Dubuque Fighting Saints forward Michael Szmatula, a '92 born forward that currently leads the USHL in scoring with 25 points in his first 15 games this season, has given a verbal commitment to play for Northeastern next season. Szmatula had committed to play for Sacred Heart this past spring, but after a breakout season in the USHL, Szmatula chose to re-evaluate his options.
Szmatula has been a player I've long been impressed with. He was singled out for mention in both my 2009 NAHL Showcase write-up while playing for the Lansing Capitals, as well as my 2010 write-up while with the Traverse City North Stars. Last season, he took the road less traveled for college prospects by playing for the Summerside Western Capitals of the Maritime Junior Hockey League, where he led the league in scoring with 87 regular season points in 52 games. That earned him a shot with the Fighting Saints, and from there, Szmatula has really taken off. He's not particular big at 5'9", but is a very gritty player that isn't afraid to go into the dirty areas of the ice to score points.
It's a tough break for Sacred Heart to lose a potential star player, but Northeastern seems to be a better fit for a player of his caliber. It's also a nice break for the Huskies to pick up a quality player from another school, after losing commitments from John Gaudreau to Boston College and Jon Gillies to Providence College in consecutive years.