Recruit Update; Submit Your Questions for FTT UMail

Weekly update on Kenny Gillespie who is the only UMass recruit still playing.

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Omaha Lancers (USHL) – 2012
33 GP / 4 G / 7 A / 11 Pts / 47 PIM / 0
Gillespie continues to contribute as the Lancers finish off the regular season, getting an assist in each of his last two games.  He has a good number of shots lately as well, 13 in his last 5 games.

Willy Smith – LW – Springfield Pics (EJHL/EmpJHL) – 2014
EJHL: 21 GP / 1 G / 1 A / 2 Pts / 28 PIM
Empire: 22 GP / 7 G / 18 A / 25 Pts / 24 PIM
Smith’s season is over as the Pics were eliminated in the Empire League playoffs. You can’t blame Smith though as he was the leading scorer for the Pics with a goal and three assists in the two playoff games.

K.J Tiefenwerth – C/W – Junior Bruins (EJHL) – 2012
EJHL: 43 GP / 30 G / 47 A / 77 Pts / 14 PIM
Tiefenwerth had the third most points and sixth most goals in the EJHL this year as captain of the Junior Bruins. He had a couple goals, including a game winner in four playoff games.

Shane Walsh – LW – South Shore Kings (EJHL) – 2012
Dubuque (USHL): 23 GP / 5 G / 7 A / 12 Pts / 0 PIM / –8
South Shore (EJHL): 9 GP / 7 G / 6 A / 13 Pts / 4 PIM
Walsh’s Kings were eliminated by the New Hampshire Monarchs in the EJHL semifinals. Walsh had 2 goals in six playoff games. Next stop for him: Amherst.

The more I think about it the more I believe Kenny Gillespie may not be coming to campus until 2013.  I have not been able to confirm that as of yet, but it would make sense.  First of all, Gillespie just turned 18 this past December and (whether you agree with the practice or not) in college hockey it’s very rare that players come to campus that young.  It’s much more likely that he’d come in as a 19 year old.  Secondly, he has had a tough time (perhaps due to his age/development) making much of an impact on the Lancers this year.  I was told this was because Omaha is completely stacked with talent.  Perhaps another year out the USHL where he’d have a chance to slide into a spot on the top two lines would be best for him.  Again, this is pure speculation on my part.  Although in doing some internet searching I did come across this old release saying he was bound for Amherst in 2013.  I’ll do my best to confirm ASAP.

Speaking of recruits, the final rankings for the 2012 NHL Draft were released by NHL Central Scouting today.  There are no UMass players or players committed to UMass on it.  This means that it’s very likely that for the first time since the 1999-2000 season the Minuteman hockey team will be without any NHL draft picks on their roster when the season starts this fall.  Now on one hand I already highlighted the fact that half of the Frozen Four participants, in the form of Union and Ferris State, had exactly zero NHL draft picks.  But on the other hand this is a little concerning.  UMass has done well when they’ve had a mix of NHL draft picks (Jon Quick, Justin Braun, Greg Mauldin, Stephen Werner) mixed in with non-draft picks (James Marcou, Thomas Pöck, Chris Capraro, Nick Kuiper).  This will not be the case next year unless something surprising happens.  Here are the Hockey East committed players that made the list.  As you can see Providence, Northeastern, and Vermont, three teams UMass has been battling for positioning, all have players likely to be drafted.

One of the good things about not having a lot of NHL drafted players is you’re less likely to lose them.  With BC’s season over it’s likely the BC Hockey Blog is reporting that star juniors Brian Dumoulin and Chris Kreider are on their way to the pros.  Eagle senior forward Barry Almeida has also reportedly signed with the Washington Capitals where he’ll likely have a chance to play along side his cousin T.J. Syner in Hershey.

Here is a preview on Jon Quick and his Kings from as they take on the #1 seed Canucks in the Western Conference playoffs.  He’ll need to be at his best to take down Vancouver.

Justin Braun and the San Jose Sharks meanwhile are the 7th seed in the West and will take on second seed St Louis.

As captain of the Lake Erie Monsters former UMass forward Greg Mauldin threw out the first pitch before tonight’s Cleveland Indians game.  I’ll try to post any video I find of the event.  Greg tweeted earlier that he hoped he didn’t end up on Sportscenter’s Not Top 10.

Well, UMass has had their end of season banquet and the team is beginning to get back to finishing the school year.  Meanwhile conference rival Boston College has been crowned champions in one of the more interesting collection of teams participating in the Frozen Four.  I figure the best way to wrap up the season that was would be to have one more session of FTT UMail, where readers can send in their questions and I’ll answer them.  Ask about anything; the season that was, thoughts on next season, road trip recaps from the past year, what type of beer I currently have fermenting in my laundry room.  Whatever.  I’ll likely be posting answers on Wednesday night, so before then you can leave your question as a comment to this post, email me, or post your question on the FTT Facebook Page.  I’ll pick some of the more interesting questions and do my best to answer them.  I hope there are some good ones!