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Midweek Update From Select 16s

With three days of play completed at USA Hockey’s Select 16 Development Camp in Rochester, NY, the iron is asserting itself. With a rest day today, and a couple more days of games to follow, some of the players who started strongly will undoubtedly fade, and some who’ve been slow to get their legs under them will gain some traction. This is summer hockey, after all. Still, these are the guys who have jumped out at us thus far.

For purposes of this list, we have broken things down into two groups: players who are eligible to be chosen for the Under-17 team going to Slovakia in August and those who aren’t (i.e. kids who have been selected to the NTDP.)

Let’s start with the first group, those who, in this typist’s opinion, should be in the picture for the team going to Slovakia.


Michael Mersch (#12 Green/Team Illinois) would be our hands-down #1 pick up front. Yes, we know he’s not the smoothest skater on the planet, but he’s 6’2”, has hockey smarts, good hands, plays physically, competes like mad, and produces every single shift. He is, in short, a player you win championships with. Bryan Rust  (#8 Black/Honeybaked) has been consistently good. The puck follows him around, because he has strong hockey sense and knows where to go on the ice. Doesn’t have major size – he’s listed at 5’11”/180 -- and isn’t a burner. He’s just a very savvy hockey player. 5’8” Austin Czarnik (#18 Gold/Belle Tire), a 12/12/92 birthdate, creates offense and is the key to the Gold team’s potent attack. Has an excellent stick and a nose for the net. 5’11” Michael Parks (#14 White/St. Louis Blues AAA) has been a revelation. He simply drives through traffic to the net – and finishes. Has really made a name for himself here. 6’1” Jeffrey Howe (#8 Maroon/Team Maryland) is another player who has put himself on the map. He has size, skating ability, works hard, and produces. 5’7” Max Edson (#11 Green/LA Selects) is a small, highly-skilled point producer. 6’2” Nick Bjugstad (#15 White/Blaine) is a big, smooth power forward who will just keep getting better. 6’1” Charlie Coyle (#18 Black/Thayer Academy) is the top finisher on the undefeated Black team, and is another who has made a big statement here. Those eight players would probably be our “A” group so far. From there, we’d probably go next with 6’2” Thane Heller (#9 Marooon/The Gunnery), a strong-skating power forward type with a good sense of the game. He’s actually somewhat similar to Bjugstad. 5’11” Brian Ward (#19 Grey/Governor’s Academy) takes the puck to the net and has been the most consistently effective forward on his team. 5’8” Shane Prince (#16 Grey/Maksymum Jr. B) is a November ’92 birthdate with skill.

That’s our top 11 so far. We’d pick a 12th, but are having a hard time deciding among  Quinn Smith (#14 Orange/Avon Old Farms), Maxwell Terhar (#17 Red/Culver), 5’10” Michael Montagna (#12 Gold/Syracuse Stars), Bradley Duwe (#10 Gold/Alaska All-Stars), Ryan Belonger (#17 Gold/Green Bay AAA), Jonathan Liau (#19 Gold/St. Paul’s School), and Evan Hoffman (#12 Black/Mount St. Charles). They’ve all played well. Undoubtedly, others will emerge as the week continues.

And who might those guys be?

Here are forwards we have been waiting on: Philip Lane (#17 White/Rochester Alliance), Stuart Higgins (#12 Maroon/Compuware), T.J. Tynan (#15 Maroon/Chicago  Mission), Billy Arnold (#10 Green/Nobles), Connor Brickley (#16 Royal/Belmont Hill), Jeff McMinimy (#20 Gold/Texas Attack), and Andrew Sinelli (#10 Grey/Honeybaked). This is a high-end group. There's a lot of skill there. However, they haven’t been at the top of their game here, and if they want to go to Slovakia, they will probably need to pick it up a notch. We’re betting at least two or three will bust out tomorrow or Friday, have big games, and wind up making it. There's just too much talent in that group.

Perhaps Max Gardiner (#17 Grey/Minnetonka) could also be in the above group. He's raw, but there's some pretty obvious upside. He just has to make something happen out there, and so far he hasn't done much.   

The forwards who have committed to the NTDP – only five of the nine are here -- have been disappointing. Jacob Fallon, Jason Zucker, Jared Knight, and Shane Sooth have all shown flashes. Nick Shore has been invisible. 


Of all the kids here – both forwards and D -- our top pro prospect would be 6’3”, 180 lb. Derek Forbort (#4 Orange/Duluth East). He has the frame and will certainly fill out, but for a kid of his height to have the feet and agility he possesses is rare. On top of that, he’s smart, poised, and patient. A special player. A while back he was asked to join the NTDP, but he will likely be staying in Minnesota. A player who is a total gas to watch is 5’9” Ben Marshall (#4 Green/Mahtomedi HS). We mentioned him on Sunday, and his strong play has continued. His north-south speed, great lateral agility, and magic feet enable him to carry the puck in a way other d-men can only dream of. Marshall was a forward at last summer’s Select 15 Camp, but played D all winter. Kevin Gravel (#7 Purple/Marquette Electricians) was another d-men we mentioned after the first day of play. He had a dip on day #2 – was very tentative – but came back nicely on day #3. Other defensemen who have been very impressive are 5’11” Justin Faulk (#4 Navy/South St. Paul HS), Zack Rall (#5 Black/Alaska All-Stars), and Justin Holl (#4 Red/Minnetonka). They  would comprise our top six from the first half of the week.

A few other d-men who are both eligible for the trip overseas, and have played very well include 6’0” Kevin Liss (#2 Gold/Pittsburgh Hornets) and 5’10” Jordan Young (#3 Orange/PF Chang’s). 6’1” Danny Federico (#5 White/Boston Junior Bruins) has been solid. 6’0” Jonathan Mleczko (#4 Grey/Milton Academy), whose speed has never been questioned, has been converted to defense and is drawing a lot of attention for his end-to-end rushes.

There seems to be a greater than usual number of project-type defensemen in the camp -- big guys who can skate a bit, but have a hard time handling the puck cleanly and smartly.

