i like 'em both
Update 6/25:Linked to articles on MI RB Jonas Gray (MSU lead, but that was before he got his Michigan offer), WA DE Kavario Middleton, OR DE Ethan Johnson, MN WR Michael Floyd, PA FB Christian Wilson (also info on Saddler, Baldwin). Youtube video of Jonathan Meyers; Daily Illini article with quotes from FL DE Cory Liuget, IL DE Glen Foster, and IL LB Steven Filer. Added OK QB Nathan Stanley, WI OL Kevin Zeitler.
Removed NC S Robert Blanton (ND), PA OL Lucas Nix (Pitt), MI TE Tyler Hoover (MSU), IL OL Graham Pocic(Ill).
Editorial Opinion: Camp came and went without any of those commitment thingies, unless you could that '09 defensive tackle. (Side note of possible interest: Michigan always, always keeps commits they get from juniors under wraps so that seniors don't get spooked by the competition. Campbell's commit likely means that Michigan is done at defensive tackle with Mike Martin. I would expect Pennsylvanian Chris Henderson to go to Pitt; Michigan may continue pursuing Nevada's Lawrence Guy, who is a defensive end if you ask certain people.)
Jim Stefani says the following players received camp offers:
QB John Weinke
RB Jonas Gray
OL Rocko Khoury
OL Kevin Zeitler
CB Marc Anthony
...and the following group are ones to keep an eye on for possible offers in the near future:
RB/LB Glenn Winston
DE Glen Foster
DE Sean Progar
LB Kenny Demens
QB Nathan Stanley
LB/RB Brandon Beachum
WR Damion Dixon
CB/WR D.J. Woods
OL Deonte Pannell
Anthony and Zeitler both seemed very excited about the prospect of Michigan; Gray still maintains that MSU is his leader and he and teammate Kenny Demens are a package deal. Demens, obviously, is still waiting on his offer. Foster is a teammate of OMG shirtless IL LB Steven Filer, FYI.
The Stefani article has a ton more content and is worth reading for anyone interesting in camp goings on; further excerpts below.
(Sidenote on the Gray thing: I expect a Barksdale-like recruitment in which everyone gets to lead for a week or two and doubt he has a real Florida offer. It seems that absolutely everyone claims a UF offer this year, far too many to be plausible. Florida is probably extending a ton of conditional offers that can only be acted on if you track down a werewolf and bathe in his blood as cheerleaders dance around you, drinking its musk out of silver chalices.)
Commits elsewhere: Nothing surprising in Blanton or Nix going elsewhere. Illinois picked up its first big commitment from Lemont OL Graham Pocic, a guy we had an offer out to, and MSU picked up TE/DE Tyler Hoover, the last guy in Michigan to get a fourth star from Rivals. This is going to sound like standard sour grapes, but I think Hoover was not a high priority for the coaches. We're going hard after Kevin Koger at TE and Hoover was at the same camp as the above-mentioned defensive ends. At Hoover's height (6'7"), many uncomfortable comparisons to Pat Massey floated through Michigan fans' heads. It's a good get for MSU, though. I think Dantonio is going to be more Saban than Bobby Williams for them.
Nasty rumors: The recruiting year we were (are?) experiencing seemed to good to be true given the widely assumed post-season Carr retirement, but there are now internet rumblings that, um, are bad. Jim Stefani:
I've heard from three separate sources that
has fallen behind Notre Dame in the Jonathan Baldwin sweepstakes. This is the first bit of REAL bad news in the recruiting front this year. The other prospects Notre Dame has beaten U-M out for this year are all solid kids, but none are the difference-maker type of prospects that Michigan Baldwinis. Wolverine fans won't be able to spin this one away should Baldwingo Irish.
The feeling that
could really make a big push when it comes to in-state recruiting. Michigan State may have waited too long to offer Jones Gray, and with teammate Kenny Demens not yet sporting a Wolverine offer, I would not be surprised to see both verbal to the Spartans sooner rather than later. The longer this thing plays out the better for Michigan . I also think Michigan Michiganhas a battle on their hands with for both Fred Smith and Nick Perry. Michigan State
Yikes. Michigan State can promise both -- hell, they can promise virtually anyone -- immediate playing time and an opportunity to meet a new head coach your senior year. And they've totally got a clock that counts down to the Michigan game. We'll see how these things pan out, but losing Perry and Smith would revive all those "can't recruit instate" stories from a year ago.
