Alberts (Boston College)
game has grown in leaps and bounds in the last year, and you
can bet the hometown Bruins have kept an eye on him. They’ve
got a young defense, however, and may want him to wait until
after his senior year.
NHL teams didn’t want him, they wouldn’t keep trading
for his rights. Ballard, now property of the Phoenix Coyotes,
may not have much left to prove at the college level.
UPDATE: The Coyotes did indeed want
Ballard, and signed him to a multi-year deal. He forgoes his
senior season with the Gophers.
forward is a free agent, and his strong all-around play, especially
late in the season, piqued scouts’ interest.
Bochenski (North Dakota)
Parise’s departure spark a chain reaction in Grand Forks?
Bochenski may be ready, but he certainly sounds sincere about
completing his college career.
UPDATE: Classes started in Grand Forks
Aug. 24, and Bochenski is not enrolled; he'll work out a deal
with the Ottawa Senators and turn pro.
is a Philadelphia draft pick, and you usually find more stability
in someone leaving a Madison bar at 2 a.m. than you do in the
Conner (Michigan Tech)
but skilled Conner could be banking on the fact that the market
for Martin St. Louis types will never be better.
Eaves (Boston College)
are there, and the timing may be right with running mates Ben
Eaves and Tony Voce graduating. But, like Bochenski, he’s
property of Ottawa, a team that’s the exact opposite of
the Rangers – frugal, and without many holes at the NHL
UPDATE: The Ottawa Sun reports
that despite some interest from the Sens, Eaves has decided
to return to BC for his junior year.
Falardeau and Brock Radunske (Michigan State)
Rick Comley has hinted at big roster changes in East Lansing.
Falardeau, a Rangers’ pick, and Radunske, an Oilers’
pick, aren’t big names but may develop more in those minor-league
UPDATE: Radunske signed with the Oil
on July 19. Falardeau waited a bit longer, signing with New
York on Sept. 14.
Greene (North Dakota)
smart Greene would look good in an Edmonton Oiler jersey. They’re
a thrifty organization, but with a great eye for talent –
if they think he’s ready, they may try to bring him in.
admit it – we’re as confused about the Red Wings’
goaltending situation as everyone else. Could they put Howard
in Grand Rapids for insurance, or will they give him a year
as the clear-cut No. 1 guy at Maine?
could have finished up the season for the Rangers’ AHL
affiliate, but decided to stay in school. That could be a good
sign for Dartmouth fans, but he’s the centerpiece of the
Rangers’ youth movement – they will make another
pitch this summer.
UPDATE: Jessiman decided to return to Hanover for his junior season, putting off pro hockey for at least another year.
Ranger pick, in the first round this season, Montoya already
has a sandwich named after him in the Big Apple. Will he be
there to enjoy it?
UPDATE: Montoya told Red Berenson
on July 23 that he'd be back for his junior season at Michigan.
Stars draft pick isn’t ready to make the jump to the NHL,
but he’s more suited to a league where he can drop the
UPDATE: Nickerson will have a chance
to scrap some more next year. He decided on May 3 to turn pro,
marking the second straight year the Golden Knights have lost
a promising defenseman after his freshman season (Randy Jones).
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pick of the Flames in 2002, they may try to lure him away from
Ann Arbor, where his development seems to have stagnated.
Pineault (Boston College)
freshman hasn’t seen much playing time for the Eagles.
The QMJHL (and a chance to opt in to the NHL Entry Draft) is
calling, and the surprise would be if he doesn’t answer.
UPDATE: Pineault notified head coach Jerry York
on April 29 that he was withdrawing from school. Now it's up
to the Columbus Blue Jackets, who drafted him, to determine
where he'll play. The best bet is Moncton of the QMJHL.
other opt-in candidates
like A.J. Thelen at Michigan State, Drew Stafford at North Dakota
and Wes O’Neill at Notre Dame may decide to sign up for
the NHL Draft while their stock is high. Whether that results
in their losing their eligibility remains
to be seen.
UPDATE: Thanks to the work of Notre
Dame's Dave Poulin, the NCAA has decided to allow these players
to opt-in and remain eligible
to play college hockey.
Slater (Michigan State)
might be ready, but Atlanta – in the midst of an ownership
change, it’s worth noting – would probably like
to see him finish up his college career. It could come down
to whether he’ll accept a lower offer for the chance to
UPDATE: Slater, the Spartans' captain,
decided to finish up his career at State. He'll enter his senior
season as one of the preseason favorites for the Hobey Baker
less likely to make the jump, but this St. Louis Blues prospect
is probably more ready for the NHL than his teammate Jessiman.
UPDATE: Stempniak has been named the
Big Green's captain for 2004-05.
Stuart (Colorado College)
are so high on Stuart, they wouldn’t part with him in
talks for Sergei Gonchar or Brian Leetch. But the B’s
aren’t big on taking kids out of school early, and when
they have, it hasn’t always worked out (hello, Andy Hilbert).
almost brought the big defenseman in straight from the U.S.
NTDP. With a year of college seasoning under his belt, look
for Suter to make the jump.
UPDATE: The Sept. 8 Capital Times reports that Suter has decided to sign with the Predators.
could have jumped at mid-season this year, when Kelowna of the
WHL traded for his rights just after the World Junior Championship.
He may be ready to move to juniors or play in the L.A. Kings’
system after a frustrating season in Ann Arbor.
Thelen (Michigan State)
freshman revealed at the draft that he would have opted in,
even if it meant giving up his eligibility. Getting his pro
career started is Thelen's priority; time will tell if the Wild,
who drafted him, agree.
UPDATE: The uncertain labor situation helped
the Wild and Thelen decide to keep him at MSU for at least one
first-liner Rich Peverley gone, could he test the free agent
waters while they’re warm?
in the NHL capture his interest more than the college game?
Perhaps a better question: Do the Sabres have the money to bring
UPDATE: Vanek signed with the Sabres
on Sept. 3, forgoing his final two years of college eligibility.
Welch (Harvard) and Ryan Whitney (Boston University)
Penguins could use an infusion of young talent to join Brooks
Orpik on the blue line. But will the cash-strapped Pens leave
them in college for another year of free development? With both
playing in the Boston area, they can keep tabs on them and save
on travel expenses.
UPDATE: Whitney made the jump and
had a terrific playoff for the AHL's Wilkes-Barre Penguins.
Could Welch be next? He was named Harvard's captain for 2004-05,
which suggests he'll be back.