Monday, November 26, 2007

ECAC Class of 2008 Rankings (so far)

Stealing a thread title from my peer over at Big Red Puckhead, I thought I would take a shot at ranking the various Classes of 2008 as they now stand. I considered the following criteria in my rankings - Size of Class, # of Impact players, NHL Draft Picks, NHL Pre-Draft Ratings, Chris Heisenberg's rankings, and finally, who else was competing for the player (ie if Minnesota was going after someone vs Holy Cross). The rankings follow:

1) Harvard (6 Players, 3 Impact, 3 NHL Bs)

This may seem like the ultimate homer pick, but in all honesty, this was not that close. Harvard has all the pickings of what looks to be a truly elite class - a 3rd round draft pick (Killorn - who should be ECAC Rookie of the Year), a shut-down goalie (Hoyle), a highly touted defenseman (Grimshaw). Mix in guys like Kroshus (seems to be having a down year), Colin Moore (NHL "B" rating), and a guy like Sam Bozoian (lighting up the NAHL) and you have to wonder if this is circa 1980s for Harvard.

2) RPI (7 Players, 2 Impact, 1 NHL B, 1 NHL C)

If nothing else, this class tells you that Seth Appert has arrived. Last year, he was able to deliver Polacek and Brutlag from Minnesota, but had to do so by bringing them early, perhaps somewhat prematurely. However, this class just about guarantees that RPI is on the upswing. Allen York out of Camrose is the biggest get, but Bergin and Morissette should make some noise as well. I am not sold on Cullen yet as he is showing some growing pains in the USHL.

Fairly Significant Drop

3) Yale (8 Players, 1 Impact, 1 NHL B)

Yale has the biggest class which is the cornerstone of this ranking. The class is highlighted by Nick Maricic (Goalie at the USNDT) and Coach Allain's own goaltending background seems to be paying healthy dividends. Not sure if Mike Richter is helping out as well, and if so, what goalie wouldn't sign up for that? No other big-time wins, but Yale is bringing in a lot of folks from the USHL who are older (1988s).

4) Cornell (7 Players, 1 Impact, 1 NHL C)

Cornell's biggest win is goalie Mike Garman out of the BCHL who should be able to compete for a starting spot right away (He is old - 1987). However, expectations have to be somewhat tempered after a disappointing season thus far for Garman. Other than Garman, Keir Ross seems ready to become another physical and solid, stay-at-home Big Red defenseman. Chris Moulson could be a sleeper, but Cornellians should not expect Chris to play at the same level as his brother, Matt. The rest of the class seems to be a lot of role players. I'd like to see Cornell bring some more skill and defenseman who can move the puck as more and more teams (BU at MSG) are going to exploit this weakness.

5) Dartmouth (4 Players, 1 Impact, 1 NHL C)

Not a great class for Dartmouth, but folks in Hanover should be very excited about Troy Matilla. Paul Lee also appears to have significant upside, but other than these two, a very ordinary class for the Big Green.

6) Quinnipiac (5 Players, 1 Impact, 1 NHL C)

Quinnipiac landed two solid recruiting class in both 2006 and 2007. This class does not appear to be in the same league as those prior. David Arudin and Joey Manley are two guys out of the BCHL who can put the puck in the net.

7) Clarkson (5 Players, 1 Impact)

To be truthful, Clarkson's class is somewhat of an enigma. There isn't a lot of information out there on the incomers, but 4 new Ontario bodies coupled with a 6'4'' forward who is "still filling out" has me thinking that this class could be higher. Louke Oakley looks to be a very good playmaker.

8) Brown (6 Players, 1 Impact)

Kevin Koopman (already drafted) looks to be a very solid and physical stay-at-home defenseman for the Bears. Unfortunately, Brown's scoring issues were not addressed by this class. A lot of 3rd and 4th line guys.

9) Colgate (2 Players, 1 Impact)

It's hard to put a class of this few players ahead of others with considerably more depth, but like last year, Colgate's focused efforts appear to be paying of. I think Austin Smith should be the 2nd best incoming forward after Alex Killorn. He is fast with great skills and a nose for the net. The other player is Prockow who should be an above average player for Colgate.

10) St. Lawrence (2 Players, 1 Impact)

A surprisingly sparse class for SLU who in my opinion, should have leveraged last year's success a little better on the recruiting front. The highlight here of course is Augie DiMarzo. He was Union's 2nd leading scorer as a freshman and there is no question he can and will produce. Character issues aside, he should step in and have an immediate impact up in Canton.

11) Princeton (4 Players)

This is a down year for Princeton as no one jumps out of you. Brodie Zuk has put up some stats in the BCHL, but he is a 1987, and I wonder if he is exploiting the age discrepancy. Princeton seems to have taken a step back in this year's recruiting.

12) Union (4 Players)

Recruiting like this make you realize the tough position that Union is in. It doesn't have the academic pedigree of an Ivy, it can't give scholarships like RPI, and it doesn't have the hockey pedigree as a Clarkson. It is the ultimate "tweener" school. This class isn't going to get Union out of the ECAC doormat.

This is clearly a work in progress. Should anyone have any additional insights, questions, etc, please email me.


Anonymous said...

Of course Union gives scholarships -- *every* school in *every* league gives scholarships. Please don't perpetuate misconceptions like this.

Anonymous said...

Good job, keep us updated on any new updates

Anonymous said...

Two of Clarkson's incoming forwards played for Canada East in the World Jr A Championships.....and neither is the player you listed at 6'4" and growing, that would be current Knight David Cayer's younger brother, he is rumored to have more skill than his brother.

Anonymous said...

Although Bryan Brutlag and Chase Polacek are young for hockey Freshmen, and other schools wanted them to delay a year, they are certainly not out of place. Last I looked, Polacek was tied for the ECAC lead in Freshman scoring with fellow RPI Freshman Tyler Helfrich.

I agree that Patrick Cullen has been having his difficulties in adjusting to the USHL from the AtlJHL, and I agree with your ranking of next year's RPI class at this point.

redhair34 said...

Nice blog...I think Garman might be suffering a bit of a hangover after his great playoff run culminating in a BCHL championship last season. I wouldn't read too much into his struggles.

Anonymous said...

From St. Louis and followed Sam Bozian this season. I agree he will be a BIG addition for Harvard. I also see that Sam's teammate ...Josh Rabbani from St. Louis Bandits going to RPI. He will make an immediate impact. Enjoyed watching Josh all year, he sees the ice really well and knows how to use his linemate. goal scorer.

puck swami said...

I wouldn't put a ton of stock in whether a player is drafted or not as determing factor in college recruiting class impact.

The NHL is drafting what they think a player will be relative to his same age peers some 4-6 years from draft day, and theses are often bigger players who are still growing into their adult bodies. College recruiters do not have six years to wait for production, and most colleges look for the players that will contribute as soon as possible, some drafted, some not.

In other words, lots of NHL drafted players have minimal impact on college hockey, and lot's of undrafted players have bigger impact...