Dufault, Krzyzaniak make U22s

A pair of UND players made the Canadian U22 team roster and will compete in a three-game series against the U.S. this week in Calgary.

Forward Meghan Dufault and defenseman Halli Krzyzaniak will be competing against a number of future Olympians in the series, which should be a good experience before the start of the college season. The teams play Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

Krzyzaniak is the youngest defenseman to make Canada’s U22 roster.

Dufault is expected to be among UND’s leading scorers this season. Krzyzaniak should be one of UND’s best defensive blue liners, though she also has the ability to add offense.

The pair snapped a photo together yesterday at practice (courtesy @meghandufault).

Another NTDPer heads north

On Monday of last week, Sonny Milano told the Columbus Blue Jackets’ website that he’s going to Boston College. The team that drafted him posted a headline saying, “Milano fully committed, excited to join Boston College program.”

Six days later, that changed.

On Saturday, Milano informed Boston College he would not be going there. He is the latest NTDP player to leave a college program hanging late in the summer.

Since 2011, a total of 15 college-committed NTDP players have wound up in the Canadian Hockey League. Of those de-commits, 13 have gone to the OHL and just one each to the WHL and QMJHL.

Is there something going on with the NTDP players? Or is this just the general risk that programs run when recruiting elite players — ones that are going to be the biggest targets for CHL teams to pursue aggressively?

As an attempt to answer that question, I listed all NHL first-round picks (that I could recall) in the past five years who were committed to a college program at one time. I split them into two lists: 1. NTDP players, 2. Non-NTDP players.

According to my numbers, I counted a total of 31 first-round picks since 2010 who were committed to NCAA at one time — 15 NTDPers, 16 who came up in other leagues.

The result?

Only 40 percent of the NTDP first-round picks actually ended up on campus for at least a year (Milano, Michael McCarron, Ryan Hartman, Stefan Matteau, J.T. Miller, Connor Murphy, Jack Campbell, Cam Fowler and Jarred Tinordi did not).

A total of 75 percent of non-NTDP first-round picks ended up on campus for at least a year (Anthony DeAngelo, Zemgus Girgensons, Mark Scheifele and Ryan Johansen did not). Of note: Girgensons did not go to CHL, he signed and went to AHL.

In other words, when it comes to NHL first-rounders, players who did not go through Ann Arbor were almost twice as likely to end up on campus than those who played in Ann Arbor during the last five years.

It’s also worth noting that Girgensons is the only non-NTDP first-rounder in that span to leave his college the summer before his arrival date (the late departures are very difficult to replace for colleges). Milano, McCarron, Miller, Murphy and Tinordi were summer departures.

Obviously not all NTDP players are the same and each individual is different, but it seems clear that if a school recruits a player in Ann Arbor, they should probably have a backup plan ready — especially if the kid is a first-round NHL pick.

NOTE: If I missed anyone on the list below, let me know and I will update the numbers.

College-committed NTDP first-rounders since 2010

Dylan Larkin, Michigan (YES)
Sonny Milano, Notre Dame, Boston College (NO – OHL)
Alex Tuch, Boston College (YES)
Michael McCarron, Western Michigan (NO – OHL)
Ryan Hartman, Miami (NO – OHL)
Jacob Trouba, Michigan (YES)
Brady Skjei, Minnesota (YES)
Stefan Matteau, North Dakota (NO – QMJHL)
J.T. Miller, North Dakota (NO – OHL)
Connor Murphy, Miami (NO – OHL)
Tyler Biggs, Miami (YES)
Jack Campbell, Michigan (NO – OHL)
Cam Fowler, Notre Dame (NO – OHL)
Derek Forbort, North Dakota (YES)
Jarred Tinordi, Notre Dame (NO – OHL)