Other things: I like WA DE Kavario Middleton's final five very much: Washington, Michigan, Cal, Oregon, and Arizona State. Arizona State is probably right out, and there is no USC. I think we have a decent shot here, as he has a clear choice between staying close to home and the most successful program on his list.
Also, OR DE Ethan Johnson had previously been quoted as favoring ND and USC but spent multiple days at camp. GBW:
USC is considered a big threat to U-M for Johnson, so we asked him about USC, and he said, "I visited there this spring. It was okay."
We asked if Michigan and USC would be there in the end for him, and, smiling, he said:
"Michigan will be there until the end."
My GBW Slant Klaxons are blaring -- conventional internet wisdom holds USC a strong leader at the moment -- but attending lots of camp on your own dime shows serious interest.
Meanwhile, this Pitt Trib-Review article has notes on various players. Baldwin has definitely chosen football. Returner Cameron Saddler:
"I did have a favorite, Virginia, but it's starting to even out," he said. "Every team I put in my top 10 wants me bad.
"WVU is picking up real big. It seems like they got their mind made up of exactly what they want me to do when I get there."
Saddler and Gateway linebacker Shayne Hale originally wanted to go to college as a package deal. Since narrowing their separate lists to 10 schools, Michigan, Oregon and West Virginia are the only schools they have
Good? Bad? Dunno. H-back/LB Christian Wilson named a leader, supposedly:
"So far, probably Clemson is the one that I liked the most and then North Carolina."
Clemson is one of a few schools recruiting Wilson to play running back and linebacker. Wilson said he would like to have a final four -- two schools that want him for offense and two for defense -- before he makes a decision by the end of June.
Wilson has elsewhere debunked this claim as a miscommunication about texting. He came up for an unofficial during camp and I am mildly optimistic about him, FWIW.
Varsity Blue is reporting the departure of redshirt freshman linebacker Cobrani Mixon for greener pastures, or at least green-ish ones: a transfer to Cincinnati or Kent State. Mixon's Facebook account confirms:
For those with bifocals, the highlighted text: "Cobrani is done with michigan this is his last night eva..." This is not the world's most incontrovertible evidence, but a Mixon departure had been rumored for a few months now and Varsity Blue seems sure of itself.
Though Mixon was a moderately shirtless recruit two years ago -- a mid four-star type who spent part of the year in the Scout 100 -- as soon as he arrived there were doubts he would ever see the field. It was clear by this spring he had been passed by Grand Rapid sleeper Obi Ezeh and JUCO Austin Panter; instead of getting the Anton Campbell treatment he's decided to find somewhere he can see the field. If he chooses Cincinnati he'll join fellow Colerain-to-Michigan-to-playing-time refugee Mister Simpson and we can mourned the missed opportunity to have not one but two Biakubutuka-level awesome names all at once.
Impact on the '07 team: little. Mixon was, by all reports, not ready to see the field this year. This does serve as partial explanation for Michigan's heavy pursuit of linebackers in this class; Michigan now has 18-ish scholarships available for '08.
A couple emailers have passed this along but they didn't need to, since the Big Ten actually sent me this email they blasted out to apparently everyone from actual newspapers to two-bit bloggers:
DELANY CALLS ON COMCAST TO APOLOGIZE
STATEMENT BY BIG TEN COMMISSIONER JAMES E. DELANY
REGARDING THE CHARACTERIZATION OF BIG TEN CONTESTS AS 'SECOND AND THIRD TIER'
"Comcast recently has characterized events that will be on the Big Ten Network as 'second and third tier.' I believe Comcast owes every Big Ten university an apology. The comments are an insult to Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin: To the universities, their students, their fans and alumni and their communities. There are no second-rate contests in the Big Ten."
I... what do you do with that? Comcast has a tough-talking guy who correctly characterizes most of the sports on the Big Ten network as uncompelling, so the Big Ten throws a public hissyfit and demands an apology? Is Jim Delaney a fifteen-year-old girl? Is he having a super sweet sixteen party later? Why does he remind me of Satan confronted with his Acura cake?
