Hockey compiled its 2005 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.
released our exclusive rankings of incoming freshmen at each position.
Stay tuned for
our ranking of the best players by junior league or geography and
our annual all-name team.
15 FRESHMAN CLASSES
so you're already tired of hearing about Phil Kessel and
the kid has yet to play a game for the Gophers. Get used
to it — he's as close to a sure thing as there is.
He almost makes one forget Don Lucia welcomes a first-round
NHL draft pick (Blake Wheeler), a high second-round NHL
draft pick (Ryan Stoa) and the top goaltender at this year's
Under-18 World Championships (Jeff Frazee) into the fold.
Impact players: Jeff Frazee, Phil Kessel, Ryan Stoa, Blake
the Gophers, the Fighting Indigenous People have amassed
a collection of freshmen that would make Mack Brown envious.
Four of the top 36 picks in this year's NHL draft are North
Dakota rookies including defenseman Brian Lee, selected
by Ottawa with the ninth overall pick. Jonathan Toews, who's
eligible for next year's draft, could end up being the best
of the bunch.
Impact players: Taylor Chorney, Brian Lee, T.J. Oshie, Jonathan
Wolverines bring in a 10-member freshman class (you read
right) this season. One of them, defenseman Jack Johnson,
was the third overall pick in this year's NHL Draft by Carolina
and probably could've made the jump to The Show. Another,
forward Andrew Cogliano, was touted as the fastest skater
in the draft. The most important newcomer, though, might
be goaltender Billy Sauer, the likely heir to the spot vacated
by Al Montoya.
Impact players: Andrew Cogliano, Jack Johnson, Mark Mitera,
to be outdone, the Bulldogs' freshman litter consists of
11 players. It's a deep group led by playmaking defenseman
Matt Niskanen, a first-round pick by Dallas in the most
recent NHL Draft. While the UMD rookie class lacks a player
with top-end talent or a high ceiling a la Kessel, Toews,
and Johnson, it might have the best quality across the board.
Shattuck product Michael Gergen is a sleeper.
Impact players: Jason Garrison, Matt Niskanen, Mason Raymond,
Eagles, while they didn't need a goalie, got great balance
everywhere else. Three defensemen can play right away and
Brock Bradford and whirling dervish Nathan Gerbe could stage
an all-Heights battle for the Hockey East Rookie of the
Impact players: Brock Bradford, Tim Filangieri, Nathan Gerbe,
defending champs have become to defensemen what Penn State
once was to linebackers. Brett Skinner bolted early for
the Vancouver organization, but two highly regarded blueliners
(Chris Butler and T.J. Fast) have the skills to fill the
void. Up front, the marquee newcomer is Brock Trotter, who
scored 58 points for the USHL's Lincoln Stars in 60 games.
Impact players: Chris Butler, T.J. Fast, Brock Trotter
Spartans' rookie crop has skill —Justin Abdelkader
scored 52 points in the USHL last year, while Tim Kennedy
had 61. It's got size
measures in at a Jim Slater-esque 6-1, 200 pounds and Tim
Crowder stands 6-2. And it's got a Smurf
— Karl Goehring clone Jeff Lerg was the USHL's top
goaltender last season and won the circuit's MVP award.
Impact players: Justin Abdelkader, Tim Kennedy, Jeff Lerg
Badgers missed out on hometown phenom Phil Kessel, but in
the words of Adam Sandler this group is “not too shabby.”
Sources say that Bucky's prized catch, Jack Skille, and
Kessel weren’t too fond of each other as U.S. NTDP
teammates. Now they take their supposed personal rivalry
to two of the most storied programs in college hockey.
Impact players: Shane Connelly, Tom Gorowsky, Jack Skille
forward Chad Rau headlines this class and he’ll have
the chance to make an impact right away — the Tigers
were particularly hit hard by graduation and underclassmen
signing professional contracts.
Impact players: Drew O'Connell, Chad Rau
said that defense wins championships and this recruiting
class is built around two players that should help the Bulldogs
in their quest to add CCHA trophy number two to the case,
to go with 2003’s regular season title. And if that
doesn't work, Ferris has also brought in Dan Reidel, the
USHL's top scorer last season.
Impact players: Mitch O'Keefe, Chris Zarb, Dan Reidel
Hampshire made even more inroads in the talent-rich USHL,
currently the best source for college-bound players. The
Wildcats, who had 10 league products on their roster last
year, add five more in 2005-06 led by first team USHL all-star
Impact players: Jerry Pollastrone,
Blasi and his staff have brought in another commendable
class. It’s their third straight year accomplishing
the feat as the RedHawks build a top-notch program while
campus builds a top-notch facility. Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff
headlines the group.
Impact players: Ray Eichenlaub, Alec Martinez, Jeff Zatkoff
Catamounts join Hockey East this season, but they've put
together a crew of newcomers that could compete in any conference.
The British Columbia Hockey League is offense-oriented,
but Dean Strong's 91 points in 56 regular season games is
still impressive. Two USHL prospects, forward Corey Carlson
(66 points in 60 games with Omaha) and defenseman Kyle Kuk
(25 points with Tri-City) should also contribute immediately.
Impact players: Corey Carlson, Kyle Kuk, Dean Strong
out the barrel! If incoming forward Mike Karwoski (a first
team EJHL all-star with New York Apple Core last season)
plays on a line with returnee Blair Yaworski, they're bound
to be closely monitored by INCH ECACHL scribe Joe Gladziszewski.
Impact players: Mike Karwoski, David Meckler
the early departure of defenseman Jonathan Sigalet, good
things are happening in Falcon country as coach Scott Paluch
has assembled his third straight strong freshman class.
The key is Jimmy Spratt, a Calgary draft pick and the favorite
to fill the enormous void left in goal by the graduation
of Jordan Sigalet.
Impact players: Kevin Schmidt, Jimmy Spratt, Brandon Svensen