Of the defensemen who are committed to the NTDP – and are thus ineligible for the trip overseas – we’ve been most impressed by 5’11” Frankie Simonelli (Team Illinois), who is excellent at both ends of the ice – the real deal. 6’4” Jarred Tinordi (Washington Jr. Nationals) has all the earmarks of a strong pro-style d-man. 6’1” Kevin Clare (NJ Hitmen) is smooth and dishes out crisp hits.  5’11” Adam Clendening (Toronto Marlies) is just very good with the puck – he has patience and moves it well. And 6’4” Stephen Johns (Pittsburgh Hornets), while more agile, is still a project.


Our clear-cut top guy is 5’9” Andy Iles (#1 Gold/Salisbury School). He’s just been superb. Very smooth, poised and confident. Everything he does in net is done with a  minimum of wasted motion. 6’1” Brian Billet (#1 Orange/North Yarmouth Academy) has only allowed one goal over the first three days. 6’0” Jacob Meyers (#1 Purple/Benilde-St. Margaret’s) has been excellent, as well. 5’11” Adam Wilcox (South St. Paul HS) is an 11/92 birthdate who moves very well laterally. 6’3” Brandon Fischer (#30 White/St. Louis Blues AAA) has been a standout as well. Those, then, are the five that stood out for us. There are a handful of other good goalies here, but we’d need to see them in a bit more than parts of three games before saying anything.

Of the two NTDP kids, both Jack Campbell and Willie Yanakeff looked good. We like Campbell more than Yanakeff – and we like Iles more than either of them, size be damned.  

Anyway, this typist has to hit the highway and get out of Rochester. We’ll be interested to see who Eric Rud and Brendan Whittet wind up picking for the team. It’s true that, as we mentioned the other day, there’s a good number of top ‘92s who didn’t make it to Rochester. A few of those players might have been nice to have overseas. No matter, though. There were  plenty of good players here, and they are working for their opportunity. You can be sure that Rud and Whittet will be putting together one solid team.


London Knights president/head coach Dale Hunter visited Rochester yesterday and caused a lot of consternation.

In yesterday’s London Free Press, brother Mark Hunter, the Knights' GM, in referring to his brother’s journey down to the Select 16 camp, said, “There’s no rule that says you can’t talk to the kids.”

Actually, there is a rule. It’s printed plainly in the program, the scout book, on signs in the arena. Junior teams can’t recruit the kids, college’s can’t, and even the NTDP has been told by USA Hockey not to talk to the kids until afterward (think about that one for a minute!).

Today, rumors have been swirling that Knight, who has committed to the NTDP for the fall, and the University of Michigan for ’10, has signed with London, who drafted him in the third round in May’s OHL draft.

John Hynes, however, met with Duane Knight, the boy’s father today. Knight senior told Hynes that his son was still on board for Ann Arbor.

These things never end, though, and where there’s smoke there’s usually fire. If anything breaks, we’ll let you know. 

By the way, forward J.T. Barnett, son of former Phoenix Coyotes GM Mike Barnett, who is competing here, has signed with the Vancouver Giants (WHL). Barnett senior played NCAA hockey at St. Lawrence. 

-- Prior to yesterday's action, camp staff colored over the impossible-to-read black numbers with white shoe polish. Unless you were close to the action, you would have thought new jerseys had arrived. Speaking of which, new jerseys for several of the teams will be arriving in time for Thursday's games. 
-- One thing that has been missing this year is a show like that put on last year by Steven Whitney and Dakota Eveland, linemates who, when they were on the ice together, you just had to be there watching. 



Mersch, Rust to Join NTDP

Forwards Michael Mersch (Team Illinois Midget Minor) and Bryan Rust (Honeybaked Midget Major) have accepted the NTDP’s invitation to join them this fall.

Both excelled at last week’s Select 16 Player Development Camp in Rochester, NY. As ‘92s, they will be playing for the NTDP’s Under-17 Team.

Mersch, a power forward who has committed to the University of Wisconsin, is from Park Ridge, Ill. His late father, Mike, a defenseman, played Div. I hockey for Illinois-Chicago in the mid-‘80s and went on to play minor pro for five seasons.

Rust, from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is a Notre Dame recruit. He’s the younger brother of University of Michigan forward – and NTDP alum -- Matt Rust.

The NTDP will be adding at least one more forward. However, it will not, as we wrote yesterday, be T.J. Tynan. The NTDP reports that Tynan has not been offered a spot. However, we have confirmed that the players whose names that we mentioned yesterday – Max Gardiner, Michael Parks, Jeffrey Howe, and Stu Higgins – have all been discussed. According to sources, there could be a wild card in the mix. Along those lines, there was some talk among the NTDP staff concerning the possibility of taking Mahtomedi HS defenseman Ben Marshall – and putting him back up front. We’ll just have to wait and see how this all sorts itself out, which could happen as soon as Monday night.

The NTDP has heard what everyone else has heard concerning Jared Knight joining London (OHL). However, they have not yet heard anything from the Knight family. They can’t add a fourth forward until that situation is settled. 

Defenseman Justin Faulk, from South St. Paul HS, has been invited to join the program, and should be making up his mind shortly, perhaps within the next 24 hours.     


It’s Official -- Knight to Sign With Knights

5’10”, 175 lb. center Jared Knight, a University of Michigan fall of ’10 recruit who had committed to the NTDP for this fall, will instead be playing for the London Knights (OHL).

Last season, Knight played for the Compuware Midget Minor squad coached by Todd Jenkins. In 42 games played, he had a 26-31-57 line.

Look for a press conference in London next Friday.

As we mentioned earlier, Knights president/head coach Dale Hunter journeyed on Tuesday from London to the US Select 16 Camp in Rochester, NY to meet with the Knight and his family. Knight, drafted in the third round by London last month, had reportedly signed a commitment agreement with the National Program earlier in the spring. Within the NTDP commitment letter is a clause stipulating a $50,000 penalty to be paid to the program in the case of an early departure to the CHL. We’ll just have to see if London pays USA Hockey the full amount without a fight.

