Update: 2013 Recruiting Class
Over the past few weeks, Northeastern has picked up multiple commitments from a wide range of players as they attempt to wrap up the bulk of their recruiting efforts for next season. With two players leaving the team midseason, Coach Madigan ended up with more available scholarship money than he planned on, which is likely why there has been a flurry of commitments recently. As it stands, here is the situation going into the offseason:
Graduating (7: 2 G, 4 F, 1 D)
Seniors Chris Rawlings, Vinny Saponari, Garrett Vermeersch, Drew Ellement, Robbie Vrolyk and Steve Morra will all be leaving the Huskies after 4 seasons. Senior Goalie Bryan Mountain could return however. Since he did not play a single game in the 2010-2011 season, Mountain still has an extra year of eligibility left. If Mountain were to enroll in Grad School at Northeastern, he would be eligible to play next season. Similarly, if he wanted to transfer, he could do that and be eligible right away (like Matt Marshall did this off-season, coming here from Vermont, before ultimately quitting hockey all together). But with the goalie situation next year murky at best, the door would likely be open for his return, should he be interested. He may not be. Alex Tuckerman had a similar choice last off-season and chose to forego a final year of eligibility. But Mountain would have to be the favorite for the starting job coming into next season if he does return.
The other thing to watch for is early departures. Husky fans should know all about this after watching them occur just about every season. Anthony Bitetto, Jake Newton, and Brodie Reid have all left Northeastern to sign pro deals in the past few summers. Ludwig Karlsson attracted NHL interest last summer, but choose to come back for another year. His stats have been down this year, but the 22 year old will likely have offers again this summer. Cody Ferriero, Kevin Roy, and Josh Manson are all property of NHL teams. Ferriero (Sharks) is likely to stay with his younger brother set to arrive on campus next fall. Manson (Ducks) will be the team’s top defenseman next season and still has plenty of room to grow before moving onto the next level. Roy (Ducks) is a more interesting case. The style of the college game and season seem to suit him better, but he has drawn heavy interest from Major Juniors the past couple years, specifically the hometown Quebec Remparts. With a player this talented, the possibility for any early departure will never be out of the question. But he too has a brother here, which may convince him to stay.
There is no need to speculate about every individual player, but its unlikely that the Huskies survive the summer without at least one player leaving. NHL and Major Juniors teams will also be sniffing around and with Madigan in just his second year, there is an increased chance of players leaving due to an unhappiness with the new regime. Regardless, this summer should be a bit less eventful than the roster gutting of last season.
New Additions: (10: 8 F, 2 D)
Matt Benning, Jake Schechter, Will Messa, Dalen Hedges, Nathan Ferriero, Tanner Pond, Michael Jamieson, Torin Snydeman, Michael Szmatula, and John Stevens are all set to join the Huskies in the fall.
Stats as of 1/21
Snydeman is transfer from Sacred Heart. He has been practicing with the team all season. He plays forward and will be 23 years old when the season starts. He will be a Junior. He posted 20 points in 67 games spread across 2 seasons with Sacred Heart. The Groton, MA native has played for Cushing Academy, the Jr. Bruins, and the Tri-City Storm.
Messa is from Florida, but spent 4 years at nearby Lawrence Academy. He began the year in the USHL with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, posting 3 points in 14 games, but in a strange twist of fate, was cut when the Lumberjacks added Cam Darcy to their roster. The 5’11 forward caught on with the Junior Bruins in the EJHL. He has registered 6 points in 11 games, playing alongside 2014 recruit Josh Couturier.
Pond is a forward from Michigan. He began his 3rd USHL season with the Sioux City Musketeers, after the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders chose not to bring him back. Recently, he was dealt to the Green Bay Gamblers, who will be his 3rd USHL club in 3 seasons. Through 30 games with Sioux City, Pond had 16 points, 114 penalty minutes and a minus-9 rating. He is 5’11, 180 lbs, with a reputation for being a hard-nosed grinder, as his stats suggest.
Szmatula is the highlight of the class. After bouncing around (4 teams/leagues in 4 seasons), he seems to have found a home in Dubuque. His USHL debut has gone about aswell as anyone could have hoped. 47 points in 35 games with a plus-25 rating. He leads the league leading Saints in goals, assists and points. His .200 shooting percentage is good for 2nd on the team (former Husky Joe Manno leads the team in that category, albeit after just 9 games compared to Szmatula’s 35). The Michigan native may be just 5’9, but he will bring skill and goal scoring ability to the Huskies. He will turn 21 just before the season starts.
Stevens is a teammate of Szmatula, who is also enjoying life in the USHL. Stevens is 4th on the team in scoring with 29 points in 32 games and he has a .174 shooting percentage. The 6’2, New Jersey native is set to turn 19 this spring. He came to Dubuque after 2 years at Salisbury Prep and a year with Team Comcast. He is draft eligible this year and he will get a chance to showcase his talents in the tomorrow’s USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
Jamieson is another former Lawrence Academy Player. After he finished at LA, he moved onto the EJHL. The Billerica native suited up for the Manchester Jr. Monarchs last season finished with 37 points in 43 games. This year, he has 20 points in 27 games with the Middlesex Islanders. He is 5’8, 175 lbs forward who will be 21 at the start of his Husky career.
Ferriero will be the third member of his family to play college hockey and the second one to do so at Northeastern. His oldest brother Benn has spent some time in the NHL with the San Jose Sharks. The Boston College product was originally drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes. Cody Ferriero is a Sharks drafts pick. Following in the path of his brothers, Nathan is playing at the Governor’s Academy instead of playing juniors. He is draft eligible for the first time this year. It’s worth mentioning that the jump from Prep to NCAA is an enormous one. Cody had just 7 points in his freshman year before becoming a point per game player in an injury-shortened sophomore year. Benn had a 25 point freshman year before posting over 40 points the next two seasons. So the chances of Ferriero making a huge impact next year are minimal, but he may end up being the best player in this class.
Hedges is the wildcard. The 5’7 Ottawa native is approaching his 19th birthday. He plays in the CCHL, the same league that current Huskies Dustin Darou and Mike McMurtry came from. And he is tearing that league up, to the tune of 31-38-69 in just 40 games. The league is comparable to the EJHL with a bigger emphasis on offense. So while his numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, he is clearly an offense talent. He is 3rd in the league in goals and points and 4th in assists. For comparison’s sake, McMurtry had 73 points in 57 games last year, which Hedges is on pace to surpass, by a log shot. This pick-up is probably the riskiest one in terms of expected contribution, but it could pay huge dividends. Maybe Madigan is just Hedging his bets?
Benning is a teammate of both Szmatula and Stevens in Dubuque. He visited earlier this year with Szmatula and committed around the same time. The 6’0 Alberta native will be 19 when he arrives on campus. A 7th round Boston Bruins draft pick this past summer, Benning has really excelled in his first USHL season. The defenseman has 14 points in 28 games with a plus-16 rating. His uncle is the assistant GM of the Bruins, which may explain his draft selection, but Benning is still a talented defender who will likely see ice time from Day 1.
Schechter is the final piece of the Lawrence Academy trio. Like Messa, he comes from Florida. He is a 5’10 defenseman, who will be 20 years old when the season starts. After a brief stint in the USHL with Omaha to begin the year, Schechter has been playing for the Valley Jr Warriors in the ECHL, where he has 9 points in 23 games. He will also have a great chance to prove that he can be answer to this team’s defensive problems.
Deferred (3: 2 F, 1 D)
Three of the original members of this recruiting class have been pushed back to next year’s. Those three are ’94s Zach Aston-Reese, Ross Olsson and Garret Cockerill.
Cockerill is a 6’0 defenseman currently playing for Des Moines in the USHL. In his first season with the Bucs, the Michigan native has 8 points in 31 games. After coming out of the Compuware U18 program, Cockerill originally was drafted by the Muskegon Lumberjacks. He appeared in 2 games for them. Last year, he played 2 games with the US National U17 team as well. Cockerill will play another year in the USHL next year instead of starting his Northeastern career. The idea here is that he will get another year of development while Madigan brings someone who is older and more experienced.
Olsson is 6’4 forward from Billerica, Massachusetts. His deferral is probably the most noteworthy of the three because many fans had high hopes for him. Fret not, Husky fans. Olsson is a raw talent and this move should be beneficial for both the player and the program. After a standout career at the Williston Northampton School, Olsson was selected by the Lincoln Stars in last year’s USHL Entry Draft. The NHL scouts were also impressed with him, ranking him a B skater in the preliminary rankings. But his Lincoln career never got off the ground, which has hurt his development and draft stock. Last week, Olsson was traded to the Cedar Rapid RoughRiders, where he will play for former Northeastern Assistant Coach Mark Carlson. The move to Cedar Rapids will give Olsson a fresh start in the USHL as he works on his skating and adjusting to the speed of the game at higher levels. He is off to a great start. Since moving to Cedar Rapids, Olsson has played in all 3 games, posting 1 goal and 2 assists. In 22 games with Lincoln, he had just 5 points. Now, there is always a chance that an unexpected early departure could open to the door for Olsson to come to Northeastern next year, but the plan is for him to return to Cedar Rapids again next year and arrive as an impact freshman in 2014. He will be playing alongside Stevens in tomorrow’s USHL/NHL Top Prospect game.
Aston-Reese is a 6’1 forward from Staten Island, New York. He is an interesting case. He was originally a Brown commit, who ended up backing out and committed to Northeastern shortly after Jerry Keefe arrived as an assistant coach here. He was hoping to sign a Letter of Intent during the early signing period, but the Huskies picked up a commitment from Mike Szmatula shortly before that week, which led to them pushing Aston-Reese back a year. Like with Olsson, an early departure could chance things, but it is very unlikely he is here next season. There were rumors that other Hockey East schools were after him before he committed to Northeastern and the 18 year old did receive an invite to New Jersey Devils Prospect Camp this summer, despite going undrafted in his first year of eligibility. But his numbers have never really matched the scouts’ expectations of him. In 112 USHL games spread across three seasons, he has just 7 goals and 21 assists. Those 28 points come out to about .25 points per game. His lack of production likely played a part in Northeastern deferring him. But deferring him is not an easy decision. Is a 4th year in the USHL going to appeal to him? Probably not. And its hard to say whether it would even help him developmentally. He has spent all but 2 games of his USHL career with Lincoln, so at this point, he may be better off elsewhere next season. There are some Hockey East schools that would love to have him and Madigan has to be concerned that there is at a chance he goes elsewhere if you defer him.