Hockey: Another news roundup
Interesting hockey stuff is coming with great frequency these days. May it last all summer... er, as long as it doesn't include stuff like "Tambellini signs with LA. (You bastards!)"
There's an interesting thread on hockeysfuture.com discussing incoming recruit Andrew Cogliano. HF's boards are an interesting mix of idiotic Canadian 13-year-olds and people who really know what they're talking about, and you can see the difference in that thread. Two people chime in on Cogliano who know quite a bit about hockey.
Canadian hockey journalist extraordinare Bob McKenzie's take:
...I watched him play about 60 plus games this year and let me assure you it is my opinion that there isn't a scared bone in his body (very, very competitive when it matters most) and he regularly pays the price to score goals or to set them up. As with all offensive players, his defensive game needs some work, but I would not say it's a really weak part of his game at all. IMO, the only knock he's going to get is his size, but a lot of scouts I've talked to about him aren't all that concerned for two reasons. One, world class speed. Two, very, very strong, both in terms of strength on his skates and strength (core stability) in fending off hits and playing in traffic. Lots to learn, but he's a great kid from a great family and the upside on this kid is tremendous. If there's a draft, I'll be shocked if he's not a solid first rounder in spite of his height. Dynamic speed, good goal-scoring ability, great playmaking ability, fearless, competitive and a character player, IMHO.
Now, it should be stated that McKenzie is not a disinterested observer here. His son Mike plays on the Buzzers with Cogliano (he's heading to St. Lawrence in '06), so he probably knows Cogliano quite well.
Second is a guy known only as "moosefan." I've been reading HF's boards for years and it's clear that he is a scout of some sort, probably for a junior team. He attends all the important events for kids in Cogliano's age range. He's seen him... a lot. His take:
I have seen Cogliano play many times, I really like him myself. IMO he is possibly up there with Brule, Ryan for overall talent. He and Bertram are the two fastest in the draft, and I would put Coglianos goal scoring ability up there with Brules. I think Cogliano is one of those players that if he goes around 15th to 25th overall in about 4 years teams are going to look back and say "why wasn't he drafted in the top 10 of the draft"
I think myself he would have been better off playing in in the USHL. But he can't change that now so...but this guy proved himself at the U17s last year in NFLD and at the U18s in the summer as one of the best offensive talents that Canada has for his age group...so really I don't think there is going to be much to worry about with him. The only concern I had with him and I don't know if he fixed it or not was his emotions on the ice...I found when I seen him play that he would sulk alot to the ref and try to get his way on the ice, and I found he would overract sometimes over nothing...he may have fixed this I don't know. But I do know that it was said he is scared...well to me I never seen that as he was in traffic and everything so I wouldn't worry about that.
But to me this guy is going to be a world class talent.
That should get you *very* excited to see this kid in a Michigan jersey. He was regarded as a top-10 pick when he committed to Michigan a year or so ago and he has that talent. Concerns about the level of competition he's facing and his size may knock him down to the late first round, but Cogliano will be coming in with more talent than anyone since Brendan Morrison.
Also, the NHL is going to try to bump back their draft age by about nine months so according to, uh, that Bob McKenzie guy. Right now anyone born before September 15th of the appropriate year is draft-eligible, which is extremely confusing to a lot of people. The NHL would like everyone born in a particular year to be draft eligible the same year, and they aren't keen on having 17-year-olds in the draft, so back it goes.
This should be a net benefit for colleges, as most players will now have the opportunity to prove themselves in their freshman year of college before being drafted. This should reduce pressure on players to take the pro-now CHL route. The USHL's emergence is also helping in this regard, as obliquely referred to by moosefan in the above cut and paste. They've moved to "Tier 1," which basically means they're spending more money, and that coupled with the collapse of the NAHL has really improved the level of play in the USHL. The hockey community is picking up on it, too. The USHL is clearly a notch above other junior leagues like the BCHL, AJHL, OPJHL, and NAHL and is attracting a fair share of top-notch talent. If the USHL continues to improve another incentive to head to the CHL--the ability to play high quality hockey at age 16--will evaporate and more high-end kids will find the NCAA route attractive.
Finally, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle has an extensive article on goalie recruit Billy Sauer with good news and bad news wrapped up in one little factoid: four colleges were recruting Sauer for '05, Harvard, BC, BU, and Michigan. That's a hell of a list of colleges pressing you to enter school early, which speaks well to Sauer's talent. It also implies that if Montoya returns and Sauer is asked to defer his enrollment a year that he'll have at least three sets of coaches in his ear about pulling a Lerg. Will he? Eh... probably not. And Michigan sounds like it has another excellent goalie coming in in Steve Jakiel, so losing him would not be a disaster, but it would certainly be a blow.