October 8, 2008
Recruiting Trail: Top 20 Forwards

In the first two years of Inside College Hockey's Recruiting Rankings, North Dakota boasted the top forward recruits (Brady Murray and Travis Zajac). The next two seasons, Minnesota countered with back-to-back honorees (Phil Kessel and Kyle Okposo). Last year, Wisconsin's Kyle Turris was our top-rated forward. The honor stays in the WCHA in 2008, reverting back to Minnesota — the Golden Gophers' Jordan Schroeder holds the top spot this time around.

Of the top 20 forwards in our rankings, seven are WCHA rookies, while the CCHA and Hockey East each have five skaters mentioned. ECAC Hockey is responsible for three newcomers on the list. USHL alums comprise eight of the 20 spots in this year's rankings.

Inside College Hockey compiled its 2008 Recruiting Rankings with extensive input from college coaches as well as professional scouts. Participants were asked to evaluate recruits based on their projected impact at the college level, not on their professional hockey prospects.




School Last Team


Jordan Schroeder

Minnesota U.S. NTDP

The Hockey News ranks Schroeder sixth among prospects eligible for the 2009 NHL Draft, comparing the Lakeville, Minn., native to Chicago's Patrick Kane and Edmonton's Sam Gagner, forwards who make up for a lack of size with a high hockey IQ.


Joe Colborne

Denver Camrose (AJHL)

Taken by the Boston Bruins with the 16th overall pick in this year's NHL Draft, Colborne was the 2008 Canadian Junior A Player of the Year. At 6-foot-5 and nearly 200 pounds, he's often compared to another jumbo Joe — San Jose's Joe Thornton.


Zac Dalpe

Ohio State Penticton (BCHL)

Dalpe, who hails from Paris, Ontario, blossomed last season with the British Columbia Hockey League's Penticton Vees. Most observers thought he'd spurn the Buckeyes for the major junior ranks, but he'll debut this weekend against Miami.


Corey Trivino

Boston University Stouffville (OPJHL)

The lone Junior A player on Canada's gold medal-winning team at last spring's World Under-18 Championships, Trivino scored 24-67—91 in just 54 games for the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League's Stouffville Spirit.


Jason Gregoire

North Dakota Lincoln (USHL)

Gregoire, who originally committed to Denver before opting for the Fighting Sioux, was the 2008 USHL Player of the Year, scoring 37-32—69 in 54 games for Lincoln.


Daultan Leveille

Michigan State St. Catharines (GHJHL)

The winner of the Ontario Hockey Association's Top Prospect Award, Leveille became the first player from a Junior B league to go in the first round of the NHL Draft when the Atlanta Thrashers used its 29th overall selection to select the speedy forward this past June.


Robbie Czarnik

Michigan U.S. NTDP

Czarnik won't replace Kevin Porter, but he possesses many of the same attributes as the 2008 Hobey Baker Award winner — good speed, adept playmaker and goal scorer, solid in all three zones, and not one to shy away from contact.


Jack Connolly

Minnesota Duluth Sioux Falls (USHL)

USA Hockey named Connolly its 2008 Junior Player of the Year; he also earned USHL Rookie of the Year honors last season after scoring 26-46—72 for Sioux Falls.


Paul Carey

Boston College Indiana (USHL)

Carey, who scored 34 goals for the Indiana Ice last season, rocketed up our list thanks to glowing reports from college recruiters. That said, we may have him a rung or two lower than where he should be.


Barry Almeida

Boston College Omaha (USHL)

He knows a little bit about winning titles, too — Almeida scored the overtime winner for Omaha in the deciding game of the USHL playoff championship series.


Alex Killorn

Harvard Deerfield (Mass.) Prep


Taylor Stefishen

Ohio State Langley (BCHL)


Cam Atkinson Boston College Avon Old Farms (Conn.)


Steve Quailer

Northeastern Sioux City (USHL)


John Kemp

Nebraska-Omaha Indiana (USHL)


Derek Stepan

Wisconsin Shattuck-St. Mary's (MN)


David Toews

North Dakota Shattuck-St. Mary's (MN)


Brian O'Neil

Yale Chicago (USHL)


Austin Smith

Colgate Penticton (BCHL)


Jared Festler

St. Cloud State Lincoln (USHL)