A handful of recruits took the ice in International play. As I type this the United States has won the shootout over Finland in the World Junior opener featuring current Wolverines JT Compher, Tyler Motte, Dylan Larkin and Zach Werenski.
Kyle Connor, who was notably left off of the USA camp roster for World Juniors, wore the C for Team USA in the World Junior A Challenge. Connor registered one goal and one assist as USA won all four games to take gold.
In Ann Arbor, the U-17 team took the ice at the Cube for Four Nations. Playing without superstar Max Jones, Nick Pastujov stole the show leading the tournament with 5 goals and Will Lockwood also added two goals before falling to Russia in the goal medal game. Pastujov has been impressive, not just as a scorer but as an active player in the neutral and defensive zones. After Connor, he's quickly becoming Michigan's top prospect.
At The Break
At the break, Michigan recruits have starred in the USHL. Kyle Connor is 6th in league scoring with an 11-16--27 line through 21 games with Youngstown, Connor Murphy has quietly added eight goals and seven assists for Chicago and Cooper Marody has 19 points between Muskegon and Sioux Falls.
After a good start in Waterloo, 2015 goalie commit Hayden Lavigne fell into a slump and was released. Bloomington picked him up on waivers, but for now it appears he is the 3rd goalie. I've been a strong supporter of Lavigne having seen him play in person on multiple occasions so I have no doubt he'll succeed at Michigan, but for now his future in the USHL is at a crossroads.
On The Mend
2016 defensemen Griffin Luce returned to the NTDP lineup for Four Nations. Luce has been in and out of the lineup for most of the season playing 3 games in September before missing a month, then playing in 5 games before missing another month.
2017 forward Michael Pastujov started the season injured and is listed with one appearance this season. Defensemen Christian Meike was injured in preseason and has not played.
Hello And Goodbye From The Future
Earlier in the month Michigan added a commitment from Oakland Jr Grizzlies forward Josh Norris. Norris is the first of an elite group of in-state prospects to commit to Michigan for 2017-2018. As the year reaches the midway point, we'll start to see the rest of the class fill up.
A pair of high profile recruits announced their top choices, one that includes the Wolverines and one that doesn't. Wisconsin decommit Brock Boeser, who took a visit to Yost a year ago, will not consider Michigan going forward.
NTDP super recruit Auston Matthews will decide between Denver, Boston College, Boston University, Michigan or the WHL. A potential #1 overall pick in the 2016 draft, should Matthews decide to come to Ann Arbor, he would become the highest rated recruit to ever commit to Michigan. I think it's a long shot with Berenson's eventual retirement coming soon, but there's still hope Red could pull this off.