College-committed non-NTDP first-round picks since 2010

Nick Schmaltz, North Dakota (YES)
Anthony DeAngelo, Boston University (NO – OHL)
Zemgus Girgensons, Vermont (NO – AHL)
Mark Jankowski, Providence (YES)
Michael Matheson, Boston College (YES)
Jordan Schmaltz, North Dakota (YES)
Jamie Oleksiak, Northeastern (YES)
Mark Scheifele, Cornell (NO – OHL)
Jaden Schwartz, Colorado College (YES)
Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota (YES)
Beau Bennett, Denver (YES)
Riley Sheahan, Notre Dame (YES)
Kevin Hayes, Boston College (YES)
Charlie Coyle, Boston University (YES)
Brock Nelson, North Dakota (YES)
Ryan Johansen, Northeastern (NO – WHL)

NHL staff make comments on prospects

We’re halfway through the NHL’s 30 teams in 30 days previews. One portion of their previews is listing top prospects in the teams’ systems and getting a comment on each from a member of the organization.

So far, Danny Kristo, Nick Schmaltz and Jordan Schmaltz have been previewed.

On Kristo, New York Rangers director of player personnel Gordie Clark says:

“We liked him in college. It wasn’t working out for him in Montreal and he turned out to be our No. 1 right wing in Hartford in his first full season. He’s got speed, skill and a knack of the puck somehow following him around. We’re hoping to improve our pool of prospects at the center position where we weren’t very deep as an organization in Hartford. We hope Danny can help us in that area.”

On Nick Schmaltz, Chicago Blackhawks director of amateur scouting Mark Kelley says:

“What stood out about Nick was his skill set, his quick hands and his ability to make passes and score. We see him as a center even though I know he played some wing and might continue to do so at North Dakota. His skill set stood out at development camp. Playing for North Dakota will be great for Nick; it worked out pretty well for Jonathan Toews.”

On Jordan Schmaltz, St. Louis Blues director of player personnel Tim Taylor says:

“Last year he took a step forward and his personality changed a little bit on the ice. He was more aggressive, he controlled the game a little more. With his defensive partner (Dillon) Simpson turning pro, now Jordan is going to be the man. It’s going to be a good year for him. He’s pretty excited about it. His brother is coming in to play with him. We had him at development camp and he was outstanding. I thought he really controlled the play. We had 3-on-3 games, and every time he was on the ice he created something.”

Stanley Cup Day 2

This morning, the Stanley Cup will get on a plane bound for Calgary, but it had quite a 48 hours in Grand Forks.

Kings defenseman Matt Greene and scout Tony Gasparini brought the Cup to town and gave it a good tour.

Destinations include the Manvel Legion, the GF Country Club, Judy’s Tavern, Red Pepper, CanadInn, Darcy’s Cafe, the Altru Family Medicine Center and Tavern United. The Herald had quite a bit of coverage on the events. Here’s a list:

Main story with quotes from a few people. “I think anybody who has been in town for at least one night has gone to the Red Pepper at 2 in the morning,” Greene said.

Sidebar story on Gasparini, who did not get his name on the Cup the first time the Kings won it, but will this time. He is believed to be the first native North Dakotan to have his name engraved on the Cup.

Our news department wrote a story on the public event for the fans. The Ralph said more fans showed up than they expected and estimated it between 5,000 and 6,000 people.

From the start, REA officials moved the line as fast as possible, but they weren’t going to be able to filter 5,000-plus in a three-hour span. So, at 2:25 p.m., they no longer allowed fans to take pictures with the Cup, but allowed them to see the Cup and take photos of it. Everyone got to do that.

Greene and Gasparini both seemed to enjoy their time with the Cup, and most of all, being able to share it with their friends and family during the 48 hours.

- @keeperofthecup
Matt Greene hoists the Cup at center ice in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

- @schlossmangf
Matt Greene stands with the Stanley Cup below Ralph Engelstad Arena’s mural of Greene hoisting the Cup.

- @schlossmangf
Grand Forks’ most famous sports fans, Mark Kauk and Terry “Gretzky” Hajicek, pose with the sports world’s most famous trophy.

