Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gophers Hit Double Digit Forward Recruits For 2010

It's official. If I ever hear a Gopher fan complain about Wisconsin over-recruiting ever again I'm going to absolutely snap.

Yesterday, the University of Minnesota landed their 10th forward recruit for the class of 2010. You heard me correctly, they now have 10 forwards committed to come to Minnesota for 2010.

You must be asking yourself, well...they have a bunch of draft picks, they must be losing a ton of players so this makes a little sense right? Wrong.

Minnesota has four senior forwards (Lucia, Flynn, Carman, and Bariball). One of those forwards, Jay Bariball only played in 5 games this season before he blew out his knee and very likely will be coming back next season on a medical redshirt.

Realistically, the only player I see leaving early from the program is Jordan Schroeder. He simply has stopped developing at the University of Minnesota and anyone who says otherwise is absolutely blind. Two NHL teams (Minnesota and New York Isl) have made public comments about the coaching staff at Minnesota not developing players. I see no way that the Canucks don't pull Schroeder out of there immediately after the season to try to salvage this kid.

But besides Schroeder, who else goes? Possibly Mike Hoeffel but I doubt it. Scoring .689 points per game for a program like Minnesota doesn't exactly scream SIGN ME NOW. Budish isn't developed enough, White sucks, Cepis is too small, Sacchetti has underwhelmed and Hansen is worthless.

Looking at the incoming forwards for Minnesota, they have over recruited the shit out of this class. There is no way that they can bring in 10 kids for next season. So they are going to have to tell kids that they told would be here in 2010 that they need to play junior hockey (some for a second or third season) next year.

Editors note: I guess I don't have full confirmation that EVERY kid was told he would be here in 2010. With that said, It sure as hell seems like most of them were told that.

Jake Youso is the oldest forward commit that Minnesota currently has. Back in 2007 he committed to play for Minnesota. He's already been strung along because he hasn't developed enough in Junior hockey. He's currently in the NAHL. He has to come in 2010. If he doesn't I can see Lucia flat out pulling his scholarship.

Ryan Walters committed shortly after Youso. Walters is having an excellent season in the USHL right now. He's averaging over a point per game right now for Des Moines. I know that there has been talk that he'll do what the coaches tell him, but you don't ask a point per game player in the USHL who is committed for 2010 to play his third season in the USHL so Tom f'ing Serratore can come in and play.

Nate Condon came after Walters. Condon is a forward from Wausau, Wisconsin and has already been lied to once. When Condon committed he committed for the 2009 hockey season. A better thing came along with Zach Budish and Lucia decided to go with the high school kid and told Condon that he was going back for his second season in the USHL. He has to come in 2010.

Nick Bjugstad from Blaine is our next victim. The high schooler has accelerated his studies so that he can come to Minnesota next season like the other members of his draft class would. Bjugstad is going to be a top 15 NHL draft pick this summer, if Lucia doesn't take him this year, he's never coming to Minnesota.

After Bjugstad you've got a similar player in Omaha (USHL) forward Seth Ambroz. Ambroz played high school hockey with Tyler Lapic and has accelerated his studies to come to Minnesota next year. Ambroz is projected to be a top 10 NHL draft pick in 2011. He will not be told to go back to the USHL.

The next player is an interesting case. His name is Christian Isackson and he's from St. Thomas Academy. To put it bluntly, he's been bad this season. He's committed for 2010 but you have to assume that Lucia is going to have to make the dreaded over-recruiting call to him and tell him to play a season in the USHL.

Badger defenseman Jake Gardiner's little brother Max is next on the block. The Minnetonka forward has been dominant this season for the Skippers. He, like Bjugstad is going to be a first round NHL draft pick this summer. Good luck telling him that he can't come to the U this year.

Finish forward Erik Haula is next. The former Shattuck St. Marys forward is having a nice season in the USHL. And by nice, I mean he's the third leading scorer in the league. He's coming in 2010.

The ninth and tenth forward recruits boggle my mind. Minnesota has picked up commitments from Jared Larson of Fairbanks in the NAHL and Tom Serratore from Youngstown in the USHL. Both players are walk on/small scholarship amount type of players. Both players committed within the last few weeks so Lucia obviously isn't going to delay them.

So what is Minnesota going to do? Where are all these kids going to play? I can tell you this, if I was a Minnesota forward or a recruit I would not be happy. Minnesota is scheduled to have like 20 plus forwards next season. What are they going to do with all these kids? I'm not sure they even have enough stalls in the locker room for all of these players.

I love the Gopher fans responses:

"I'd rather have "too much" competition for playing time than not enough."

"there is nothing wrong with too much competition...seems like skaters need to earn their place on the ice unlike this year there is no competition and they are given ice time."

Or my favorite: "If they decommit because of that then how serious were they in the first place?"

It's amazing the responses when the shoe is on the other foot.

To me something smells very, very fishy. Why would you commit to Minnesota right now. Players aren't developing, their team flat out sucks, and they have a million recruits coming in. Have fun boys.

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