Whoever decided to release this instead of burying it deep down the memory hole should be fired, re-hired, fired again, and then tracked down at his new job and fired. This is worse than the SEC email, which was only the stupidest public relations move in years. And the thing is... it gets even worse. The milquetoasty passive-aggression on display -- you won't carry our channel because you're big meanies -- was couched in the basest Save the Women sentiment according to the Daily:
Delany spent a good portion of time during the teleconference addressing a New York Times article, which came out this past Monday. In it, Delany claimed a Comcast official downplayed the importance and demand of the network.
He showed displeasure with a statement made by a Comcast official in the article, which he thought insulted the Iowa women's volleyball team. The official called the team and the type of programming it would offer as "second-tier".
Later on in the teleconference, the author of the New York Times article said that those comments were not made in his writing. Delany said he had heard them somewhere, though. [this is my favorite bit. "These comments never appeared in our newspaper" ... well I heard them! I did, I say!]
"Their comments bothered me," Delany said. "Quite honestly, I don't know how those comments go on the east coast (where Comcast is headquartered), but in the Midwest, when you are talking about a women's sports teams, you talk about them with respect."
Not only is this wantonly false -- here in the Midwest we scoff at womens sports and Title IX more than on the East Coast because it's gutting the wrestling programs of the world -- but it's a distraction from the real issues at hand. It sounds like the Big Ten knows it's going to lose so it's preemptively conjuring reasons other than "we are idiots" for the public to consume: Comcast doesn't care about women. Comcast is mean. Comcast came up with the way the Sopranos ended. Hey, we all hate Comcast. But we aren't stupid enough to blame them for everything when your brilliant scheme backfires.
Jim Delaney's breathtaking arrogance and stupidity deserve the round of mocking it will get, but the Big Ten is a great conference, one of America's great sports institutions. It deserves better than a fool who can't shut his mouth as commissioner.
PS: Tom Deinhart thinks the BTN is just brilliant. This is what we call a kiss of death.
Hey, you: you're probably wondering what's up with high school sophomores. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Check that; there is definitely something wrong with that. You are bad and should be banned from the internet for a long time. But since you're still here: Michigan picked up a commitment from instate junior William Campbell of Cass Tech at camp. Campbell is 6'5", 298, and (kind of obviously) a DT. He's Michigan's earliest public commitment ever and should be one of the headliners of what looks like a strong 2009 Michigan crop headlined by Battle Creek running back Larry Capers, who is -- wait for it -- grrrrrreat. Since Campbell is a junior defensive tackle at a PSL school this the sum total knowledge about him to date:
- He committed to Michigan.
There won't be a googlestalk here; there's nothing to stalk yet.
Meanwhile, Varsity Blue takes a look at the very early returns for that '09 class.
More NHL Draft: mgolicious @ right still has the aftermath of a mock draft orgy; all have Pacioretty in the mid-to-late first round. There's also this article from the AANews that's mostly things noted here yesterday except for this bit:
Rust, whose stock rose during his final season in Ann Arbor with the USA Hockey developmental program, had several meetings set up with teams once arriving in Columbus.
Likely to be the second Michigan player drafted - he's rated as high as the third round - Rust just wants to be taken by a team that has good intentions with him.
"I'm hoping for the best,'' Rust said. "The draft is obviously important, and it's exciting, but I know it's not the end of the world if I get drafted in, say, the seventh round instead of the third.''
Rust is supposed to be a Helminen-esque speedy defensive lockdown center, but I think that third-round projection is very optimistic. Fifth to seventh is reasonable; Helminen himself went in the eighth.
The draft's first round is tomorrow night -- primetime, baby! put it on NBC and watch the ad dollars rake in! -- with the remainder Saturday.
Wanton Comcast bashing.
(Not that I blame the tech here; I mean... comfy chair, hour on hold... I'd conk off too.)
Probably happening right now. The regents are set to give final approval to the stadium project at their meeting this afternoon. Here's a pdf of the request. Here's an irritating article from Jim Carty that lionizes John Pollack -- the Hero of Tiananmen Square -- and gets rid of the fact that yes, the renovations are required if Michigan is going to keep up with the Joneses in a couple paragraphs before discarding that to argue...
if you watched this issue from beginning to end, it's hard not to feel the folks who fought for a simpler stadium and the simpler times it represented come out looking a whole lot more honorable than school president Mary Sue Coleman and the regents who rammed this plan through with all the subtlety of South American strongmen.