The line zig-zags in the lobby of Ralph Engelstad Arena as fans wait to see the Stanley Cup.

The line extends outside, curls around the Sitting Bull statue and extends all the way to Jimmy Johns.

Stanley Cup hits North Dakota

Matt Greene and the Stanley Cup had a rather busy day Monday.

It started the day in Grand Ledge, Mich., and took a private jet to North Dakota. It made a quick stop at the Fargo Jet Center (whose president and co-founder is a Ralph Engelstad Arena season ticket holder and big UND fan). Then, it flew up to Grand Forks.

The first stop after landing in town? Manvel.

Read more about that trip, including why he brought it to Manvel, in this story.

After a couple hours in Manvel — where they had Red Pepper grinders and tostadas catered — the Cup made its way to the Grand Forks Country Club, where Greene had a private party. He let friends take photos with the Cup there.

At about 10:45 p.m., the Cup made its much-anticipated trip to Judy’s Tavern, where it became so packed that bouncers had to stop letting people in the door. The Cup stayed at Judy’s past midnight.

Today, it will make its way to Ralph Engelstad Arena, where fans can take photos with it from noon to 3 p.m.

After that, it’s off to Tony Gasparini, the former GF Central goalie, who will get his name on the Cup as a scout. Although he was with the Kings in 2012, he did not get his name on it that time.

Tweet your photos to @gfherald or @schlossmangf today and they may end up on the paper or in the blog.

DAY ONE IN PICTURES

- @keeperofthecup
Greene starts the day in Michigan

- @keeperofthecup
The Cup awaits to board the private jet in Michigan.

- @keeperofthecup
The Cup makes a quick stop at the Fargo Jet Center to visit UND fans.

- @J_Niska
The Cup arrives in Grand Forks.

- Eric Hylden, GF Herald
Matt Greene and the Cup hang out at the American Legion in Manvel.

- Eric Hylden, GF Herald
I photobomb as Greene takes a picture with friends.

- Eric Hylden, GF Herald
Greene takes the Cup out of Manvel and back on to the bus.

- @KOKeefeHale
Greene posts for a picture with the UND coaching staff — Dave Hakstol, Brad Berry, trainer Mark Poolman and Dane Jackson (left to right) on the bus.

- @mattschill
Sunset with the Cup at the country club.

- @StayaSioux
The Cup arrives at Judy’s.

- @faye72
Greene with the Cup in a tent just outside of Judy’s.

Fenton working on TV deal

Quietly, behind the scenes, NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton has been in contact this summer with CBS Sports executives, working on making adjustments to the exclusivity clause in the network’s deal with the league, sources have informed the Herald.

Read the story in the Herald here.

Nothing is done yet, but all indications are that CBS Sports appears willing to alter that exclusivity clause that prevented UND (and others in the league) from getting more nationally televised games last season.

How, exactly, will the exclusivity clause be altered? That’s what’s unknown at this point.

Obviously, CBS will still be able to pick its games and the CBS games won’t be allowed to be on any other network. But I think there’s a good chance that when CBS is not broadcasting hockey, the games could be free to other national networks.

This would be a big step forward for the league and for fans who live elsewhere.

UND could push to get some games back on Fox College Sports. I’ve heard that St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth will likely get some games on FSN North this season, too.

The final details could still be a month away from being worked out, so be patient. But as of right now, it looks like there will be some good developments for the NCHC and college hockey fans.

There are also some rumblings about the NCHC exploring a streaming package, much like the WCHA had last season. The goal would be to offer a subscription where you are allowed to view games from all over the league. There are hurdles, such as pre-existing contracts by individual schools. It is being discussed, though.

The league’s website hosted free streams during the first round of the NCHC playoffs last season. They were well received by fans across the country.

What does the NCAA’s new model mean?

The NCAA is giving the five most powerful conferences autonomy to write their own rules, and it could end up coming into play in the college hockey world.

