Michigan Hockey: Incoming Recruits

Submitted by Sac Fly on March 25th, 2012 at 2:55 PM

Michigan Hockey: 2012 Recuits



Name Position Current Team Height Weight Shoots
Boo Nieves Right Wing Indiana Ice 6'3 185 Left

Our top forward prospect in the 2012 class is Cristoval "Boo" Nieves and he is a guy to get excited about.

If we were going by a star system for recruiting, which hockey does not use, he would be a borderline 5* prospect. Scouts love his balance of size, speed and playmaking ability enough to call him Top-30 prospect in the upcoming NHL entry draft. The only knock against him was his decision to play his senior year at Kent Prep instead of at a higher level, although he will be joining the Indiana Ice as his high school season has concluded.

He has the ability to make an impact right away for Michigan no matter which line he plays on. Whether it is taking the spot vacated by Luke Glendening or on a lower line, he will be able to provide scoring that was not there. It's just a matter of how fast he adjusts to the speed and talent at this level that decides how much of an impact he has.


Name Current Team Height Weight
Daniel Milne St. Mike's Buzzers 5'11 175

Daniel comes into the 2012 season as quite an unknown, as you can see the chart is much smaller for him because I could not find any specifics out about him.

One thing is certian though, this kid can play. He played Junior A hockey for the powerhouse St. Michael Buzzers finishing with a 16-31-47 line. The Owen Sound Attack thought highly enough of him to trade up and take him in the third round of the OHL draft, despite him only being 17 years old.

Because of my inability to find film or relevant information regarding position, I can not say what role he will have in the 2013 season. I do feel like he can be a huge sleeper like Phil Di Giuseppe was for us last season, and like I said with Nieves any scoring done on the fourth line is an improvement for Michigan.


Name Position Current Team Height Weight Shoots
Justin Selman Right Wing Souix Falls 6'1 187 Left

Our third forward recruit in the 2012 class comes to us from Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.  Not a huge prospect in terms of the scouts buzz, but he is listed as a prospect who can sneak into the draft in the late rounds.

As a player who is known more for his physical play,  Justin will most likely start on the 4th line and work his way up. He is the perfect candidate for the Vaughn/Lebler breakout player of the year down the road, as a big bodied forward who plays on the checking line until having a 20-30 point senior season.



Name Position Current Team Height Weight Shoots
Jacob Trouba Defense NTDP/USA U20 6'2 194 Right

All Hail the gem of our recruting class. He started his season with the NTDP before moving up to the U20 team.

Jacob Trouba is expected to be drafted very early in the upcoming NHL entry draft. Just from looking around at various mock drafts he looks to fit in around the 8-11 range, which means nothing because it is an internet mock draft but still gives us an idea what kind of player we have. 

As of this point we do not know the role Jacob will play for the Wolverines yet, that is because we do not know the status of Jon Merrill and Lee Moffie. If they stay the pairs could look like this; Merrill-Moffie, Bennett-Trouba, Clare-Serville, with Chiasson and Carrick picking up extra minutes at the end. If they do not stay Trouba becomes a necessity and is first pair the second he gets on the ice.

Either way most people have him as a one-and-done prospect and I don't see anything that would challenge that statement. He has great offensive ability, great speed and is a physical player with outstanding vision.

He will be our highest drafted defensmen since Jack Johnson and it was a miracle we got him for a second season, so much that Carolina traded him because he wouldn't come up. That was a very uncommon situation so don't expect it to happen again.

Name Positon Current Team Height Weight Shoots
Connor Carrick Defense NTDP 5'10 183 Right

Here is another player Wolverines fans should get excited about, because he is about as underrated as you can be. Carrick is a shutdown defenseman who is praised for his hockey I.Q. He will be drafted, but it remains to be seen where.

A smart blueliner with great puck skills and good size, Connor will anchor the Wolverines defense in the future. With a large group of D-Men coming back this season he will have to earn his playing time, which I think he can do. Look for him to get minutes on the third pair to start out, before working his way up later in his career. 


Name Position Current Team Height Weight Stick
Jared Rutledge Goalie NTDP 5'11 170 Right

Jared comes into the 2012 season as the presumed starter. He is a very good goalie but scouts looked at him as a developmental prospect, not a goalie you want to throw into the fire from day 1.

With that being said Josh Blackburn is an excellent coach who developed Sauer, Hogan and Hunwick, so if anybody can get Jared playing at a high level fast it's Josh. It doesn't hurt that he could have one of the deepest bluelines in the NCAA next year in front of him.

Expect a battle for the top spot between Jared, Janny, Dwyer, and newest goalie Steven Racine.


Name Position Current Team Height Weight Stick
Steven Racine Goalie Georgetown Raiders 6'0 180 Right

Steven is the darkhorse in the Great Goalie Competition of 2012. After a few rough seasons in the USHL he really hit his stride playing for Georgetown (OJHL), going 15-0 last year and posting a GAA of 1.66 and a SV% .938. He is a little older than Rutledge coming in at 21.