Knight is represented by Pat Brisson (CAA Sports).

London also drafted three other NTDP kids last month – defensemen Jarred Tinordi and Adam Clendening, and forward Chasen Balisy. They also drafted Compuware defenseman – and Michigan State recruit -- Michael Gunn.    


NTDP Invites

The NTDP went into the Select 16 Camp looking to fill three spots up front and one on the blueline. With Knight’s departure for the O, another spot is expected to open up front, making four forwards needed for the Under-17 team.

Reportedly, three forwards were offered spots at the close of the 16 Camp. They are: Michael Mersch (Team Illinois), Bryan Rust (Honeybaked), and T.J. Tynan (Chicago Mission).

Who could they go to for a fourth forward? Several kids who were invited to the NTDP after March’s tryout camp – Brandon Saad, Billy Arnold, and Nick Bjugstad – turned down the program, so they are out of the mix. We’re guessing that the fourth pick might be Stu Higgins (Compuware) or Max Gardiner (Minnetonka HS). Jeffrey Howe (Team Maryland) and Michael Parks (St. Louis Blues) are two other possibilities we’ve heard.

South St. Paul HS defenseman Justin Faulk has been extended an invitation for the slot on the blueline. We have not heard if he has accepted it yet. 



NTDP Under-17 Roster, Thus Far

Here’s the up-to-date list of the ’92 birthdates who have been invited to – and committed to – the National Team Development Program’s Under-17 Team for the upcoming season.

Goaltenders (2):

Jack Campbell
, Honeybaked Under-18
Willie Yanakeff, Honeybaked Under-16

Defensemen (6):

Kevin Clare, Jersey Hitmen
Adam Clendening, Toronto Marlies
Stephen Johns, Pittsburgh Under-18
Jon Merrill, Little Caesar’s Under-18
Frankie Simonelli, Team Illinois Under-16
Jarred Tinordi, Washington Jr. Nationals

Forwards (9):

Chasen Balisy, Toronto Jr. Canadiens
Emerson Etem, Shattuck St. Mary’s
Jacob Fallon, Texas Attack Under-16
Jared Knight, Compuware Under-16
Luke Moffatt, Compuware Under-16
Matt Nieto, Salisbury School
Nick Shore, Colorado Thunderbirds Under-16
Shane Sooth, Salisbury School
Jason Zucker, Compuware Under-16


The NTDP is looking to add three forwards and one defenseman from among the players competing in this week’s Select 16 Player Development Camp in Rochester.


Once again, the U.S. is sending a team overseas to the 2008 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament.

And, once again, the players are being selected from those here at Rochester this week. (Please note that NTDP-bound kids are ineligible, due to the fact that they will be getting plenty of international competition in their immediate future.) The Five Nations gives good exposure to the kids here who have chosen not to attend the NTDP, as well as those players who are just bubbling under, i.e. excellent prospects deserving of the showcase a strong international tournament provides.  

This year’s Five Nations Tournament will take place in Prievidza, Slovakia August 19-23. The squad will be leaving on the 14th. Games will be played against the Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia, and Switzerland.

The head coach will be St. Cloud State assistant Eric Rud. Assisting him will be Dartmouth assistant Brendan Whittet. Needless to say, both coaches are here in Rochester evaluating players for the squad.


Stars Missing in Rochester

The most noteworthy aspect to Day 1 action at the U.S. Select 16 Player Development Camp in Rochester, NY on Sunday was the huge number of marquee players absent this year. The reasons are numerous -- primarily injury, personal decision, the logistics involving tryouts in various districts, and simply not getting selected.

No matter, it’s a large list, and unprecedented in this reporter’s years of experience covering USA Hockey Select Camps.

Here are some of the top forwards missing: Luke Moffat, Emerson Etem, Colten St. Clair, Chasen Balisy, Austin Watson, Matt Nieto, Alex Aleardi, John Padulo, Brandon Saad, John Parker, and Kevin Tiefenwerth.

Top defensemen missing include: Jon Merrill, Kevin McMorrow, Carter Foguth, Jeffrey Pauluk, Michael Gunn, and Jordan Nickerson.

All of the goalies we rated in our top 10 last summer are here, with the sole exception of Colin Greeley.

That’s a whole team’s worth of high-end kids totally removed from the equation.

That said, being the Select 16 camp, there is still a good number of prospects here.

Sunday’s games, like opening-day action most years, resembled – to varying degrees – a track meet. Just a lot of extremely wide-open, often helter-skelter hockey. However, there are good skaters here and, over the next day or two, things will settle down a bit, the top players will emerge from the pack, and we’ll give you our opinions on who they are.

While it’s just one night’s action, a few goaltenders stood out last night. Andy Iles (Salisbury School) was his usual self. Brian Billett (North Yarmouth Academy) was flawless. And Jack Campbell (Honeybaked), except for an uncharacteristic softie he gave up to Shane Sooth, looked to be on his game as well.

On defense, we thought Kevin Gravel (Marquette Electricians) was outstanding. Ditto for speedy Ben Marshall (Mahtomedi HS). Those two were on a mission. Derek Forbort (Duluth East) was excellent. Several of the kids going to the NTDP had solid games – Adam Clendening (Toronto Marlboros) and Kevin Clare (NJ Hitmen), to name a couple.

As for the forwards, we want to see things settle down a bit before we say anything.



There’s a major jersey problem here. One team, the Green team, found the black numbers on their jersey almost unreadable against the dark green background, ditched their jerseys, and borrowed jerseys from the white team. They kept their green socks, though. The Red team, with jerseys that are really maroon, also had black numerals. They kept their jerseys however. But when they faced off against Navy last night, they were not only extremely difficult to read from any kind of distance, but the two teams both had such dark jerseys and socks that they looked extremely similar to all but exceptionally color-attuned eyes. Tough going for bleary eyes.

