Minnesota High Schoolers Make Mark at NHL Draft
The big story of yesterday’s draft, of course, was Sidney Crosby – a foregone conclusion if there ever was one.
Beyond that, of particular interest was the fact that two of the top three picks – Bobby Ryan and Jack Johnson – are US-born and raised players. That's a first. The US also had four of the first nine picks, yet another record, and eight in the first round -- still another record. In addition, nine Americans were selected in the second round. In all, 18 of the first 63 picks were Yanks -- that's 28%, not bad considering that the NHL as a whole is approximately 15% American. Meanwhile, the Russians did very poorly. Consider that 18 US kids were drafted before the first Russian was selected (at #70 overall), which also says something about the decline of the former Soviet Empire.
A hats off to Minnesota high schoolers, as three were taken in the first round – Brian Lee of Moorhead HS, TJ Oshie of Warroad HS, and Matt Niskanen of Virginia HS -- and a number of others in subsequent rounds.
Here are the US citizens selected in yesterday's NHL draft.
Round 1 (8):
2. Anaheim, Bobby Ryan, RW, Owen Sound (OHL)
3. Carolina, Jack Johnson, D, US Under-18/ Michigan
7. Chicago, Jack Skille, RW, US Under-18/ Wisconsin
9. Ottawa, Brian Lee, D, Moorhead HS/ North Dakota
22. Boston, Matt Lashoff, D, Kitchener (OHL)
24. St. Louis, T.J. Oshie, C, Warroad HS/ North Dakota
27. Washington, Joe Finley, D, Sioux Falls (USHL)/ North Dakota
28. Dallas, Matt Niskanen, D, Virginia HS/ Minnesota-Duluth
Round 2 (9):
34. Colorado, Ryan Stoa, C, US Under-18/ Minnesota
36. Edmonton, Taylor Chorney, D, Shattuck-St. Mary’s/ North Dakota
38. New Jersey, Jeff Frazee, G, US Under-18/ Minnesota
40. NY Rangers, Michael Sauer, D, Portland (WHL)
42. Detroit, Justin Abdelkader, LW, Cedar Rapids (USHL)/ Michigan State
44. Colorado, Paul Stastny, C, Denver
47. Colorado, Tom Fritsche, LW, Ohio State
58. Carolina, Nate Hagemo, D, Minnesota
61. Pittsburgh, Michael Gergen, LW, Shattuck-St. Mary’s/ Minnesota-Duluth
Round 3 (6):
63. Anaheim, Jason Bailey, RW, US Under-18/ Michigan
72. Los Angeles, Jonathan Quick, G, Avon Old Farms/ UMass
85. St.. Louis, Ben Bishop, G, Texas (NAHL)/ Maine
86. Edmonton, Robby Dee, C, Breck/ Maine
88. Colorado, T.J. Hensick, C, Michigan
90. Florida, Dan Collins, RW, Plymouth (OHL)
Round 4 (12):
96. Buffalo, Chris Butler, D, Sioux City (USHL)/ Denver
97. Edmonton, Chris VandeVelde, C, Moorhead HS/ North Dakota '06
99. New Jersey, Patrick Davis, LW, Kitchener (OHL)
101. Columbus, Jared Boll, RW, Lincoln (USHL)/ Minnesota-Duluth
104. Florida, Matt Duffy, D, NH Jr. Monarchs (EJHL)/ Maine
105. Phoenix, Keith Yandle, D, Cushing/ Maine
109. Washington, Andrew Thomas, D, Denver
112. San Jose, Alex Stalock, G, Cedar Rapids (USHL)/ Minnesota-Duluth
113. Chicago, Nathan Davis, C, Miami
116. Atlanta, Jordan LaVallee, LW, Quebec (QMJHL)
119. Philadelphia, Jeremy Duchesne, G, Halifax (QMJHL)
124. Colorado, Ray Macias, D, Kamloops (WHL)
Round 5 (9):
129. Minnesota, Anthony Aiello, D, Thayer/ Boston College
138. Vancouver. Matt Butcher, Chilliwack (BCHL)/ Northern Michigan '06
141. Anaheim, Brian Salcido, D, Colorado College
142. Buffalo, Nathan Gerbe, C, US Under-18/ Boston College
145. Carolina, Tim Kunes, D, New England Jr. Falcons (EJHL)/ Boston College
153. Toronto, Alex Berry, RW, Boston Jr. Bruins (EJHL)/ UMass
155. New Jersey, Mark Fayne, D, Noble & Greenough
161. Florida, Brian Foster, G, NH Jr. Monarchs (EJHL)/ New Hampshire '06
162. San Jose, Paul Fenton, LW, UMass
Round 6 (8):
167. Chicago, Joseph Fallon, G, Vermont
168. Colorado, Justin Mercier, C, US Under-18/ Miami
170. New Jersey, Sean Zimmerman, D, Spokane (WHL)
176. Nashville, Ryan Maki, RW, Harvard
178. Greg Beller, RW, Lake of the Woods HS
181. Washington, Tim Kennedy, LW, Sioux City (USHL)/ Michigan State
184. Los Angeles, Ryan McGinnis, D, Plymouth (OHL)
188. Chicago, Joe Charlebois, D, Sioux City (USHL)/ New Hampshire
193. San Jose, Tony Lucia, LW, Wayzata HS
Round 7 (12):
195. Pittsburgh, Joe Vitale, C, Sioux Falls (USHL)/ Northeastern
196. NY Islanders, Nick Tuzzolino, D, Sarnia (OHL)
198. Carolina, Kyle Lawson, D, US Under-18/ Notre Dame '06
206. Los Angeles, Josh Meyers, D, Sioux City (USHL)/ Minnesota-Duluth
208. Buffalo, Matt Generous, D, New England Jr. Falcons (EJHL)/ St. Lawrence
212. Phoenix, Pat Brosnihan, RW, Worcester Academy/ Yale
215. Philadelphia, Matt Clackson, LW, Chicago (USHL)/ Western Michigan
223. Dallas, Pat McGann, G, Team Illinois Midget AAA
224. Florida, Zach Bearson, RW, Waterloo (USHL)/ Wisconsin
225. Tampa Bay, John Wessbecker, D, Blake/ UMass
227. Buffalo, Andrew Orpik, D, Thayer/ Boston College
228. Toronto, Chad Rau, C, Des Moines (USHL)/ Colorado College
U.S. Players on final Central Scouting list passed over in yesterday’s draft are:
Skaters: Christian Hanson (Tri-City), Devereaux Heshmatpour (Oshawa – OHL), Benn Ferriero (Gov. Dummer), Jon Rheault (Providence), Drew Fisher (Moorhead HS), Phillip Axtell (Cedar Rapids), Tom Gorowsky (Sioux Falls), Zach MacVoy (US Under-18), Steve Birnstill (Northeastern), Tom Mannino (Saginaw – OHL), Matt Connors (NY Apple Core – EJHL), Nick Kemp (Sioux City – USHL), Jason Lawrence (US Under-18), Kyle Kucharski (Andover), Pasko Skarica (Milton Academy), Jared Hummel (Holy Angels), Ray Kaunisto (Soo – NAHL), Cody Wild (Jr. Bruins – EJHL), Alec Martinez (Cedar Rapids – USHL), Tim Miller (Omaha – USHL), Michael Brennan (Boston College), Nicki Fanto (Omaha – USHL), Zach Jones (US Under-18), Pat Cullity (Berkshire), Brandon Gentile (US Under-18), Brendan Milnamow (Taft), Peter MacArthur (Boston University), Jack Christian (Taft), Ryan Raven (Des Moines – USHL), Jimmy Fraser (US Under-18), Garrett Suter (Green Bay – USHL), Eric Bigham (Benilde-St. Margaret’s), Tim Filangieri (Waterloo – USHL),David Meckler (Waterloo – USHL),Matt Vokes (Cedar Rapids – USHL), Chris Mueller (Michigan State), David Inman (US Under-18), Chris Cahill (Andover), Colin Young (St. Sebastian’s), Gary Steffes (Cedar Rapids), Matt Greene (Boston College), Jack Hillen (Colorado College), Chris Davis (Avon Old Farms), Mike Testwuide (Waterloo), Chris Hepp (Omaha), Steve Rolecek (Andover), Kyle Koziara (Cushing), Dennis McCauley (Sioux City – USHL), Dillon Rioux (Avon Old Farms), Chris MacPhee (Gov. Dummer), Andrew Andricopoulos (Quebec – QMJHL), Joe Grimaldi (Nebraska-Omaha), Brett Bevis (Jr. Bruins – EJHL), Andrew Carroll (Sioux Falls – USHL).
