If you have been impressed with the recruiting to date by Roll & co., expect not to be disappointed in '09 and on. While the staff cannot comment on any prospective recruits these recruits have been confirmed by Chris Heisenberg or other media sources. (for those that don't know Chris has the most comprehensive listing of hockey recruits for every Division 1 hockey program)
Knight fans are aware of the recent individual success of Roll recruits: (2 All-Americas, 12 NHL Draft choices, 7 All-ECAC team selections, a Ken Dryden Award winner, All ECAC rookie team, Best ECAC Defensive Forward selection and various all tournament teams) You get the idea: Coach Roll, Drechsel, and Houle know how to recruit top talent to the hinterland of the St. Lawrence River. They typically prefer the recruit that can skate with serious speed (wish I still had the Nick Tremblay video!), forwards that have all the intangibles, and dmen with the learned ability to QB the powerplay and make that "first pass out of the zone". Did I say they also have to have serious skating ability?
The 2009 verison of Knight recruits has 3 members from the USHL, 1 from the Prep ranks, 1 from the EJHL, and 1 from the OJHL. Yes, the OPJHL is now the OJHL. The common acceptance that the USHL is the best Junior, Tier anything league in North America has three recruits joining that league this year. Considering that Clarkson has had only 9 recruits from that league is an indicator the coaching staff recommended their decision. What does that mean as a Knight observer? Don't expect to see inflated stat lines from those recruits, but do expect players better prepared to contribute immediately. USHL statistics are less of a predictor on whether they will score at the college level.
So...who is expected in 2009?
Andrew Himelson - Monroe, NY; standout defenseman from the New Jersey Hitmen (EJHL) who can score from the blueline, 2nd on the Hitmen scoring list at 45-16-33-49, also recruited by CC, Providence, and UMass. Currently plays for the DesMoines Bucs (USHL). Clarkson connection - Steve Dubinsky's cousin. Attended USA Select Festivals where Coach Roll was on staff. Adam Pawlick - originally from Utica, NY; smooth skating, all-around talent, plays both ends of the ice well, also recruited by Colgate and Quinnipiac. All-New England selection as a junior for the Salisbury School. Currently plays for the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL). Clarkson connection - Adam's father is a Clarkson alum. USA Select Festivals. Nik Grenier-Pokulok - Vandreuil, Quebec; BIG (6'5" 225+lbs). A defensive defenseman who likes to play physical (you think?) without accumulating Matt Nickerson-like penalties, good puck handling ability. Ranked #132 for the 2008 draft, while eligible for 2009. Playing for Northwood Prep. Clarkson connection - see Northwood, Cornell ;-). David Pratt - Napanee, Ontario; "stay at home defenseman, gifted skater". 6th round choice of the Brampton Battalion (rights owned by Kingston), invited to the 2008 Team Canada East tryouts. 2nd year playing for the Wellington Dukes. Clarkson connection - Paul Karpowich. Matt Wilson - another native NYer, from Liverpool; speed, grit, offensive punch, and tremendous work-ethic. I'd add an uncanny ability to setup his younger brother, but I regress. Playing for the Syracuse Stars (EJHL). Clarkson connection - "Playing for Clarkson University has been a dream of mine ever since I can remember." USA Select Festivals. Matt Zarbo - Grand Island, NY. Product of Select Hockey, EliteProspects, US Select Team and the Boston Jr. Bruins. 3rd round draft choice of Brampton. Good skater, excellent vision, plays physical. Another recruit that is on the same team as his brother, ('10 Knight recruit) Joe Zarbo. Plays for the Tri-City Storm (USHL). Clarkson connection - East Coast Select Hockey, USA Select Festivals.