Hello, eh: Alex Guptill and Derek Deblois

Submitted by Brian on February 25th, 2009 at 1:28 PM

From Yost Built and Alnike at the Wolverine's message board comes word of not one but two commits for the hockey team. Both are forwards who will probably be a part of the 2010 class but could be put off to 2011 if Michigan doesn't experience the usual spate of NHL defections, which yeah right.

The first is Alex Guptill, a 6'2" forward from Ontario. Guptill was a sixth-round OHL draft pick but his stock may have been depressed by uncertainty over his signability. Also, kid was apparently rail thin. Brampton's scouting director on Guptill:

“He’s tall and lean but he can really skate. He has very good puck skills. We think he can be a goal scorer, but he needs to fill out. He really needs a year at the junior A or midget level and he needs to add upper-body strength. He needs to mature physically before he can step in and compete for a spot.”

His year at junior A has been impressive: 30-34-64 in 49 games, and the league's rookie of the year award. He was his team's top scorer despite playing with kids up to four years older than him*. He drew a mention from Guy Flaming over at Hockey's Future as a guy on the "beyond tomorrow" radar:

Alex Guptill (2010) of the OJHL Brampton Capitals has been on a tear since the 6’2, 165-pound rookie forward joined the team last Fall. In 47 games, the Newmarket, Ontario native has posted 60 points (28 goals, 32 assists), including 17 points in nine January Junior “A”games.

No indication if he's on anyone's radar for the 2010 draft but this appears to be a guy with scoring line potential.

Guptill's local paper has a commit article in which he politely turns down the OHL, citing education; there are also some interesting quotes from Mel Pearson on the realities of college hockey recruiting.

*(His two linemates were actually scoring at a slightly higher rate than he was until they were traded 3/4ths of the way through the season. But those guys are 20, not 16.)

The other commit is forward Derek Deblois from Hotchkiss Prep, the former home of freshman grinder Luke Glendening and current home of defenseman commit Mac Bennett. Deblois was interviewed by McKeen's early this month, wherein he was described as Hotchkiss' "go-to guy". Deblois on his game:

McKeen's: Describe the type of game you play. What are your strengths? Weaknesses?

Deblois: I play an aggressive game and like to make plays. I think my strengths are seeing the ice and setting up plays. I need to get bigger, faster, stronger, so I guess you could say my jump.

McKeen's: What would you say is the most underrated facet to your game?

Deblois: I would say breaking the puck out. People don't really understand how hard it is to pick a puck off the boards flat footed with a defensemen pinching. I think I do it pretty well.

McKeen's: Which NHL player do you model your game after and why?

Deblois: I would like to say someone like Joe Thornton. He loves playing behind the net and makes great passes. I think I see the ice well.

Stats, size, and Michigan's main competitor:

Deblois, who is 5'11'', 180 pounds, leads Hotchkiss in scoring with 10 goals, 21 assists and 31 points heading into Wednesday's game against Salisbury.

Deblois, who turned 18 last Thursday, reportedly chose Michigan, which plays in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, over Boston University.

He's currently ranked #69 by Central Scouting, which corresponds to a fourth- or fifth-round pick. Deblois kind of an oddity in that he's good enough to get drafted by the NHL but won't arrive on campus for at least a year after he hears a pro team call his name. Usually kids who enter college hockey at 19 or 20 are guys who needed some extra seasoning before they got to the NCAA; the only kid in recent memory to be drafted by the NHL, play a year of junior, and then arrive at Michigan was Kevin Quick.

Given the age of the two prospects here, Deblois is the more likely to be moved into the 2010 class.

A note on an existing recruit. Michigan Hockey Net points out that the leading scorer on the USA U18 team is none other than Michigan recruit AJ Treais. Treais is one of those skilled tiny guys a la Cammalleri and Comrie and Hensick, but prior to this year he was believed to be a step or two below those guys, who range from solid NHLers to fringe All Stars. Leading the U18 in scoring is an encouraging indicator.


Yinka Double Dare

February 25th, 2009 at 1:47 PM ^

Holy crap you aren't lying about thin -- 165 pounds at 6'2"? Only guys I ever see that skinny are those hipster doofuses on their fixie bikes with their skinny jeans and ironic facial hair.


February 25th, 2009 at 2:46 PM ^

As soon as I read that, I couldn't help but think of that lyric from "Baby Got Back" - "36-24-36? Ha ha, only if she's 5'3". Completely unrelated to the issue at hand, but that's where my head's at right now.

But seriously, if he can put up 64 pts with that build, he's going to be a beast when he has some more muscle on him.


February 25th, 2009 at 3:28 PM ^

Quick played in the USHL his senior year of high school. The reason he was already drafted is that he repeated his 10th grade year at prep school--not entirely uncommon for kids moving to a prep--which made him an older high school senior.

It's similar to Mac Bennett. He'll get drafted this summer, but still has to go through his senior year of high school next year.