Goaltenders: Drew O’Connell (Waterloo – USHL), Jeff Zatkoff (Sioux City – USHL), Joey Perricone (Moose Jaw – WHL), Alec Richards (Breck), Jordan Pearce (Lincoln – USHL), Steve Jakiel (Lincoln – USHL), Tyler Sims (Providence).
Non-Americans playing NCAA Div. I drafted yesterday:
14. Washington, Sasha Pokulok, D, Cornell
25. Edmonton, Andrew Cogliano, C, St. Michael’s (OPJHL)/ Michigan
51. Vancouver, Mason Raymond, Camrose (AJHL)/ Minnesota-Duluth
53. Atlanta, Andrew Kozek, RW, South Surrey (BCHL)/ North Dakota
54. Chicago, Dan Bertram, RW, Boston College
60. Los Angeles, T.J. Fast, D, Camrose (AJHL)/ Denver
76. NY Islanders, Shea Guthrie, LW, St. George’s/ Clarkson
100. Boston, Jonathan Sigalet, D, Bowling Green
126. Pittsburgh, Tim Crowder, RW, South Surrey (BCHL)/ Michigan State
134. Chicago, Brennan Turner, D, Notre Dame (SJHL)/ Yale
160. Dallas, Matt Watkins, RW, Vernon (BCHL)/ North Dakota
180. NY Islanders, Tyrell Mason, D, Salmon Arm (BCHL)/ Clarkson
204. Ottawa, Colin Greening, C, Upper Canada College/ Cornell '06
217. Boston, Brock Bradford, C, Omaha (USHL)/ Boston College
220. Edmonton, Matthew Glasser, LW, Fort McMurray (AJHL)/ Denver
229. Montreal, Philippe Paquet, D, Salisbury/ Clarkson
US Players in Central Rankings
Here are the U.S. born players ranked by Central Scouting for tomorrow’s NHL draft. The second numeral preceding each player’s name indicates where they were ranked in Central’s mid-term rankings, which were done in January. This should give a feel for who has moved up and down. In 24 hours, though, it will all be academic!
3/3 Bobby Ryan, F, Owen Sound (OHL)
4/5 Jack Johnson, D, US Under-18
11/9 Jack Skille, F, US Under-18
12/10 Matt Lashoff, D, Kitchener (OHL)
13/11 Ryan Stoa, F, US Under-18
15/16 Brian Lee, D, Moorhead HS
22/25 Michael Sauer, D, Portland (WHL)
24/23 Dan Collins, F, Plymouth (OHL)
25/29 Justin Abdelkader, F, Cedar Rapids (USHL)
26/24 Patrick Davis, F, Kitchener (OHL)
31/37 Matt Niskanen, D, Virginia HS
32/33 Joe Finley, D, Sioux Falls (USHL)
43/109 TJ Oshie, F, Warroad HS
45/108 Taylor Chorney, D, Shattuck-St. Mary’s
48/48 Tim Kunes, D, New England Jr. Falcons (EJHL)
55/53 Keith Yandle,D, Cushing Academy
56/47 Jason Bailey, F, US Under-18
57/57 Chris Butler, D, Sioux City (USHL)
58/45 Nate Hagemo, D, Minnesota
59/68 Chris Vande Velde, F, Moorhead HS
60/72 Robby Dee, F, Breck
65/152 Michael Gergen, F, Shattuck-St. Mary’s
66.52 Christian Hanson, F, Tri-City (USHL)
68/49 Devereaux Heshmatpour, D, Oshawa (OHL)
71/46 Ray Macias, D, Kamloops (WHL)
74/90 Paul Stastny, F, Denver
78/94 TJ Hensick, F, Michigan
79/80 Benn Ferriero, F, Governor Dummer
80/82 Andrew Thomas, D, Denver
82/70 Jon Rheault, F, Providence
84/101 Drew Fisher, F, Moorhead HS
87/73 Nate Davis, F, Miami U.