Needless to say, fans and recruiters here are going to have to work extra hard, and unnecessarily so. We have an idea for next summer: why not put nameplates on each jersey? How much would that cost? Two or three dollars per jersey? It would be a great favor to the college recruiters here – and the players, too. After all, there are 204 players on hand, and recruiters would love to spend more time watching the action on the ice than shuffling through the program. Give ‘em a break.


Roster sizes have been reduced this year, from 20 to 18. Each team is carrying ten forwards instead of the customary 12.


Tri-City to Name Rudrud Head Coach

Look for the Tri-City Storm (USHL) to officially name Tom Rudrud, the team's assistant coach/recruiting coordinator for the last five years, as their new head coach. 

Rudrud replaces Bliss Littler, recently named head coach/GM of the Omaha Lancers.

It’s a smart hire for the Storm, as Rudrud, 47, has a wealth of coaching and recruiting success, and innumerable contacts. Plus, of course, he has a deep knowledge of the Storm’s operations. .  

A Bloomington, Minn. native who played at Ferris State and graduated from the school in 1983, Rudrud has been an assistant at the Div. I level at Ferris State, Mankato State, and Illinois-Chicago. He has also been a head coach of the Danville Wings (NAHL), where he was named league Coach of the Year, and the Grand Rapids Rockets (NAHL).

This is not the first time Rudrud has been a head coach in the USHL, nor is it the first time Rudrud has replaced Littler. In January 2003, Rudrud was Littler’s assistant with the now-defunct Topeka ScareCrows (USHL) when Littler, despite a winning record, resigned rather than allow his ability to do his job be compromised by the fact that the club was being sold behind the scenes. (It was a strange scene, and if you wish to read about it, check the USHR News of 1/24/03).

At any rate, Rudrud took over the ScareCrows as an interim head coach and guided the team to a 16-5-4 record over the remainder of the season – and into the playoffs. After the season, the Topeka franchise moved to St. Louis, and died a quick death under new owners. That fall, Littler took over in Tri-City and again hired Rudrud as his replacement. And now you've heard the rest of the story.

The official announcement of Rudrud's hiring could come as early as tomorrow (Tuesday).



Hingham High Coach Reagan Dead at 66

Longtime Hingham High coach Garrett Reagan, who retired at the end of this past season, was found dead at his Scituate, Mass. home Friday.

A town police officer found Reagan, who was 66, while doing what the Quincy (Mass.) Patriot Ledger referred to as “a well-being check.”

The paper reported that both the time and cause of death are unknown.

Reagan coached at Hingham High for 26 years, won over 400 games, and was inducted into the Mass Hockey Hall of Fame last November.



At 18, Heart Condition Ends Carle’s Career

Defenseman David Carle, who played at Shattuck for the last three years and is heading to Denver in the fall, retired from hockey yesterday after doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. discovered a heart condition that puts him at risk of sudden cardiac death.

On Thursday, doctors diagnosed Carle, an Anchorage, AK native and the younger brother of San Jose Sharks defenseman Matt Carle, with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart. Tragically, athletes are often diagnosed with this after they have died. Doctors at the NHL combine in Toronto initially discovered the abnormality last month, leading Carle to head to the Mayo Clinic. 

Carle, who was ranked #60 overall in Central Scouting’s final rankings, withdrew his name from consideration for this weekend’s NHL draft.

Denver will honor Carle’s hockey scholarship, and make him a part of the program.

Anchorage Daily News article


The Tampa Bay Lightning selected Carle with their final pick in today’s draft – 7th round (#203 overall).


A Bad Year for the U.S. at NHL Draft

After two straight years in which a U.S. born player was the #1 overall pick – Pat Kane last year, and Erik Johnson in 2006 – a Canadian, Sarnia (OHL) forward Steven Stamkos, heard his name called first this year.

The highest-selected U.S. player was former Cushing Academy defenseman Zach Bogosian of the Peterborough Petes (OHL). Bogosian was selected #3 overall, by Atlanta.

In terms of overall numbers, last year 64 U.S. players were selected while this weekend only 48 U.S. players were chosen. That’s an enormous dropoff. Making matters worse is the fact that of the 48 U.S. players selected this weekend, 18 – a disproportionately large number – were taken at the tail end of the draft – rounds #6-7.

The U.S. Under-18 Team had a very poor showing, with only seven players drafted. All three goalies were passed over, as were five defensemen, and seven forwards. If you take out Jordan Schroeder, a late ’90 who is not eligible until next year; Jimmy Hayes, who left the program for the USHL in order to lift his game and his stock for the NHL draft; and Colin Reddin, who left for the WHL (and was bypassed in the draft), the team had a total of 21 draft-eligible players on hand, and a staggering 14 (67%) of those were bypassed this weekend. For such a high profile, expensive program, those are very poor numbers, and will certainly lead those concerned with scouting and player development in this country to ask a lot of probing questions.

Of the 46 U.S. drafted players, only one was a goalie. There were 20 defensemen, and 25 forwards.

The U.S. players came from 20 different states, which may be a record. They are: Minnesota (9), Michigan (5), New York (4), Connecticut (3), Massachusetts (3), California (3), Pennsylvania (2), Illinois (2), Wisconsin (2), and Texas (2). The following states contributed one player apiece: New Jersey, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Georgia, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Alaska, and Virginia.

Virginia could technically be two, if you count Adam Comrie, a dual citizen. First rounders Colin Wilson and Tyler Myers are also dual citizens. Suffice to say, there is an extremely heavy Canadian presence in this year’s draft.   


