Hockey League’s Central Scouting Bureau released its
final rankings of North American prospects eligible for next
month’s entry draft Wednesday, and the list features
six college stars among the top 21 players.
College's Mark Stuart is the top-rated college defenseman
in the NHL CSB final rankings (photo courtesy Colorado
College sports information).
Thomas Vanek, the Frozen Four MVP and Inside College Hockey
Rookie of the Year, is rated third among North American
forwards and defensemen. He's followed by WCHA rival Zach
Parise of North Dakota, who's listed ninth. Another sophomore-to-be
– Ohio State's Ryan Kesler – is ranked 16th,
one ahead of Colorado College blueliner Mark Stuart. Dartmouth
standout Hugh Jessiman rounds out the top 20, with Michigan's
Jeff Tambellini rated 21st.
draft-eligible North American goaltenders, Maine's James
Howard is ranked second behind only Canadian major junior
product Marc-Andre Fleury, who some prognosticators feel
is the top prospect in this year's draft. Only two other
college backstops – Minnesota's Travis Weber (15th)
and Yale's Josh Gartner (21st) – made the list. The
fourth spot in the goalie ratings is blank; should Alvaro
Montoya of Michigan make himself eligible for this year's
draft and forfeit the remaining three years of his college
eligibility, he would fill that space.
notables in the final CSB rankings include Wisconsin recruit
Ryan Suter (seventh), Boston College's Patrick Eaves (31st),
Michigan's Danny Richmond (41st), Shane Hynes of Cornell
(53rd) and Minnesota recruit Ryan Potulny (55th), the brother
of Gopher captain Grant Potulny.
Line Report, an independent scouting review, released
its top 20 draft-eligible prospects this week. The list,
which includes European skaters, ranks Vanek sixth overall.
Jessiman is rated 10th, Parise is at 13th and Stuart is
NHL Entry Draft takes place June 21-22 in Nashville.
samples: The United States Hockey League entry
draft, which was conducted earlier this week, featured a
few names of interest to college hockey fans.
Justin Tobe, who struggled in his first season at Michigan
State, was selected in the second round by Danville. With
the emergence of Matt Migliaccio and heralded recruit Dominic
Vicari in the fold for next season, Tobe’s days in
green and white look to be numbered. However, sources close
to the MSU program say the Northville, Mich., native would
prefer to play closer to home, a difficult prospect considering
the junior team he used to play for - Plymouth, Mich.-based
Compuware of the North American Hockey League - decided
to suspend operations.
forward Alex Leavitt was selected by Lincoln in the third
round. Leavitt had a highly publicized run-in with first-year
coach Mike Eaves in Grand Forks in November that led to
his departure from the team late in the season.
City used its seventh-round pick to take Air Force’s
Steve Cook. The forward scored two goals and eight points
in 34 games as a freshman. In the ninth round, Des Moines
tabbed Brian Boulay of Merrimack. The rookie defenseman
did not score a point in 19 contests in 2002-03.
the ultimate flyer pick, Lincoln chose Shattuck-St. Mary’s
Sydney Crosby in the 14th round. The 15-year-old Crosby,
a native of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, has been touted as the
next Wayne Gretzky and is the sure-fire top overall selection
in next month’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
draft. However, rumors persist the Crosby, who scored 162
points in 57 games last season, is considering the college
the big boys: Hockey East coaches are in favor
of implementing a pair of initiatives in 2004-05 that are
currently used in the National Hockey League, Maine head
coach Tim Whitehead told the Bangor Daily News.
recent coaches meetings in Florida, Hockey East coaches
voted in favor of trying a two-referee, two-linesman system
and a four-on- four overtime format. The NCAA Ice Hockey
Rules Committee would need to approve the use of both proposals
in Hockey East games.
two-referee, two-linesman system has been tried in college
hockey before, at 25 CCHA games in 1999-2000. It received
lukewarm support among league coaches and was dropped after
one appearance during the 2000-01 season, even though it
had been approved by the NCAA for use during 25 games that
year as well.
two-referee, two-linesman system would give us better ice
coverage and it would also allow us to add some young referees
to the old boy network,” Whitehead told the Daily
News. “Everyone talks about getting some new,
young referees in the game, but they need opportunities.
You could pair a new referee with a veteran so he could
learn from him. Each referee would be responsible for half
the ice. The same for the linesmen.”
East coaches voted 5-2 in favor of the system, with two
officiating system has been in place in the NHL since 1998-99
despite occasional criticisms of inconsistency between the
two referees. Recently, the league has experimented with
slightly different mechanics – tweaking the coverage
area for each official – on the AHL level.
overtime debuted in the NHL in 1999-2000 in an effort to
limit the number of games finishing in a tie. Under the
NHL system, the winning team in overtime earns two points,
while the team suffering an “overtime loss”
still gets one point.
distribution of points in overtime games was not considered
in the Hockey East vote, which was 4-3 in favor with two
NCAA Rules Committee would have to approve the proposals
at next spring's meetings before they could be put into
start of the 2003-04 is more than five months away,
but it’s not too soon to take a quick look at
some of the teams participating in the early-season
tournaments (host team listed first).
