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|
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|
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|
|Photo: Andy Devlin|
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.
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.