September 27, 2007
Recruiting Trail: Top 20 Forwards

In the first two years of Inside College Hockey's Recruiting Rankings, North Dakota boasted the top forward recruits (Brady Murray and Travis Zajac). The next two seasons, the archrival Minnesota Golden Gophers countered with back-to-back honorees (Phil Kessel and Kyle Okposo). That honor stays in the WCHA this year — Wisconsin's Kyle Turris, the third overall pick in June's NHL Entry Draft, is our top-rated forward for 2007.

Of the top 20 forwards in our rankings, seven are WCHA rookies and seven will debut in the CCHA this season. The ECAC Hockey League and Hockey East each have three newcomers on the list. USHL alums comprise seven of the 20 spots in this year's rankings, while the BCHL produced five of our top 20 forwards.

One note: Michigan Tech's Casey Pierro-Zabotel and St. Cloud State's Luca Cunti have not received final clearance from the NCAA to begin their college careers — Pierro-Zabotel could suit up for the Huskies' second-semester games, while Cunti is expected to get the green light prior to the start of the regular season. That said, neither player is included in these rankings.

Inside College Hockey compiled its 2007 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.




School Last Team


Kyle Turris

Wisconsin Burnaby (BCHL)

The lanky Turris scored 66 goals in 55 games for Burnaby in 2006-07, then notched seven goals in eight contests to lead a group of Canadian under-18 skaters to seven wins and a tie against Russia in this summer's reincarnation of the 1972 Summit Series.


James van Riemsdyk

New Hampshire U.S. NTDP

"He's got great speed and size, and he's going to fill out even more, get stronger physically, and play a slashing game up front," U.S. NTDP coach Ron Rolston said.


Colin Wilson

Boston University U.S. NTDP

In addition to being among the nation's highly touted freshman forwards, the son of former NHLer Carey Wilson has a good chance at being a top-10 pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.


Riley Nash

Cornell Salmon Arm (BCHL)

Edmonton traded up in this year's draft to select Nash, a well-rounded player who has great vision and is extremely creative with the puck.


Tyler Bozak

Denver Victoria (BCHL)

Sure, the BCHL has reputation of producing players who rack up gaudy statistics, but scoring a league-high 128 points in 59 games is downright filthy.


Max Pacioretty

Michigan Sioux City (USHL)

The 6-2, 200-pound Pacioretty was named 2007 USHL Rookie of the Year on the strength of his 63 points in 60 games.


Aaron Palushaj

Michigan Des Moines (USHL)

One of the real climbers in this year's rankings, some observers believe he could have a greater impact than any forward on this list not named Turris or van Riemsdyk.


Kyle Ostrow

Denver Nanaimo (BCHL)

The 5-9, 160-pound waterbug from Calgary scored 202 points in three seasons of junior hockey.


Patrick White

Minnesota Grand Rapids (Minn.) HS

Those we polled think White is talented, but had issues with his durability and weren't convinced he could make the leap from high school hockey to the college ranks without struggling.


Phil DiSimone

New Hampshire Sioux City (USHL)

The East Amherst, N.Y. native earned USHL Player of the Year honors and first team all-league status by recording 73 points in 60 outings for the Musketeers.


Ben Ryan

Notre Dame Des Moines (USHL)


Carter Camper

Miami Lincoln (USHL)


Carl Hagelin Michigan Sodertalje SK (Sweden)

A candidate to play for Sweden in the 2008 World Junior Championship, Hagelin started coming to Red Berenson's summer hockey school when he was 11.


Mike Hoeffel

Minnesota U.S. NTDP


Tyler Helfrich

Rensselaer Prince George (BCHL)

First gained noteriety as a midget in 2003, when he was named a second team all-star at the famous Mac's AAA Tournament in Calgary. So was Minnesota standout Kyle Okposo, who played for Shattuck St. Mary's at the time.


Jacob Cepis

Bowling Green Cedar Rapids (USHL)


Corey Tropp

Michigan State Sioux Falls (USHL)


Scott Freeman

Clarkson Bowmanville (OPJHL)

A 5-9, 178-pound right wing, Freeman led the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League in scoring with 97 points in 43 games; he was also named OPJHL Eastern Division MVP.


Matt Frattin

North Dakota Ft. Saskatchewan (AJHL)

The Alberta Junior Hockey League's second-leading scorer last season was also its Rookie of the Year — Frattin notched 83 points (including 49 goals) in 58 games.


Tyler Johnson

Colorado College Cloquet (Minn.) H.S.