Americans drafted in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft:

1/3 Atlanta – Zach Bogosian, D, Peterborough (OHL)
1/7 Nashville – Colin Wilson, F, Boston University
1/12 Buffalo – Tyler Myers, D, Kelowna (WHL)
1/17 Anaheim – Jake Gardiner, D, Minnetonka HS
1/27 Wash. – John Carlson, D, Indiana (USHL)
1/30 Detroit – Thomas McCollum, G, Guelph (OHL)
2/33 St. Louis – Philip McRae, F, London (OHL)
2/40 NY Islanders – Aaron Ness, D, Roseau HS
2/48 Calgary – Mitch Wahl, F, Spokane (WHL)
2/51 NY Rangers – Derek Stepan, F, Shattuck-St. Mary’s
2/56 Montreal – Danny Kristo, F, US Under-18
2/60 Toronto – Jimmy Hayes, F, Lincoln (USHL)
3/62 San Jose – Justin Daniels, F, Kent School
3/63 LA – Robbie Czarnik, F, U.S. Under-18
3/80 Fla – Adam Comrie, D, Saginaw (OHL)
3/81 Buffalo – Corey Fienhage, D, Eastview HS
3/86 Montreal – Steve Quailer, F, Sioux City (USHL)
3/91 Detroit – Max Nicastro, D, Chicago (USHL)
4/94 Atlanta – Vinny Saponari, F, US Under-18
4/95 St. Louis – David Warsofsky, D, US Under-18
4/96 NY Islanders – Matt Donovan, D, Cedar Rapids (USHL)
4/99 Phoenix – Colin Long, F, Kelowna (WHL)
4/100 Florida – A.J. Jenks, F, Plymouth (OHL)
4/101 Buffalo – Justin Jokinen, F, Cloquet HS
4/108 Calgary – Nick Larson, F, Waterloo (USHL)
4/113 Anaheim – Ryan Hegarty, D, US Under-18
4/118 Columbus – Drew Olson, D, Brainerd HS
5/128 Toronto – Greg Pateryn, D, Ohio (USHL)
6/157 Columbus – Cam Atkinson, F, Avon Old Farms
6/159 Phoenix – Brett Hextall, F, Penticton (BCHL)
6/160 Tampa Bay – Luke Witkowski, D, Ohio (USHL)
6/166 Nashville – Jeffrey Foss, D, RPI
6/169 Chicago – Ben Smith, F, Boston College
6/172 New Jersey – David Wohlberg, F, U.S. Under-18
6/174 Washington – Greg Burke, F, NH Jr. Monarchs (EJHL)
6/177 San Jose – Tommy Wingels, F, Miami-Ohio
6/183 LA – Garrett Roe, F, St. Cloud State
7/184 Atlanta – Zach Redmond, D, Ferris State
7/190 Florida – Matt Bartkowski, D, Lincoln (USHL)
7/192 Chicago – Joe Gleason, D, Edina HS
7/194 San Jose – Drew Daniels, F, Kent School
7/197 Boston – Mark Goggin, F, Choate
7/200 Columbus – Nate Condon, F, Wausau HS
7/203 Tampa Bay – David Carle, D, Shattuck-St. Mary’s
7/206 Montreal – Patrick Johnson, F, University of Wisconsin
7/208 Anaheim – Nick Pryor, D, U.S. Under-18


Seven U.S. players who were passed over in last year’s draft were selected in their second year of eligibility. They are: Justin Daniels, Steve Quailer, Colin Long, Cam Atkinson, Jeffrey Foss, Drew Daniels, and Patrick Johnson.

There were six U.S. players selected in their third season of eligibility: Brett Hextall, Ben Smith, Tommy Wingels, Garrett Roe, Zach Redmond, and Matt Bartkowski. 


Road to College Starts Tomorrow

The annual Road to College Camp, run by Chuckie Hughes and Dan Donato, starts  tomorrow (Fri. 6/20) and continues through Sunday at Milton Academy. 

Games tomorrow and Saturday run from 2:00 pm-7:00 pm. Sunday’s games run from 11:00-4:00 pm. There are six teams this year, up from four, and as many as 20-25 Div. I prospects could be on hand.

The bulk of the players are drawn from the New England prep ranks – with Andover forward Chris Kreider being the biggest name. In addition, there are a half dozen players coming down from the Ontario Provincial League, including Milton Icehawks defenseman Jamie Hawkrigg. There are another half dozen or so players from the Minnesota high school ranks, mostly from Holy Angels and Blake. The biggest name from the west belongs to defenseman Brandon Baker, who was solid in helping Edina reach the finals of the state tournament in March.



Brekke New Miami Assistant

Nine-year Cornell University assistant coach Brent Brekke will be named the new assistant at Miami, replacing Jeff Blashill, who last month was hired as head coach/GM of the Indiana Ice (USHL).

Brekke, 36, is a 1994 graduate of Western Michigan, where he was team captain. He was also a member of the ’91 U.S. National Junior Team, and a draft pick that summer of the Quebec Nordiques. At Cornell, one of Brekke's primary responsibilities was working with the defensemen. As you may have noticed, the Big Red has posted some extremely low goals against totals in recent years.

Big Red head coach Mike Schafer is starting the search process for Brekke’s replacement immediately. 

6/19/08 Updated

A Swedish Power Forward for the Crimson

6’1”, 180 lb. RW Alexander Fallstrom, a native of Stockholm, Sweden who spent the past season at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, has committed to Harvard for the fall of ’09.

Fallstrom is a power forward. He skates well, has good hands, a good shot, and a knack around the net. A junior at Shattuck this past season, he has three options for the fall. He may return to Sweden to play Under-20s there, he may follow J.P. Parise to Des Moines, or he may return for his senor year at Shattuck.

A 9/15/90 birthdate, Fallstrom just made the cutoff for this weekend’s NHL draft. Central Scouting had him at #159 among North American skaters.

In 62 games for Shattuck, he had a 20-47-67 line with 28 pims.

At Harvard, he will be reunited with Shattuck teammate Luke Greiner.

Update 6/20:

There is controversy here because, according to the Yale coaching staff, Fallstrom had committed to the Bulldogs approximately a month ago. Last week, however, the 17-year-old forward called New Haven and notified the Yale staff that he was withdrawing his commitment. This week, Fallstrom committed to Harvard. If we find out more, we'll pass it on, but this has the potential to spice up the Harvard-Yale rivalry in the upcoming years. 


Avon Loses Two Key Seniors

Avon Old Farms’ hopes for prep title #8 have taken a mortal blow with the news that forward Patrick Mullane and defenseman Lee Moffie will be forgoing their senior years in order to play in the USHL.

