The University of Minnesota has led college hockey in the number of drafted players on one team the last 2 seasons. Although the team has seen five of their 15 drafted players depart in the off-season, the next group of draftees are right around the corner.
Six Gopher recruits are among the 210 North American skaters ranked by NHL Central Scouting in their final rankings released Wednesday.
Minnetonka defenseman Tommy Vannelli, one of 4 Minnesota High School players ranked in the top-100 leads the group at 44 (one spot ahead of Edina/Notre Dame recruit Connor Hurley). Vannelli, who is currently playing for Team USA in the World U-18 Championship in Sochi, Russia, moved up from 77th in Central Scouting's Midterm rankings. Those previous rankings were released in January.
NHL Central Scouting acts as a de facto 31st team when it comes to their rankings rather than trying to create a consensus. Still as our own Chris Dilks points out, the timing of these rankings is just a reflection of a moment in time. They are sure to change before the Draft takes place this June in New Jersey.
Vannelli's Team USA U-18 teammate Hudson Fasching is the next recruit on the list. Fasching, a forward from Apple Valley, MN, is ranked 70th; down from a Midterm ranking of 42. He is a 6'2", 214 lbs player whose size makes him stand out among the other incoming forwards this fall.
The other four recruits are among players at the bottom of the rankings. Waterloo (USHL) teammates Taylor Cammarata (#193) and Justin Kloos (#203) are ranked ten spots apart. While both players have size concerns at 5'7" and 5'9", respectively, the two forwards led the USHL in scoring. Cammarata, a native of Plymouth, MN, had 93 points in 59 games. Kloos, who at 19 has already been passed over in the draft once, was right behind him with 87 points in 54 games.
Fargo (USHL) forward Gabe Guertler, a native of Plantation, FL, is ranked 208th and one spot above Lincoln (USHL) forward Vinni Lettieri (#209). Guertler will be joining the Gophers in the fall while Lettieri, whose season came to an end last night, is slated for 2014. Lettieri scored 56 points in 61 games for the Stars.
In addition to the six named, two other Minnesota recruits -forward Louie Nanne (2014) and defenseman Jake Bischoff - were drafted in 2012. Nanne, whose Penticton Vees (BCHL) lost the Fred Page Cup to Surrey in six games, is a 7th round pick of the Minnesota Wild.
Bischoff, meanwhile, was drafted 3 spots ahead of Nanne (185th overall) by the New York Islanders. He split his season between Grand Rapids (MN-HS) and Omaha (USHL). Bischoff will get a chance this fall after juniors Nate Schmidt (Washington Capitals) and Mark Alt (Philadelphia Flyers) signed professional contracts.
Follow Nate on Twitter @gopherstate.