Predators 2008-09 NCAA prospects update

By John Jaeckel

The Predators are well-represented in the NCAA in 2008-09, with seven prospects, and a majority of them are with top-ranked teams.

Colin Wilson, C

Sophomore, Boston University
1st round, #7 overall, 2008

Wilson continues to demonstrate why the Preds chose him with a high first-round draft pick in last summer’s NHL entry draft. The sophomore from Winnipeg leads #1-ranked Boston University (21-5-1) in scoring, with 10 goals and 24 assists in 26 games. Centering the Terriers’ top line between seniors Chris Higgins and Jason Lawrence, possibly the most dangerous forward line in the NCAA, Wilson is +8 with three game-winning goals this season.

Blake Geoffrion, LW
Junior, Wisconsin
2nd round, #56 overall, 2006

Like fellow prospect Wilson, Geoffrion not only has all the NHL bloodlines one could want in a prospect, but he continues to develop nicely at the college level. Under head coach Mike Eaves, the Wisconsin program has produced numerous solid pros in recent years. In 27 games with the Badgers (16-11-3), Geoffrion has 11 goals and eight assists. Seeing lots of power play time, he leads the team with eight goals on the man-advantage. He is -2, overall and has 41 penalty minutes.

Ryan Thang, LW
Junior, Notre Dame
3rd round, #81 overall, 2007

Now a junior in South Bend, Thang is an alternate captain for the currently #2 ranked Fighting Irish (21-5-3). He has nine goals and seven assists in 28 games, and sees extensive time on both the power play and on the penalty kill. In fact, four of his nine tallies this season have been on the power play. A nifty stick handler and scorer, Thang is a rock-solid +7 this season. He also converted a penalty shot for a critical goal in a January 31 victory over CCHA rival Michigan in South Bend.

Ben Ryan, C
Sophomore, Notre Dame
4th round, #114 overall, 2007

Another Golden Domer, Ryan is also having a solid season. As a sophomore, Ryan has seven goals and eight assists in 28 games for the Irish. He is -2 with 28 penalty minutes but has registered three game-winning goals. The CCHA is particularly strong this season and Ryan should benefit from likely NCAA tournament experience this year.

Ryan Flynn, RW
Junior, Minnesota
6th round, #176 overall, 2006

Flynn’s Golden Gophers are not as strong this year as in seasons past, but still a solid club at 12-9-5 in the WCHA. Flynn, a power forward prospect and Minnesota native, has four goals and 10 assists in 26 games, and is +1 overall. Flynn sees playing time in all situations and is seen as a leader on the ice due to his physical style of play.

Jeff Foss, D
Sophomore, RPI
6th round, #166 overall, 2008

As a sophomore at RPI, Foss is the lone NHL draftee on a weak Engineers squad (6-20-2). He has one goal and four assists in 28 games as a 6’2 stay-at-home defenseman.

Taylor Stefishen, LW

Freshman, Ohio State
5th round, #136 overall, 2008

Stefishen battled mononucleosis early in the year on a surprisingly strong Buckeye hockey club (18-9-3). Still the freshman from North Vancouver, BC has three goals and five assists in just nine games, including a goal in a recent, huge victory over Notre Dame and fellow prospects, Thang and Ryan. Stefishen is also a steady +5. He has recently had the chance to play on the top line.