Both Mullane, who is ticketed for Boston College in ’09, and Moffie, who is heading to the University of Michigan, also in ’09, had strong tryout camps recently. Mullane will be playing for the Omaha Lancers, and Moffie will join the Waterloo Black Hawks, the two teams that met in last month’s Clark Cup finals.

Mullane and Moffie are both ‘90s and both repeated when they originally came to Avon.

When Avon went 27-1 en route to the prep title this past season, Mullane was the Winged Beavers’ second-leading scorer with a 21-34-55 line, just eight points behind Cam Atkinson. Moffie, with a 7-25-32 line, was the team’s fourth-leading scorer, and the leading scorer among defensemen.

Avon head coach John Gardner, who couldn’t be reached for this story, will have to pull a rabbit out of his hat in the upcoming season. Not only are Mullane and Moffie leaving early, but some key seniors graduated in Atkinson (BC), Paul Lee (Dartmouth), Danny New (Providence), and Brad Cooper (UConn).  That’s a lot of skates to fill.



U.S. National Junior Camp Invitees

Here are the 53 players invited to the 2008 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY Aug. 1-9.

The first of the eight international games (see schedule below) is scheduled for Tues. Aug. 5. All games will be played at the 1980 Rink in the Herb Brooks Arena at the Lake Placid Olympic Center. 

Goaltenders (5): Mike Lee (Roseau HS) ’90; Brandon Maxwell (US Under-17) ’91; Thomas McCollum (Guelph – OHL) ’89; Jeremy Smith (Plymouth – OHL) ‘89; Josh Unice (Kitchener – OHL) ‘89.

Defensemen (18): Jonathon Blum (Vancouver – WHL) ‘89; Zach Bogosian (Peterborough – OHL) ‘90; John Carlson (Indiana – USHL) ‘90; Colby Cohen (BU) ‘89; Ian Cole (Notre Dame) ‘89; Adam Comrie (Saginaw – OHL) ‘90; Tommy Cross (Westminster School) ‘89; Cade Fairchild (Minnesota) ‘89; Cam Fowler (US Under-17) ‘91; Jake Gardiner (Minnetonka HS) ‘90; Blake Kessel (Waterloo – USHL) ‘89; Ryan McDonough (Wisconsin)’89; Aaron Ness (Roseau HS) ‘90; Nick Petrecki (BC) ‘89; Teddy Ruth (Notre Dame) ‘89; Kevin Shattenkirk (BU) ‘89; Scooter Vaughn (Michigan) ‘89; David Warsofsky (US Under-18) ‘90.

Forwards (30): John Albert (Ohio State) ‘89; Ryan Bourque (US Under-17) ‘91; Drayson Bowman (Spokane – WHL) ’89; Jack Connolly (Sioux Falls – USHL) ‘89; Robbie Czarnik (US Under-18) ‘90; Justin Florek (US Under-18) ‘90; Jake Hansen ’89 (Sioux Falls – USHL); Jimmy Hayes (Lincoln – USHL) ‘89; Mike Hoeffel (Minnesota)’89; AJ Jenks (Plymouth – OHL) ‘90; Tyler Johnson (Spokane – WHL) ’90; Danny Kristo (US Under-18) ’90; Drew LeBlanc (Chicago – USHL) ’89; Colin Long (Kelowna – WHL) ‘89; Philip McRae (London – OHL) ‘90; Jeremy Morin (US Under-17) ‘91; James O’Brien (Seattle – WHL) ‘89; Kyle Palmieri (US Under-17) ’91; Nick Palmieri (Erie – OHL) ‘89; Aaron Palushaj (Michigan) ‘89; Matt Rust (Michigan) ‘89; Vinny Saponari (US Under-18) ‘90; Jordan Schroeder (US Under-18) ’90; Eric Tangradi (Belleville – OHL) ’89; Corey Tropp (Michigan State) ’89; James vanRiemsdyk (UNH) ’89; Mitch Wahl (Spokane – WHL) ’90; Patrick White (Minnesota) ’89; Colin Wilson (BU) ’89; David Wohlberg (US Under-18) ’90.

Head coach: Ron Rolston (US NTDP) Assistant coaches: Nate Leaman (Union College); P.K. O’Handley (Waterloo – USHL); Jeff Blashill (Indiana – USHL). Video Coach: Ken Martel (USA Hockey). Camp coaches: Jay Varady (Everett – WHL); Mike Cavanaugh (Boston College); Mark Osiecki (Wisconsin). Player Evaluation: Ben Smith (USA Hockey).

Tues. Aug. 5 USA Blue vs. Finland, 4:00 pm/USA White vs. Sweden, 7:00 pm
Wed. Aug. 6 USA White vs. Finland, 4:00 pm/USA Blue vs. Sweden, 7:00 pm
Fri. Aug. 8 USA White vs. Sweden, 4:00 pm/USA Blue vs. Finland, 7:00 pm
Sat. Aug. 9 USA White vs. Finland, 4:00 pm/USA Blue vs. Sweden, 7:00 pm



Wheeler To Sign With Bruins

Former University of Minnesota forward Blake Wheeler, who rejected a contract offer from the Phoenix Coyotes this spring in order to become an unrestricted free agent, will sign with the Boston Bruins on July 1, the earliest day on which he can do so.

"Twenty-five teams called,” said Wellesley, Mass.-based Matt Keator, who represents the native of Robbinsdale, Minn. “Blake narrowed the list down to playoff contenders in traditional hockey markets. In the end, his heart was in Boston.”

Keator wouldn’t divulge the final four, but the list is believed to consist of the Bruins, Rangers, Canadiens, and either the Devils or the Wild.

If the big winger had signed with Phoenix, the team that drafted him in the first round in 2004, he would have fallen under the old CBA and received more money. By signing with the Bruins, he falls under the most-recent CBA agreement, and receives less.

"Blake left a little money on the table, but he wanted to be a free agent,” said Keator. “It wasn’t all about the money. That’s refreshing these days.”