Michigan fan and Ann Arbor native John Pollack, former school president James Duderstadt, Yost's grandson, Fielding H. Yost III, and the student newspaper, The Michigan Daily, rallied a small core of faculty and fans around the idea of saying no to commercialization and setting Michigan apart from the other schools chasing every last dollar.
Michigan cannot say "no" to commercialization; Michigan is already one of sport's most powerful brands. Don Canham is hailed as the first successful commercializer of college sports and remembered fondly for it.
And there's nothing honorable about throwing a public hissyfit, claiming massive division in a fanbase that, at least online, has been united in its support of the renovations. Just because tHOST is a media-savvy guy with connections from his days as a political speechwriter and can butter up the New York Times does not mean his cause has any merit. More:
Pollack will fly in from his New York home for Thursday's regents meeting, but won't be allowed to address the board. The slots for public comments were already filled when he learned the stadium issue had been put on the agenda.
That's par for the course.
The two most important votes on this project, the initial vote and now this final vote, have both been added to the agenda at essentially the last moment, seemingly in a move to stifle debate and opposition.
What purpose is served by listening to the same tired arguments about an egalitarianism that has never existed? Rather than let Pollack further waste everyone's time, let's move on. You can call it "stifling debate" if you like, but there was never really a debate. There was one loud, PR-savvy group with no grassroots support that employed disingenuous political rhetoric in an attempt to stall a project that it seems like the vast bulk of the fanbase supports. Three guys with impressive names and a website do not a movement make, and when you are persistently, uselessly annoying you shouldn't expect perpetual fruitless audiences. Not once in this process did Pollack attempt to measure the sentiment of the fanbase, or if he did the results he got back were disconcerting and quickly buried; "but but but Fielding Yost" is not an argument that sways anyone with decision-making powers, no matter how many newspapers it appears in.
Pollack mutters darkly about cards yet to be played -- ADA legislation -- and he'll attempt to stretch this out as long as possible despite the complete and total lack of non-manufactured public outcry. He lost in the battle of public opinion, so now he takes his quixotic crusade to the courts, because in the end he doesn't care what anyone wants for Michigan except himself. My suggestion: go stand in front of a tank.
Also: Steven Ross has dumped five million into the project already.
Mash note. Maloney from the News:
"I love Michigan," Maloney said. "I'm a Michigan man and they gave me the commitment I was looking for. I never wanted to leave Michigan, but I had to look at the opportunity to take care of my family."
Maloney has been head coach of the Wolverines for five years. They have averaged 42 wins the last three seasons, earning NCAA Tournament spots each time.
"I've only had a handshake, year-to-year deal with them," said Maloney of the previous five years. "I wanted more. I met with administrators from Tennessee in Atlanta Sunday and was impressed with them. They never formally offered me a contract, but I felt one was forthcoming. The marketplace down South is much greater, but the commitment (money) Michigan showed me is much better than it had been."
A touching letter from star P/DH Zach Putnam was of great help:
He said an e-mail from star pitcher Zach Putman closed the deal. Maloney was overcome with emotion from the e-mail by Putnam, a second-team All-American who will return for his junior year next season.
"Zach wrote an incredible e-mail," said Maloney of Putnam who threw 9 2/3 innings of no-hit
ball before losing 1-0 to defending national champion Oregon State in the Super Regional. "It was priceless for me. He said, 'I turned down other offers to come to Michigan and play for you. I understand if you leave, but I love you Coach. We have unfinished business to take care of so we can get to Omaha.' It was an amazing moment for a coach to read something like that."
A sigh of relief here; Michigan can now continue building its program without a potentially devastating blow. Is it arrogant to say "kudos to Bill Martin" like he cares? Eh, whatever: kudos to Bill Martin for locking down a guy who has the potential to be the progenitor of another flagship program at Michigan. Martin has made a couple bad hires, but by bringing in Beilein and keeping Maloney he's increased this guy's faith in a positive outcome after a Carr retirement tenfold.
Etc.: Best headline ever.
Late on this, but toll the bells and such:
Tonight, Michigan athletic director Bill Martin announced that Michigan baseball coach Rich Maloney has been signed to a five-year contract, ending speculation that the Michigan coach was a candidate for the head coaching job at Tennessee.
