Monday, May 23, 2011

Having a Seat Over There: Mike Chiasson

The Omaha Lancers announced that Mike Chiasson has committed to Michigan for next season. Chiasson, the son of former Red Wings defenseman Steve Chiasson (who was killed in a car wreck back in 1999), is a 5'11" 195 defenseman.

Chiasson put up 4-11--15 in 50 games this season. He was fourth on the team with a +10 rating and had 41 PIMs. He was named the most-improved player on the team last season and won the a leadership award this year. He was unanimously voted team captain this past season and Lancers coach Bliss Littler wasn't surprised:

“The kid reeks with character on and off the ice,” Littler said. “For a player to be selected that way (unanimously) really tells you a lot. That doesn't happen very often.”

This also means that Brandon Burlon will not be back. Mike Spath mentioned that he spoke with the Michigan coaches, and it sounds like both sides decided it was time to move on. 

Chiasson will be an older freshman (he's 20 right now) that brings 122 games of USHL experience. It's reasonable to expect that he'd be able to come in and play right away. In addition to Burlon, the Wolverines lost Langlais and kind-of Llewellyn. In addition to Chiasson, the Wolverines bring in the highly-regarded Brennan Serville and preferred-walk-on Michael Szuma, giving them 8 D. Once again, I fully expect some nice competition for the final spots on the blueline.

He another kid who is interested in education. The linked article is a nice story about how he got to this point. Here is a Q&A with him from two seasons ago.

He wears #3 just like his father. With Scooter Vaughan graduating, I'd imagine that Chiasson will have dibs on that number.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Having a Seat Over There: Spencer Hyman

Princeton's coach leaving for Penn State appears to be the gift that keeps on giving. Yesterday Zach Hyman committed to the Wolverines for next season, after decommitting from Princeton due to Guy Gadowsky moving on to the BTHC. Today, Mike Spath chatted with Zach and was told that his brother Spencer has also committed to the Wolverines for either 2012 or 2013.
He's a forward that was converted to defense a couple of years ago. Pointstreak lists him at 6'0", 210. DCNole mentioned that he is nicknamed "The Bus" and that he once one-punched Lucas Lessio (remember him?) in a fight. The Scouting News says that he "works like a beserker", which I didn't realize was a word, but it totally is and it's awesome.
Last season he had 4-16--20 in 49 games with 62 PIMs. So based on the limited info out there about it, it seems like this upshot is this: Big kid, maybe not as gifted as his brother but works his butt off every shift, can play a physical game.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Little More on Hyman

For the season, Zach had 42-60--102 in 43 games played. He had just 24 PIMs, ten of which came in the last game of the season for "inciting an opponent", whatever that means. He had 27 points on the power play and five short-handed goals, along with three game-winners. In the playoffs, he had 3-5--8 in 7 games.

In the 43 games he played, he was held off the scoresheet on just four occasions. His season included a 27-game point streak, which contained five 5+ point games and four hat tricks. He had three 7-point games during the season.

He finished the year third in goals and second in points in the CJHL.

There are several clips of him on Youtube, and for that, we thank you.
Highlight video from Feb. 2010:

From the 3 Nations Tournament:

And an OT Game-Winner in the playoffs:

In other news, Mike Spath is hearing that there are three finalists for the vacant Assistant Coach position and that a decision could be made as soon as next week. The finalists are Matt Herr, Bill Muckalt, and Brian Wiseman. Muckalt is a head coach in the NAHL, Herr has been Kent's head coach in the prep ranks for quite some time, and Wiseman is an assistant in the AHL.

Having a Seat Over There: Zach Hyman

A week ago, I mentioned that the Canadian Junior A Player of the Year, Zach Hyman, was considering Michigan. Today, he decided to become a Wolverine.

As, I believe, first reported by Andy Strickland, then confirmed by Bob Miller, Hyman will play at Michigan next season. Bob says that he's signing on Friday.