With the Bruins, Wheeler can only sign a two-year deal at $875,000 per year maximum, though bonuses can be added in.

The Bruins aren’t exactly loaded on the right side. Phil Kessel played there last season, though he is really more of a center. Former Boston College forward Chuck Kobasew played there. So, too, did Glen Murray, who appears to be at the tail end of his career.    

By the way, back when Wheeler was deciding on where to play his college hockey, his final two choices were the Gophers and Boston College, so he’s long been partial to the area.

Look for Wheeler at the Bruins Prospect Camp in Wilmington, Mass. July 8-12.

(For more on Wheeler see USHR News of May 30th.)


Wheeler To Sign With Bruins

Former University of Minnesota forward Blake Wheeler, who rejected a contract offer from the Phoenix Coyotes this spring in order to become an unrestricted free agent, will sign with the Boston Bruins on July 1, the earliest day on which he can do so.

"Twenty-five teams called,” said Wellesley, Mass.-based Matt Keator, who represents the native of Robbinsdale, Minn. “Blake narrowed the list down to playoff contenders in traditional hockey markets. In the end, his heart was in Boston.”

Keator wouldn’t divulge the final four, but the list is believed to consist of the Bruins, Rangers, Canadiens, and either the Devils or the Wild.

If the big winger had signed with Phoenix, the team that drafted him in the first round in 2004, he would have fallen under the old CBA and received more money. By signing with the Bruins, he falls under the most-recent CBA agreement, and receives less.

"Blake left a little money on the table, but he wanted to be a free agent,” said Keator. “It wasn’t all about the money. That’s refreshing these days.”

With the Bruins, Wheeler can only sign a two-year deal at $875,000 per year maximum, though bonuses can be added in.

The Bruins aren’t exactly loaded on the right side. Phil Kessel played there last season, though he is really more of a center. Former Boston College forward Chuck Kobasew played there. So, too, did Glen Murray, who appears to be at the tail end of his career.    

By the way, back when Wheeler was deciding on where to play his college hockey, his final two choices were the Gophers and Boston College, so he’s long been partial to the area.

Look for Wheeler at the Bruins Prospect Camp in Wilmington, Mass. July 8-12.

(For more on Wheeler see USHR News of May 30th.)


Munichiello to Hounds

5’7”, 155 lb. Boston Advantage Midget AAA center Tommy Munichiello has committed to Northeastern University for either the fall of ’10 or ’11.

Munichiello, a Weymouth, Mass. native, led the Advantage in scoring this past season with a 17-25-42 line in 48 games played. He also had 36 pims.

A 12/11/91 birthdate, Munichiello will return to the Advantage for the upcoming season and then move on to the USHL for a year or two. The Advantage, in case you are unfamiliar with them, have both an Under-18 and Under-16 Team. Head coaches are Joe and Tim Lovell. Home ice is the Canton Sportsplex.


Twin Zacks to Lawrence Academy?

Forward Zack Phillips and defenseman Zack Shannon share the same first name, the same birth month (Oct. ’92), and the same hometown (Fredericton, New Brunswick). They were also both drafted by the same team – the Lewiston Mainiacs -- in Saturday’s QMJHL draft. And both have committed to attend the same school -- Lawrence Academy – this fall. Oh yes, both will also be repeat 10th graders.

Phillips, who played at the Eaglebrook School last season, was taken by Lewiston in the second round.

Shannon, who played midget hockey in Fredericton, was taken by Lewiston in the third round.

Will both show up at Lawrence in September? The QMJHL draft has been rife with manipulation, with players and their advisers using prep schools and the NCAA to choose exactly which team or teams they are willing to play for and, of course, drive up their price.

Last year, you may recall, Steven Anthony was telling everyone he was heading to Lawrence Academy to play both baseball and hockey. But it didn’t happen. He was drafted by the Saint John Sea Dogs in the first round, and did a quick 180. In case you’re wondering, in 55 regular season games with the Sea Dogs he had a 6-8-14 line. We haven’t heard much about his baseball career.

--- 6’3”, 205 lb wing Jessyko Bernard, who would have been a senior at Cushing this fall, has signed with the Halifax Mooseheads, who drafted him in the fourth round on Saturday.

Bernard, a ’91 from Moncton, NB, was tied for fourth-leading scorer with the Penguins last winter. 


Only Eight U.S. Players Chosen in Q Draft

Only eight Americans were chosen in yesterday’s QMJHL draft. And none were ‘92s, who are only allowed to be selected within the top five rounds of the draft.

Chosen players:
Montreal, 5th round -- Ryan Bedard, ’91 F Stanstead College (dual citizen; US listed)
Quebec, 7th round – Ryan Bourque, ’91 F US Under-17 (committed: UNH)
Lewiston, 9th  round – Max Capuano, ’91 F Bridgewater Bandits (Empire)
Halifax, 9th round – Andrew O’Leary, ’91 F Shattuck Under-16
St. John (NB), 10th round – Chris Kreider, ’91 F Phillips Andover
Rimouski, 11th round – Steven Whitney, ’91 F Lawrence Academy (committed: BC)
Victoriaville, 12th round – Brian Dumoulin, ’91 D, Biddeford HS
Gatineau, 12th round – Mac Bennett, ’91 D Hotchkiss  (committed: Michigan)


Of the above, O’Leary will sign. And we’ll see about the others. Some of them will get quite a bit of pressure. Look for Patrick Roy’s Quebec Remparts to go after Ryan Bourque hard. They always do.

Garrett Clarke, a Moncton, NB late ’92 D who played in the U.S. this past season with Russell Stover Midget AAA  and had committed to the Fargo Force (USHL) for next season and the University of North Dakota in ’10, was selected in the first round, #6 overall, by Lewiston. He will sign with Lewiston. 

Kevin Gagne, a ’92 D who plays at Rothesay Netherwood, a New Brunswick private school and is a University of Maine ’10 recruit, was selected in the second round by Saint John (NB).

Zack Phillips, a ’92 F who played in the U.S. at the Eaglebrook School last winter, was drafted in the second round by Lewiston.

