Coyotes NCAA prospects season review

By Jeff Dahlia






colreview05-2

At times this season, the Phoenix Coyotes
prospects in the NCAA showed flashes of brilliance, and sometimes were merely just playing average hockey. Players were able to grab local headlines
a few times, but for many, next season should be the time to grab the reins and attempt to make
their presence felt on a national level.

CCHA

Kevin Porter, F – University of Michigan – Drafted 2004, 4th Round, 119th overall

The 2004-05 season was a season of firsts for Porter. As a freshman, he started playing on one of Michigan’s top
lines with Eric Nystrom (CGY) and T.J. Hensick. Having the confidence
of head coach Red Berenson from the get go gave him the opportunity to see time in all situations for the
Wolverines.

Porter along with seven other Wolverines missed regular season games because they were selected to represent the U.S. in the 2005
World Junior Championships. While the Wolverines sputtered during the tournament, Porter, along with 2006 draft
eligible Phil Kessel really shined for the US. Porter looked very poised
against the stronger teams and played hard at both ends of the ice.

Next season is going to be a big test for Porter and Michigan as a whole. The team is set to bring in a lot of new
freshmen to the program. He will be called on to be a leader early in his collegiate career.


Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

2004-05

Michigan

NCAA

39

11

13

24

51

11

2005

Team USA

U-20 WJC

7

3

2

5

6

-2

Chad Kolarik, F – University of Michigan – Drafted 2004, 7th Round, 199th overall

Chad Kolarik played alongside fellow prospect Kevin Porter last season at Michigan. Kolarik proved to be Michigan’s next big show stopper in the making. Playing second fiddle to
Jeff Tambellini (LA) at the moment, Kolarik was still able to make a name
for himself on the scoresheet.

Kolarik is a very crafty winger who became more responsible on the backcheck for the Wolverines as the season
went on. He is a good skater who worked very well on the forecheck. He’s a high octane player
who should become a big time scorer for the Maize and Blue for years to come.

When the Wolverines had a depleted staff during the 2005 WJC, it was Kolarik who stood up and led
the team. While he proved he could score, his consistency really shined through towards the end of the regular season.

Kolarik is very talented, but not a sure bet just yet. While he has the qualities to become a very special player, he needs to
round out his game. Playing for a coach like Berenson, this shouldn’t be a
problem. A lot like Porter, Kolarik will be thrust into a bigger role as summer gives way to fall
in Ann Arbor.


Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

2004-05

Michigan

NCAA

42

18

17

35

53

6



Hockey East

Daniel Winnik, C
– University of New Hampshire – Drafted 2004, 9th Round, 265th overall

Sophomore Daniel Winnik had a breakout year with the Wildcats this past season.
He ranked among the top five in scoring on the team, as they finished tied for second in Hockey East with Boston University.

After being selected in the ninth round of last year’s draft, the low risk draft pick is showing a lot of promise early on. He is a very strong player in the corners
at both ends of the ice and is good skater. A “no frills” style of player, the hulking center used his size, smarts and dexterity to get the job done. Winnik was consistent all season long scoring a equal amount of points in Hockey East conference games as he did non-league match-ups.

The Wildcats earned a post season bid, where Winnik and freshman goalie Kevin Regan would shine until they met up with now two time champions, the University of Denver, in the Northeast regional.

Winnik is going to be a part of a core group of players at UNH next season. The team
graduated a total of five seniors, integral parts of the team’s success over the past four years. As the torch gets passed down, Winnik has a good chance to step up and take over.


Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

2004-05

New Hampshire

NCAA

42

18

22

40

26

17

Jeff Pietrasiak, G – University of New Hampshire – Drafted 2002, 6th Round, 186th overall

Pietrasiak got off to somewhat of a rocky start this past season. While he had a high-octane offense in front of him, some suspect defense left
him high and dry early on in the season. Inconsistency didn’t help his cause
because he had newcomer Kevin Regan behind him itching to get some ice time. Regan was able to capitalize on Pietrasiak’s mishaps
and proved to be the stronger goalie during conference play.

Pietrasiak has the size and tools to be a decent depth goalie at this point in his development. Heading into his senior season for 2005-06, he is going to have to tighten up his approach and sort out all those little mental
errors. While Regan seems to be the logical choice to start for the Wildcats next season, Pietrasiak is not out of the picture by any means. His junior season was the first in which he has seen significant time since playing second fiddle to then UNH favorite, Mike Ayers.


Season

Team

League

GP

GA

GAA

Saves

Pct.

