Friday, October 16, 2009

Harvard Men's Hockey Season Preview Part II: The Class of 2013

Looking at the class of 2013 as a whole, the Crimson are bringing in one of the most talented recruiting classes to ever skate into Cambridge. The result has been some strong rankings for the Crimson frosh from the national media. Inside College Hockey has the Crimson recruiting class at fifth in the nation, behind some big names in the hockey landscape, including Notre Dame, Denver, and Harvard opponents Boston College and Minnesota. The Crimson rank above a lot of top programs too, beating out the defending champion Boston University Terriers, as well as North Dakota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Around the ECAC, the closest incoming class is RPI's, who were ranked 9th, while Cornell and Yale were ranked 13th and 14th respectively.

Meanwhile, Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News added in a "hurrah for the smart kids," in his blog article on the most intriguing collegiate recruiting classes. Harvard represented the ECAC, while St. Cloud State, Boston College, and Michigan made the list for their respective league.

After the jump, we'll profile all of the new Harvard skaters.

#9 Danny Biega (D, Montreal, QUE, Salisbury School)
Danny Biega, younger brother of current Crimson Captain Alex Biega as well as of forward Michael Biega, was not listed among INCH's Top 20 Incoming Defensemen. That being the case, he must be ranked 21st. Biega is a solid defenseman, coming into Harvard with an inch on his two brothers and an extra five pounds. Moreover, on a Crimson team returning five defensemen, Biega will be put immediately into that mix. With good defensive skills, he will most likely see some time on the penalty kill. He does not have as much offensive upside from the point as Alex, but he will probably earn some time on the second power play unit. The Crimson will also need him to develop his offensive game as a puck-moving defenseman who skates the puck out of his own zone. He also enters the season as a NHL Central Scouting "A"prospect for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

LAST YEAR - Biega tallied 8 goals and 14 assists for 22 points as the Senior Captain of the Salisbury Crimson Knights. He was fourth in points scored for Salisbury, the New England Division I prep champions. [New England Hockey Journal]  

#21 Marshall Everson (F, Edina, MN, Edina High School)
The scouting report on Marshall Everson, coming out of Minnesota, is that he is a solid power forward. He is going to be a player that is set up in front of the net for the Crimson, taking the punishment to make the play. Reports also list him as someone with good hands, a graceful stride, and a strong shot. Despite the high praise coming from his high school career, other reports indicate Everson might need another year to reach his potential. The main criticism of Everson prior to the year was that, like most high school players, he was undersized, but he has added about twenty pounds to his frame since then. With three openings on offense, however, Everson will get the chance to prove himself.

LAST YEAR - Everson was the senior captain for the Edina High School Hornets, a team that fell in the Minnesota state championship. He played on a line with incoming Minnesota Gopher Zach Budish. Stats for last year are not available, but in the 07-08 season, Everson tallied 43 goals and 25 assists. [MaxPreps]

Image of Marshall Everson's OT Game Winner for Edina HS by Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune.

#16 Alex Fallstrom (F, Stockholm, Sweden, Shattuck-St. Mary's)
Alex Fallstrom came to Shattuck-St. Mary's in Minnesota by way of Stockholm, leaving his family to play for Shattuck after having played against them several times in Sweden. Shattuck's coach, Tom Ward, described him to as a "rough-and-tumble power forward in the Tomas Holdstrom (of the Detroit Red Wings) mold." Ward also spoke to Fallstrom's intelligence. Fallstrom himself said, "I see myself as a power forward, but like to combine power with skill. I like to play hard, but my biggest quality is probably my shot, stick handling and my skating." He is one of two Crimson freshmen drafted in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, having been selected by the Minnesota Wild in the 4th round with the 116th overall pick.

LAST YEAR - Fallstrom served as the senior captain for Shattuck, having 40 goals and 47 assists in 52 games. He played on a line with Eric Haula (now with the Omaha Lancers), a Finnish sensation also drafted by the Minnesota Wild in the 2009 Entry Draft. []

#24 Luke Greiner (F, Faribault, MN, Sioux Falls Stampede)
Greiner comes to Cambridge as a relatively unheralded recruit, but he has a solid hockey resume from stints at Shattuck St. Mary's (playing with Alexander Fallstrom) and the USHL's Sioux Falls Stampede. Greiner, like many of the freshman, is a quick and forceful skater who will be effective on the forecheck. He's somewhat undersized at 5-10, 187 lbs., but he's an aggressive left winger who does not hesitate around the net. He's played at a high level and was a key contributor to national championship teams at Shattuck, so the 19-year-old rookie won't be intimidated by the physical play in the ECAC.

