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Gophers Hockey: Minnesota gets 6 during early signing period

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Forwards Ryan Norman, Tommy Novak and Tyler Sheehy, defenseman Jack Sadek, and goaltender Logan Halladay all signed National Letters of Intent (LOI) to play for the Gophers. Additionally, Jack Ramsey signed a new Financial Aid Tender for the new year.

Tyler Sheehy (22) playing in the Minnesota Elite League during fall 2013.
Tyler Sheehy (22) playing in the Minnesota Elite League during fall 2013.
Matt Christians

Minnesota announced Wednesday its class of six players during the early signing period.

Forwards Ryan Norman, Tommy Novak and Tyler Sheehy, defenseman Jack Sadek, and goaltender Logan Halladay all signed National Letters of Intent (LOI) to play for the Gophers.

Additionally, Jack Ramsey (Chicago Blackhawks), who previously signed a LOI during last year's early signing period and then deferred the start of his college career until 2015-16, signed a new Financial Aid Tender for the new year.

The early signing period for college hockey ran from November 12-19. A letter of intent is a binding agreement that a player entering his senior year of high school (or beyond) signs. It signifies that the player will officially attend the school for at least one academic year.

Prospective players cannot sign a LOI until April 15th although they can - and have - verbally commit after that period. Players who have signed LOIs differ from those who haven't in that they cannot be subjected to further recruiting and calls by other programs.

Most, if not all, will be coming in 2015-16. There is the chance one or two are held back depending on early departures and other changes in the Gophers' recruiting, however.

Here's a look at all six future Minnesota hockey players.

Tommy Novak

Of the six players that signed LOIs, Novak is arguably the biggest name of the group. The 6"0", 180 lbs 17 year-old forward from River Falls, WI (the fourth Wisconsinite since 2005 to play for Minnesota) is listed as an "A" prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft, meaning he is projected to in the first round.  Novak currently plays for Waterloo (USHL) after three seasons at St. Thomas Academy (where he scored the 2013 Minnesota Class A title game-winning goal in the final minute and subsequently "Tebowed") and has 15 points (3G-12A) in 18 games for the Black Hawks.

"Tommy is a high-skill guy," Waterloo coach P.K. O'Handley told NHL.com's Joe Yerdon last week. "His thought process, his hands, his ability to make plays and think and see some things that maybe other guys don't see is pretty remarkable really for a young guy. I think he's got whatever that thing might be. That thing."


Prior to the USHL, Novak helped the US win a gold medal at the 2014 Five Nations Tournament. He also led all players in scoring with 11 points (5G-6A) at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Tournament.

Tyler Sheehy

Sheehy, Novak's teammate at Waterloo, is third on the Black Hawks in scoring with 20 points (5G-15A) in 18 games. The 19 year-old from Burnsville, MN went undrafted in the 2014 NHL Draft. Despite his size (5'9", 185 lbs), he can finish opportunities and knows how to find the back of the net. Sheehy had 49 points (21G-28A) in 49 games last year for the Clark Cup runners-up and went on to lead the USHL in postseason goals with eight in 12 games.

Previously verbally committed to play for Ohio State, Sheehy re-opened his search once Mark Osiecki was fired in April 2013 and committed to Minnesota in February.

Ryan Norman

Norman is in his third season with Shattuck St. Mary's prep team. He has led SSM in scoring each of the last two seasons, finishing 2013-14 with 71 points (27G-44A) in 53 games. He's the only forward of the four who signed that hasn't spent time in the USHL or juniors. One scout said Norman, listed at 5'10", 161 lbs, thinks the game well, but his skating can be clunky in open ice.

Here's Chris' report of Norman from Minnesota's Model Camp:

Ryan Norman, '96+, Shattuck-St. Mary's-A lack of high-end upside may keep him from being a high draft pick next summer, but he's so strong and quick in the corners that he should be an effective, grinding forward for the Gophers in the future.

Ryan's father Tom Norman played college hockey at North Dakota, which I believe is the first time since Aaron Ness that a former Fighting Sioux player's son has ended up a Gopher.

Jack Sadek

Sadek committed the Gophers in August. He is a senior at Lakeville North (MN-HS), the same school his cousin Brady Skjei played, where he had 17 points (6G-11A) in 31 games. He helped lead the Panthers to the 2014 Class AA championship game. The 17 year-old has taken a major step forward in his development over the last year, according to several scouts I've spoken with. Sadek, listed at 6'1", 185 lbs has a heavy shot for a defenseman and is a smooth skater.

Central Scouting has Sadek listed as a "C" prospect (4th/5th/6th rounds) in its 2015 preliminary players to watch.

Logan Halladay

Halladay, listed at 6'1", 194 lbs, hails from Cary, NC, making the goalie the first-ever North Carolinian to play for the Gophers. He is now with the expansion Bloomington Thunder (USHL) - along with Minnesota verbal commit Tarek Baker - after playing with Gopher freshman Robin Hoglund for the Janesville Jets (NAHL). This year splitting time in net he has a .864 save% in 10 games.

After going undrafted in 2014, the 18 year-old attended Carolina's development camp. He is also on NHL Central Scouting's 2015 preliminary players to watch as a "C" prospect (4th/5th/6th rounds).

When Halladay comes in is likely depending on Adam Wilcox's future. Minnesota will have three goalies if Wilcox returns for his senior season in 2015-16, leaving no room for Halladay. If he turns pro then Halladay will come to Dinkytown by default.

Jack Ramsey

Ramsey, who was teammates at Minnetonka (MN-HS) with current Gophers Vinni Lettieri and Steve Johnson, is in his second season with the Penticton Vees (BCHL) where he has an "A" on his chest and 20 points (9G-11A) in 28 games this season. He spent part of the year playing on Penticton's "US line" with Riley Alferd (Vancouver, WA) and Matt Serratore (Bemidji, MN/Air Force commit) until Serratore was recently injured. He is more of a defensive forward, as written about at this time a year ago, but the 19 year-old from Chanhassen, MN can use his size.

Listed at 6'2", 185 lbs, Ramsey is a 2014 7th round pick (208th overall) of the Chicago Blackhawks. His father, Mike, was a member of the 1980 US Olympic "Miracle on Ice" team. Jack's sister Rachel currently plays for the University of Minnesota women's hockey team.

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Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation. You can also follow him on Twitter --