Friday, October 12, 2012

2012-13 All-Canadian Freshmen Team

On Tuesday I made my predictions for the All-Canadian Teams when it comes to NCAA hockey in 2012-13. Today I'm talking strictly about the rookies, the guys just making their debut at the college level this year.

I've picked a 1st and 2nd team composed of 12 (actually 13) players from 12 different Division I programs, 4 different conferences and one school playing as an independent. 

Somewhat surprising is that despite the freshmen coming from so many different places, there is still one conference that is fairly dominant for incoming, top quality Canadians.



Photo: Brian Watts / OJHL
Devin Shore (Maine) - The Black Bears add a prime recruit from north of the border in the form of 6'1, Ontario product Devin Shore. His statistical track record is very impressive when you consider that the last 4 teams Shore has been a part of he has scored at well over a point per game pace. Last season with the Whitby Fury of the OJHL he finished with 58 points in 41 games and added 32 more through 23 playoff appearances. He even scored six points in 4 games during the World Junior A Challenge. Obviously the Dallas Stars liked the potential they saw in his scoring ability too. Drafted by Dallas, 2nd round, 2012.

Kevin Roy (Northeastern) - When it comes to scoring, few could match the accolades collected last year by Kevin Roy who rewrote the USHL record books with a 54-goal and 104-point campaign in Lincoln. The 5'10 forward has a ton of offensive flair and earned himself an invite to Hockey Canada's summer World Junior series against Russia this past August. After a late change in enrollment took Roy from Brown University to Northeastern, many feel his stock has gone up. Expectations are lofty for Roy as he could be one of the top scoring freshmen in NCAA hockey this year. Drafted by Anaheim, 4th round, 2012

Mark Jankowski (Providence) - The biggest surprise and arguably the most controversial selection in the 2012 NHL Draft was made by the Calgary Flames who chose the raw Quebec high schooler earlier than anyone expected. That's not to suggest that Flames fans won't be happy about it in a few years, just that the initial reaction was negative. That said, Jankowski has potential and some, including the Flames, feel he's only just begun to tap into the player that he could one day become. At 6'3 and 175 lbs he has a ton of room to fill out his frame, not unlike fellow Canadian Joe Colborne a few years ago at Denver. Drafted by Calgary, 1st round, 2012.


Photo: Jim Naprstek
Michael Matheson (Boston College) - Another Canadian who spent time in the USHL before making his NCAA debut, Matheson heads to Boston College after a single year in Dubuque with The Fighting Saints. At 6'2, the smooth skating defenceman has the height but at 189 lbs, there is still some physical maturing ahead of him. That said, he had a strong showing during the Florida Panthers summer development camp and there is no reason to expect that a few years under the tutelage of legendary Jerry York will have Matheson ready for the NHL. Drafted by Florida, 1st round, 2012

Colton Parayko (Alaska-Fairbanks) - The top drafted player from the Alberta Junior Hockey League last season, Parayko joins the Nanooks where he will be among several fellow Canadian players. Listed at 6'5 and 205 lbs, Parayko has developed into a solid defensive defenceman who saw his offensive game blossom last season in Fort McMurray. 42 points in 53 games with the Oil Barons helped catch the attention of the St. Louis Blues. Side bar material: every team Parayko has played on the last 5 years plus his college club and NHL team all have the same blue/yellow colour scheme. Drafted by St. Louis, 3rd round, 2012.


Photo: Alicia Baas
Sean Maguire / Matt O'Connor (Boston University) - There are two Canadian freshmen netminders joining the Terriers this year as Ontario native Matt O'Connor joins Sean Mcguire from British Columbia at BU. Maguire arrives in Beantown having been drafted and sporting much stronger numbers than O'Connor; Maguire held a .913 sv% and 2.33 GAA last year with the BCHL's Powell River Kings but O'Connor stands 6'5 and improved over two years in Youngstown with the USHL's Phantoms. That said, Jack Parker could opt to go the platoon route and play them both which may split the vote and has me taking the splinters route and sitting on the fence. Mcguire was drafted by Pittsburgh, 4th round, 2012. O'Connor is an Unrestricted free Agent.



Photo: Andy Devlin
Jonathan Milley (Penn State) - With 14 freshmen and 4 coming from Canada, the Nittany Lions have several worthy players to pick from including former Spruce Grove captain David Glen and Penticton's Curtis Loik. I settled on 6'4, 220 lb Jonathan Milley based on his history - 29 goals and 58 points for Pembroke in 2011, the year they won the RBC Cup. He led the team in scoring at the tournament with 9 points in 6 games. Unrestricted Free Agent.
Travis St. Denis (Quinnipiac) - The Bobcats have had a lot of success with recruiting from the BCHL over the years and St. Denis could add to that track record. The powerhouse Pentiction Vees captured the RBC Cup last season and St. Denis was a large part of the team's offensive package. Although listed at a mere 5'7 and 160 lbs, the forward finds a way to produce and has done so already this year by scoring Quinnipiac's first goal of 2012-13 in a 2-1 victory over Maine. Unrestricted Free Agent.

Jujhar Khaira (Michigan Tech) - The lone WCHA representative in this project is the 6'3, 195 lb power forward out of the BCHL. Khaira had 79 points last year with the Prince George Spruce Kings including 29 goals. Faced with the choice between the WHL's Everett Silvertips and the Huskies of Michigan Tech, Khaira stuck with his initial intention and headed to college. Drafted by Edmonton, 3rd round, in 2012.


Photo: BCHL
Reece Willcox (Cornell) - Big things were expected of Wilcox last year in the BCHL with Merritt and I don't know that he lived up to all of them. Scouts I spoke with suggested that he struggled at the World Junior A Challenge last season and that his development didn't progress as far as they'd hoped. That said, the 6'4 and 193 lb B.C. product impressed enough to get drafted and has now moved on to the NCAA ranks with The Big Red of Cornell. Drafted by Philadelphia, 5th round, 2012.

Rhett Holland (Michigan State) - The former Okotoks Oiler, Holland played three full seasons in the Alberta Junior Hockey League and while his offensive numbers remained the same each year, his penalty minutes were a much different story. From 91 to 117 to 223 minutes in penalties, Holland has shown a strong acumen for the side of the game that is not very prominent in college hockey which had some people confused over his career choice. The tough defender will definitely make life miserable for teams taking on the Spartans. Drafted by Phoenix, 4th round, 2012

Photo: USHL
Jason Kasdorf (RPI) - Again, the problem with freshmen goalies is trying to project how much playing time they will actually receive. Kasdorf joins the Engineers after one season in the USHL with Des Moines but will compete for starts with two other netminders, both older than he is. Prior to that he played for Portage in the MJHL and backstopped his team to the RBC Cup in 2011 and played well enough that year to be on the radar for the NHL draft. Drafted by Winnipeg, 6th round, 2011.

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