Sioux Falls Selects: Jeff Rohrkemper, Grosse Pointe North HS

One of the better MI HS players this year.

12th Round 104th Overall Lincoln Selects: Brandon Richardson, Pembroke Lumber Kings

Pembroke is the program that St. Cloud's Ryan Lasch came out of.

12th Round 105th Overall Tri-City Selects: Charlie Raskob, Academy of Holy Angels

12th Round 106th Overall Cedar Rapids Selects: Justin Castagna, Anaheim Jr. Ducks

12th Round 107th Overall Omaha Selects: David Eddy, Woodbury HS

12th Round 108th Overall Waterloo Selects: Patrick Wey, Pittsburgh Hornets

Wey is a top 1991-born defenseman.

13th Round 109th Overall Chicago Selects: Brian O'Neill, Philly Jr. Flyers

13th Round 110th Overall Ohio Selects: Jon Merrill, Little Caesar's Midget Minor

Intresting pick. Merrill is a '92 birthdate that has already committed to Michigan.

13th Round 111th Overall Green Bay Selects: Reed Rushing, Alaska(NAHL)

13th Round 112th Overall Indiana Selects: Brandon Blandina, Lake Forest Academy

13th Round 113th Overall Des Moines Selects: David Makowski, St. Louis AAA

13th Round 114th Overall Sioux City Selects: Nate Taurence, Detroit Little Caesar's

13th Round 115th Overall Sioux Falls Selects: Britton Smith, Academy of Holy Angels

Smith played very well when I saw Holy Angels play this season.

13th Round 116th Overall Lincoln Selects: Mike Guzzo, Penticton(BCHL)

13th Round 117th Overall Tri-City Selects: A.J. Treais, Little Caesar's

Treais is a '91 birthdate that is already committed to Michigan for 2009.

13th Round 118th Overall Cedar Rapids Selects: Robert Harrison, Mahoning Valley(NAHL)

Harrison looked like a pretty good player when I saw MV earlier this season.

13th Round 119th Overall Omaha Selects: Chris Ciotti, Gilmour Academy

13th Round 120th Overall Waterloo Selects: Corey Fienhage, Eastview HS

14th Round 121st Overall Chicago Selects: Zach Golembiewski, Belle Tire

Golembiewski seems to have been playing very well of late, and could be an excellent prospect. He's a '91 birthdate.

14th Round 122nd Overall Ohio Selects: Randy Wolcott, Avon Old Farms

14th Round 123rd Overall Green Bay Selects: Aaron Shiborowski, Benidle-St. Margaret's

Shiborowski is a talented puck-moving defenseman. He suffered a knee sprain at the Great 8 which might have dropped his stock a little, but he's still very talented.

14th Round 124th Overall Indiana Selects: Justin Jokinen, Cloquet HS

Jokinen is a talented player, that did well at the Great 8/Chicago Showcase.

14th Round 125th Overall Des Moines Selects: Jake Gardiner, Minnetonka HS

14th Round 126th Overall Sioux City Selects: Kyle Lundey, Dubuque(MNJHL)

The first Minnesota Jr. B selection.

14th Round 127th Overall Sioux Falls Selects: Milan Luziach, Rocky Mountain AAA

14th Round 128th Overall Lincoln Selects: Spencer McMillan, St. Paul Academy

14th Round 129th Overall Tri-City Selects: Hakan Yumusaklar, Lakeville South HS

A goalie that seems like kind of a late-bloomer. He could surprise some people.

14th Round 130th Overall Cedar Rapids Selects: Sean Coughlin, Cushing Academy

14th Round 131st Overall Omaha Selects: Edwin Shea, Boston Jr. Bruins

Shea is a BC commit that will likely stay at his prep school instead of going to the USHL.

14th Round 132nd Overall Waterloo Selects: Jordan Samuels-Thomas, Hartford Jr. Wolfpack

There's still a couple more rounds of the draft, but I'm gonna stop there. I'll update if anything major happens.

Worthy of Update #1- Indiana selected super-kid John Tavares in the 15th round. I can't imagine a scenario where he would end up in the USHL, but if he did, Indiana would look like freakin' geniuses.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Jutting and His "Peers"

Runnin' with the Dogs had a tour de force post that discussed, among other things, Minnesota State, the WCHA, and fan expectations.