Putnam ... used "ecstatic", "delighted" and "awesome" to describe his and the team's feelings that Maloney will still be at the helm, a predictable response for a team that finished the season two wins from going to their first College World Series in 23 years.
This not good. Baseball coach Rich Maloney has been interviewed for the Tennessee job and is reportedly considering it. This is not good. For those unfamiliar with college baseball, it was controversial when only five SEC teams made the tournament this year. Meanwhile, the three the Big Ten sent (and the Vanderbilt upset) was an improbably excellent year for the Big Ten. This is sort of like hiring John L. Smith away from a then Conference USA Louisville to coach at a midlevel Big Ten program. Except Maloney is not likely to implode like John L (not that anyone outside of Charles Mason is likely to do so).
The Daily has the most useful article on the potential departure since they caught up to star pitcher/DH Zach Putnam for some quotes. Most relevant:
"For me, personally, Coach Maloney was a large part of why I decided to come here," Putnam said. "Part of it had to do with being from Ann Arbor, but I'd say that the deciding factor was definitely Coach. I know some of the recruits, but not on a personal level, so it's hard for me to say what it was that attracted them to Michigan - but I would think that the head coach leaving would definitely leave some questions on their minds."
Money probably isn't a major issue. The Daily article...
The Volunteers fired head coach Rod Delmonico after 18 years, three College World Series appearances and a 699-396 record. He will be paid the final three years of his salary for a total of $430,000. This could mean that Maloney, who earns $98,000 per year at Michigan, could see a significant pay increase if he decides to go to Tennessee.
...thinks otherwise, but Maloney is due a significant bump after leading Michigan to its most successful season since Barry Larkin was stroking line drives instead of playing Marcelo Balboa in the booth. $136,000 / 3 years - meaningful bump for successful season == piddling chump change for athletic department w/ multi-million dollar surplus this year.
What it will come down to is the AD's commitment to make Michigan the sort of program that can seriously threaten for Omaha and national championships. The eleven million dollar renovation of the Fish is a good sign; the failure to bid on a super-regional is not.
Regrettably sports-talk-radio-ish soapbox: it's imperative that Martin does what he needs to do to keep Maloney around. College baseball is on the upswing. Major league teams now prefer their kids to have three years of college seasoning. ESPN is now broadcasting the super-regionals and pushing the CWS as a major programming event in the otherwise dead days of late June. A uniform start date, newly implemented for next year, will help level the playing field a bit for northern teams. The Big Ten has become downright mildly respectable in recent years. There is a real opportunity for Michigan to add a fourth major program to football, hockey, and, uh, basketball, but not if they let a potential Bo/Berenson walk. This is a Texas A&M moment for the baseball program; Bill Martin, step forth into the breach and commit. This is not a guy you let go.
Two years ago I only vaguely knew of the baseball program's existence. A week ago I was crushed when a guy named Wong broke up a no-hitter in the bottom of the ninth. (mutter mutter stupid Wong.) When I can watch a baseball game and think to myself "this stabbing pain in my temple reminds me of football... I need a drink" this is progress. Continue progressing.
16. RW Max Pacioretty, 6-2 205 11-20-1988, Sioux City USHL, 52 gp â€“ 19 g â€“ 36 a â€“ 55 points.
++ Vision and play making
+ Size, top gear, work ethic, hands
- questionable finishing ability.
The best forward available for the 2007 draft out of the USHL and deserves a selection in the first round for his intriguing blend of size, speed, and play making ability . He owns a power forwards body at 6-2 205 with long limbs and strong lower and upper body strength. He's sturdy on his feet and shows good footwork to fend off checks as well as impressive leg strength. Displays decent agility with good stops and starts. His first step is a bit awkward but once he gains momentum he has a commanding stride as he can really fly with a superb top gear. Pacioretty's hands are soft with some impressive quick moves. He's strong on his stick and covers the puck well with his big frame. He's blessed with exceptional vision and impressive creativity as he emerges as a gifted play maker. Max can thread the needle with a crisp pass through a small lane and displays good touch as he can execute a nifty saucer pass in limited space. He owns a quick shot with good velocity and a quick release, although accuracy still needs to be upgraded as he gets his shots on net but doesn't pick corners. He does a good job stopping at the net for rebounds and is a useful big body in front to create traffic in front of the goaltender. He began to use his size more away from the puck late in the season. He tracks the puck well as he anticipates the play well and maintains good positioning at both ends of the ice. Pacioretty back checks adequately and marks his man well as he's a decent two way player. Can get feisty at times but isn't a power forward. Will attend the University of Michigan next fall.