89/77 Phillip Axtell, F, Cedar Rapids (USHL)
92/NR Jordan LaVallee, F, Quebec (QMJHL)
93/105 Tom Fritsche, F, Ohio State
97/81 Tom Gorowsky, F, Sioux Falls (USHL)
99/83 Zach MacVoy, F, US Under-18
100/115 Steve Birnstill, D, Northeastern University
102/95 Tom Mannino, F, Saginaw (OHL)
104/NR Mark Fayne, D, Nobles
107/103 Matt Connors, F, Apple Core (EJHL)
109/111 Nick Kemp, F, Sioux City (USHL)
110/144 Jason Lawrence, F, US Under-18
111/102 Kyle Kucharski, F, Andover
112/117John Mitchell, F, Green Bay (USHL)
113/88 Pasko Skarica, D, Milton Academy
114/89 Justin Mercier, F, US Under-18
124/NR Sean Zimmerman, D, Spokane (WHL)
127/130 Matt Duffy, D, NH Jr. Monarchs (EJHL)
129/129 Zach Bearson, F, Waterloo (USHL)
130/194 Jared Hummel, D, Holy Angels
121/60 Nick Tuzzolino, D, Sarnia (OHL)
133/192 Ray Kaunisto, F, Soo (NAHL)
134/125 Cody Wild, D, Boston Jr. Bruins (EJHL)
135/198 Alec Martinez, D, Cedar Rapids (USHL)
140/135 Tim Miller, F, Omaha (USHL)
142/133 Mike Brennan, D, Boston College
145/151 Nick Fanto, F, Omaha (USHL)
148/92 Zach Jones, D, US Under-18
149/179 Anthony Aiello, D, Thayer Academy
150/231 Pat Brosnihan, F, Worcester Academy
154/181 Pat Cullity, D, Berkshire School
160/213 Nathan Gerbe, F, US Under-18
162/205 Tim Kennedy, F, Sioux City (USHL)
163/197 Brandon Gentile, D, US Under-18
164/206 Brendan Milnamow, D, Taft
166/120 Peter MacArthur, F, Boston University
167/239 Jack Christian, D, Taft
168/110 Ryan McGinnis, D, Plymouth (OHL)
169/NR Chris Clackson, F, Chicago (USHL)
171/208 Ryan Raven, F, Des Moines (USHL)
172/146 Jimmy Fraser, F, US Under-18
174/165 Garrett Suter, D, Green Bay (USHL)
175/203 Eric Bigham, F, Benilde-St. Margaret's
181/191 Chad Rau, F, Des Moines (USHL)
183/145 Tim Filangieri, D, Waterloo (USHL)
187/212 Jared Boll, F, Waterloo (USHL)
188/195 Kyle Lawson, D, US Under-18
190/200 David Meckler, F, Waterloo (USHL)
193/NR Matt Vokes, F, Cedar Rapids (USHL)
194/210 Chris Mueller, F, Michigan State
196/233 Matt Generous, D, New England Jr. Falcons (EJHL)
198/152 David Inman, D, US Under-18
200/NR Chris Cahill, F, Andover
202/186 Colin Young, D, St. Sebastian’s
204/NR Gary Steffes, F, Cedar Rapids (USHL)
205/NR Matt Greene, F, Boston College
206/NR Jack Hillen, D, Colorado College
208/221 Alex Berry, , F, Boston Jr. Bruins (EJHL)
209/217 Steve Silver, D, Cleveland (NAHL)
213/182 Mike Testwuide, F, Waterloo (USHL)
215/161 Chris Hepp, D, Omaha (USHL)
217/234 Steve Rolocek, F, Andover
220/240 Kyle Koziara, D, Cushing
221/NR John Wessbecker, D, Blake
225/232 Dennis McCauley, F, Sioux City (USHL)
230/NR Dillon Rioux, D, Avon Old Farms
234/218 Chris MacPhee, F, Governor Dummer
235/154 Andrew Andricopoulos, D, Quebec (QMJHL)
237/NR Joe Grimaldi, D, Nebraska-Omaha
245/NR Brett Bevis, D, Boston Jr. Bruins (EJHL)
250/NR Andrew Carroll, F, Sioux Falls (USHL)
6/7 Ben Bishop, Texas (NAHL)
7/8 Jeff Frazee, US Under-18
9/14 Jonathan Quick, Avon Old Farms
11/19 Jeremy Duchesne, Halifax (QMJHL)
15/13 Joe Fallon, Vermont
16/18 Drew O’Connell, Waterloo (USHL)
18/24 Jeff Zatkoff, Sioux City (USHL)
19/NR Joey Perricone, Moose Jaw (WHL)
20/28 Alec Richards, Breck
22/9 Jordan Pearce, Lincoln (USHL)
26/27 Brian Foster, NH Jr. Monarchs (EJHL)
27/NR Steve Jakiel, Lincoln (USHL)
30/NR Tyler Sims, Providence
Top Small Forward for BC
Joe Whitney, coming off a strong performance at the US Select 17 Festival, has committed to Boston College. A 5’6”, 150 lb. LW from Lawrence Academy, Whitney will be a junior this coming season, so will arrive at the Heights in the fall of ’07.
A 2/6/88 birthdate from Reading, Mass., Whitney was named to the U.S. Under-18 Select Team going to Slovakia and the Czech Republic in August.
At the Select Festival, Whitney was among the top scorers with a 2-6-8 line. He was a sparkplug who went hard, played bigger than his size, made great passes and created a lot of offense for his team.
Whitney, who played at Belmont Hill before going to Lawrence last season, chose the Eagles over UNH and BU.
In 25 games for Lawrence Academy last winter, Whitney had a 14-15-29 line in 25 games played.
Dubious Statement Department
In a press release issued today touting Americans likely to be selected in tomorrow’s draft, USA Hockey pointed out that, in 1998, the year before the first crop of NTDP players were draft eligible, 40 American-born players were selected in the NHL June entry draft.
In 2004, the release said, that number rose to 64.
Thus, the release pointed out, “The NTDP is paying dividends for American hockey as a whole.”
The truth of the matter is that the increase in the number of Americans taken in the NHL draft has absolutely nothing to do with the NTDP. The players who go to the NTDP are among the best of their age and would be drafted regardless of where they played – or even whether or not the NTDP even existed.
A more telling figure, one USA Hockey chooses not to divulge, is this:
In 1998, only four players were drafted directly out of the USHL (Kent Sauer, Josh Blackburn, Tyler Arneson, and Erik Jensen). Two more were former USHL players drafted after their freshman year in college – Erik Cole and Justin Morrison.
That’s a total of six USHLers in that draft.
Six years later, in 2004, 17 USHLers were drafted. In that same draft, 15 current or former NTDP players were selected, a record high for the program. (Notes: Two players, Geoff Paukovich and Jim McKenzie, played in both the USHL and the NTDP, so are included in both tallies.)
This year’s final Central Scouting ranking, released two days ago, ranks 38 current or former USHL players born in the United States for tomorrow’s draft. Of that number, 35 played in the USHL last season.
We’ll see how many get drafted tomorrow. You can be sure that it will be more than the six drafted in 1998.
It’s disingenuous and petty for USA Hockey to be propping up the NTDP at the expense of other leagues. USHL types can’t be happy about this. Nor should the Minnesota high schools, the other junior leagues, and prep schools. After all, 17 prep and high school players were selected directly out of high school in the 2004 draft, something that neither the NTDP nor the USHL can say.
USA Hockey, under new chief Dave Ogrean, has to realize we’re all in this together.
Select 17 Green Books In the Mail!
The 2005 Select 17 Green Books are back from the printer and the first batch has been mailed out.
In this year’s Select 17 Green Book, a ranking of the top ‘88s from the recent Select 17 Festival in St. Cloud, Minn., we went deep in the rankings, far deeper than we’ve ever gone before for this age group. We ranked 130 players, which represents over half the players on hand.
The reason for the large number is simple: there was a larger than normal second tier of players who showed enough promise for the future that we believe they should be on the radar screens of USHL and college scouts and recruiters.
Probably most interesting, however, was the number of high-end prospects who played poorly, and the number of lower-end prospects – including some players who came out of nowhere – who rocketed up the charts.
We’ve included them all, which makes for a lengthy volume, something to read on the beach over the weekend, and keep all winter as a reference book.
Included are comments on all 130 ranked players, as well as height/weight, hometown, birthdate, team played for last year and next, and addresses and phone numbers.
Please click below to be taken to the order page. Receipts will arrive automatically by email. Questions concerning orders can be made by writing email@example.com or calling (413) 303-1215.
Books will be mailed first class on the day the order is received.
