New commits for Minnesota, Harvard, Cornell, Minnesota-Duluth and RPI highlight the February action in the NCAA recruitment game. Ryan Kennedy breaks down the new prizes.
It was a slower month in terms of high-profile NCAA hockey commitments, but kids are still pledging their allegiances to schools for the future and those prospects could soon be coming to your favorite NHL team, courtesy the draft. Scouring the College Hockey Inc. commits page again, here are some of the names that stand out for me.
Tyler Sheehy, RW, University of Minnesota
A point-per-gamer for Waterloo, the best team in the United States League, Sheehy is a smaller (5-foot-9) forward who plays with a lot of grit and smarts. While his height might hurt his draft stock, the college game has proven to be a great training ground for shorter players such as Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau and Gopher Kyle Rau. Sheehy is draft eligible in 2014 and will join the Gophers next season.
Ryan Donato, C, Harvard University
Of course a big name would commit right after my first post. Donato technically pledged to Harvard in late January, but I can’t let him fall through the cracks. One of the most talented players coming out of the New England prep ranks this season, he’ll play for dad Ted Donato when he joins the Crimson in 2015-16. Donato was recently named All-New England thanks to his play for the Dexter School and has his team marching in the playoffs as a No. 1 seed.
Hayden Stewart, G, Cornell University
Stewart is an interesting case study. He mostly played in the North American League last season, where he went undrafted as a late 1994 birthday. But after a trade from Dubuque, he has seized the reins with the USHL’s Indiana Ice, winning six games in a row and never surrendering more than one goal in an appearance. Plus, he’s 6-foot-3, which never hurts. Stewart heads to Ithaca next season, while senior Andy Iles will leave this summer.
Hunter Miska, G, University of Minnesota-Duluth
Like Stewart, Miska was passed over in last year’s draft but has been playing excellent as revenge. The former U.S. NTDP stopper has some of the best stats in the B.C. Jr. League as a member of the Penticton Vees. He’ll join the Bulldogs in 2015-16, where he will likely apprentice under current sophomore Matt McNeely.
Jacob Hayhurst, C, RPI
Proving that College Hockey Inc. is doing its job, Hayhurst actually came on my radar last year when I saw him at one of the organization’s showcases. Small at 5-foot-7, Hayhurst is fast with great hands and has a defensive conscience. Eligible for the 2015 NHL draft, he is playing for one of the best teams in the Ontario Jr. A League this year, the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots and will head to Rensselaer in 2015-16.