Blue Jackets NCAA prospects update

By Ryan Madden

The Columbus Blue Jackets have five prospects currently playing in the NCAA, four of whom were
chosen in 2004, and one from the 2006 draft.  The prospects are scattered over four conferences, with
two prospects playing in the ECAC.

ECAC

Grant Clitsome, D, Clarkson – Sr.
(9th Round, 271st overall, 2004)

George Roll, Head Coach of the Golden Knights hockey team, had nothing but good words to
say about Clitsome and his hockey team, who are currently leading the ECAC and ranked 10th in
the NCAA according to the most recent USCHO.com poll.  Clitsome’s greatest strength is "his
physical presence," Roll said.  "He’s a big, strong kid who really manhandles players in the
defensive zone… he’s a good all around player … [who] can really dominate games with his size
and strength." 

Clitsome’s practice and work ethic are "excellent," according to Roll, who went on to say that
Clitsome is one of team’s "strongest and most well conditioned players… He’s as good a person
as he is a player, really.  He’s a great kid." 

When asked how Clitsome’s game has progressed this season, Roll said that Clitsome’s
confidence is higher this season, and his offense too has made great strides.  Clitsome now has
the confidence "to carry the puck up the ice and go end to end," Roll said, "to really take it and
go.  He’s been a bit snake bitten with things not always going in for him … he’s hit a lot of pipes.
Offensively, it’s the best I’ve seen him play."  Roll added that Clitsome usually plays half the
game for the Knights, and that he is their most consistent guy on defense. 

When asked how Clitsome could improve his game, Roll said Clitsome, like most young players,
needs to keep working on his confidence and consistency.  

Clitsome currently leads all Golden Knights defenders with 11 points in 24 games.  The Knights
are currently 10-3-1 against ECAC opponents, 15-7-2 overall.  This is Clitsome’s final year at
Clarkson, meaning that Columbus must sign him this summer or else lose his rights. 

Rob Page, D, Yale – Sr
(6th Round, 167th overall, 2004)

Rob Page is one of the more important defenders for Bulldogs Head Coach Keith Allain this
season.  An Academic All ECAC two straight years, and last year an Academic All-Ivy, Page
combines athletic ability with a sharp mind.  The big defenseman from Edina, MN has six points
in his 20 games so far this season, to add to his 34 penalty minutes, which is tied for tops on the
team.   

The Bulldogs are currently in a three-way tie for fifth place in the ECAC with a 5-4-4 conference
record.  Page will have to be signed by Columbus before Aug. 15 of this year if they wish to
retain his rights. 

Hockey East

Brian McGuirk, F, Boston University – Sr
(8th Round, 231st overall, 2004)

McGuirk season has been tarnished by a somewhat unfortunate off-ice incident which led to four
Terriers being suspended, including McGuirk, the team captain, by Head Coach Jack Parker.
The players infringed a team rule, which apparently was drinking alcohol on a Sunday.  All four
have since been reinstated and McGuirk is team captain once again.  The suspension lasted two
games. 

McGuirk was voted team captain in a near unanimous vote last spring.  He is not known for his
lamp lighting ability, but the rugged winger is on pace for his best point total in his four year
NCAA career, starting the season with 8 points in 22 games.  His previous best was nine in his
sophomore season. 

McGuirk will also be looking for a pro contract after the Terriers season ends, as this is his final
year at Boston U. 

WCHA

Matt Greer, F, Minnesota-Duluth – Jr
(8th round, 233rd overall, 2004)

Greer, who earned a spot on the WCHA All-Academic team last season, is a big, hard working
winger.  In his third season with the Bulldogs, Greer and UMD Head Coach Scott Sandelin are still
waiting for more offense to come.  Greer is making strides, with a two-assist performance this
Sunday against UMass Lowell.  Greer now has 6 points in 24 games, and should pass his high of
8 points set last year.  If the young winger keeps improving, don’t be surprised if points start to
come with a little more regularity in the second half of the season, as Greer gets set for increased
responsibility for his senior year next year. 

UMD is currently tied for fourth in the WCHA with a 6-7-5 conference record, 10-8-6 overall. 

CCHA

Nick Sucharski, F, Michigan State – Jr
(5th round, 136th overall, 2006)

Sucharski, who is from Toronto, Ont., is 6th in scoring for a very good Spartans team, which is 3rd
in the CCHA and ranked 5th in the nation in the USCHO.com college hockey rankings.
Sucharski has 21 points in 27 games for Head Coach Rick Comley’s squad, and has been playing
top 6 minutes all year.  Sucharski is looking very good, and will soon surpass his former season
high 24-point total from last year.  Sucharski’s tall at 6-1, but still only 165 lbs., and he will have
to beef up a bit if he wants to enjoy the same kind of success once he turns pro.  Sucharski has
one more year of college eligibility after this season.