Don't miss out -- order now!!
Butcher a Wildcat
6’1”, 185 lb. LC Matt Butcher of the Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) has committed to Northern Michigan for ’06.
Butcher, who’ll be playing his third season with Chilliwack, had a 27-30-57 line in 60 games last season.
A 1/1/87 birthdate, Butcher is a native of Bellingham, Washington.
He’s the son of Garth Butcher, a defenseman from Regina (WHL) who was a first round pick (#10 overall) in the 1981 NHL draft. Butcher played 12 years in the NHL with Vancouver, St. Louis, Quebec, and Toronto.
A Goalie for Vermont
The University of Vermont has a verbal commitment from Green Mountain Glades (EJHL) goaltender Mike Spillane for the fall of ’06.
Spillane,an 11/14/86 birthdate, was an all-state goaltender at Bow HS in New Hampshire, in 2003-04. Last year, he played with the Glades where, in 22 games, had a 2.73 gaa and a .931 save percentage, which was second-best in the league, just .004 percentage points behind league leader Nevin Hamilton of the Junior Bruins.
In June, Spillane attended the Omaha Lancers camp.
“He was excellent at our camp,” Lancers coach Mike Hastings said. “He was the best goalie there. He played with poise, handled the puck well, really looked like an athlete. We need big things from him.”
Until now, Spillane, who is 6’0”, 180 lbs., has operated under the radar, an unknown, at least outside Northern New England. But not with the Lancers. “I have to give credit for that to (Lancers assistant coach) Keith Fisher,” said Hastings.
When Spillane arrives at UVM, Joe Fallon will be entering his junior season.
Spillane is the second player off last season’s Glades team to commit to a Hockey East school, joining forward Paul Worthington, who’s going to UMass-Lowell.
Riley to Old Nassau
John Riley, head coach of the Brunswick School for the past two years, has been named as an assistant on Guy Gadowsky’s staff at Princeton.
Riley, who takes the spot vacated by former Princeton star Andre Faust, has a lengthy hockey resume.
In addition to coaching Brunswick, Riley is, in the Billy Cleary tradition, a referee who for years has officiated high school and youth games.
He has also been a scout for the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor for the past four years, and the Associate Director of Player Development for the Atlantic District for the past five years. Riley will be able to continue the latter position while in Princeton’s employ.
He also scouted for the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) during the Bob Motzko era.
Before taking the Brunswick job, Riley coached at Kingswood-Oxford, a prep school outside Hartford, Conn.
At Brunswick, with players like Kevin Shattenkirk (whose brother plays at Princeton) and Greg Squires, his teams have reached the Div. II prep playoffs both years he’s been there.
This is a shrewd hire for Gadowsky. Riley, who has been around the game and is well-liked and connected, knows the U.S. player pool well, and in particular the kids in the Atlantic District, whom he’s coached from young ages. In past years, a lot of the better players from Princeton’s back yard have chosen other Ivy schools. That could change fast.
Riley will work with Jason Lammers, who is starting his third year as an assistant with Gadowsky.
“I’m really excited,” said Riley. “I can’t wait to get out there and hit all the leagues.”
Young to Dartmouth
St. Sebastian’s 6’2”, 200 lb. defenseman Colin Young has committed to Dartmouth for the fall of ’06.
Young, a strong defensive defenseman with the ability to make an accurate pass, is the younger brother of Seamus Young, who graduated from St. Sebastian’s in 2002 and will be a senior at Princeton this coming season. The two brothers’ style of play is quite similar.
Young’s father, Kevin Young, was a three-sport athlete at Dartmouth and the co-captain of the 1976 football team.
Young, a 7/1/87 birthdate from Dedham, Mass., had one goal and 19 assists for the Arrows last season.
Blueline Size for the Gophers
6’3” Apple Valley High School RD David Fischer has committed to the University of Minnesota for either ’06 or ’07.
Fischer, who’ll be entering his senior year at Apple Valley, skates and moves the puck extremely well for a player of his size. A major factor in whether he suits up for the Gophers in ’06 or takes a year of juniors and arrives on campus in ’07 is the strength issue. The decision will be made by the Gophers’ coaching staff. Fischer is 175 lbs., which puts him on the skinny side for his frame.
At last week’s Select 17Festival, Fischer started out looking like a shoo-in for the U.S. Under-18 Select Team going to Slovakia and the Czech Republic next month. For the first couple of days, he was dynamic. However, Fischer, who was hit hard by mono in the spring and almost didn’t go to Model Camp, wore down as the week went along. (At the Select Festivals, players have a practice and game every day for six straight days; plus at St. Cloud the dorms, lacking air conditioning, get extremely hot.) If anyone showed up to watch Fischer on the final day of camp, they might have wondered what the fuss was all about.
In March, Fischer was invited to join the NTDP as a forward on this year’s Under-18 Team, but declined the invitation, preferring to stay at Apple Valley and remain a d-man. The NTDP, which has a full complement of ’88 d-men, felt that Fischer’s size and skating ability would have made him a good candidate for conversion to forward, which he actually started out as in youth hockey.
Fischer was recruited heavily by WCHA schools, and, in addition to Minnesota, Wisconsin was a major player in the recruiting of Fischer.
In 28 games for Apple Valley last season, Fischer posted a 8-20-28 line.
Gopher Forward for ‘07
Holy Angels RC Jay Barriball has committed to the University of Minnesota for the fall of ’07.
Barriball, a 5’8”, 165 native of Prior Lake, Minn., will be a senior at Holy Angels this coming season. He will then play a year in the USHL in ’06-07.
Barriball, a 5/27/87 DOB who can also play the wing, had a 31-50-81 line in 30 games last season, helping lead Holy Angels to the Minn. Class AA State Championship. (Holy Angels, you may recall, beat Moorhead 6-4 in the title game at the Xcel Energy Center on March 5.)
Barriball, who was also recruited by Colorado College and North Dakota, is a small playmaker type who sees the ice well, has soft hands and a good shot. He’s also tough, willing to go into the corners, and works hard. He’s a good complementary player who’ll help his linemates put up numbers.
McIlrath Returning to Juniors
5’9” LC Todd McIlrath, a Bowling Green recruit for this fall, will instead be returning to juniors for another year.
McIlrath is back on the 25-man protected list of the Indiana Ice, for whom he played last year, and will enroll at Bowling Green in the fall of 2006.
McIlrath posted a 13-28-41 line in 35 games with the Ice last season. In February, he had a double surgery – both his shoulder and his knee, and missed the last half of the season.
His rehab is going slower than expected, and he likely wouldn’t have been unable to skate with the Falcons this season.
The IndianaIce have traded 6’3”, 190 lb. LC Drew Fisher, who played for Moorhead HS last winter, to the Sioux Falls Stampede in return for 5’6” Cornell recruit Justin Milo.
Milo had a 27-17-44 line in 59 games with the Stampede last season.
Fisher, a 2/6/87 birthdate, is expected to be taken in next week’s NHL draft.
Union Makes Things Right
Union College head coach Nate Leaman has hired Rick Bennett as an assistant coach for the Dutchmen.