Next is USHL sniper Aaron Palushaj:
47. RW Aaron Palushaj, 6-0 185, 9-7-1989, Des Moines USHL 56 gp â€“ 22 g â€“ 45 a â€“ 67 points.
++ Ability to finish or create near the net in heavy traffic
+ Long reach with soft hands and can stick handle through traffic.
- Skating, inconsistent effort, poor defensive play.
Palushaj is a team player who communicates positively with coaches and teammates that will do the dirty work for his linemates and displays good body language on the bench. His skating needs improvement as his first few strides lack power and appear sluggish and his turns can be sloppy but with his superb anticipation and economical approach he gets where he needs to and can slip around the opposition. Is as dangerous as they come from within 15-feet of the net. He has a long reach, is a patient puckhandler with soft, quick hands that can really dangle and can make something out of nothing in heavy traffic using the toe drag to slip off the opposition. Scores many goals with his willingness to get his nose dirty. Has a knack for pouncing on loose rebounds using his quick release to finish and displays hunger, bears down and finishes his chances. He can also make a deft pass through heavy traffic and can draw the opposition and execute a creative pass with defenders draped all over him. Aaron shields the puck well and can maintain possession allowing his teammates to get open. Ever improving defensively, it just has not come full circle yet as he needs to backcheck harder and leaves the defensive zone too early but picks up his man well and will come down low to help. Palushaj pursues the puck adequately, clogs passing lanes, and maintains proper positioning. He handles traffic well and is very effective battling along the board. He fits the mold of a real offensive threat if he fixes his skating concerns. Palushaj had a phenomenal playoff in which he displayed that he can elevate his game in the critical moments and that there is more upside to him. Aaron will play for Michigan next fall.
You probably won't believe who's next. No, seriously.
74. D Steven Kampfer, 5-11 200, 9-24-1989, Mich
igan NCAA 35 gp â€“ 1 g â€“ 3 a â€“ 4 points.
++ Poise, vision, hockey sense
- Does nothing special.
Plays a mature two-way game that goes unnoticed by the untrained eye but he's the type of reliable defenseman that the more you see of him the more you like. He's mobile with exceptional lateral mobility and a strong stride heading forward. He sees the ice well and distributes the puck crisply. Possesses underrated skill that shines through every so often, and it is something that should be on display more next season with increased ice time. His defensive positioning is impressive and he can skate with anyone making him a formidable one-on-one defender. He's not a big guy, but is sturdy on his feet and can land the odd nice open-ice body check. Steven is a smart player with superb two-way awareness. While he's not a first-round prospect he definitely deserves to be drafted before the mid-rounds.
...really? I've watched a lot of kids wander through the Michigan program and the ones who stood out as potential NHLers didn't spend half their freshman year on the bench because they were turnover machines. Last, a guy who many thought would end up rated much, much higher:
97. D Tristin Llewellyn, 6-1 195, 5-2-1989, Tri-City USHL
++ Physical defensive game, confidence
+ Character, untapped upside
- Decision making without the puck.
At one point Tristin was a phenom in the American Hockey system as a possible top 5 pick in this years draft as he was playing in the USHL at the age of 15. Playing against players up to five years older then himself stunted Tritin's development and now he's a mid to late round pick. He likes to stand up his man at the blue and for the most part does an effective job but he does caught flat footed every now and then, as he can be beaten to the outside. He usually maintains a tight gap and takes the proper angle to his man before standing him up with a nice body check. Can get too aggressive seeking the open ice hit but that presence he brings is a plus. Skating is in need of improvement as he lacks that initial burst forwards or backwards and his turns are a bit choppy although his feet are adequate. His composure with the puck has improved and he makes a strong first pass. He makes good decisions with the puck for the most part but his decision making without the puck is the question mark. He uses a long stick and has adequate hands and escape moves. He was sensing danger better by the end of the season. He possesses a heavy shot but he must improve his shot selection as he'll force shots into traffic.
