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03-05-2013, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jfb392 View Post
As for NCAA guys, I think it's a three way tie for the billing of top free agent between D Dan DeKeyser (Western Michigan, CCHA), D Nate Schmidt (Minnesota, WCHA), and D Andrej Sustr (Nebraska-Omaha, WCHA).

I haven't seen DeKeyser much, but he was probably the top free agent last season before deciding to return to WMU.
His size and skating are always cited as being the most intriguing parts of his game.
Schmidt has just average size, but has a cannon of a shot and the ability to run a power play and I could see him becoming the most notable of the three at the NHL level.
Sustr is 6'8'', which will inevitably have teams lining up to get him.
I am unsure of how well he'll do at the NHL level, but he's an intriguing project given his size and decent offensive ability.
I'd say it's still DeKeyser at the top, but Detroit (MI native + DET fan + youth hockey w/Nill's son) and Tampa Bay (Yzerman + his D-partner Witkowski) are favorites to land him. I agree Sustr will have suitors, but like Chainshot, I've never come away impressed in my viewings of UNO.

I did like what I saw of UMD's RHD Chris Casto (mobile + adequate size at 6'3" 215 + compete + stay-at-home projection) last year as a freshman and he's available again this year, though UMD lost players and regressed, so his play could appear to slip as well since he's not one of those high-ceiling offensive types.

There are also smaller playmakers like Drew Leblanc (St. Cloud, WCHA), Rylan Schwartz (Colorado, WCHA, brother of Jaden), and Mark Zengerle (Wisconsin, WCHA, from Rochester) that could end up being anything from top six tweener call up options to minor league stars.
Zengerle was someone who I wanted last year, but he has not looked the same this year.
It likely has a lot to do with losing Justin Schultz, but given his age, he should be able to dominate by now.
Zengerle mangled his finger and was out for weeks after a slow start by Wisconsin without Kerdiles. He's still someone I think they should target aggressively, as he's a playmaker, has foot speed and is good on draws.

There's also C Antoine Laganière (Yale, ECAC) who projects to be a third or fourth line center (perhaps similar to Jeremy Welsh, who I have found disappointing thus far as a pro) and LW Greg Carey (St. Lawrence, ECAC), who I have never personally seen, but he's semi-local (Hamilton), is the co-leader in national scoring, and set a goal scoring record in the OJHL a few years back.
Carey has a top-6 shot. He's used as a QB on SLU's PP IIRC too. More on him from HERE:
Originally Posted by Fitzy View Post
Response to PJStock

When Carey came to SLU, he was stocky, slow, and one dimensional. He had just broken the Ontario Juniors (2nd division) single season goal scoring record. He reminded you of the kid that spent hour just shooting at a net in his back hard. His wrist shot is dangerous from anywhere, he shoots as hard with a draw back wrister as most NCAA kids hit a slap shot.

His first year, SLU pretty much lt him do his own thing. He didn't do much on the boards, defensively, ect. They tried stationing him on the point on the power play to get him to be able to use his shot more, but his mobility wasn't good enough for the position. Despite this, he did score 23 goals as a 20 year old rookie. It was at this point that I started hearing if he had a good 2nd year, he would get an NHL contract.

His second season was a transition. Head coach Joe Marsh was struggling with health issues and didn't coach most of the year. Carey started working on his all around game, he looked fitter on the ice. His goal tally suffered, but part of this was a product of it just being a poor year for SLU.

This year, he started on a separate line from Flanagan, but they have been put back together recently. They are playing with more swagger under Greg Carvel's more offensive system. The kid just loves to score goals, but this year he is noticeably better in board work, shielding the puck. He still sometimes struggles with line changes and straightaway skating speed, but of the three I think he has the best shot of becoming an NHL player.

Kyle Flanagan was knocked on his ass off the faceoff of the first shift of his first NCAA game. Undersized, sometimes teammates would joke on twitter when there was a windstorm that he might fly away. But the kid has a hockey brain a mile wide. Give him time and space, and he will shred you with passes, excellent pivotal skating, and surprisingly good hands around the net. He has gained some muscle this year, still doesn't have too much mustard on his shot but he isn't getting planted into the boards nearly as much as he used to. He started his career as a LW on Bogosian's line, but the past two years he has been centering Greg Carey.

If Carey had Flanagan's hockey sense, he would have been a first round pick. If Flanagan had Carey's build, he would've been as well. Flanagan reminds me a bit of PA Parenteau.

George Hughes is the nephew of one of the final cuts for the 1980 US olympic team, his brother also plays here. He was basically the team's #1 defenseman from his rookie year, as he is exceptionally smart with the puck. His shots from the point are unusually accurate when he has the time to get them off. However he lacks both the pivotal speed and the physicality to make him,, in my book at least, a future NHL defenseman. He would get burned around the side too often and doesn't really have any of the snarl that NHL coaches look for. Much of his point production, like Wick's, is a product of playing on the PP unit with Flanagan and Carey.

Hughes will be a career AHL defenseman, in my mind. Carey has a shot to step right into an NHL top six, and like with Bobby Butler its likely that role or the AHL for him. I rate him higher than I did Butler, however.

Flanagan will need some AHL time to get used to the size and strength of the pro game. But I think he could be useful player in any role with that head on his shoulders, and is the most complete player I have seen at SLU since Rich Peverley.

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