In this week’s update we welcome a new commit, get an injury update on a pair of commits, NHL.com continues pumping out more recruiting articles, U.S. Junior Select Team revealed, a Canadian team visits Yost, and the recruiting roundup. 

WELCOME: NOLAN DE JONG

In case you missed it, the Wolverines got a commitment from defenseman Nolan De Jong out of Victoria of the BCHL.  He’s coming in next fall.  De Jong is the first BCHL blue liner to commit to the Wolverines since Reilly Olson in 2001.

Also of note, Chris Heisenberg’s recruiting list shows Alex Talcott being a 2014 commit, not a 2013 commit.  Making room?  I’ll go over the numbers another day, but the Wolverines are overflowing on numbers next year and something is going to have to give.

INJURY UPDATE

Cedar Rapids forward Bryson Cianfrone returned to the lineup this past weekend after sitting out a few weeks due to a concussion.

U.S. NTDP U18 Team forward J.T. Compher remains out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury.  U18 coach Don Granato tells NHL.com Compher could miss two more weeks.

“We’re not sure if it was in a game or practice, but we think it was a combination of both,” Granato said. “Thing is, you can’t replace a guy like J.T. He’s just a competitive, complete player. He’s a great leader for us.”

Granato also praises the play of commit Tyler Motte, among others, for picking up the slack while Compher, and others, have been sidelined.

Granato has also been very pleased with the play to top prospects Hudson Fasching (A skater), Tyler Motte (B skater) and defenseman Will Butcher (B skater).

“Those [three] guys have continued to play well [in Compher's absence],” Granato said. “Five of our regular forwards have been out so we’re playing with seven guys up front and those three have really kept us in it. Playing against those college teams is not easy when you’re depleted and asking guys to do spend more time on the power-play and the penalty-kill. We have five new guys in there who don’t know the system, but Fasching, Motte and Butcher have insulted things very well.”

TOP USHL PROSPECTS

The NHL lockout means more NHL Draft articles on NHL.com.  A new one today focuses on the Top 10 USHL prospects and includes three Wolverine recruits—J.T. Compher, Michael Downing, and Tyler Motte.

Among the Compher compliments:

USA Hockey assistant executive director of hockey operations Jim Johannson likes Compher’s versatility and ability to adapt to any type of situation.

“He’s a very versatile player, and all parts of his game have blossomed,” Johannson said. “He’s explosive, brings energy and has great offensive instincts. He has a real high compete level for 200 feet of the ice. I say he’s versatile because of how hard his compete level is, and he’s suited well to today’s game because he has speed, energy and can play in all situations.”

NHL Central Scouting’s David Gregory on Downing:

“As a pro, I picture Downing to be an unbelievable shutdown and contain defenseman,” Gregory said. “I can see him controlling the play in his own end and then triggering the transition. He has so much ability with how he handles the puck and skates … he adds a big reach and has the size (6-2.75, 190).

“I believe he thinks he’s going to be [an] offensive defenseman, but at this level, he could probably do that and get into the play and get back without a problem. But his real strength will be when he understands what type of defenseman he’ll be, and teams will go nuts over him.”

That second paragraph on Downing is interesting because in my first interview with Mike he considered himself an offensive defenseman, too, and Gregory makes it sound like that style of play isn’t in his future.

Gregory on Motte:

“He’s special with the plays he makes and the speed at which he makes them,” Gregory said. “To me, that’s what gets you fired up about him. He’s not afraid and works hard. You never know how his size will translate to the next level, but I don’t think you really need to worry about Motte’s size right now. You just worry about his development and then, later on, make a decision on size.”

U.S. JUNIOR SELECT TEAM

The U.S. Junior Select Team that will participate at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in November was announced last week and a pair of Michigan commits made the team.  Defenseman Michael Downing and forward Alex Kile are among the 22 players that will participate at the tournament in Nova Scotia.  You can download the complete roster here.

ST. MICHAEL’S COLLEGE HOCKEY EXPERIENCE

The College Hockey Experience took the St. Michael’s Majors (CISAA) on a road trip to the University of Michigan and Bowling Green two weekends ago and put together a video of their experience.

Per their website:

The College Hockey Experience was designed by professional athletes specifically to build camaraderie, motivate and showcase athletic talents.

