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So What Do We Do Now?

The college hockey season is over, but that doesn't nothing will be happening until next October. Here's a brief sampling of what you can look forward to.

The summer signing period begins on the 13th. All the players that have verbally committed to schools can send in their National Letters of Intent and are officially tied to that school. It isn't nearly as dramatic as signing day for football, where a lot of players announce which school they want to intend. It's also not as dramatic because it usually takes all of the NLIs a couple days to come in, seeing as they usually have to be delivered from parts unknown in Canada via moose. It should give everyone a better picture of who all will be joining their team next season though. It's also a bonus because once a player sends in his NLI, his coach is finally allowed to talk about him, so there should be some interesting quotes from coaches about players that they've signed.

The junior leagues are still in the middle of their playoffs. Both the USHL and NAHL are getting ready to start their second round of playoffs.

The summer hockey circuit is starting up as well. Next week will be the 22nd annual Chicago Showcase featuring the top high school seniors in the country. I'm by no means an expert, and I don't know who anybody else has on their team, but I've got to imagine Minnesota is the favorite in the tournament.

Minnesota's team is a little weaker because they have a rule that players who have verbally committed to colleges aren't eligible to play(No other state has that rule, but Wisconsin's Derrick Lapoint is the only other play that applies to.) Minnesota's roster was picked at the Great 8 Festival, and I mentioned 10 out of the 20 players picked in my scouting reports, so I don't think I did too badly there.

Like I said, I don't know much about the other teams, so I can't say much, although I can pretty safely say that there's no real strong prospects for next season playing there. Wisconsin's Brandon Busse and Brent Gwidt have both been mentioned as potential college players in the future. Having seen Michigan goalie Brandon Stephenson make 40 saves in the state finals, I'd take him over the two goalies picked for the Minnesota team. I'm sure there are others that will move on to juniors and have a shot at playing college hockey some day as well.

Minnesota has started their intense process of narrowing down the best 16 year olds in the state for this summer's Select 17 Festival in St. Cloud. You can find the rosters to the tryout tournament they held last weekend here. That group will be cut down to 51 players, which will try out again, and then be pared down to the 20 that will go to the Festival.

My rough guess from looking at that list as who will going:

D Ben Blood (Shattuck prep team)
F Jack Connolly (Duluth Marshall)
F Ben Arnt (North St. Paul)
F Bob Gutch (Duluth Marshall)
D Ryan McDonagh (Cretin)
G Kent Patterson (Blake)
D Chris Student (Benilde)
F Tyler Thompson (Benilde)
F Adam Estoclet (Benilde)
G Ben Leis (Duluth East)
G Reid Ellingson (Cloquet)
F Patrick White (Grand Rapids)
F Anthony DeCenzo (Hibbing)
F Nico Sacchetti (Virginia)
F Drew LeBlanc (Hermantown)
F Tyler Johnson (Cloquet)
D Joe Hartman (St. Cloud Apollo)

That's just a rough guess though. Take it for what it's worth.