Bennett, who’ll be 38 this weekend, has been an assistant at Providence College for the past five seasons, knows his way around the game, and should fit in well with the Union staff.
A former Friars star left wing, Bennett, a Springfield, Mass. native, was a Hobey Baker Award finalist in 1990 and went on to play pro hockey for a number of years, mostly in the AHL, though he also played 15 games in the NHL with the New York Rangers.
"Rick brings coaching experience and a great deal of knowledge," Leaman said. "He's played at the highest levels. He's an outstanding person and an outstanding communicator. He'll be a great, great asset to our program."
Under-18 Select Team Named
USA Hockey announced today the 20-player roster for the Under-18 Select Team that will be competing in the 2005 Under-18 Junior World Cup August 9-14 in Piestany, Slovakia, and Breclav, Czech Republic.
Players were picked from last week’s Select 17 Festival in St. Cloud, Minn.
Jack Capuano, the head coach of the Pee-Dee Pride (ECHL) will serve as head coach of the team. UMass-Lowell assistant coach Kenny Rausch will be an assistant, and UNH assistant coach David Lassonde will serve as the goaltending coach.
Here’s the team. Teams listed for each player are last season’s team.
Goaltenders (2): Neil Conway (Owen Sound – OHL); Billy Sauer (Chicago Steel – USHL).
Defensemen (6): Cameron Cooper (Holy Angels); Steven Kampfer (Sioux City – USHL); Dan Lawson (Chicago Chill Midget AAA); Kevin Quick (Salisbury School); Kevin Wehrs (Wayzata HS); Ben Youds (Maple Grove HS).
Forwards (12): Barry Almeida (New England Jr. Falcons – EJHL); Mike Borisenok (Albany Academy); Michael Forney (Thief River Falls Lincoln HS); Brian Keane (Rochester Americans Jr. B); James Marcou (New York Bobcats Jr. B); Taylor Matson (Holy Angels); Kyle Okposo (Shattuck-St. Mary’s); Max Pacioretty (Taft); Tyler Ruegsegger (Shattuck-St. Mary’s); Ben Ryan (Victory Honda Midget AAA); Ben Smith (Westminster School); Joe Whitney (Lawrence Academy).
The US plays Finland on Aug. 9; Russia on Aug. 10 and Slovakia on Aug. 11. The semifinals are on Aug 13 and the medal games on Aug. 14.
Illusions of Grandeur
Right after Utica College head coach Gary Heenan was officially hired Monday as an assistant coach on Nate Leaman’s staff at Union, he granted an interview to Utica Observer-Dispatch reporter Craig Muder… and proceeded to stick both feet so deeply in his mouth that you could roll him down the street and right into a traveling freak show.
Heenan, 31, told Muder that he had interviewed for Div. I assistant jobs in each of the last four years, but chose Union because of the lure of being the top assistant.
“The obvious progression,” Heenan said, “is to become the second assistant, but there you do a lot of grunt work and I felt I was beyond that professionally.”
“And really,” Heenan added, “I envisioned myself going to a much larger school than Union. But with a first assistant’s position and going with a coach that’s in demand like Nate, that was attractive to me.
“Nate just coached the Under-18 team to a gold medal. I don’t think he’ll be there all that long.”
“My goal,” continued Heenan (which rhymes with Keenan), “has always been to be a head coach at Division I, and my dream is to be a head coach in the NHL. I firmly believe I’m still on those paths.”
Uh… maybe not.
When Leaman read the article Tuesday night, he was not happy at all. “I was concerned,” he said, “and I just wasn’t sure where the comments were coming from.” He set up a meeting with Heenan on Wednesday in Schenectady, at which time Heenan also met with Union AD Jim McLaughlin. The following day Leaman and Heenan had another meeting. At that point, four days into his tenure. Heenan resigned. He will return to coach Utica… at least until there’s an NHL opening.
Reached by phone, Leaman said, “The entire athletic department was upset by the comments. I told Gary I thought the comments were disrespectful – to the school, to the staff, and, in a lot of ways, to the entire Div. I coaching body.”
“I don’t believe in a 1-2 system. Here we have three men working hard with the head coach making the final decision.
“The comments,” Leaman added, “were an insult to (assistant coach) Billy Riga.”
Hours after receiving an e-mail of the Utica Observer-Dispatch article, this reporter caught up with Tony Gasparini, the man Heenan had been hired to replace, at the Select 17 Festival. Gasparini, scouting for the Los Angeles Kings, had been forwarded the article as well. He was not happy, and also felt Heenan’s comments were insulting to his former compatriot. “With Billy and I there was no 1-2 system, ” Gasparini said. “It was never even an issue.”
Riga and Gasparini worked like dogs during their tenure at Union, and earned the respect of their recruiting peers.
As far as Leaman’s leaving Union, the coach said, “I’m not going anywhere.”
Leaman is getting married this coming weekend. He’s also looking for a new assistant coach, and he sounded like he was going to take his time – within reason – and get it right.
7/17/05 Correction 7/18/05
Two New Coaches in the NAHL
Former Providence College and St. Cloud State assistant Brad Willner has been named head coach/GM of the Minnesota Blizzard (NAHL).
Willner, a Kimball, Minn. native, replaces Dave Boitz, who’ll be coaching the new North Iowa Outlaws NAHL team.
Willner, who won two NCAA championship rings while playing for Lake Superior State, will be a coach with the USA Hockey Under-17 Select team that is going to Huttwil, Switzerland Aug. 13-18 to compete in the Five Nations Tournament
Don Harkins, the director of the Indianapolis Youth Hockey Association and head coach of the Indianapolis Checkers Midget Major team last season, has been named head coach of the Cleveland Barons (NAHL).
Harkins was going to coach the Pittsburgh Predators Midget AAA squad this coming season, but then got the Cleveland offer.
In 2003-04, Harkins, who also runs the Elite Prospects Camp in Michigan, coached in the Honeybaked organization. Harkins played college hockey for Miami-Ohio in the mid-80s.
The above story on Harkins is premature and possibly incorrect, too, depending, of course, on how things shake out. The X factor here is Joe Shawhan. The former Soo Indians coach is still in the picture for the Cleveland job, but he's also in the picture for the Lake Superior State University assistant's job as well. So once Shawhan's situation sorts itself out, the picture will become clearer. Harkins, though, is a candidate for the job. However, Shawhan is the #1 candidate for now.
We take full responsibility for the reporting error.
Gendron Hired at UMass
Dennis “Red” Gendron is the new assistant at UMass, taking the slot on Toot Cahoon’s staff vacated by Mark Dennehy, who was recently named the new head coach at Merrimack.
Last season, Gendron was head coach of the Indiana Ice (USHL), but was fired March 15 after the Ice went through an 11-game winless streak.
