Red Line Report's Kyle Woodlief ranked the top recruiting classes in college hockey. Judging recruiting classes is difficult, and something I had kind of refrained from doing, since every team has different needs, and needs a different number of players. But since it's out there, I may as well give my opinion as well.
Here's what Red Line had: 1. Wisconsin 2. Boston University 3. Michigan 4. Minnesota 5. Boston College 6. Notre Dame 7. North Dakota
And here's mine:
1. Michigan- They've got a slight advantage because they're bringing in a huge class. And unlike two years ago when Michigan brought in a big class, this one has a lot more depth. They've got two great wingers in Aaron Palushaj and Max Pacioretty, and two skilled centers in Matt Rust and Ben Winnett. Louie Caporusso and Carl Hagelin will also play an important role right away. They almost instantly fix their depth problem at forward. The situation on defense was looking grim, until they picked up Kevin Quick and Scooter Vaughan. They also had another goalie in Bryan Hogan that could compete for playing time.
2. Minnesota- Red Line said Fairchild and Hoeffel aren't having great years, but I think that they're still very solid players. Alex Kangas is probably the top goalie in this class. Pat White is also an exceptional player, even though his injury problems this year will probably drop his draft stock. Kevin Wehrs is a talented defenseman, and Nick Larson has a lot of talent.
3. Wisconsin- This was the number one class last year, but is looking significantly less impressive since the departure of Sam Gagner and a down year for goalie Scott Gudmanson. They're bringing two potential stars though in Kyle Turris and Ryan McDonagh. Brendan Smith and Cody Goloubef are also talented defenders. Forwards Pat Johnson and Josh Turnbull have both played well in the USHL this season, and Chris Hickey has missed time due to injury, but is one of the better forwards in Minnesota high school hockey this year.
4. Boston College- Nick Petrecki is the big name in this class and should go very high in this summer's NHL draft. Ryan Hayes is a forward with incredible hands that should be a dangerous scorer in college. They've got three other smaller forwards coming in, as well. Barry Almeida was considered a top forward in this class, but suffered a freak eye injury this summer and has missed a lot of time. He should be ready for next fall though. Nobles Prep goalie John Muse will likely be Cory Schneider's replacement.
5. Notre Dame- Jeff Jackson's first full recruiting class is a great one. He took a bit of an early gamble on Ian Cole which has paid off nicely. He also got a pair of Cole's teammates in Ted Ruth and Brad Phillips, who are excellent players. He's got a pair of Swedes with excellent scoring ability in Robin Bergman and Calle Ridderwall, along with two smaller forwards who are very effective players in Ben Ryan and Bill Maday.
6. Boston University- This is a team that's tough to place. They've got two great players in Colin Wilson and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, but it's a small class. Colby Cohen is talented, but seems like a headcase that could cause more problems than he's worth. Nick Bonino is a solid player, but not really a star.
7. North Dakota- They took a small gamble on defenseman Derrick Lapoint, which seems to have paid off since he's playing very well this year. This is a very nice class with a small playmaker in Evan Trupp, a power forward in Brad Malone, and a feisty grinder in Brett Hextall. They'll also add an experienced player in UAA transfer Shea Hamilton. They also have the ability to absorb some unexpected losses with Brett Bruneteau and Ben Blood, who could come in next season or play another year of juniors.
8. Michigan Tech- I know, I was surprised too. Jamie Russell has a great class coming in though. Casey-Pierro Zabotel looks like an amazing find by Michigan Tech. They also get some much needed offensive help from talented forwards Bennett Royer, Eric Kattelus, and Jordan Baker. They've also got a good replacement for Lars Helminen in Deron Cousens.
9. Miami-Miami has brought in a number of very respected players. Tom Wingels was having a great season in the USHL until he was sidelined with a broken jaw. Carter Camper was once considered one of the top prospects in the US. Andy Miele is a feisty, grinder. They also had a big power forward in Justin Vaive, and a very good defenseman in Vince Loverde.
10. Ohio State- They've got two underrated defenseman coming in Corey Toy and Shane Sims, as well as some very good forwards in John Albert, Pat Schafer, and Sergio Somma.
11. Vermont- A very small class right now, but they should add some more players between now and the end of the season. Kyle Medvec was a 4th round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild. Jack Downing is a talented player that should be at least a mid-round NHL draft pick. Wahs Stacey is another excellent forward.
12. Michigan State- Corey Tropp is having a great year in the USHL. Jeff Petry was a very high draft pick in last year's draft. Dustin Gazley is a feisty player. A.J. Sturges looks like a bit of a project, but has the potential to develop into a very good player.
13. St. Cloud State- This is the first pure-Motzko recruited class, and it's a pretty good one. Garrett Roe looks like a future star, and Travis Novak has played very well in the USHL. There's a nice mix of skill with players like Brian Volpei, and size like Nick Oslund, and Aaron Marvin has both skill and size. The class is probably a little weak on defense right now, with just Sam Zabkowicz committed, though Tyler Kieffer could join the team straight out of high school.
14. Harvard-Matt McCollem was really impressive at the St. Louis Blues prospect camp last summer, after being drafted by them. Nick Jaskowiak and Chris Huxley talented defenseman.
15. Minnesota State- The Mavericks bring in a little more skill to go along with their hard-working grinders. Andy Sackrison, Garry Nunn, and Mike Louwerse are all talented offensive players. Brett Peterson is a big, physical player with some offensive upside. They'll bring in a talented defenseman in Ben Youds to help out on the powerplay, and one of the best goalies in the NAHL, Austin Lee, will give the Mavericks even more depth at that position. Channing Boe has struggled this year, but should provide more depth on the blueline.
16. Colorado College- This class would be higher if it weren't so small. Tyler Johnson was a great find by CC's staff. Richard Bachmann is an excellent goalie. Eric Walsky will bring some experience, and Nick Dineen should be a solid grinder type at the NCAA level if he comes to CC next season.
17. Denver- Again, a really small class. Tyler Bozak is an older player, but his numbers this season are too good to be ignored. Jesse Martin and Kyle Ostrow are also talented offensive snipers. Marc Cheverie has really struggled this season in goal.
18. Nebraska-Omaha-This is another huge class for Nebraska-Omaha in terms of numbers. There's a lot of talent on both offense and defense, including John Kemp, Matt Amroz, and Blake Martin at forward, and Alain Goulet, Mike Phillippi, and Quinn Waller on defense.
19. New Hampshire- A very small class, but they've got probably the top recruit in the country in James van Riemsdyk. Will O'Neill is a solid defenseman.
20. Maine- Robby Dee is a talented player that had to play another year of juniors due to an injury last season. Kief Orsini was a top prep school player, and they've got some other older Canadians that Maine usually finds.