September 14, 2006
Recruiting Trail: Top Classes

During the course of a season, you'll hear hockey coaches talk about the importance of winning one-on-one battles. But it's ultimately a team game, which is why we cap our Recruting Rankings with a look at the top incoming classes from coast to coast. Rather than comment on the classes as the whole, however, we use this opportunity to introduce you to a player who may emerge as a key cog for his new team.

Inside College Hockey compiled its 2006 Recruiting Rankings with extensive input from college and junior coaches, as well as professional scouts. Participants were asked to evaluate recruits based on their projected impact at the college level, not on their professional hockey prospects.

We previously released our exclusive rankings of incoming freshmen at each position.

Top 20 Forwards
Top 20 Defensemen
Top 10 Goalies

Stay tuned for our annual all-name team.






Keep an eye on: Six of the nine Gopher freshmen appeared in our individual rankings. Two others – forwards Tony Lucia (the coach’s son) and Jim O’Brien – were also mentioned by at least one participant in our survey.


Boston University

Keep an eye on: Forward Luke Popko comes to the Terriers with high praise from his former coach. “If I were ever to leave here to start a college program,” said the U.S. NTPD’s John Hynes, “he’d be the guy I start with.”



Keep an eye on: Mike Davies, a 5-foot-8, 165-pound forward, scored 71 points for the USHL’s Lincoln Stars last season, tied for the third-best total in the league.



Keep an eye on: Forward Matt Glasser scored 49 points in 62 games for the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons two years ago. His production fell off to just 35 points in 58 contests last year.


Colorado College

Keep an eye on: Forward Addison Deboer broke the Spring Lake Park (Minn.) H.S. career and single-season scoring marks previously held by former Minnesota State standout David Backes.


North Dakota

Keep an eye on: Familiar names in this year’s Fighting Sioux recruiting class include defenseman Chay Genoway (brother of former UND letterwinner Colby) and forward Darcy Zajac (younger sibling of New Jersey prospect Travis).


St. Cloud State

Keep an eye on: Forward Ryan Lasch was named Central Ontario Junior Hockey League MVP last season after scoring 146 points in 56 games for the Pembroke Lumber Kings.



Keep an eye on: Colin Greening made our list of top 20 forwards. Three others – Blake Gallagher, Justin Milo and Tony Romano – were on the cusp.


UMass Lowell

Keep an eye on: Two River Hawk defensemen made our top 20 (Nick Schaus and Barry Goers), but a third – Jeremy Dehner could have just as much of an impact, at least this year.


Michigan State

Keep an eye on: Defenseman Ryan Turek gave a verbal commitment to the Spartans more than three years ago. Some feel his development has stagnated, but the St. Louis Blues liked him enough to take him with the 94th pick in last summers NHL Draft.


Ohio State

Keep an eye on: The Buckeyes welcome three of the Central Ontario Junior Hockey League’s finest – goalie Nick Filion was the circuit’s 2006 rookie of the year and wing Mathieu Picard scored 84 points in 49 games.


Boston College

Keep an eye on: There are just four freshmen on this year’s roster. Ben Smith and Carl Sneep are the headliners, but forward Matt Price had 51 points in 47 games for the Milton Icehawks.


Notre Dame

Keep an eye on: Forward Kevin Deeth earned a spot on the USHL all-rookie team by scoring 54 points in 59 games for the Green Bay Gamblers.


St. Lawrence

Keep an eye on: In two seasons with Battlefords of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, defenseman Derek Keller scored 90 points in 108 games. He was named to the league’s all-rookie squad in 2005. Forward Mike McKenzie also drew praise.



Keep an eye on: At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, winger Brian Lebler has the size and skill to be a big-time goal scorer for the Wolverines, but scouts question his work ethic and desire.