At its core, The College Hockey Experience is the premiere provider of all-access team trips to NCAA universities that go behind the scenes, offering athletes and parents the opportunity to experience the life of an NCAA student-athlete.

On to the weekly prospect performance update…

EVAN ALLEN, J.T. COMPHER, TYLER MOTTE (U.S. NTDP U18 Team)

The NTDP U18 Team lost to Cornell, 6-2, on Friday.  Tyler Motte had an assist, four shots on goal, and a -1 rating.  Evan Allen had no points, one SOG, and a -1 rating.

Last night the U18s returned to USHL action and defeated Indiana, 6-4.  Allen had two goals, including the GWG, an assist, a +1 rating, and five SOG to pace Team USA.  Motte had a goal and six SOG.

Compher, as previously stated, is out with an injury.

MICHAEL DOWNING (Dubuque – USHL)
Dubuque remained undefeated following a home-and-home sweep of Green Bay.  The Fighting Saints took Friday’s game, 5-2.  Downing had no points, a -1 rating, four SOG, and a 10 minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  Dubuque held off the Gamblers, 2-1, on Saturday.  No points and three SOG for Downing.  The Fighting Saints have allowed just eight goals in seven games this season, which is best in the league.

ALEX KILE (Green Bay – USHL)
Kile had a goal and -1 rating in last Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to Indiana.  Friday the Gamblers lost to Dubuque, 5-2.  Kile had no points, a -2 rating, and two penalty minutes.  Green Bay lost to Dubuque again on Saturday, 2-1.  Kile had no points and four shots on goal. For the season Kile has 5-3-8 in 9 games along with a -5 rating and seven penalty minutes.  His eight points ties for the team lead.

MAX SHUART (Muskegon – USHL)
Muskegon continues to impress early on with a sweep of Chicago over the weekend.  Shuart had the game-winning goal in overtime to lift the Jacks, 4-3, Friday night.  Max had a +1 rating and three SOG.  Saturday the Jacks shut out the Steel, 4-0.  No points and two SOG for Shuart .  For the season Max has 4-2-6 and a +4 rating in eight games.

ALEX TALCOTT (Indiana – USHL)
Three games for Indiana and no Talcott.  Injured?  Scratched?  Other?

BRYSON CIANFRONE (Cedar Rapids – USHL)
Returned to the line up Friday night after missing a few weeks due to a concussion.  Had an assist, +1 rating, and one SOG in a 4-3 win over Indiana. Saturday the RoughRiders used five third-period goals to hold off the Ice, 7-5.  No points, a -1 rating, and one SOG for Cianfrone in that game.

SPENCER HYMAN (Hamilton – OJHL)
Hamilton lost to Toronto, 5-3, on Saturday.  No points and a minor penalty for Hyman.  Monday the Red Wings got crushed, 8-1, by Georgetown.  Hyman had an assist on Hamilton’s only goal and added a pair of penalties, too.

NOLAN DE JONG (Victoria – BCHL)
New commit Nolan De Jong had a pair of assists to help Victoria to a 4-3 win over Trail Smoke Friday night.  He was named the 2nd star of the game.  Saturday the Grizzlies defeated Nanaimo, 3-2.  De Jong had an assist on Victoria’s first goal.

DYLAN LARKIN (U.S. NTDP U17 Team)
The U17s got rocked 10-1 by Des Moines Friday night.  Larkin had no points, a -3 rating, three SOG, and two PIM.  Sunday the U17s were downed, 6-2, by Waterloo.  No points and three SOG on Larkin in that one.

DEXTER DANCS (Penticton – BCHL)
Penticton defeated Salmon Arm, 3-2, on Friday. Dancs had an unassisted power play goal.  Last night Vees slipped past West Kelowna in overtime, 4-3.  No points for Dancs in that one.

KYLE CONNOR (Youngstown – USHL)
Connor netted his first career USHL goal in Thursday’s 2-1 loss at Fargo.  Friday Youngstown got hammered 5-1 by Sioux City. Kyle had no points but ended up with a +1 rating and two SOG.  Saturday Youngstown got blanked, 4-0, by Sioux Falls.  No points for Connor, who ended up a -2 and had three SOG.