It's no secret Red loves big goalies and Racine fits the mold. I really believe he is going to make a big push for the starting spot, If not we have a good solid netminder to build around for future teams.




March 25th, 2012 at 3:30 PM ^

I've been curious why there doesn't seem to be a grading system for NHL prospects. It would be tough to guage where the players stacked up for college teams (since a ton go to the OHL, juniors or smaller pro teams [plus the 99's go straight to the NHL]), but it would be a start at least.

I know the projections are out there, but those can be skewed by team need and all the other reason teams draft who they do, when they do.


March 25th, 2012 at 4:57 PM ^

Awesome job. I really needed this after this weekend. Couple of comments...

1) Just based on his picture, I think you can list Milne as a left handed shooter.

2) I also don't consider a 6'0 goalie as tall. Maybe in NCAA terms it is (especially compared to Hunwick) but anything undr 6'3 seems undersized to me.

3) One of the mock drafts I saw had Nieves going in the end of the first round (26 overall) which would mean two first round picks which IIRC would be a record for Michigan, right?

4) Is there any chance that Trouba doesn't come to Michigan this fall? Is there a chance he goes OHL or AHL (even NHL) because the team that takes him tells him to?

5) I'm really, really hoping the opposite happens and Trouba falls to a team that is loaded at defenders (Phoenix?) but takes his value over need and tells him to stay at Michigan an extra year.

6) If you had to handicap the goalie race at this very early time and place who would you say is the favorite for the job?



March 25th, 2012 at 5:11 PM ^

In 2005, both Jack Johnson and Andrew Cogliano were first rounders.

When Trouba committed, I remember seeing something about him having waited so long because he wanted to be sure that the NCAA was the way to go.  I suppose that the AHL could still be an option, but I don't think that the OHL is.


March 25th, 2012 at 5:07 PM ^

Michigan struggled to score goals at times, like before the Guptill-Wohlberg-Brown line was formed, then after it was together for a month of two the scoring dried up again and Michigan REALLY struggled on the power play this season.  I know it's hard to say precisely, because you never know how the current players are going to develop, what the freshman are going to do, who's going to stay/make it to campus, how the coaches are going to focus on different things etc. but, in your professional opinion, do you think the offense and PP are going to improve next year, by an appreciable amount?  Let's say for argument's sake, assume one of Merrill/Moffie leaves and the other stays, you can pck which one.

I know next year the D-corp should be pretty stacked and they were good this year, when somebody (Merrill and Moffie come to mind, but maybe that's just the Cornell game) weren't doing something boneheaded, but Hunwick still baile.d Michigan out a TON and I think Glendening and Wohlberg are the two best defensive forwards on the roster and they're gone and it's incredibly unfair to expect Rutledge/Racine to duplicate Hunwick, especially as a freshman and I expect the goals allowed to increase by probably .33-.5 goals/game.

For some reference, over the entire 41-game season, Michigan was 1st in the CCHA in offense with 3.22 goals/game, which is something like 10th in the NCAA, but some of that was the 10 goal game against Saint Lawrence and defensively, Michigan tied for second in the CCHA with 2.17 goals allowed/game, good for something like 5th nationally.  A .33 jump there would put Michigan at 2.5 goals allowed/game, which would be 5th in the CCHA, behind WMU's 2.24 GAA/game and ahead of Alaska's 2.61 GAA/game (that's a huge difference between WMU and Alaska, wow!) and a .5 GAA jump would put Michigan at 2.67 GAA/game good for tied with Notre Dame at 8th in the conference.


March 26th, 2012 at 6:25 AM ^

I don't know that the offense in general is going to improve, but Trouba should immediately slide into the QB spot on the PP since he's a much more natural PP guy than anyone else on the roster, Merrill included. With only Wohlberg, Glendening and Pateryn for sure leaving and no obvious NHL departures, you could make a pretty formidable first-line PP unit with Merrill and Trouba on the blueline in a JMFJ-Matt Hunwick style pairing and whatever group of forwards works best together (most likely someone from the Brown, Guptill, PDG, Nieves, Treais, Sparks, Moffatt group).

As for the defense, I don't think it's going to be THAT bad. Yeah, Hunwick did a lot for the team  defense, but adding Trouba and Carrick without losing anyone (assuming that Merrill doesn't leave, which is looking like the most likely outcome) is going to be a big help. Rutledge is probably the day 1 starter as he's probably going to be the most talented goalie, but unless he plays to a Hunwick (or even Montoya) level, he'll probably end up splitting time with one of the other guys. I think an increase of somewhere in the 0.25-0.35 GAA is the most likely outcome, but I'd be surprised (and incredibly disappointed) if it was near 0.5.


March 25th, 2012 at 5:43 PM ^

1) Milne plays for the St. Mike's Buzzers, not Buzzards, and from what I've seen he is a winger. http://stmikes.stats.pointstreak.com/playerpage.html?playerid=4215124&s…

2) Carrick is good enough to force Serville out of the lineup, and I would expect both Trouba and Carrick to immediately slide into the Top 6 and play every game.  This is not a knock against Serville, they are just that good.

