I made it to the Minnesota Men's Model Camp, last Saturday, which featured some of the top prospects in the state of Minnesota. You can view the full rosters for the camp here. Here's my opinion on some of the players I was watching. I'm sure I missed a lot of good players, so don't hold that against me.
Tyler Johnson(Colorado College), Cloquet- Probably the best player of the camp. He should end up as the leading scorer as well. He's small, but is incredibly strong. He can set up plays and is excellent at finishing plays off. Colorado College looks to have gotten a real steal.
Tyler Kieffer, Stillwater- He was the best offensive defenseman I saw at the camp. He's got excellent hands, and is an excellent skater. He basically took over the game when his team was down late in the game. He could probably improve a little defensively, but he'll be an excellent WCHA defenseman some day.
Mike Louwerse(Minnesota State), Blake- He has great hockey sense. He's excellent at hanging out away from the play, but being in the right position to get the puck and make a play. I would have liked to see him be a little better in 1-on-1 situations.
Joe Gleason, Edina- Was invited to NTDP camp but didn't make the team. I loved the way he played. He's a good defender, and is solid enough to play a physical style of play. He can also jump into the play. He made a great pass through a defender to a streaking teammate that led to a goal. If he grows a couple inches, he'll be a very highly-recruited prospect.
Matt Crandell, St. Cloud Cathedral-Crandell was the best defensive defenseman I saw. He loves to push people around. Don Lucia seemed pretty interested in checking out the game involving Crandell. I'll guess that Crandell commits to Minnesota for the 2008 season.
Ben Arnt, North St. Paul- I finally got to see Arnt play and I was pretty impressed. He may not be as good all-around as some other top prospects in his class, but his shooting ability more than makes up for it. I think he'll be a very good college hockey player, because he'll be such a threat to score, especially on the powerplay.
Pat White(Minnesota), Grand Rapids-He looks so much better than he did last year. A big part of it is probably confidence. He was good, but not really dominate on offense, but I thought he was excellent defensively. I don't think he'll be a star at the next level, but he'll be a player that Gopher fans are very happy to have.
Danny Kristo, Eden Prairie-He's only going to be a sophomore next season, and he was already one of the best skaters at the camp.
Joe Phillippi, Hill-Murray- He didn't have a great state tournament in goal for H-M, which I think really affected people's opinion on him. But I thought that he looked solid in net, though he didn't get tested a ton.
Reid Ellingson, Cloquet-Probably the best goalie I saw there. He made a couple outstanding saves, made some difficult saves look easy, and didn't have any mental lapses.
Ben Hanowski, Little Falls- I'm still a huge fan of the way he plays. He's got amazing hands for someone his size. I think he's going to be a great college player.
Luke Grenier, Shattuck St. Mary's- He's listed at 5'8" 162 lbs., but he's gotta be way smaller than that. He has great puckhandling and passing ability though.
Chris Student, Benilde-He first caught my eye during the Elite League season, and he was impressive again. It looked like he had grown a little bit, which should help his college chances. He's a steady and reliable defenseman that can do everything pretty well.
Taylor Matson(Minnesota), Holy Angels- Didn't do much offensively in the half I saw him play, but broke up a couple plays with his speed. He got hit hard going over the middle late in the game and had to leave due to injury.
Stephen Carew, Benilde-He's been playing well this summer and is starting to get mentioned as a college prospect. He's a good all-around hockey player.
Tom Serratore, Colorado Thunderbirds-Good skater. Once he puts on a little weight, he should be a very good forward.
Danny Mattson, Holy Angels- He wasn't dominant, but he's also only a sophomore-to-be. In a couple years, he should be an excellent player.
Bryan Brutlag, Holy Angels- His stock has risen a lot recently. He was one of the better defenseman I saw yesterday.
Josh Levine, Bloomington Jefferson-Excellent in the offensive zone.
Nick Larson(Minnesota), Hill-Murray- He's not the prettiest, most natural looking player, but he's effective. He has the potential to be outstanding in college.
Jake Youso, International Falls- Very natural looking skater. I was impressed by what I saw from him.
Keegan Flaherty, Duluth East- He has a ton of potential. I like the way that he plays.
Kent Patterson, Blake-He has a ton of talent, but sometimes lets in a few goals that he shouldn't.
Nico Sacchetti, Virginia- Maybe I was expecting too much, or he had an off game. It's probably a combination of the two. He created a few chances, but for the most part, wasn't a standout. He didn't have the extra burst of speed to get away from backcheckers in the neutral zone.
Cory Thorson, Armstrong- He started out kind of slow, but I was more impressed as I watched him more. Given a couple years to develop, he should be an excellent player.
Charlie Thauwald, Rochester Mayo- Only going to be a sophomore next season. Didn't really stand out, but he should be a kid to keep an eye on for the next couple years.
Jascha Pettit, Wadena-I haven't heard much about him in the past year. He played pretty well though. He has very quick hands.
Adam Estoclet, Benilde-He's got talent, but I think he needs to strengthen his legs and get a little faster so he can take more advantage of his goal-scoring ability.
Derek Stepan, Hastings-Scored a very nice goal on a breakaway.
Ben Leis, Duluth East- Had a really off game. I don't think you can draw any conclusion from it.
Anthony Raiola, Minnetonka- I wasn't familiar with him before the camp, but I liked the way he played.
Nick Carson, Blaine- I thought he played a nice game. Not really known as a top prospect, but someone that might be worth watching over the next couple seasons.