It's hard to understate how large of a development this is. We just picked up the college-eligible player in all of Canada. And he's coming to Michigan for THIS COMING SEASON. This isn't getting all excited about the prospect of Max Domi. This isn't looking ahead to what could be a ridiculous class in 2013. This isn't Tristin Llewellyn being a top prospect as a 14 year-old. This is a five-star prospect for next season. Immediate impact. You could make the case that he's the top recruit in this class. (Edit: To clarify, that's based on him being the top junior player in Canada more than any awareness of the rest of the players out there.) This is potentially the offense that we could be lacking next season.

Let's take a look at some of the other players that have won the CJHL Player of the Year award, decided to play college, and how they did freshman year:

Player Year Team GP Line
Cody Kunyk 2010 Alaska 38 12-18--30
Eric Delong 2009 Sacred Heart 35 15-20--35
Joe Colborne 2008 Denver 40 10-21--31
Kyle Turris 2007 Wisconsin 36 11-24--35
Nick Johnson 2004 Darmouth 35 18-17--35
Mark Bomersback 2003 Ferris State 37 8-10--18
Jeff Tambellini 2002 Michigan 43 26-19--45
Tyler Brosz 2001 Minnesota-Duluth 40 5-6--11
Junior Lessard 2000 Minnesota-Duluth 36 4-8--12
Dany Heatley 1999 Wisconsin 38 28-28--56
Mike Comrie 1998 Michigan 42 19-25--44

So out of the last 11 guys that won CJHL Player of the Year and went on to play college hockey, 8 scored double-digit goals and 30+ points as a freshman. One of the three that didn't hit either of those plateaus (Lessard) ended up scoring 32-31--63 as a senior and won the Hobey. Brosz and Bomersback ended up with a 30/40 point season as well.

At the low-end, these guys ended up being fairly-productive college players with at least one great season. At the high-end, they put up really good numbers right out of the gate and ultimately became Hobey Baker-caliber players. Lessard and Kariya won the award. Comrie, Heatley, and Tambellini would have arguably been the favorite to win the award the next season had they not turned pro.

History says that you can pencil in Hyman for 10-15 goals and 30-35 points next season. This late in the game, to pull in someone who could potentially approach a point per game as a freshman is a huge, huge pickup.

Bob Miller linked out to a couple of GREAT articles. The first talks about how it seems like he's got his head on straight, actually backs it up when he talks about caring about academics, and is just a great kid. The second is a Q&A with him after he won the Player of the Year award.

There are many more links in the first article. Mark Seidel, the chief North American scout for CSS, wrote the following:
...along with being an impressive physical specimen, he showed that he could really play this year as well by putting up 75 points on a decent Tier 2 team while showing he understands the game as well as any in the draft. His dad owns my chief competitor, ISS, so it pains me to say, but this kid may become the steal of the draft

Hockey's Future (yeah, I know) mentioned that prior to juniors (when he played at a lower-level to maintain his college eligibility), Hyman was thought to be on the same level as Jeff Skinner and Tyler Seguin. If that's true, yikes.

Here's a really interesting article about his father's dealings in hockey. Baller.

Hyman was the captain of his team last season and put up 42-60--102.

Gotta love that Red Berenson snake-oil! 
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

CJHL Player of the Year Considering Michigan for Next Year

The busy news day for Michigan hockey continues.
With Caporusso, Hagelin, Rust, and Scooter leaving, offense is a concern for the Wolverines heading into next season. While the incoming recruiting class has some solid players, more help may be on the way.
The Hamilton Morning News (HT: Chris Dilks) reports that Princeton recruit and Canadian Junior Hockey League Player of the Year Zach Hyman has reopened his recruitment after Princeton Coach Guy Gadowsky took the Penn State job. Hyman mentioned that he'll be touring Boston University, Boston College, Minnesota-Duluth, and, yes, Michigan in the coming weeks.
Hyman had 42-60--102 this season for the Hamilton Red Wings team that he captained. For his career, he had 90-124--214.
He cited a desire to go to a school that combined a strong hockey program with a strong academic program.
Hyman was a 5th round draft pick of the Florida Panthers last season. It's a big deal to win CJHL Player of the Year. Past winners include Dany Heatley, Mike Comrie, and Paul Kariya.