3) There will be no goalie competition.  The only way Rutledge isn't the starter from Day 1 is if he gets hurt, or Janny gets unreal over the summer.  Same with my comments on Serville, this is not to knock any of our other goalies, but Rutledge is the guy, plain and simple.

4) Racine is not a big goalie, and his lack of success in the u-show will make it very unlikely he plays at all his freshman year at Michigan.  Al Montoya and Billy Sauer are big goalies...and I think we can throw out a bias of Red liking only big goalies after starting Hunwick and recruiting Rutledge....granted he didn't really have a ton of choice in either scenario.  

5) Merrill is not leaving.  New Jersey doesn't want him yet after he missed half the year with his suspension.

6) Nice work on the write up.

Sac Fly

March 25th, 2012 at 6:05 PM ^

I made it a little confusing with my reference to the big goalie thing. I didn't mean we recruit huge towering goalies 6'3 or above, but Red has a size he likes his goalies to be at.

If we look back into the past years at our goalies they all fit the same height and weight catogory. We had Campbell (6'1, 199) Gibson (6'0 212), Hogan (6'1, 193), Sauer (6'2, 180), Montoya (6'0, 193) O'Malley (6'0, 200), Blackburn (6'1, 190), Scarpace (6'1, 200) and now Racine (6'0, 180)


March 25th, 2012 at 7:43 PM ^

"The Owen Sound Attack thought highly enough of him to trade up and take him in the third round of the OHL draft, despite him only being 17 years old."

17 is the draft year for most players in Ontario, with underage players at 16 also being eligible in the first four rounds I believe.


March 26th, 2012 at 10:25 AM ^

but he is not young for the OHL draft. No 18 year olds are drafted so he basically got drafted in his draft year. He may indeed be small, but his age is not really a factor here.


March 26th, 2012 at 12:02 AM ^

Racine is a big athletic goalie listed at 6'3'' 190 Pounds. I dont know exactly where you saw that he was 6' but this kid is big. I had the opportunity to watch him play in the OJHL playoffs this weekend where he single handidly stole the game for his team making 44 saves in a 2-1 win against a very strong Stouffville spirit team (former team of current Wolverine Brennan Serville). Wolverine fans should be very excited about there goaltending of the future with a Rutledge/Racine tandem. THESE GUYS ARE THE REAL DEAL.



March 26th, 2012 at 11:44 AM ^

I think it's getting a little ahead of ourselves to assume Trouba is one and done. There are teams that like college players over moving them to the AHL. We all thought Merrill was one and done and it looks like it could be 3.


March 26th, 2012 at 12:01 PM ^

Excellent post, thanks.  I'm no expert, but I play hockey a bit and watch a ton of college and NHL.  It seems to me that our biggest shortcoming this year was a lack of guys who could finish.  We had a lot of talented skaters and guys who could create opportunities, but not much in the way of pure goal scoring.  I'm hoping some of the incoming freshmen and/or the younger guys will develop and fill that void. 


March 26th, 2012 at 12:15 PM ^

I'm hoping with the addition of Nieves and Milne, plus Trouba, we'll be able to find some sort of offense on the powerplay, because frankly, that's why we're not still playing hockey

EDIT: And can someone help me with pronunciations on Milne? Is it "Mill-knee" or "Mill-neh" or something else? Maybe "Mill-n"?


March 26th, 2012 at 12:39 PM ^

at the Michigan Rivals site, PDG is the most likely to leave Michigan in the off-season, something about "Talk from those who know the family that his best path to the NHL may be with an OHL club next season, regardless of his draft position."  That doesn't mean he's likely to leave necessarily, but something to keep an eye on.  He didn't explicity say it, but I got the impression that Spath thinks it's something like 55-45 PDG staying. Spath also highlights Brown and Merrill as possibilities to leave.  He also thinks it's critical for K. Lynch to have a break-out season and K. Lynch is Spath's pick for captain next year (I really like that pick, but I thought Red hinted somewhere that it was going to be Brown, though I could have misheard or misinterpreted that).  Some pretty interesting stuff in that whole thread.



March 26th, 2012 at 4:50 PM ^

According to tweets from Cook and Slovin (Michigan Daily  Hockey Beat Writers), PDG and Bennett are coming back next year. https://twitter.com/#!/YostBuilt A few down, now.  Merrill is still deciding, wants to talk to Red before he leaves.  Cook and Helfand (also Daily Hockey Beat) think (but have no more than a feeling) that Merrill is gone.  Also of interest:  Pateryn turned the Canadians down when they asked him to go directly to AHL right now, he's sticking out the school year to graduate.

Take all that for what it's worth, it's still 7 months before the season starts and Michigan could still end up with 3 walk-ons and the band as the hockey team after everyone else leaves for AHL/NHL/OHL/whatever in the intervening time.


March 26th, 2012 at 6:59 PM ^

This makes me feel a little better after the weekend......Sort of. But not really. Thanks for the writeups so I know a little more of what to expect from these guys.