Ryan Kavanagh, a ’91 D who played in the U.S. at Tabor Academy a couple of seasons ago, and played last winter for Lac St-Louis, was selected in the fourth round by Rimouski, hosts of next spring’s Memorial Cup.

O'Leary is a native of Hanover, NH; Bedard is from State Line, Vermont.

In case you missed it, the St. John’s (Newfoundland) franchise has moved to Montreal for the upcoming season, and will play their games at the Verdun Auditorium.


QMJHL Draft Today

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft is being held today in Sydney, Nova Scotia. The proceedings get under way at 10:00 am EST. You can follow the selections live on the QMJHL web site. Here’s the link: 

2008 QMJHL Entry Draft



Jumbo Jamboree on Tap for Mass High Schools

Sixty or more Massachusetts high school teams – both boys and girls – will start off the ’08-09 season with what is shaping up to be a jumbo jamboree at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Mass.

The one-day event, scheduled for Sun. Dec. 7 and hosted by the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association, has been dubbed the High School Hockey Summit. John Maguire, the president-elect of the MSHCA, said the day will have “two key components: educate and promote.”

Each participating squad will play at least one mini-game consisting of two 12-minute periods.

Sounds to us like a nice event for Mass high school hockey, and a nice way to build on the positive publicity that resulted from Reading topping Malden Catholic in the Super 8 Tournament, in the process becoming the first public high school to win the state tournament in 30 years.

The way we see it, the biggest boost of all, and something that could contribute to a renaissance of the high school game in the state, would come about only if the MIAA could be persuaded to dump the 18-year-old Super 8 and return the tournament to a straight Div. I setup.

If the MIAA needs a vision of how things could be, they should visit Minnesota in late February and early March. A key factor in the success of the Minnesota State Tournament is simply the fact that to get to the big stage a school has to run the gauntlet of sectionals, which means that, split between Class A and Class AA, there are nearly 150 schools that are still alive – that have a chance to get to the Xcel Energy Center – when the regular season ends on the third Saturday in February. That’s a lot of schools, players, and fans, and they are all dreaming of the same thing.

As a result, it should come as no surprise that sectionals in Minnesota are wildly popular. Arenas were pre-sold for games this past season and crowds of 10,000 were on hand for the sectional finals. And all that interest just feeds into the state tournament – stokes it really. How else to explain SRO crowds of over 20,000 in the Xcel Center and a statewide TV audience? Could this happen in Massachusetts? Probably not to that extent, because there is nowhere in the U.S. where the game is more deeply ingrained in the culture than it is in Minnesota. However, there was a time when the Garden sold out for the finals, with 13,909 showing up to see the likes of Robbie Ftorek. 

What the current format – the Super 8 -- does is kill interest and incentive. It removes much of the regular season’s drama. By mid-season, it’s pretty obvious which teams are in the hunt, and it’s a tiny minority. The vast majority of teams are dead in the water. They have no chance at the Super 8 -- and they know it.

Get rid of the Super 8, we say. Take the tournament out of the hands of committee members, and give it back to the players. Let the state championship be decided on the ice.

If the MIAA can see their way to doing that, high school hockey could once again become something kids in the state will hunger to be a part of. The better players will decide to stay in their communities, and the local mites and squirts will look up to them,  dreaming of the day they are old enough to play for the local high school. This is the way it once was. The system worked. Then the grownups started messing with things – and they killed it.

There’s a chance it can come back. How far it can come back is hard to say, but the time is right to at least give it a fighting chance. Dropping the Super 8 is an essential first step.

And that’s our thought for the day. If you agree, write the MIAA at 33 Forge Parkway; Franklin, MA 02038. Their email is



Dartmouth Forward Arrested

Dartmouth forward Adam Estoclet was arrested by Minneapolis police shortly after 2 a.m. yesterday.

Estoclet, 19, who played at Benilde-St. Margaret’s before matriculating at Dartmouth,  was booked into Hennepin County Jail, charged with felony burglary, fleeing police, and minor consumption of alcohol. He posted $50,000 bail and was released last night.

The story, broken by KSTP in the Twin Cities, is strange and disturbing.

Estoclet, 6’2” and 172 lbs., played in all 32 of the Big Green’s games this past season, his freshman year. He had three goals and four assists.    

Here’s the link to the KSTP story:

Dartmouth Forward Arrested


June News coming shortly


Carlson Makes it Official

6’2”, 210 lb. RD John Carlson, who committed to UMass in March of ’07 while playing with the NJ Rockets (AJHL), has made it official: he’s forgoing the college route and will be going major junior with the London Knights (OHL).

Carlson, a ’90 birthdate, was drafted by London in the second round of last month’s OHL draft, so his going there was pretty much a fait accompli. Carlson will get drafted again next month, this time in the NHL draft, and it’s likely he’ll go in the first round. Pretty nice double… pretty unusual, too.

Big and physical, Carlson, a Colonia, NJ native, showed serious offensive flair this past season, making a big impact in the USHL as a first-year player. In 59 regular season games, he had a 12-31-43 line. He was named to the second all-star team and to the all-rookie team.


Henrion to NTDP

Boston Junior Bruins (EJHL) RW John Henrion, a UNH recruit for the fall of ’09, will spend the upcoming season -- his final year of high school -- playing for the U.S. National Team Development Program.

It was the second time he’s been asked to the program. This time, however, he said yes.

“John is one of the best players who ever came through our program, and we wish him luck,” said Junior Bruins head coach Peter Masters.

Henrion, one of just five ‘91s in the EJHL this past season, led the league in goals with 34.

Initially invited to join the program in March of ‘07 – 15 months ago – Henrion chose instead to stay in Massachusetts and play for the Junior Bruins.

Henrion, a 1/19/91 birthdate, is from Holden, Mass., about 10 miles north of Worcester. He’s a rugged, physical winger with a tremendous shot.


Lawrence Academy forward Steven Whitney, a BC recruit, was also invited, but turned the program down for the second time. (Whitney, however, did play a number of games with the program last season while still attending Lawrence.)