Rangers NCAA prospects season review

By DJ Powers

Joey Crabb, RW
Junior, Colorado College

The speedy junior enjoyed an outstanding season, helping the Colorado College Tigers earn a trip to the Frozen Four. Crabb was a significant offensive contributor to an already deep Colorado College team. He finished the season third on the team in scoring with 32 points (16 goals, 16 assists). He was one of only five Colorado College players to play in all 43 games this season. Crabb was particularly effective in power play situations, where 11 of his 16 goals were scored this season. His 11 power play goals ranked second on the team. Perhaps the most telling statistic of all is Crabb’s offensive consistency, posting at least one point in 26 of 43 games this season. Crabb’s best performance of the season came back on November 19th versus Michigan Tech, where he notched three points (one goal, two assists) to help lead the Tigers to a 6-1 victory.

The pair of Crabb and junior Trevor Frischmon accounted for 26 (16.2 percent) of Colorado College’s 160 total goals and 58 (13.7 percent) of the Tigers’ 421 points this season. Both were second only to the dynamic duo of juniors Marty Sertich and Brett Sterling (ATL) on the team. Crabb’s superb playmaking skills and his outstanding play around the net helped make him one of the most effective (and dangerous) offensive players for not only Colorado College but the WCHA as well. With nearly the entire team returning for the 2005-06 season, Crabb will continue to be relied upon as one of its offensive leaders.

Rob Flynn, RW
Senior, Harvard University

The imposing senior forward finished his collegiate career with his best offensive season in his four years at Harvard — eight points (four goals, four assists). His best outing of the season came back on February 1st in Harvard’s 8-1 win over conference foe Union College. In the contest, Flynn notched two goals and was a +2.

Flynn saw much of his ice time this season on Harvard’s “grind line” with freshmen Tyler Magura and Dave Watters. Flynn doesn’t bring much in the way of goal scoring, but what he does bring is size and strength. He has used both qualities to great advantage during his collegiate career, particularly in both his junior and senior campaigns. He has done an excellent job of creating space on the ice, whether it’s clearing bodies out of the crease area or moving opposing players away from his teammates with the puck. While Flynn has the ability to be a physical presence, it is also an area that could still use improvement. He has shown that he can level the bone-jarring hits, but he’ll need to be able to demonstrate that more consistently if he is to be effective and successful at the pro level.

Jordan Foote, LW
Freshman, Michigan Tech University

Jordan Foote’s collegiate rookie campaign didn’t go as well as he and Michigan Tech had hoped. He played in only 13 games for the Huskies this season, after suffering a season-ending injury back in late November. He notched his first career point (an assist) back on October 15th in Michigan Tech’s season-opener versus Minnesota-Duluth. His lone goal (and only other point) of the season came on a power play back on October 22nd versus Wisconsin.

Foote possesses good size, speed and is a player who works hard and is defensively responsible. One area where he has shown to be particularly effective is his willingness to block shots. Barring serious injury once again, Foote’s offensive production should vastly improve next season.

Nate Guenin, D
Junior, Ohio State University

The rugged junior defenseman enjoyed an excellent season for Ohio State that culminated in his selection to the CCHA All-Conference Second Team. Guenin finished the season with 14 points (2 goals, 12 assists), playing in all but one game this season. The lone game he missed was back on November 6th versus non-conference rival Sacred Heart due to a game disqualification he received the night before. Guenin also finished the season with 136 penalty minutes, which ranked him second in the nation. One of his best performances of the season came back on February 4th and 5th in the weekend series versus Lake Superior State, where he notched an assist to help the Buckeyes sweep the Lakers. The performance also earned Guenin his lone CCHA Defensive Player of the Week honor of the season.

While Guenin’s reputation as a rough and tough defenseman is well known, where he has shown marked improvement this season has been on the offensive side of his game. He has shown a willingness to jump up into the play and his puck skills continue to not only improve but has proved to be particularly effective in the area of outlet passes. One of Guenin’s greatest attributes is his leadership ability, and he has been named the captain for the 2005-06 squad. In addition to his excellence on the ice, Guenin also excels in the classroom. He was named, for the second consecutive year, the recipient of Ohio State’s Center Ice Club Scholar-Athlete Award for top student-athlete on the team.