LAST YEAR - The Minnesotan skated for the Sioux Falls Stampede, posting 17 goals and 22 assists through 59 games, finishing fourth in points on a playoff team. He was the only player born in 1990 to notch more than eight goals - the three scorers ranking ahead of Greiner were either 19 or 20 years old.

#20 Louis Leblanc (F, Kirkland, QUE, Omaha Lancers)
Louis Leblanc (18th Overall, Montreal Canadiens) enters Cambridge as the first and only Crimson player to be selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft since Chris Biotti. The Red Line Report describes him as playing a "firewagon brand of hockey that reminds us of the great old Habs teams. " Most point to Leblanc as the complete package for a player. He plays an up-tempo, high intensity game, backchecks hard, and isn't afraid to get physical. On the offensive side of things, he is speedy, and has an ability to shift into an extra gear if need be. He has great puck control, even at high speeds, and can get off a quick shot despite defensive pressure. In addition to that, he plays an emotional game, bringing a fiery intensity to the game without being undisciplined. Look for this intensity to inspire his teammates, even his more experienced teammates, to playing even harder in practices and during games. The expectation is that Leblanc will play on the first power play unit, and will add a scoring touch to the Crimson team. Early reports indicate that a lot of the ECAC defenses just will not be equipped to handle his skill level.

LAST YEAR - Leblanc had 28 goals and 31 assists, plus 78 penalty minutes, in 60 games for the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League. He tallied 9 power play goals, 4 shorthanded goals, and 6 game winning goals. []

#38 Conor Morrison (F, London, ONT, Salmon Arm Silverbacks)
Conor Morrison enters the Crimson lineup as a slight unknown, coming out of the British Columbia Junior Leagues. Still, it looks like Morrison has a balanced scoring touch, and he could end up earning time on the second power play unit if past success with the man advantage is any indication of his skill level. Morrison also was impressive enough to be called up to the German National Under-20 team.

LAST YEAR - Morrison had 39 goals (15 PP, 2 SH) and 45 assists in 50 games for Salmon Arm. He added a goal and two assists in 6 games for the German U-20 team at the IIHF U-20 World Championship. [SA Silverbacks and IIHF]

#42 Brendan Rempel (D, Willington, CT, USNTDP U-18)
Brendan Rempel, who was ranked among the top 100 North American skaters, did not get his name called on draft day, but a solid season for him this year will likely result in him being picked up in next year's entry draft. Rempel is a big stay at home defenseman, and likely will be in the mix among the starting six defensemen. Rempel is already drawing comparisons to fellow Harvard defensemen Ian Tallett and Chad Morin. Look for Rempel to use his size effectively in the corners and against opposing forwards in front of the net. He should bring a strong physical presence to the Harvard defensive corps.

LAST YEAR - Rempel tallied 3 goals and 8 assists as well as 87 penalty minutes in 63 games for the US National Development Team. He also added a goal and an assist in seven games to become one of two Harvard incoming freshmen to win the gold medal at the IIHF U-18 World Championship. []

#22 David Valek (F, Zagreb, Croatia, USNTDP U-18)
David Valek, who came to the United States National Team Development Program after a several years of playing in the Czech Republic, will be adding a strong shot and another power forward presence to the Crimson front lines. According to the USHL Central Scouting Report, "David has one of the heaviest wrist shots in his age group. He is a big, strong power forward, the kind of boy to score goals, set them up, dig out pucks out of the corner, [sic], sweet set of hands, good vision of the ice." These are traits Valek surely worked on during his stay with the National Team Development Program. Valek's biggest weakness is probably his skating at this point, but he compensates for that with his hockey knowledge. Other reports see Valek more as a defensive type player, particularly due to his extended use on the penalty kill for the National Team.

LAST YEAR - Valek scored a goal and was a +2 in seven games during the IIHF U-18 World Championship, earning a gold medal. He also had 8 goals and 13 assists in 57 overall games.[]

Note- All images used in this post remain the copyright properties of the photographers and/or the newspapers they appeared in. WHRB is using these photos under the principle of free use. The first image is of Crimson freshman Louis Leblanc and was taken by Tyrel Featherstone, West Island Gazette. The second image is of Harvard freshman Marshall Everson, and was taken by Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

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