As noted on the sidebar, Pacioretty went in the first round of both TSN and Redline mock drafts. Yost Built found this gem of a quote in an NHL.com article on "Patches" (I am leery of calling a power forward by a nickname more suited for a one-eyed teddy bear):
...models his game after his favorite player New York Rangers' forward Jed Ortmeyer "because he does all the little things right in both ends of the ice"...
I love the guy already. If the Kings take him and sign him I will collapse in a sobbing heap before planning my terrible revenge. (There is also this Hockey's Future article.)
Side note: nine of TSN's first round are college or college-bound; at least nine of Redline's are, and this is with the unfortunate defections of Sam Gagner and Patrick Kane (ack) to the OHL. Actually, this first round is one of recruiting pain, largely. There's Kane, who many people considered a very good bet for Michigan, and defenders Kevin Shattenkirk, Ian Cole, Nick Petrecki, and Brendan Smith, any of whom would look awesome next to Quick and Llewellyn. It would be reassuring to have some more high-end talent in a year of major transition on the blueline.
BCHL center Ben Winnett is also likely to go fairly early. HF rated him the fourth-best prospect in his league recently:
4. Ben Winnett, LW
2006/07 Team: Salmon Arm
2007/08 Team: University of Michigan
6'0, 173 lbs.
DOB: 4/3/89 Shoots: Right
NHL Central Scouting final ranking: 90th among North American skaters
Winnett went into this season in many books as the No. 2 prospect behind Turris, but injuries and surprising performances but other players in the league likely moved him back a few spots. Winnett appeared in just 39 regular season games, but put up very strong numbers including 27 goals and 30 assists in that time. He also added 10 points in 11 playoff games.
The 6'1, 180 lbs winger uses his speed to create chances and beat opposing defenders to the outside. He is an effective attacking player with the ability to control the puck at top speed. At this point his defensive game is very limited and he will need to get a little bigger throughout his collegiate career.
Winnett has committed to the University of Michigan after spending two years with Salmon Arm. Winnett is expected to be a fourth or fifth-round pick. He is a higher risk prospect because it is unlikely that he will effectively convert to a role player in the professional ranks. Winnett is an offensive player who could develop
into a second liner scorer, but it will take a number of years.
FWIW, on the multifarious and neverending mock drafts that go on at HF's boards Winnett is consistently going at the end of the third or beginning of the fourth. The thread that article spawned also had a couple interesting posts:
When the Silverbacks came to Langley, I was much more impressed with Winnett than Nash, but that's just a personal opinion. I thought Winnett was a bit more assertive on the puck and had a lot of tenacity in his game.
"Nash" is Cornell recruit Riley, a guy who is projected at the top of the second. In response:
Winnett is definitely the more impressive looking guy on the ice (compared to Nash). But my understanding is that teams absolutely love the well-roundedness and simplicity of what Nash does on his ice. He's been described as simply being years ahead of most players his age in that regard.
From all accounts, Winnett projects better as a college player than he does a pro. It may be a little much to compare him to Hensick, who lasted until the third round his draft year, but he slots into that draft sweet spot where kids are talented but teams are content to let them develop for three or four years.
St. Michael's Buzzer Louie Caporusso will also go somewhere in the middle to late rounds. "Ferjo" on HF posts in any threads that mention the OPJHL and had this to offer:
I'd take Louie Caporusso late second, or early third, but he will probably be a sixth or seventh round pick. he's a bit like Mike Comrie.
He's only about 5'10, and while a very good skater, could be a bit quicker for someone of that size. built well, great hands, and a rocket of a shot. Good penalty killer, forechecks, backchecks, and great on the powerplay. had trouble earlier in his career at entering the "danger zones", but he seems more willing to take a beating now. the fact that he's heading to Michigan should be a plus as well.
A bit like Mike Comrie? I'll take three. He also provided this on Caporusso in a previous post:
14. Louie Caporusso, St Mikes Buzzers (Jr. A) 150 - 200
5'9, though very strong and
a great shot. also attractive because he is heading to Michigan. an unbelievable release, hes almost unstoppable in the offensive zone. Probably has better skills than Ex-Buzzer Andrew Cogliano, though comes nowhere close to matching his skating ability.
NTDP center Matt Rust, meanwhile, has a chance of going late.