Having a Seat Over There: Bryson Cianfrone

Question mark removed from subject line. Bob Miller confirms that he is a commit! The cynical part of me wants to follow that sentence with "...until he gets traded to an OHL team of his choosing." I'm listing him as a 2013 commit, but as MGoBlog pointed out, there's a site saying that he'll graduate in 2012, so I suppose he could end up at Michigan for the 2012-13 season as well.

It appears that may be what's on the table for Max Domi. The Pipeline Show is reporting that Domi will be dealt to London (of course) and speculates that unlikely the deal would happen if they didn't think Domi would come to play for them. That said, Norman James, one of the sports reporter from London is saying that one source has told him no, another has said yes.

Tyler King, Kingston's play-by-play man, just spoke with Doug Gilmour and said that the Domi rumors are "garbage". Time will tell.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mel Pearson Leaves Michigan, Takes Michigan Tech Job

With Brandon Burlon (apparently) opting for the pros, Michigan fans hoped to make it through the offseason with any additional attrition. That didn't happen, and this time it was from an off-ice team member. Mel Pearson, longtime assistant coach, had a change of heart and has decided to take the Michigan Tech head coaching job after all.

Pearson initially said no to the Huskies, but ran into their AD a few weeks later and decided to take the still-open job. He told that the offer coming so soon after the loss to Minnesota-Duluth played a role in him not accepting the job initially.

Pearson coached at Michigan for 23 years. Andy Reid from TheWolverine ($) put together a list of potential replacements. Some interesting names on that list.

He's definitely got some work ahead of him (Tech won 4 games last year) but he's played a big role in Michigan's success. Hopefully he can bring some of that back to Houghton. Good luck, Coach Pearson! We'll see you in the GLI!

Having a Seat Over There?: Bryson Cianfrone

Bryson Cianfrone of the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget team was generally thought of as a first-round draft pick in the OHL Draft. He fell to Brampton in the third round. Bob Miller says that a "very valued source" told him the drop may have been due to a Michigan commitment.

The Marlies came from behind to win the OHL Cup against Max Domi's Don Mills Flyers. Cianfrone had 5-5--10 in 7 games, including a goal in the championship game. Domi had 1-1--2 in the finals, and 5-6--11 in the tournament.

They finished the season an incredible 69-3-4 and outscored their opponents by a 338-79 clip. Cianfrone had 45-51--96 in 69 games according to a scouting report. Here's what they said about him:
Cianfrone is a smart, smaller and skilled center who
plays a pretty effective two way game while producing offensively at a consistent
level. He is an excellent skater, displaying speed and quickness. Most
importantly, he tends to keep his feet moving at all times, preferring to and
showing the ability to play the game at a high speed. He plays a pretty intelligent
game, using his speed and quickness to support the play, getting
himself around the puck all times. He also has very good hands, showing
the ability to handle the puck and makes plays.
Pretty much everyone at Hockey's Future has raved about him. I saw lots of people complimenting his hockey IQ. He's also the captain of the team. One scout told THN there are concerns about his size (5'10", 167), but "all he does is score".

Here's one of those goals, in a game against JT Compher's team:

In the draft thread at Hockeys Future, people were commenting that Cianfrone must be US-bound to fall so far. Someone mentioned he was looking at Shattuck for next year, but who knows how accurate that is.

I'm sure we'll hear shortly if the commitment is confirmed or not.

In other OHL Draft news, Max Domi went 8th to Kingston. Kingston is managed by Doug Gilmour and coached by Todd Gill, both former Tie Domi teammates. Gilmour says he spoke with Max's parents recently and their "decision is to go elsewhere right now". Of course we've seen that before with Lessio, Marcantuoni, Campbell, etc. Gilmour also called Domi an "unbelievable player". He also told a reporter that he doesn't believe Domi will come in and play for Kingston this year. Definitely a situation worth watching. I'm still not getting my hopes up.

