(Note: The majority of the players mentioned here have signed official National Letters of Intent. There may be some players with only verbal commitments. The confirmation of these players has been culled from a variety of sources, including, but not limited to, information released by their current leagues.)
Graduates: Forwards: Brian Gionta, Marty Hughes, Mike Lephart, (possibly Krys Kolanos); Defense: Bobby Allen, Bob Scuderi, (possibly Brooks Orpik); Goal: Scott Clemmensen
After targeting and securing the top talent the last four seasons, Boston College had to go to plan B this season when several high-profile targets committed elsewhere. The Eagles did hit on one of their targets, slick playmaker Ryan Shannon (Taft Prep), who moved up the radar screen with his performance on the USA Under-17 team. Three other skilled, but raw, talents have committed: Ryan Murphy (USNDP), a physical forward; John Adams, a tall defender from Minnesota’s high school system; and Ned Havern, a Massachusetts public school product. Although these players have great talent, their ability to contribute right away is less certain than that of the elite BC classes that preceded them. BC is still in the market for a replacement for four-year starter Scott Clemmensen, and one more defender.
Graduates: Forwards: Carl Corazzini, Nick Gillis, Scott Perry; Defense: Keith Emery, Colin Sheen
The Terriers secured three prime recruits who had yearned to play for the Terriers since their childhood. Leading the charge of early commitments was Ryan Whitney. Whitney is equally comfortable making tape-to-tape passes and using his 6-foot-4 frame and skating skills to neutralize forwards. He committed to BU in February, and was followed a month later by friend and prep teammate Brian McConnell, another top NHL prospect. McConnell has a pro game, using his 6-2 size to battle for goals. With the May commitment from National Team forward Justin Maiser, BU filled most of its recruiting needs with elite talent before the official recruiting season was even under way. In September, a fourth member of the U.S. National Team, Bryan Miller, also joined the class. Miller is a top line offensive product, the leading scorer on the USNDP team with 4-6=10 in 11 games. All are big-time prospects, and will make immediate impacts, pushing BU’s class into the nation’s top-five.
Graduates: Forwards: Dan Kerluke, Mattias Trattnig; Defense: A.J. Begg
Faced with filling only a small class, the Bears gained a key early commitment in March from Ben Murphy (Cushing Prep), who then proceeded to showcase his offensive skills by leading the Hockey Night in Boston summer tournament in scoring. Up front, Jon Jankus is another gritty forward in the mold of Cameron Lyall. Maine also added Paul Lynch (Jr. Warriors, EJHL), a raw, physical defenseman who Shawn Walsh has compared to Matt Martin. Two other players already in school, Prestin Ryan and Colin Shields, are not eligible this season, but are showing during practices that they could step in and do damage next year.
Graduates: Forwards: John Pyliotis, Vince Clevenger, Ron Mongeau, Joe Gray; Defense: Steve Moon; Goal: Tom Welby
Last season, Merrimack lined up early commitments from Alberta’s Taras Foremsky and Saskatchewan goalie K.C. Guenther. Foremsky, a center, has since followed up 52- and 66-point seasons with 18-31-49 totals in 32 games split between the Calgary Canucks and Ft. Saskatchewan. Goalie K.C. Guenther faces lots of shots in his second year of Jr. A in LaRonge (SJHL) franchise, and has the promise of developing into a solid backstop. The Warriors then continued to work Coach Serino’s Ontario connection, which had produced top Toronto forwards Anthony Aquino and Marco Rosa. This time it produced 17-year old Matt Foy, from Wexford (OPJHL), who was a second-round OHL draft selection, and has posted 22-18-40 in 24 games in his first season of Junior A. Mark Noble, a center with good bloodlines, will add character and a winning tradition to the Warriors’ lineup.
Graduates: Forwards: Matt Swain, Johnny Rogers, C.J. Ficek; Defense: Mark White, Eric Lind, Sean Austin; Goal: Ty Conklin
If not in the top five recruiting classes, then UNH’s class is not far from it. Within a week period in June, UNH received verbal commitments from top-rated New England forwards Sean Collins (Reading HS) and Eddie Caron (Phillips Exeter). Those choices supplemented the March commitment from Justin Aikins, who has showcased his playmaking skills by cracking the BCHL top 10 scorers (13-39-52 in 35 games). Another experienced winger, Preston Callendar, has jumped to the top of the USHL scoring leaders with 15-15-30 totals in 22 games. In November, UNH filled its big need for an offensive defenseman with Tyson Teplitsky, who has a cannon shot from the point and already has 9-19-28 in 34 games, including five power play goals. Robbie Barker is a solid, physical defender adept at clearing out the front of the net.
Graduates: Forwards: Graig Mischler, Matt Keating, Brian Cummings, Sean MacDonald; Defense: John Peterman, Mike Jozefowicz
The Huskies got a leg up on replacing defense with commitments from Donnie Grover (Catholic Memorial) and offensive defender Tim Judy of the USHL’s Sioux City (3-8-11 in 20 games). Grover, a local player from Catholic Memorial, was voted a top defenseman at the Hockey Night in Boston summer tournament. Young center Jaron Herriman leads the lesser-scoured Mid-Western Hockey League in scoring with 25-37-62 in 25 games, after 54 points as a rookie.
Graduates: Forwards: Cole Gendreau, J.J. Picinic, Adam Lee; Defense: Jay Leach, Matt Libby; Goal: Boyd Ballard
With the summer commitments of Eric Lundberg and Chris Chaput, Providence gained two highly-touted products from the local N.E. Coyotes of the EJHL, each of whom has been selected to the US Select 17 team. It then returned to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, securing sniping winger Derek Allan (Nipawin), who is following-up last-year’s SJHL All-Rookie team selection by placing in the SJHL top scorers with 23-27-50 in 30 games. Jim Merola, a local goalie from LaSalle Prep, is brought aboard to back up Nolan Schaefer.
Graduates: Forwards: Jeff Turner, Kris Wallis, Ray Geever, R.J. Gates, Nick Stephens, Jay Shaw; Defense: Joey Culgin; Goal: Markus Helanen
New coach Toot Cahoon scored a big recruiting coup in July by nabbing goalie Tim Warner, one of the east’s best, to replace graduating goalie Markus Helanen. Up front the Minutemen face the challenge of upgrading scoring, including the loss of leading point-getter Jeff Turner. A trio of Massachusetts natives was brought in, starting with speedy winger Greg Mauldin, playing now with the Junior Bruins. Three prep wingers, Matt Walsh (Northfield), Peter Trovato (Deerfield Prep), and Craig MacDonald (Nobles) fit into the UMass hard-working style, and should step in. Also rounding out the defense is Jeff Lank, from Tabor Academy, and Sean Regan, a defenseman with the Mass. midget championship team.
Graduates: Forwards: Brad Rooney, Jeff Boulanger, Nick Carso, Kyle Kidney; Goal: Cam McCormick
With only three forwards departing, Lowell has signed Gerry Hickey, a hard-working winger. Last season, Lowell brought in late recruit Laurent Meunier from Europe, so additonal surprises may be in the offing.
(Chris Heisenberg operates the ultimate independent web site on recruiting, chronicling the progress of each school’s incoming class).