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2007 Recruiting FAQ

Here's a few questions and answers that I've put together for next year's recruiting class.

Will you be doing the star rankings again this year?

A couple people have asked me about this, and yes, I will be trying to put together a list similar to last year. It's a pretty big list though, and it has been taking me a while. I'd guess that I'll have it done sometime in the middle of the summer.

Who is this year's superstar recruit?

Wisconsin's Kyle Turris is the most hyped recruit coming into next season. He recently became the first Tier II player to be ranked #1 by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau, and could go first overall in this year's draft.

Who will be this year's Ryan Lasch?

Last year, St. Cloud's Ryan Lasch scored a bunch of points in a relatively weak Ontario junior league, and people questioned how that would translate to college hockey. Lasch ended up scoring a lot of points with the Huskies last season and was one of the WCHA's top rookies.

This year, Western Michigan's Max Campbell looks like that player. Campbell scored 95 points in 46 regular season games in the Jr. B Western Ontario Hockey League. Campbell is listed at 6'0" and will likely be an NHL draft pick this summer, whereas Lasch went undrafted due to his size, but Campbell could end up having a year like Lasch did.

Who will be this year's Mark Letestu?

Last year, Mark Letestu joined Western Michigan's team as a 21-year-old freshman, after being on the AJHL's leading scorers and had a great season with the Broncos, before signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In the CCHA, a good comparison might be Alaska's Dustin Sather. Sather, who will turn 21 in late July, scored over 100 points in 58 games this season. He's only listed at 5'8", which could keep NHL teams away, but he could certainly make an immediate impact like Letestu did.

In the WCHA, Denver recruit Tyler Bozak actually beat out Kyle Turris in the scoring race(though Turris spotted him 6 games early in the season), with 128 points in 59 games. It's not uncommon for an older player to lead the BCHL in scoring, and those players have generally done well in college hockey. One of those players, Alaska's Kyle Greentree, turned pro this summer.

Is Wisconsin's class really that great?

For some reason, many people seem to think Wisconsin has the top recruiting class in the country. They certainly have two of the top new players in all of college hockey in Kyle Turris and Ryan McDonagh, but I'm still a little skeptical. I think their class looks very similar to Michigan's 2005 class, which featured two superstars in Jack Johnson and Andrew Cogliano, a pretty good defenseman in Mark Mitera(though Wisconsin has two in Brendan Smith and Cody Goloubef), and a bunch of role players. That class has struggled the past two years, and Johnson and Cogliano have both signed pro contracts. Turris, and likely McDonagh, probably won't be around past their sophomore season, while their freshman teammates might not start making huge contributions until after their sophomore seasons.

Which team helped themselves the most?

Without a doubt, it has to be Michigan Tech. Tech is adding a potential superstar in Casey Pierro-Zabotel, and a supporting cast that could give the Tech offense a well-needed shot in the arm.

Fun Fact: Michigan Tech was the first team to complete their 2007 recruiting a lot. Their most recent commitment for the 2007 class came in March of 2006. Five other college hockey teams received their most recent 2007 commitment in December of 2006, which is the next closest to Tech.

Are there any star players left for teams to pick up?

There aren't any "can't miss" types left that haven't committed to a college for next year, but there are still lots of players that could come in a year early and make an impact. Fargo-Moorhead forward Chris Connolly and Tri-City defenseman Cameron Cooper are two players that could make a late college commitments and play well next season.

Is there a changing of the guard in the CCHA when it comes to recruiting?

For over a decade now, Michigan and Michigan State have been the two recruiting powerhouses in the CCHA. But this year will be Jeff Jackson's first full recruiting class at Notre Dame, and it could be just as good, if not better than Michigan and Michigan State's incoming class. Jackson brings in 3 NTDP players, and 5 quality USHL players. Jackson was able to step in and compete with Michigan and MSU for recruits and has won many battles, especially for players in upcoming classes.

Has Minnesota made an adjustment to their recruiting strategy?

Some people thought Minnesota needed to make an adjustment in their recruiting strategy after recruiting some high-profile "one and done" type recruits like Phil Kessel and Erik Johnson. This year's Gopher class doesn't have any players like that, but I don't see Minnesota as having made a major change. The Gophers still got two of the highest rated NHL prospects out of Minnesota in Pat White and Mike Hoeffel, and if Ryan McDonagh had waited a little longer to make his college decision, he might be a Gopher too. It's just a case of Minnesota not having any top 5 NHL Draft prospects this year.

That said, the Gophers have taken a couple of older USHL players in Stu Bickel and Drew Fisher that should be able to contribute for four years.

Which incoming goalie will be most critical to his team's success?

Without a doubt, Bowling Green's Josh Unice. The Falcons goaltending has been rough the past couple years, and a good goalie would make them a lot better.