W

L

T

2004-05

New Hampshire

NCAA

42

62

2.91

581

.904

11

7

3

Sean Sullivan, D – Boston University – Drafted 2003, 9th Round, 272nd overall

After a slow start, the Terriers got things going and remained one of the tougher teams in Hockey East
during the 2004-05 season. With a lot of eyes focused on trio of electric juniors such as David Van der Gulik, John Laliberte (VAN)
and Brad Zancanaro as well as all the hype that surrounded freshman Chris Bourque (WSH), it is easy for a guy like Sean Sullivan to get lost in the shadows.

But Sullivan was a bigger part in BU’s success then many would realize. Like all the rest of the defensive core for the squad, the hard work he put in his own zone helped budding sophomore goalie John Curry really settle down and play some great hockey between the pipes. He continued to show his feisty, yet persistent game, sticking to his assignments,
and working very hard in the corners and along the boards.

Sullivan plays a very classic stay-at-home defense very well, though he proved to be a very competent at the other end of the ice as well. With Bryan Miller and Dan Spang (SJ) as the
team’s offensive d-men, Sully had limited action on the attack but showed to have a solid shot. 

It appears that Sullivan is suited to stay at BU for the next two seasons. He is another college prospect who has a great coach and will continue to benefit from developing under the legendary Jack Parker.


Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

2004-05

Boston U.

NCAA

41

1

3

4

10

8

WCHA

Matt Jones, D
– University of North Dakota – Drafted 2002, 3rd Round, 8th overall

Matt Jones and the Fighting Sioux lost to the University of Denver in the NCAA finals. After a shaky start that saw a lot of bumps and bruises along the way, the Sioux were able to stick in there and never gave up. Heading towards the stretch, UND righted the ship and played some of their best hockey when it counted most.

Jones playing alongside Matt Greene (EDM) proved to be an event worth witnessing every time the Sioux took the ice. The pair of rearguards proved to just about the toughest in all of the NCAA. 

Coming off a 2003-04 breakout junior season, Jones seemed to understand that there was more of a need to stick
to defense more at times this year rather than cut loose and follow his offensive urges.
He put up key points for UND, but did not match his junior year totals. 

Jones is a good skater and transitional player and has really grown over the past four years with UND. He is going to be a another key addition to the Coyotes and should see some considerable time in the AHL before eventually moving up to the NHL.


Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

2004-05

North Dakota

NCAA

45

6

11

17

66

8

Scott Polaski, RW – Colorado College – Drafted 2001, 6th Round, 180th overall

Senior winger Scott Polaski is another Coyotes collegiate prospect who has seemed to find himself off the radar. 
He missed games early on during the season due to a wrist injury but came back hot. His production slowed down
over the course of the year and bounced around different lines, but when it came to crunch time, he found himself playing on the top hot line with Marty Sertich and Brett Sterling (ATL).

Polaski and the Tigers earned a berth in the Frozen Four after running the tables in the Midwest
Regional. Colorado College met up with their arch rival, the University of Denver,
who went on to take it all.

Polaski signed a ATO (amateur tryout contract) with the Utah Grizzlies and saw action in their final four games of the season. He did not register a point.


Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

2004-05

Colorado College

NCAA

39

2

15

17

24



ECAC

John Zeiler, C
– St. Lawrence University – Drafted 2002, 5th Round, 132nd overall

John Zeiler and the Saints were plagued by inconsistent play all season long. After falling apart during the last month of play, the Saints skidded to a 17-19-2 finish.

Linemate T.J. Trevelyan once again reigned atop the scoring charts, but it was the hardworking Zeiler that has turned himself into somewhat of a complete and consistent power forward this season. His no quit attitude and great work ethic earned praise from his coach Joe Marsh, who named him next season’s assistant captain.

In 2005-06, the Saints should be poised to make another run for the top half of the standings in the ECAC.
Zeiler will be a senior.


Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

2004-05

St. Lawrence

NCAA

38

9

23

32

42

6

Will Engasser, LW – Yale University – Drafted 2004, 9th Round, 261st overall

In his freshman season, the former Minnesotan Mr. Hockey nominee saw action in the majority of the Bulldogs
games. The very athletic 6’4 forward opened eyes with his rugged style of play. Engasser eventually netted two goals (his only
two points this season) in the second game of the ECAC conference tournament.

While it didn’t help that Yale had an lifeless offensive punch, the Bulldogs could likely be on the rebound for 2005-06. The team will get
younger, graduating three seniors this spring. The core of their team is the now junior class (10 roster players), who will become seniors in the fall.

Engasser is still extremely raw and has a good chance to be a wild card if he fills out his frame and becomes a very strong and consistent player. His ice time will increase next season, where he should be able to show what kind of offensive ability he can produce at the D-1 level. Until then, it is more or less a guessing game for the winger.


Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

2004-05

Yale

NCAA

21

2

0

2

10

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