Other than that, it seems like it was a pretty good day if you're a Michigan fan. JT Compher went in the 11th round to Saginaw, Tyler Motte (10th) and Alex Talcott (13th) both went to Sarnia, and Evan Allen went to Windsor in the 15th round. Target Gabe Guertler went to the Soo in the 6th round.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Comings and Goings

In addition to Andrew Sinelli's commitment, there have been several bits of news related to personnel that have come up in the past few weeks.

The first is that, after a seemingly-serious flirtation with alma-mater Michigan Tech about their head coaching job, Mel Pearson has opted to return to Michigan. It was serious enough that all indications were that he was going to be taking the job. Tech fans were convinced and it had been reported as a done deal on a variety of sites, and the word was that Tech had an announcement scheduled. In the end, Pearson opted to remain with the Wolverines as an assistant. The Tech job remains open.

One who won't be back with the Wolverines next year is forward Jacob Fallon. Both The Wolverine and Go Blue Wolverine have confirmed he won't return. Not a whole lot of information has come out about that one other than at some point it was in play for him to be back next year. Spath had mentioned that it's an extremely sad situation and that we should be rooting for him. Best wishes to Jacob for him to sort out whatever issues he has going on in his life. I had hoped that he could become a poor man's Dwight Helminen of sorts.

Next up, our trio of Devils prospects: David Wohlberg, Brandon Burlon, and Jon Merrill. There have been way too many rumors that Burlon is gone, and Mark Burns from The Daily has talked to several people that say he's out of here. Several commenters have echoed the same thought.

There were rumors swirling that Wohlberg was outta here too, but things have been extremely quite on the Wohlberg front as more people seem to be hearing about Burlon being gone. You'd think Wohlberg would have come up as well if it was a sure thing. For what it's worth, a Devils blogger mentioned that he expects Wohlberg back at Michigan next season. He also ranked the NJD prospects and had Merrill #1, Burlon #5, and Wohlberg #11.

It's been all quiet as far as Merrill and Phoenix prospect Chris Brown are concerned.

Next up, some other interesting Tweets from Mark Burns, who was absolutely killing it on Friday. One name to watch for the future as a recruit, and one name to watch as a potential future coach? Both are named Mike Babcock. I feel like a Notre Dame fan for even bringing it up. Burns even acknowledged that he'd be shocked if it happened. But as the story goes, Babcock and Red each have two years left on their deals, Babcock's daughter is starting at Michigan in the Fall, and his son was just drafted in the 5th round of the USHL Draft and Michigan could have some interest. A source told Burns that the possibility of Babcock to Michigan is out there, and that neither Powers nor Pearson want the head coaching job. Again, I'm not going all Notre Dame fan here, because I acknowledge that it's highly, highly, highly (is that enough highlys?) unlikely that would play out. But I did think it was interesting--and it's awesome to think about the possibility even if I feel like Lloyd Christmas ("So you're telling me there's a chance......."). I guess crazier things have happened, especially if the Wings win another title in the next couple of seasons. I don't want to read any LOLZ! THE WOLVERINES THINK THAT BABCOCK IS GOING TO LEAVE THE WINGS TO COACH THEM!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! comments. Pretty sure no one thinks that it's actually going to happen.

Other stuff:
Max Domi was dominant at the NCAA Showcase and mentioned that he's "pretty confident that most OHL teams know I'm leaning toward Michigan". The cynics will take hold of that word "most" to mean "All but the team I actually want to play for." We should know before too much longer as the OHL Draft is May 7. The OHL site has a brief writeup on Domi.

The USA won their third-straight World Under 18 Championship with an overtime win over Sweden. They ended the tournament 6-0. John Gibson picked up all six victories and had a 2.34 goals against and a .926 save percentage. He clearly won the award as the top goaltender in the tournament. He was also named one of the three best USA players, along with JT Miller and Robbie Russo. The Americans are the first squad in history to win three straight golds at that tournament.

More from international play: The IIHF World Championships are ongoing and there's a definite Michigan theme to Team USA. Al Montoya, Mike Brown, Jack Johnson, and Mike Komisarek all made the team. Former commit Jack Campbell is also on the roster. The Americans won their opening game 5-1 against Austria. Montoya made 12 stops in the victory and Johnson had an assist.