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Thursday Michigan Hockey Recruiting

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The season started strong for Wolverine recruits looking to keep their NHL stock rising.

Bruce Bennett

Around the league

USA All-American Prospects Game

Michigan commits headed to Buffalo for the USA All-American Prospects Game last Thursday, headlined by super recruits Kyle Connor and Zach Werenski. 2015 commit and rising star Brendan Warren added a goal, but it was defensemen Joe Cecconi who stole the show.

When Cecconi committed last year he was a relatively unknown stay-at-home defenseman playing in Muskegon with fellow commit Cooper Marody. Since his commitment Cecconi has skyrocketed up draft boards and into 2nd round consideration; not an offensive type of defenseman, he probably won't be able to move into the first round but Cecconi is showing that he has top pair potential when he arrives on campus.


Debuts and a Night of Firsts

Commits Connor Murphy and Sam Miletic made their USHL debuts in the same game on Saturday, scoring their first career goals in the league.

Both players will spend one season in the USHL before heading to Michigan. While Miletic will be looking to continue climbing on draft boards, Murphy will be adjusting to a faster game than the Junior B league he dominated last season.


Bouncing Back

In his first USHL season, 2015 goalie commit Hayden Lavigne didn't have the kind of year everyone was expecting. His team in Tri-City struggled and the injury bug hit their blueline hard; Lavigne saw 30+ shots a game for most of the year, but finished the season strong. His play was much better than that stats showed, but in the end Lavigne was released.

Jumping ahead to the start of the 2014 season Lavigne was picked up by Waterloo and won the starting job in camp, making his debut for Waterloo opener against Fargo stopping 15-of-17 shots in a 2-1 loss. With a significantly better group of defensemen in front of him, Lavigne should have a comeback year before heading to Michigan


Class Breakdown

2015

Commits

Forward: Kyle Connor, Connor Murphy, Sam Miletic, Brendan Warren, Cooper Marody

Defense: Nick Boka, Joe Cecconi, Christian Meike

Goalie: Hayden Lavigne

Needs: None

Michigan's mega class is complete. Barring any OHL departures, there is no space or reason to add another player.

Most of this class with be selected in next year's NHL draft. I'm withholding my praises until they arrive on campus, but this should be one of the best recruiting classes Michigan has ever had. If the core stays intact the 2015 recruiting class has the kind of instant impact freshman to make the Wolverines a national championship favorite.


2016

Commits

Forward: Will Lockwood, James Sanchez, Nick Pastujov

Defense: Griffin Luce, Luke Martin, Kenny Johnson

Goalie: None

Needs: Checking Center

How does the coaching staff follow up 2015? With five of the six commits playing for the NTDP program in Ann Arbor.

Luce, Martin, and Sanchez already have NHL projections and the coaches won a major recruiting battle bringing in Pastujov, one of the top skill forwards of the 98 birth years.

When Will Lockwood committed he was a player who had all of the tools to be a major impact player, but was listed at 5'6. Now listed at 5'10, Lockwood should be the next Wolverine commit to see his stock rise.


2017

Commits

Forward: Michael Pastujov

Defense: None

Goalie: None

Needs: Goalie

It's a little early to predict what the roster will be like this far down the line, but in about a year this class will start to fill up. Unless a superstar can be brought in for 2016 (not likely) a goalie in 2017 is a must for the class.