The genesis of the article was the contract extension of Minnesota State coach Troy Jutting, which was at least in part based on the idea that Minnesota State has competed well against their "peer group" in the WCHA, despite not having a lot of overall success in the league.

The theory is that it is difficult for a program the size of Minnesota State to beat much larger, much more established programs like Minnesota and North Dakota on a consistent basis. The conventional wisdom is that Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Denver, and Colorado College are the "Haves" of the WCHA, while St. Cloud, Minnesota State, Minnesota-Duluth, Michigan Tech, and Alaska-Anchorage are the "Have-Nots".

But does that logic hold up to the facts? Jutting has been head coach at Minnesota State for seven years. So I looked up the average finish for each WCHA team over the past seven years and it looks like the WCHA can be broken down even more.(Average finish in parenthesis)

1. Minnesota (2.42)
2. North Dakota(3.42)
3. Denver(3.57)
4. Colorado College(3.71)
5. Wisconsin (4.57)
6. St Cloud (4.71)
7. Minnesota State (6.71)
8. Minnesota-Duluth (7.1)
9. Alaska-Anchorage (8.57)
10. Michigan Tech (8.7)

What's even more interesting is that if you look at the number of top 4 finishes each team had over that time frame, you get the same order:

Minnesota: 7
North Dakota: 5
Denver: 5
Colorado College: 5
Wisconsin: 3
St. Cloud: 3
Minnesota State: 1
Minnesota-Duluth: 1
Alaska-Anchorage: 0
Michigan Tech: 0

I'll also point out that the top four teams, along with Michigan Tech, were all original members of the WCHA, and its various previous incarnations. So history and tradition seems to be a pretty big factor, except in the case of Michigan Tech's program, where other factors have hurt their success.

Another important factor looks to be population. With the exception of tiny Grand Forks, and Anchorage, which is big, but in Alaska, schools with a larger local population base seem to be more successful.

If any program looks to be slightly behind where you would expect them to be, it would probably be Minnesota-Duluth. Duluth is in a fairly hockey-rich area, and is slightly bigger than St. Cloud and Mankato. You'd probably expect Duluth to be in the Wisconsin/St. Cloud grouping. It should be noted though that Duluth has had the most postseason success of the bottom five programs, making one NCAA tournament, and getting to the Frozen Four.

So where does that put Minnesota State? It looks like they're right about where one would expect them to be. It's certainly not an extraordinary record, but it also isn't significantly lagging behind where it probably should be. I know Minnesota State fans would like to see themselves higher, but over the long run, if they're consistently finishing higher than a North Dakota, or Denver, or Colorado College, it's probably because those programs are doing something wrong. You could even argue that Wisconsin is artificially low due to the end of the Sauer era, and in another couple years, they will be in the UND/DU/CC category. There's just not a lot of opportunity for smaller programs to move up into those top spots with so many strong programs already in the league.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

APR Rates

Colorado College - 985
Denver - 984
Wisconsin - 969
Minnesota - 954
Michigan Tech - 950
Minnesota Duluth - 945
St. Cloud State - 943
Minnesota State, Mankato - 942
North Dakota - 930
Alaska Anchorage - 919

Notre Dame - 996
Michigan State - 986
Michigan - 984
Bowling Green State - 983
Northern Michigan - 982
Miami - 980
Western Michigan - 974
Ferris State - 970
Ohio State - 965
Alaska Fairbanks - 949
Lake Superior State - 945
Nebraska Omaha - 941

_Hockey East_
Boston College - 986
Northeastern - 977
Boston University - 970
Vermont - 968
Providence - 966
New Hampshire - 961
Maine - 959
UMass Lowell - 959
Merrimack - 957
UMass - 951

Harvard - 1000
Rensselaer - 1000
Yale - 1000
Brown - 997
Colgate - 996
Dartmouth - 990
Union - 988
Princeton - 984
Cornell - 983
St. Lawrence - 975
Clarkson - 972
Quinnipiac - 972

Bemidji State - 973
Wayne State - 966
Niagara - 965
Alabama Huntsville - 946
Robert Morris - 945

_Atlantic Hockey_
Holy Cross - 1000
Sacred Heart - 1000
Bentley - 995
American International - 994
Air Force - 988
Army - 969
Canisius - 961
Mercyhurst - 950
UConn - 950
RIT - 913

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

CHL Drafts

One note, that is somewhat related to this post. Last weekend I said that the NCAA was pushing back the time when colleges could first call a prospect. That is true, however it only applies to prospects that are living in a foreign country. That seems like a fair compromise on the NCAA's part. They're acknowledging that there is a hockey-specific problem, and seem to be giving it a hockey-specific solution.