Gendron, a former University of Maine assistant coach who went on to work in the New Jersey Devils organization for the last ten years, has a long and varied resume. He got his start coaching high school hockey in Vermont, leading Bellows Free Academy to four state championships in the 1980s. At the University of Maine, he was an assistant coach for one of the greatest college hockey teams ever, the 1992-93 Black Bears who, with the likes of Paul Kariya, Jim Montgomery, Cal Ingraham, the Ferraros, Chris Imes, Matt Martin, Mike Dunham, and Garth Snow went 42-1-2 and won an NCAA crown. In the spring of ’95 Gendron won a Stanley Cup ring as an assistant with the New Jersey Devils, an organization he also served as a scout and as a coach of the franchise’s top minor league affiliate, the Albany River Rats (AHL), before being replaced midway through the 2003-04 season by Robbie Ftorek. Gendron was also an assistant coach with the 1993 U.S. Junior Team.
Select 16 Green Books On the Way!
The 2005 Select 16 Green Books are back from the printer and the first batch has been mailed out.
This year’s Select 16 Green Book, a ranking of the top ‘89s from the recent Select 16 Festival in Rochester, New York is far and away our most interesting one. First off, we went deep in the rankings, far deeper than we’ve ever gone before. We ranked 152 players, which is close to two-thirds of all players on hand.
The reason for the large number is simple: there was a larger than normal second tier of players who showed enough promise for the future that they should be kept on the radar screens of scouts and recruiters.
Probably most interesting, however, was the number of high-end prospects who played poorly, and the number of lower-end prospects – including some players who came out of nowhere – who rocketed up the charts.
We’ve included them all.
Included as well are comments on all 152 ranked players, as well as height/weight, hometown, birthdate, team played for last year and next, and addresses and phone numbers.
If you played at or attended the Select 16s, the book is a good historical record of that time, as well as a useful reference tool. There’s also plenty within its pages to agree or disagree with.
We think you’ll find it as compelling as the new Harry Potter book.
On top of all that, we have a Select 17 Green Book in the works, which will be out next week. And then, in August, we’ll have a Select 15 Green Book available. You can order one or all – and get a discount on all three – by clicking on the link below.
Books will be mailed first class on the day the order is received.
Two More for the NTDP
6’4”, 215 lb. forward Richard Manley, late ’89 from the Buffalo Saints, and Compuware goaltender Josh Unice, a native of Holland, Ohio, have been added to the U.S. Under-17 team for the upcoming season.
Also, the NTDP tried to get a commitment from 6'1", 170 lb. forward Mike Hoeffel of Hill-Murray HS back in March, but were turned down. However, there's now a chance Hoeffel will come after all. 5'11", 180 lb. forward Brett Bruneteau of Shattuck-St. Mary's has also been invited, but hasn't committed.
Caron Leaves Merrimack
6’1”, 180 lb. defenseman Jeff Caron has left Merrimack to go major junior with the expansion Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL).
Caron, who would have been a junior for the Warriors this season, is an offensive, puck-moving defenseman who had a 5-20-25 line in 36 games last season.
Caron, a native of Moncton, NB, played Tier II for the Wellington Dukes (OPJHL) before coming to Merrimack two seasons ago. He’s a 12/7/85 birthdate.
Scaled-back NHL Draft Back on for Ottawa
Look for the NHL Draft to be, as originally planned, in Ottawa, Ont. The new date set aside is Sat. July 30.
It’s expected the draft will go seven rounds.
It’s also expected that the draft order will be determined by a weighted lottery system, with how teams finished over the last three years the principle determinant.
Under such a system every team will at least have some chance at landing the #1 pick. That, of course, would be Sidney Crosby. Look for either Jack Johnson or Gilbert Brule to go #2.
Heenan New Assistant at Union
As expected, Gary Heenan was named yesterday as the new assistant coach on Nate Leaman’s staff at Union College.
Heenan, 31, has been head coach at Utica College since 2000, when he was hired to start the school’s hockey program. Utica started play in 2001-02 and had its first winning record in its third season. Last season, the program’s fourth, the school won its league’s regular season conference title.
Heenan played his college hockey at Hamilton, where he was a defenseman.
Foley Returns to NTDP as Assistant Coach
Former UNH forward Pat Foley has been named assistant coach on the U.S. Under-18 Team.
Foley will take the place of Darrin Madeley, who has accepted a head coaching position at Lake Forest Academy in Illinois. Foley will work primarily with the U.S. Under-18 Team, which will be coached in the upcoming season by John Hynes.
A 2004 UNH graduate, Foley was a Wildcat captain for three consecutive seasons.
In 2000, Foley was a captain on the U.S. World Junior Team. In 1999, Foley was a captain on the first U.S. Under-18 National Team at the IIHF World Championship.
Foley, 24, is the first former NTDP player to return as a coach.
A native of Milton, Mass., Foley played for St. Sebastian’s before going to Ann Arbor.
6’4”, 185 lb. LD A.J. Sturges has been added to the U.S. Under-17 Team roster off of his performance at the Select 16 Festival, where he struggled at times but, with his frame, adds some size to the blueline. Sturges, a native of Madison, Wisc., played for Team Wisconsin last season. He’s a 4/6/89 birthdate.
Sauer Out; Butler In
6’2”, 198 lb. defenseman Michael Sauer of Sartell, Minn. and the Portland Winter Hawks (WHL) has been scratched from next month’s USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp roster.
Sauer, who had hip surgery in January and missed the second half of the season, is not yet back to full strength.
His spot on the camp roster will be filled by Chris Butler, a Denver recruit who has played the last two seasons for the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL). Butler, a 6’1”, 178 lb. left shot, is a 10/27/86 birthdate from St. Louis, MO.
Here are the revised group of defensemen who’ll be at camp. There are 15 in all. The two returnees are designated with an asterisk.
Mike Brennan (Boston College); Chris Butler (Denver); Taylor Chorney (North Dakota); Brandon Gentile (Michigan State); *Nate Hagemo (Minnesota); Erik Johnson (NTDP); Jack Johnson (Michigan); Zach Jones (North Dakota); Matt Lashoff (Kitchener -- OHL); Kyle Lawson (Tri-City – USHL); *Brian Lee (North Dakota); Mark Mitera (Michigan); Matt Niskanen (Minnesota-Duluth); A.J. Thelen (Prince Albert -- WHL); Keith Yandle (Maine).
For the full roster, please check the USHR News of June 15th.
Ryan to Notre Dame
5’11”, 170 lb. center Ben Ryan, who will be playing for the Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) this season, has committed to Notre Dame for the fall of ’07.
Ryan, a native of Brighton, Michigan, played for the Victory Honda Midget AAA program last season, posting a 31-36-67 line in 65 games. A right shot, he’s a 10/16/88 birthdate.
Ryan, selected by the Buccaners in the second round of this past spring’s USHL draft, stood out at Des Moines’ camp last month, catching the attention of newly-hired Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson.
Ryan was also considering Michigan and Michigan State.
Rogers to Harvard
6’0”, 180 lb. St. Sebastian’s forward Doug Rogers has committed to Harvard for the fall of ‘06. Rogers, who will be a senior for the Arrows this year, posted a 17-26-43 line in 27 games this past season. A RW/C, he plays the left point on the power play. His strength is his on-ice intelligence, poise, and patience -- he has a pretty strong idea of what to do with the puck when it’s on his stick. He could work on adding a little more jam to his game.