Chris Holt, G
Sophomore, University of Nebraska-Omaha

The imposing netminder enjoyed an outstanding sophomore campaign, leading the Mavericks to a CCHA Super Six appearance this season. He finished the season with a 13-11-4 record that included one shutout, along with a .907 save percentage and a 2.81 goals against average. His best series of the season came back on November 19th and 20th versus Ohio State, where he made a combined 65 saves to earn a shutout win and tie in the series. The performance also earned Holt the first of his two CCHA Goaltender of the Week honors. In addition, his outstanding season also earned him Nebraska-Omaha’s entry for the CCHA’s Perani Cup, which recognizes the player with the most “star” votes during the course of the season. While he didn’t the capture the overall Perani Cup title, Holt did finish fourth in the conference point standings for the coveted title.

One area where Holt has really improved his game this season is his confidence level. His confidence complimented the consistency he has shown throughout the season that helped the Mavericks make a remarkable turnaround in one year.

Hugh Jessiman, RW
Junior, Dartmouth College

Coming into the 2004-05 season there were some very high hopes for the towering junior, but it all came to a halt on November 6th in the game versus Ivy League foe Princeton. In that game Jessiman suffered torn ligaments in his right ankle that would force him to miss the next three and a half months of the season. He returned to the Dartmouth lineup on February 25th versus Harvard in the final weekend of the regular season. Jessiman finished the season playing in 12 games and with two points (a goal and an assist). His two points both came in games prior to his injury.

Jessiman combines exceptional playmaking ability with tremendous size and is never shy about playing the body. Barring another serious injury and leaving Dartmouth early, Jessiman will return this fall as one of the Big Green’s most dangerous players and with the departure of Lee Stempniak (STL), he will also be relied upon to help lead the team as well.

Alvaro Montoya, G
Junior, University of Michigan

When Al Montoya was asked about this season, more often than not it was about his disappointing performance at the World Junior Championships. While Montoya may have endured some struggles and inconsistencies this season, he still managed to post a 13-7-3 record that included three shutouts. Should Montoya return for his senior season this fall, he could break Marty Turco’s school record of 15 career shutouts. Montoya led the nation in minutes played with 2358:51 and finished fifth in the nation with a .788 winning percentage.

An area that contributed significantly to Montoya’s woes this season was his confidence level. Nowhere was that more evident than during the College Hockey Showcase back on November 26th and 27th versus WCHA powerhouses Minnesota and Wisconsin respectively. He allowed an uncharacteristic eight goals on 54 combined shots in the two-game set. After struggling through the first half of the season, Montoya fared much better in the second half. He returned to top form in the CCHA conference playoffs, leading the Wolverines to capture their seventh Mason Cup title along with their NCAA-leading 15th tournament appearance.

With the vast tools in his arsenal and the tremendous skill level he possesses, Montoya is poised to bounce back from his less-than-stellar junior season and will be counted on to help lead the Wolverines next season. Montoya has been tapped as one of the team’s tri-captains for the 2005-06 season along with fellow juniors Jeff Tambellini (LA) and Andrew Ebbett.

Greg Moore, RW
Junior, University of Maine

The junior two-way forward enjoyed a good season with the University of Maine this year, finishing the season fourth on the team in scoring with 23 points (14 goals, 9 assists). He was one of only three Black Bears players to have played in all 40 games this season. Nowhere was Moore’s presence felt than on Maine’s power play, where he led the team with 10 power play goals. Moore also led the team in shots with 105. He had his best outing of the season back on October 23rd versus non-conference rival St. Lawrence, where he notched two goals and an assist in helping to lead Maine to a 4-3 victory.

Moore continues to be one of Maine’s most dependable, hard-working and consistent performers. The team utilizes his versatility and skills in many situations, particularly on special teams. Moore was the runner-up in Hockey East’s Defensive Forward of the Year voting and most recently his Black Bears teammates recognized his outstanding contributions and leadership by naming him the 2005-06 team captain.

Darin Olver, C
Sophomore, Northern Michigan University

The speedy sophomore was one of the most dynamic players to watch in the CCHA this season. For the second year in a row, Olver led Northern Michigan in scoring with 43 points (9 goals, 34 assists). His 34 assists tied him for first in the CCHA and fourth in the nation. He was one of only three Wildcats players to have played in all 40 games this season. Olver’s most memorable game of the season came back on November 6th versus Upper Peninsula rival Michigan Tech, where he posted his lone hat trick of the year along with an assist to lead the Wildcats to a 6-3 win.

While his speed and exceptional playmaking abilities are two of his greatest assets that continue to improve, Olver still needs to address the issues of weight and strength. He is a lanky player who can be knocked off the puck fairly easily. Nevertheless, Olver is a player who is willing to take the physical punishment for the betterment of his team.

