NHL Central Scouting Service (CSS) released their Preliminary 2014 November Players to Watch and three future Huskies made the list. Alex Gillies, Demico Hannoun and Mason Blacklock all made the list as C-level prospects, which means the CSS thinks they could go as high as the 4th round in next June’s NHL draft. The three players all currently play in the BCHL; Hannoun and Blacklock are teammates with the Vernon Vipers and Gillies plays for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Despite missing games due to injury or the World Junior A Challenge, Gillies and Blacklock are still top 5 in the league in goals. Blacklock is the most recent recruit to commit to the Huskies and THG will be doing a commitment article on him next week.
Only six players that are currently committed to WCHA teams made the preliminary list, and Michigan Tech was the only school to have more than one. Obviously there is plenty of time for the rankings to change, but it is a good sign for the Huskies, who currently have three NHL draft picks on the team and two more draft picks committed in Jake Jackson and Dane Birks. The caliber of recruits just continues to increase as the program moves along. Looking at the play of this year’s crop of rookies just proves how good of a job the coaching staff has been doing. The three freshman blueliners have been doing a wonderful job in the place of injured and more experienced players and the forwards have been contributing offensively.
Michigan Tech is certainly headed in the right direction and Tech Hockey Guide wouldn’t be surprised if two or three other committed recruits are drafted before their eligibility runs out. Travis Brown is eligible this year but he might not really get noticed by NHL scouts until he spends some time in the USHL over the next year or two and Tristan Rostagno has to be on the radar of scouts for the 2015 NHL draft.
EDIT: Right before Thanksgiving, Michigan Tech received commitments from three players including Cliff Watson’s younger brother, Cooper, who made the list as a C-level prospect. Watson currently plays for Appleton United in Wisconsin. That gives the Huskies more players on the preliminary list than the rest of the WCHA combined with four of seven.