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Gophers Hockey: Four commits among Central Scouting's 2016 Players to Watch

Now with the US team, 2016 NHL Draft "B" prospect Ryan Lindgren is one of several players who would make SSM better.
Now with the US team, 2016 NHL Draft "B" prospect Ryan Lindgren is one of several players who would make SSM better.
Matt Christians/SBN College Hockey

NHL Central Scouting released Tuesday morning its September list of players to watch for the 2016 NHL Draft. Four players with University of Minnesota verbal commitments are among those listed, however, none are seen as first round selections.

United States U-18 defenseman Ryan Lindgren (Minneapolis, MN) and Waterloo (USHL) defenseman Sam Rossini (Inver Grove Heights, MN) were named "B" prospects for the 2016 NHL Draft. A "B" prospect is a player that NHL CSS sees going in the 2nd or 3rd round. A "C" prospect is a player that would be selected in the 4th/5th/6th rounds.

Minnesota commits William Fallstrom (moving over from Djurgarden in Sweden to play with the USHL Omaha Lancers) and Garrett Wait (Edina, MN/Wateloo) are both "C" prospects, according to NHL Central Scouting.

Lindgren, Rossini and Wait each played in the All-American Prospects Game last week. They were joined in the game, which featured 42 of the best American draft-eligible prospects, by fellow Gopher commit Ryan Edquist.

One player from Minnesota - US U-18 forward Kiefer Bellows (committed to Boston University) - is among the 24 players named "A" prospects. An "A' prospect is a player that Central Scouting sees going in the first round.

No Gopher has been picked in the first round since the New York Rangers selected Brady Skjei with the 28th overall pick in 2012.

Other notable "A" prospects include  Wisconsin freshman Luke Kunin and Penticton (BCHL) defenseman Dante Fabbro. The 17 year-old Whistler, BC native is the only one ranked that high without a college commitment who appears to be playing that route. Listed at 6'1", 185 lbs, Fabbro currently has 5 points (1G-4A) in 6 games for the Vees.

Penticton should be a familiar team to Gopher fans lately. All 3 Reilly brothers suited up for the Vees as did freshman Jack Ramsey the past two seasons. Head coach Don Lucia's son Mario also spent a season in BC with Penticton.

The 2016 NHL Draft takes place in Buffalo on June 24-25.

For a more broad collegiate picture of NHL Central Scouting, click here.

Other notes:

-If you missed my recap of Minnesota's 5-4 exhibition win over the Minnesota Whitecaps, the Gophers won by a 5-4 score. Hasn't changed since Friday. Forwards Hannah Brandt (2G-1A), Kelly Pannek (2G-1A) and Kate Schipper (1G-2A) each had 3 points.Head coach Brad Frost's #1 ranked team goes out to Wawa-less State College this week to open the season against Penn State on Thursday and Friday.

-Two notes which may have been buried in the recap: 1) Senior Maryanne Menefee was a scratch in the exhibition game. It appears she will not be in the lineup for a while. The Lansing, MI native had a career-high 47 points (23G-24A) as a junior playing on the Gophers' top line with Hannah Brandt and Dani Cameranesi.. 2) Forwards Megan Wolfe and Cameranesi only played a period Friday due to being banged up with injuries entering the game. That was a predetermined plan, according to Frost.

-Despite being picked second by both the Coaches and Media, the men are ranked #9, and above the team picked it in the Big Ten, Michigan, in the opening USCHO poll. Someone even gave the Gophers a first place vote. I don't have a vote so it's hard to say why that's the case other than ten teams receiving first votes shows how wide open the opinions are this year.

-A large number of Minnesota recruits are among Chris Dilks' team made up of players that left Shattuck St. Mary's.

-Minnesota men's Media Day is tomorrow. Between that and the Gopher women's season beginning I'll have a few pieces here and elsewhere in the near future.


Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation mostly covering both the University of Minnesota and Big Ten. You can also follow him on Twitter --