Rogers was on the US Under-17 Select Team that went overseas last August. He’s a 1/28/88 birthdate from Watertown, Mass.
Rogers looked at other Ivy schools, but Harvard was his top choice all along.
US Under-17 Selects Picked
USA Hockey has named the U.S. Under-17 Select Team that will compete in the Five Nations Tournament Aug. 13-18 in Huttwil, Switzerland.
The team was picked from players who competed at last week’s Select 16 Festival in Rochester, NY. As is customary, players going to the NTDP were ineligible for the team.
The US will play four games: the Czech Republic on Aug. 14 (7:30 pm); Slovakia on Aug. 16 (4:00 pm); Switzerland on Aug. 17 (7:30 pm); and Germany on Aug 18 (11 am). All times are Swiss time. There are no playoff games.
Here’s the team:
Goaltenders (2): Reid Ellingson (Cloquet HS); Kent Patterson (Blake School).
Defensemen (6): Tommy Cross (Simsbury HS); Tristin Llewellyn (Indiana Ice); Brian Malchoff (Avon Old Farms); Ryan McDonagh (Cretin-Derham Hall); Nick Petrecki (Cap District Selects); Christian Steingraber (Honeybaked).
Forwards (12): Brett Bruneteau (Shattuck); Chris Darnell (Atlanta Fire); Joey Diamond (NY Apple Core); Dan Durham (TI); Chris Dyer (Honeybaked); Jimmy Hayes (Nobles); Mike Hoeffel (Hill-Murray); Jake Johnson (Duluth Denfield); Anthony Maiani (Honeybaked); Tom Serratore (Colorado Thunderbirds); Robbie Vrolyk (New England Jr. Falcons); Patrick White (Grand Rapids HS).
Head Coach: Stan Moore (Providence College). Assistant Coaches: Brad Willner and Toby O’Brien (Johnstown Chiefs).
Minnesota-Duluth Recruit Boll Goes Major Junior
Lincoln Stars 6’2” center Jared Boll, a Minnesota-Duluth recruit, has signed with the Plymouth Whalers (OHL).
The Whalers acquired the rights to Boll, a native of Crystal Lake, Illinois, in a trade with Kingston last week.
Boll, who played for Team Illinois before going on to play the last two seasons at Lincoln, was a USHL all-star last season, posting a 23-24-47 line and a league-leading 294 pims.
Mueller to the Dub
It’s not exactly a big surprise, but US Under-18 Team star forward Peter Mueller and his family have made their decision and it’s the Everett Silvertips (WHL).
Mueller, who had committed to the Gophers for ’06, called Minnesota head coach Don Lucia last night with his decision.
“I wished him luck,” Lucia said. “I’m obviously biased toward the college game, and I did tell him I thought it was too bad all the people in Minnesota won’t get to see what a great player he is.”
“However,” Lucia added. “It’s better that I know now rather than next summer.”
Lucia said any effort to encourage Mueller to stick with his verbal commitment was blocked by the fact that, because Mueller is accelerating and wouldn’t actually become a senior until September 1st, the Gopher staff has been unable to have contact with him.
“We couldn’t write him,” Lucia said. “We couldn’t email him. We couldn’t phone him. No contact.”
Many people in Minnesota who know the Mueller family told the USHR as far back as two years ago that they felt Peter would never set foot in college, that the siren song of the Dub would prove to strong.
The Everett Silvertips are coached by former NHL coach Kevin Constantine, an ex-RPI goalie with extensive experience in US amateur circles.
Gibbons Named Assistant to US National Junior Team
Minnesota high school coach Mike Gibbons has been tabbed by Walt Kyle to be an assistant coach to the 2006 US National Junior Team.
Gibbons, who coaches Eastview, was an assistant under Kyle from 1995-97 with the Baltimore Bandits (AHL). Before that they worked together as assistant coaches at Northern Michigan from 1983-88.
Gibbons has also been an assistant at Denver and CC and a head coach of the Langley Thunder (BCHL). He’s been at Eastview for the past eight seasons.
In addition to Gibbons, Kyle will have John Hynes (NTDP) as an assistant at the World Juniors, which are in Vancouver this year (Dec. 26-Jan. 5). The junior evaluation camp is next month in Lake Placid and Steve Johnson of the Lincoln Stars and Kurt Kleinendorst of the New Jersey Devils will serve as camp coaches and will assist with player evaluations.
It’s official now – Stan Moore is leaving Colgate for Providence College.
Andrew Dickson, an assistant at Colgate for the last six seasons, will now move up to the top assistant's position. Look for the #2 assistant's slot to be filled by former Red Raider defenseman Brad Dexter.
Dexter, 33, was graduated from Colgate in 1996, and, with the exception of one year (’01-02)as an assistant on Mark Morris’ staff at Clarkson, has played minor pro ever since, almost exclusively in the coast league.
Dexter, a native of Kingston, Ontario, is the younger brother of Jason Dexter, a forward at UNH in the early 90’s. He’s also the son of Dan Dexter, a Clarkson goaltender of the early 60s.
The timetable at St. Cloud State now calls for Bob Motzko to take over the Huskies after the upcoming season.
Look for Idaho Steelheads (WCHL) head coach John Olver to be named as an assistant at Northern Michigan, replacing Dave Shyiak. Olver, 47, a forward at the University of Michigan in the late ‘70s, is a long-time friend of Northern head coach Walt Kyle. Olver has one son, Darin, at Northern now, and another, Mark, who’ll be joining the program in the fall of ’06.
Darin has completed two seasons, and has been the Wildcats leading scorer in both campaigns.
His younger brother put up 104 points in 67 games for the Marquette Electricians Midget AAA squad last year, his second with the club. Mark will play for the Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) this season and then return to Marquette to enroll at Northern in a year.
If our math is right, that means John Olver will get to coach at least one of his sons every year for the next five seasons -- and they will overlap for one year (’06-07).
Mark Dennehy is interviewing at Merrimack. The two most prominent names we’re hearing are Junior Bruins (EJHL) head coach Peter Masters and former Merrimack goaltender Joe Exter.
Masters, a 32-year-old former Boston College defenseman, has, through his work running the Junior Bruins organization and the Beantown Classic tournaments, a deep knowledge of the player pool in New England and beyond. Dennehy has the same deep knowledge, so the two could give the Warriors a fighting chance in the player marketplace.
Exter, of course, is much appreciated around Merrimack for carrying the team on his back from 2000-03, and for the courage he displayed coming all they way back from a serious head injury to play pro hockey. Exter has played for the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) the last two years. In 27 games this past season, he posted a 2.89 gaa and a .906 save percentage.
Exter, 26, is from Cranston, RI and starred on the powerhouse Cushing Academy teams of the mid-90s.
Former Lake Superior State and Ottawa Senators goaltender Darrin Madeley, who has been a coach in the National Team Development Program for the last several years, has been named the new head coach at Lake Forest Academy, just outside of Chicago.
Madeley, a 36-year-old native of Ontario, takes over for Craig Barnett, who is starting up a hockey program at Becker College in Massachusetts.