Corey Potter, D
Junior, Michigan State University

The immensely talented defenseman had a late start to his junior season due to a shoulder injury that forced him to miss Michigan State’s first eight games. Potter made his 2004-05 season debut back on November 12th versus non-conference foe Cornell. He finished the season with six points (all assists) playing in 32 games. Potter also led the Spartans in penalty minutes with 73 and co-led the team with a +15. In addition to missing playing time due to injury, he also missed Michigan State’s game versus Bowling Green on December 4th after being assessed a game the night before (also against BGSU).

Potter played alongside sophomore Ethan Graham for nearly the entire season. The two players’ complimentary styles made for arguably the Spartans most productive defensive pairing. Recently Potter’s stellar play throughout the year was recognized when, for the second straight year, he became the recipient of the Dr. John Downs Award as the team’s most outstanding defensive player of the year. Potter was also recognized by his teammates when he was named an assistant captain for the 2005-06 season.

Dylan Reese, D
Sophomore, Harvard University

After missing 15 games, including the 2004 WJC due to a back injury last season, Reese bounced back to have an outstanding sophomore campaign. He led all Crimson defensemen in scoring with 19 points (7goals, 12 assists) playing in all 34 games this season. Reese, who played alongside senior Ryan Lannon (PIT) for nearly the entire year, was a member of the one of the best defensive corps in the nation this season. Reese’s best outing of the season came in the thrilling ECAC Conference semi-final game versus Colgate back on March 18th. In the contest, he notched two assists, including setting up sophomore Kevin Du’s game-winner in the second overtime.

While much has been written about Reese’s offensive skills and outstanding skating and transitioning abilities, what isn’t mentioned as much is his hockey smarts and his continually improving sound defensive game. What has made Reese such a valuable commodity to the Crimson’s blueline corps this season has been his continued improvement in the mental aspects of the game. With the departures of Lannon and Noah Welch (PIT), Reese will be relied upon more heavily this coming fall and barring serious injury, he should be able to help fill many of the holes that the departing senior defensemen leave.

Kenny Roche, C
Sophomore, Boston University

The sophomore centerman didn’t improve on his rookie season numbers but nevertheless had a very solid season for Boston University this year. Roche finished the season with 11 points (five goals, six assists) playing in 39 games. He also finished the season second on the team in shots (107). Roche missed the October 22nd game versus Providence due to a concussion. Two weeks later, he would miss the November 5th game versus New Hampshire after being assessed a game disqualification on Halloween night versus Maine.

Roche spent much of the season playing alongside senior Brian McConnell (CGY) on the Terriers second line with varied success. He is a smart, opportunistic player who possesses a great work ethic. One area where Roche continues to excel at is his skating. He’s a player with tremendous agility that will drive to the net as often as the opportunity presents itself. With the departures of McConnell, Bryan Miller and Chris Bourque (WSH), Roche will be relied upon to help lead the Terriers offense next season.

Billy Ryan, C
Freshman, University of Maine

The younger brother of former Northeastern University standout Mike Ryan (BUF), Billy was a highly touted freshman coming to Maine this season. The younger Ryan finished the season ranked third among the Black Bears rookies with 15 points (six goals, nine assists), playing in 34 games. His first collegiate point (a goal) came back on October 3rd in Maine’s season-opener versus Vermont. His best outing of the season came back on February 4th versus New Hampshire where he notched two goals and was a +3 in Maine’s 3-1 win.

Ryan can best be described as an energy player. He combines quickness with great instincts, feistiness and the ability to be the perennial thorn in the opposition’s side. They’re all attributes that have served him quite well throughout the season. However, his weight and strength are areas that continue to be of great concern. Like Northern Michigan’s Darin Olver, Ryan is a lanky player who can be easily knocked off of the puck. If he can bulk up and add more strength, Ryan will be much more difficult for opposing players to handle.

Mike Walsh, LW
Junior, University of Notre Dame

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish finished this season with the nation’s worst offense, so it should come as no surprise that Walsh’s numbers fell as well. After posting a 25-point season last year, Walsh finished the 2004-05 season with just ten points (two goals, eight assists), playing in 36 games. The most telling number is in goals, where he went from 12 in his sophomore year to just two this year. He missed two games back in mid-October due to a shoulder injury he suffered in the October 15th contest versus Miami-Ohio. Walsh had his best outing of the season back on November 5th versus Bowling Green, where he notched three assists to help lead the Irish to a 4-4 tie with the Falcons.

Walsh is a player who possesses very good size (6’2/216) and uses it particularly well along the boards. He is also an aggressive player with outstanding skills who is not afraid to mix it up with opposing players. If Notre Dame is to get back into the always hotly contested CCHA race next season, Walsh will need to be one of the players to help lead the team’s offensive attack.

Copyright 2005 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.