Anyway, the Canadian major junior leagues will be holding their drafts this week. The WHL will draft '92 birthdates on Thursday, while the OHL will draft '91 birthdates on Saturday.


Theoretically, top prospects like Cam Fowler, Kenny Ryan, Beau Schmitz, Sam Calabrese, Matt Duchene, and Brad Smith won't be extremely high picks that will get signed since they have already made commitments to colleges, but I'm sure that there are teams out there working hard to advise them against sticking with their commitment. I still think Duchene is the biggest threat since he's been living in Canada, though there are definitely things working in Michigan State's favor, including the fact that he'll likely be joining the Spartans in 2008.

Article on Notre Dame recruit Cam Fowler likely bypassing the OHL.

The stock of Ferris State recruit Beau Schmitz has really risen over the past year, and despite being a defenseman that is less than 6 feet tall, he's become very highly desired by the OHL. It'd be a shame if Ferris State lost him, because he's an outstanding player.

Zach Tatrn-Erie could be a team that is very interested in securing him. The Otters draft first overall, and while they might not take him with the first pick, they could take him early in the draft and get him to sign. His USHL profile was pretty non-committal either way in terms of NCAA vs. OHL.

Brandon Maxwell- He's originally from Florida, but has been playing hockey in the middle of Ontario, and will likely draw a ton of interest from the OHL. He recently committed to the NTDP program, but there are rumors that Kitchener and London are very interested in him, and will try to get him to sign.

Andrew Agozzino-His brother played in the OHL, but his cousin, Mike Cammalleri played college hockey and did quite well for himself.


Luke Moffatt is said to have the talent to go first overall in the draft, though I get the impression that he just might choose the NCAA route, which would be great for college hockey. If he falls even a couple spots in the draft, I think that would be a good sign.

Two other big prospects on the west coast, Matt Nieto and Shane Sooth, along with Moffatt, skipped a recent WHL camp in California. That might be a good sign for college hockey, though a more cynical view would be that they are just using the threat of not reporting to leverage a better deal in the WHL.

Another player that could have gone extremely high in this year's draft is Notre Dame Midget forward Jaden Schwartz. Schwartz scored a ton of points this season, but he seems very intent on going the NCAA route. His brother, Rylan, is already committed to Colorado College.

A player that has already been drafted, but is definitely worth keeping an eye on is Langley(BCHL) forward Taylor Stefishen. Stefishen is a '90 birthdate that had an outstanding year for Langley and is one of the top prospects in the BCHL. At the beginning of last year, a Prince George newspaper reported that Stefishen told the Prince George Cougars, who drafted Stefishen, that he would report to their camp next year, but later in the season, Stefishen said he was most interested in getting a college scholarship and playing college hockey.


I was going to skip this draft because I don't know a ton about Quebec. THe QMJHL won't hold their draft until June 2nd. Here's a look at their Central Scouting draft list. They keep all of the Americans seperate, since most likely wouldn't report.

Steven Anthony is 3rd on their list, which is interesting since I've seen people who have right behind John Tavares in the 2009 NHL draft. Anthony has apparently shown some interest in some Eastern schools, but I'd be shocked if the Q let him get away. One of the kids ahead of him on the draft list is Louis Leblanc, who Chris Heisenberg at least lists as a potential college player. I'd guess that if he's ranked that highly, he'll probably end up in Quebec, but he has been offered scholarships from Clarkson and Vermont according to USHR.

At 8th on the list is one of Leblanc's teammates, defenseman Danny Biega. His brother Alex plays for Harvard, and his other brother, Michael, is committed to Harvard for next season.