A year ago, Madeley was offered the head job at Northwood that eventually went to Mark Morris, but declined it, choosing to spend one more year in Ann Arbor instead.
New Canisius College head coach Dave Smith has hired Chris Bernard as an assistant. Bernard, 29, a former Clarkson goalie, will join former Toledo IceDiggers (NAHL) GM/head coach Mike Mankowksi on Smith's staff.
6’1”, 185 lb. Choate LW Sam Bozoian has committed to Harvard. Bozoian, a 1/31/87 birthdate from St. Charles, Missouri, posted a team-leading 20-21-41 line in 25 games for the Wild Boars this past season. Bozoian, who was a Div. I West First Team All-Star, has very good speed, good hands, and a knack around the net. He’s also said to be a good character kid. Yale and Dartmouth were recruiting him, too. Before coming to Choate, Bozoian played for the Team Illinois Midgets. He’ll be a senior at Choate this season, and will arrive in Cambridge for the ’06-07 season.
5’11”, 190 lb. forward Brandon Merkosky, the leading scorer and team MVP for the Air Force Academy this past season, is transferring to Clarkson. After sitting out this season, he’ll suit up for the Golden Knights in the fall of ’06 and have two years of eligibility remaining. Merkosky, a Capital District Selects (EJHL) product, had originally committed to Iona two years ago, but when that school dropped varsity hockey, he switched to Air Force. Now Merkosky, a native of Queensbury, NY – it’s near Glens Falls where his father, Glenn Merkosky, played for the Adirondack Red Wings – is coming back to the Empire State. At Clarkson, he’ll join his younger brother, Kyle, a goaltender who, with Dustin Traylen out of the picture, will battle for some playing time.
6’0”, 200 lb. RW Jarod Palmer of the Tri-City Storm (USHL) has committed to Miami of Ohio. Palmer, an ’86 from Fridley, Minn. who played in the NTDP before heading to the USHL posted a 15-26-41 line in 52 games last season at Tri-City. He’ll play one more year there and join Miami in the fall of ’06. Palmer is a power forward type with solid offensive ability.
5’11”, 165 lb. RW Joe Cucci, who committed to Merrimack last season, will instead be playing for Northeastern. Cucci, an ’86 from Bloomingdale, Ill. who played for the Compuware Midgets in ’03-04, played last season for the Valley Junior Warriors (EJHL), where he finished the season as the league’s leading scorer with a 25-50-75 line in 51 games. Cucci, who will play for the Valley Warriors again this coming season, is still a little wiry, but he has good vision, nice hands and can put up points. Cucci decided to pull his commitment to Merrimack earlier in the spring. He’ll arrive on St. Botolph Street in the fall of ’06.
Top ‘90s Head Overseas
Four of the top ‘90s in the US – 6’0” goaltender Nicholas Betti, 5’7 forward Patrick Gaul, 5’10” defenseman Brett Kostolansky, and 6’0” forward Duncan McKellar -- departed yesterday to join 136 athletes from 54 countries at the International Ice Hockey Federation Hockey Development Camp to be held in Vierumaki, Finland.
Betti, who’s from Upper Saddle River, NJ, played last winter in the New Jersey Junior Devils organization. At last summer’s Select 14’s, he finished with a 1.00 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage.
Gaul, a Pittsburgh native and the son of Pittsburgh Hornets midget coach Joe Gaul, was the leading scorer at last summer’s Select 14 camp, with a 4-9-13 line in six games played.
Kostolansky, a Denver, Colorado native, was a standout defenseman on Shattuck-St. Mary’s Bantams last winter and was the top-scoring d-man at the Tier I 14 & Under national championships, notching a 2-9-11 line in six games.
McKellar, from Phoenix, Arizona, played for the Tier II 14 & Under national champion Phoenix Mustangs last season where he was coached by former Minnesota-Duluth and NHL defenseman Jim Johnson. At the nationals, he scored four goals and added a couple of assists.
The camp, which has been held every other year since 1999, will run through July 9.
Martel Leaving NTDP
NTDP Director of Player Personnel Ken Martel will be leaving his position in Ann Arbor to take an unspecified position in USA Hockey’s Central Office in Colorado Springs. Martel won’t be departing until after the current recruits to the Under-17 Team arrive in Ann Arbor in late August. As for a replacement for Martel, there’s actually no specific timetable but the National Program is beginning to make – and accept – inquiries. For Martel, going to Colorado Springs is a bit like returning home, as he worked on Frank Serratore’s staff at the Air Force Academy in 1996-97 before moving to Ann Arbor. Martel will be working in a number of areas at Colorado Springs, but most likely will be working in the coaching program. It’s a good deal for Martel, as he’ll get to slow it down and actually spend a weekend at home every once in a while… In writing about Stan Moore’s probable departure for Providence in yesterday’s news, we forgot to mention that current Providence assistant Dave Berard will be staying on, and that Army has created a special administrative assistant/hockey operations type of position to take care of current assistant Rick Bennett. The new position will primarily entail taking charge of the Friars’ video work as well as various other duties. Bennett, though, won’t be able to recruit or go on the ice. For Bennett, it will be a one-year gig unless something comes up shortly. There are openings for assistants, as we know, and Bennett is well-respected in the game.
Last minute commitments – these are for this fall – include Indiana Ice (USHL) 6’0” defenseman Jay Cascalenda, a 7/10/85 birthdate from West St. Paul, who’ll be heading to Minnesota-Duluth. With the Ice, Cascalenda had a 1-18-19 line in 60 games. His strength is his skating. Chicago Steel 6’0” defenseman Jonathan Ralph, a 10/25/84 birthdate from Chester, NJ, will be headed to Bowling Green. His strength, too, is his skating. Ralph, who started the season with Sioux City before being traded to Chicago, had a 1-14-15 line in 54 games…. UMass-Lowell has a commitment for ’05-06 from Green Mountain Glades (EJHL) forward Paul Worthington. An ’85, Worthington is a New Jersey kid who formerly played for the Mercer Chiefs. Last season, he was one of the top scorers in the EJHL.
Mueller as Good as Gone?
The consensus here at the Select 16 Festival is that University of Minnesota recruit Peter Mueller will never play a game for the Gophers, instead forgoing his final season with the NTDP and signing with the Everett Silvertips (WHL). Indeed, the entire Gopher coaching staff expects Mueller to go major junior. On top of that, the Gopher staff feels hamstrung when it comes to doing anything to counter the Silvertips sales push since under NCAA rules they can’t officially talk to Mueller (who’s accelerating) until he becomes a senior, which won’t be until September 1. The WHL camps, of course, open a couple of weeks before that.
If Mueller does indeed goes major junior, he would join Angelo Esposito as a marquee player fans hoped to see in college in the fall of ’06… but won’t.
With Kessel being a late ’87, and Mueller an ’88, both will go in the NHL draft next summer. A topic coaches and scouts are kicking around is: who will go first? Our informal poll has Kessel still holding onto the top spot. However, Mueller got a number of nods, too. There’s a lot of time between now and then, but it does appear that the duo could go 1-2, in either order.