Notre Dame was expected to announce their future conference intentions at the CCHA meetings this week, but apparently decided announcing the CCHA was essentially dead would have made the rest of the meeting kind of a bummer. So now, it looks like the end of the August for the announcement, with the Secondary Six being the front-runner for the much-coveted cadre of 15 fans that will travel to a conference tournament.
The release of the roster for the NTDP U17 team ended up getting way delayed, because they had a tough time getting players to commit to the couple of open spots, but the roster has finally been set.
The NCAA suggested some minor tweaks to the men's ice hockey tournament. Running them down: 1. All 5 conference still get an automatic bid to the tournament. 2. They added some more math to the PWR to make it more complicated and mask how stupid the system is. 3. An extra three people get to travel with teams to the tournament.
The NHL is holding their annual Research and Development Camp where some top prospects for next year's draft test out some potential rule changes, and a few future college players are participating. You can read all of NHL.com's coverage of the camp here.
One of the top players there is NTDP defenseman Jacob Trouba, who has yet to make a college commitment. Trouba says he won't make a commitment until he's absolutely sure which route he wants to take, which is fairly refreshing after a summer of watching kids show how little their word is worth.
The August 15 deadline to sign drafted graduating seniors from the NCAA has come and passed. This thread tries to compile a list of players that are now free agents. There weren't any high-profile names like Billy Sweatt last year that are expected to sign big NHL contracts now that they're free agents. Perhaps the biggest news was that San Jose chose not to offer Pat White a contract, and will receive the 55th overall pick in next year's draft as compensation.
It's disappointing to see NCAA players go unsigned. But just doing the math, there's 30 NHL teams limited to 50 contracts each, meaning there's a grand total of 1500 NHL contracts floating around out there, while at least 210 players get drafted each year. There just isn't room for everyone to make it. Out of the list of guys not earning a contract, I personally know of a couple, and I'm sure there are many others, that earned college degrees this past spring, meaning they can take their chances in the minor leagues for a few years, and when they decide it's time to hang them up, and very well prepared for a life after hockey.
Grand Forks forward Luke Johnson committed to North Dakota. Johnson raised a few eyebrows when he said, ""But I think that North Dakota was a better fit as far as me becoming a better hockey player," which seemed to be a bit of a condemnation of St. Cloud, where his father is an assistant coach. I don't necessarily agree though. Looking back through history, it's hard to come up with too many examples of players that played for their father and it ended up working out well. Jared Ross at Alabama-Huntsville is about the only one I can come up with. But for the most part, it seems to be better for players to go elsewhere to play their college hockey.
Perhaps of little interest because there weren't any western schools in the hunt for them, but Quebec forward Anthony Duclair has signed with the QMJHL, while forward Jonathan Drouin has, at least so far, opted to stay at home and play AAA hockey rather than signing in the Q, which was sort of the opposite of what everyone would have guessed earlier this summer. For now at least, Drouin is has to be considered among the top available prospects out there.