Frontier Classic (Oct. 17-18; Anchorage, Alaska): Alaska
Anchorage, Air Force, Mass.-Lowell, Miami
Black Bear Classic (Oct. 17-18; Orono, Maine):
Maine, Holy Cross, Sacred Heart, U.S. Under-18 Team
Ice Breaker Tournament (Oct. 10-11; East Lansing,
Mich.): Michigan State, Boston College, Findlay,
Lefty McFadden Invitational (Oct. 3-4; Dayton,
Ohio): Miami, Denver, Ohio State, St. Lawrence
Maverick Stampede (Oct. 10-11; Omaha, Neb.):
Nebraska-Omaha, Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin
Punch Imlach Tournament (Oct. 24-25; Buffalo,
N.Y.): Canisius and Niagara (co-hosts), Mass.-Lowell,
nixed: Sticking with the Maine theme, the college
career of defenseman Francis Nault is over, prematurely
cut short because of an NCAA rule regarding outside competition.
to the bylaw in question, a student-athlete who takes part
in any outside competition after turning 21 prior to enrollment
loses a year of eligibility. Nault, named to the INCH All-America
third team after scoring 36 points in 39 games for the Black
Bears last season, left his junior team upon reaching his
21st birthday in February 2000, but participated in a pair
of tournaments that summer.
had asked around to see if was OK for me to play in those
tournaments and people told me since they weren't sanctioned
by USA Hockey and since the academic year was over, they
assumed it was OK," Nault told Larry Mahoney of the
Bangor Daily News. “I played in those tournaments
just to have fun.”
appealed the ruling, but the NCAA denied the request. Nault
retains the option of keeping his scholarship, continuing
work on a degree in marketing, practicing with the Black
Bears and helping out as a student assistant coach. The
subtraction of Nault from the lineup leaves coach Tim Whitehead
without his top six scorers from last season.
Tracy, Quebec, native would rather test the pro hockey free-agent
market, however. One scout, speaking on the condition of
anonymity, said it’s unlikely Nault will sign a NHL
deal, but should attract attention from AHL teams.
d: In a recent issue of Sports Illustrated,
former NHL coach Pierre McGuire, now an analyst for Canada’s
TSN sports network, says general managers are searching
for smaller defensemen who can skate well and move the puck
– guys like New Jersey rearguard and Wisconsin alum
Brian Rafalski and Tampa Bay’s Dan Boyle, the former
Miami skater who had a breakout season for the Lightning.
Such a shift would bode well for Nault, ex-Michigan State
star John-Michael Liles and Boston College senior-to-be
J.D. Forrest, all of whom are under six feet tall and weigh
less than 200 pounds.
D to AD?: Among the candidates rumored to be in
line for the vacant director of athletics post at Minnesota-Duluth
is Tom Kurvers. The Bloomington, Minn., native was a four-year
letterwinner for the Bulldogs under coach Mike Sertich and
won the Hobey Baker Award and earned WCHA MVP honors in
1984. He then embarked on an 11-year professional career
that included stints with Montreal (where he won a Stanley
Cup in 1986), Buffalo, New Jersey, Toronto, Vancouver, the
New York Islanders and Anaheim.
retiring, Kurvers has been part of the Phoenix Coyotes organization,
spending one season as the team's radio color analyst and
the last five seasons as a professional scout. He also picked
up an MBA degree after his playing career ended to go with
his bachelor's degree in communication from UMD.
school is looking to fill the position previously held by
Bob Corran, who last week assumed similar duties at Vermont.
skates into spotlight: Michigan State alumnus Shawn
Horcoff had a bit of a breakout year in 2002-03, posting
33 points for the Edmonton Oilers as he spent the entire
year in the NHL for the first time. But that was nothing
compared to the performance the third-year pro turned in
during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the World Championship
led the Oilers in goals (3) and shared the team lead in
points (4) during their first-round series against Dallas,
often skating alongside Boston College product Marty Reasoner.
At the World Championship, where Canada took home the gold,
he was third on the team and tied for 17th in the tournament
in points with 7 (3 goals, 4 assists).
the (Stanley Cup) playoffs and world championships, I've
played at a level I've been trying to get to since I came
into the league," Horcoff told the Edmonton Journal
before the championship game at the world tournament in
Finland. "I want to build on that and become an even
better player. This year was a big step for me; something
I always felt I could do.
was patient. I had to wait for my opportunity and it came.
I gained some confidence and when you have that it's an
easier game to play. It especially helps a young player.”
breakout is similar to the one he enjoyed as a senior at
Michigan State. After three years playing behind current
Oiler teammate Mike York on the Spartan depth chart, he
led the nation in assists (51) and was a Hobey Baker finalist
as a senior.
Hobey finalist from that season, Steve Reinprecht (Wisconsin),
played on Horcoff’s line at the World Championship.
Other collegians who took home the gold were Anson Carter
(Michigan State, who scored the winning goal in the gold-medal
game), Mike Comrie (Michigan), Dany Heatley (Wisconsin,
who led the team in scoring) and Krys Kolanos (Boston College).
old college try: While college hockey fans may
have allegiances to particular players and teams, they shouldn’t
be too disappointed in a Minnesota-New Jersey Stanley Cup
final. If the Wild and Devils advance, the series would
feature no fewer than 13 former Division I players and at
least a pair of representatives from the CCHA, ECAC, Hockey
East and WCHA. The list: