There were six players playing this weekend that have already made verbal committements to Division 1 colleges. David Fischer has already signed a letter of intent to play for Minnesota. Here were my thoughts on all of them:
Jordan Fulton-Breck-Minnesota-Duluth recruit- Easily the most impressive offensively gifted at the tournament. It may sound weird to say he only had five points on the first day, but he could have had 10-15. I think he created a quality scoring chance on every shift in the game. He's a good finisher and a very good passer. He also had a nice edge to his game. He wasn't afraid to go into the corners and throw his body around. He probably took that edge a little too far on the second day. He was throwing a lot of punches after the whistle, and finally took a penalty(which you really have to earn in these types of games) late in the game when he checked a player along the bench and pushed the kid over the boards into the bench. The opposing parents gave a nice ovation when he finally went to the box. Overall, I'd say he was the best player at the tournament, but the attitude stuff at the end of Saturday was a little disappointing.
David Fischer-Defenseman-Apple Valley-Minnesota recruit- It's always a little hard to tell with defenseman in these types of games since theyr'e generally not as physical as a normal game. I liked what I saw though. He made good decisions with the puck and was great at using his body to protect the puck. He didn't seem as confident taking shots from the point, but he's not a guy that's expected to score goals. There's a lot of talk about if he should play for the Gophers next year or in 2007. He could probably play for them next year, but I think he'll be a lot better after another year of playing hockey and doing some serious weightlifting. He's bigger than a lot of high schoolers, but he's going to be smaller than a lot of college guys. Once he adds some bulk, he could be a very good defensive defenseman.
Austin Lee-Bloomington Jefferson-Minnesota State recruit-Lee played pretty well despite not having a great team in front of him. In the two half-games I saw him play, he made 32 saves on 34 shots, with 6 saves coming off of really quality scoring chances. He's a big goalie with long legs that really cover the bottom half of the net. He was easily the strongest goalie at the tournament.
Mitch Carlson-Defenseman-St. Louis Park-Minnesota State recruit- I hadn't really heard anything about Carlson coming into this weekend, but I really liked the way he played. He reminded so much of the way Michigan defenseman Eric Werner used to play. He's not a huge defenseman, but is incredibly strong just like Werner. He moves the puck through the neutral zone with the same hunched-over skating style that Werner had too. He also showed the potential to go swashbuckling through the offensive zone in a fashion that would make Brian from MGoBlog say "Yarrrrrr" With all his offensive upside, he was still pretty solid defensively. He made a couple mistakes in the first period on Friday, but after that, I didn't really see any defensive mistakes.
Kyle Medvec-Defenseman-Apple Valley-Vermont recruit- A lot like Fisher, in that he was very good with the puck, but looked like he could probably add a little more muscle. He'll be a solid defender at the college level though.
Andy Sackrison-St. Louis Park-Minnesota State recruit- Not really a great two days for him. He generated some very good chances, but was held scoreless in both games. There were some things he did well, and others he did not. His greatest assets are his ability to find open space to hang out in that area until he gets the puck. He looks like he's just sort of hanging back out of the play, and then all of a sudden, the puck ends up on his stick and he's got a great chance. I was really impressed with his vision and passing ability too. That's where I see him making his mark at the college level. His hands were ok. He made one great move to the net today, but he also had a lot of trouble controlling the puck along the boards. Also, for all his chances, he didn't finish any of them. It seemed like he was holding a little back on his shots, trying to guide them into the net, rather than ripping them. I think that's something that will come with more confidence. I don't think he'll be ready to play college hockey next fall, but he'll be a solid player in a couple years.