Tom Miller spelled out some of the details in this column.

The Power 5 are expected to push through legislation allowing scholarships based on the full cost of attendance, which would put money in the hands of its student-athletes. The Big Ten, in turn, would likely start paying those stipends to athletes across the board in all sports — including hockey. Same goes for Boston College and Notre Dame.

This also would open up the ability for other Division I programs to do the same. But in this day and age of tight budgets and cutting, you have to wonder how many programs will do that.

UND athletic director Brian Faison previously indicated to the Herald that UND would do whatever it could to help the hockey program maintain a level playing field with schools it recruits against. It will be expensive, though.

On first thought, this could be a game-changer for programs like Ohio State and Penn State — ones that often times lose recruiting battles to schools that may not be able to pay full cost of attendance scholarships.

But all of this remains to be seen. There are still steps to go and there’s still legislation that needs to be written and passed before we know exactly what this is going to mean.

Random updates

UND freshman Nick Schmaltz made the cut at the World Junior evaluation camp and is staying in Lake Placid, N.Y., for the duration.

The final American roster played against Sweden on Wednesday night and wiped out the Swedes 7-1. Schmaltz had two assists in the game (one at even strength, one on the power play).

Based on the games I’ve watched, Schmaltz is more of a setup guy. Once he comes to UND, the staff will have to find a couple of linemates that have the ability to bury the puck because Schmaltz will create opportunities.

Freshman Austin Poganski did not make the final cut, which is not a surprise. Poganski was a late addition to the camp, and just attending it should be a very good experience for him.

*****

One of the camp’s attendees is making headlines as Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek tweeted earlier this week to look for Boston College recruit and first-round draft pick Sonny Milano to bail on the Eagles and go to the OHL. Milano disputed this to NHL.com.

The Eagles probably aren’t sitting comfortably right now, though. Milano is a former NTDP player and we’ve seen 14 committed NTDP players end up in the CHL since the summer of 2011.

*****

Two former UND players have inked pro contracts and will be added to the list — one guy who transferred in and one who transferred out.

Goalie Clarke Saunders signed a deal with the Colorado Eagles in the ECHL, while forward Mike Cichy signed with the Florida Everblades in the ECHL. Saunders played two years at Huntsville and two years at UND. Cichy played two years at UND and two years at Western Michigan.

Saunders is the second member of UND’s senior class to ink a pro deal, joining Dillon Simpson (Edmonton Oilers).

*****

Former Grand Forks Red River and Minnesota forward Ryan Potulny has signed with the Hartford Wolf Pack in the AHL. Hartford is the top affiliate of the New York Rangers. Potulny spent the last three years with the Hershey Bears, the top affiliate of the Washington Capitals.

*****

One current UND women’s player and one recruit have been invited to the USA Hockey National Festival this month. There, they will try for spots on the U.S. roster for a series against Canada.

Sophomore defenseman Gracen Hirschy will try to make the USA U-22 team, while forward recruit Rebekah Kolstad will try to make the USA U-18 team.

That camp will begin Tuesday in Lake Placid. The series against Canada will begin Aug. 21 in Calgary.

*****

One-time UND recruit Danny Mattson has left the Bemidji State team and signed with Boras in the Swedish league. Mattson would have been a senior this season.

Cup’s showing announced

The Stanley Cup will be displayed in the main lobby at Ralph Engelstad Arena on Aug. 12, a week from today, the school announced.

Matt Greene, who won the prized trophy with the Los Angeles Kings this summer, is bringing the Cup to his old school. Each player on a Stanley Cup-winning team gets the trophy for a day.

The Cup will be in the lobby from noon to 3 p.m. Fans will have an opportunity to take their picture with the Cup, and they will receive a free commemorative flyer. The TV screens in the lobby will play Matt Greene highlights.

The Stanley Cup last made a trip to Ralph Engelstad Arena in 2006, when Mike Commodore returned to campus with it.

Stanley Cup visit date: Aug. 12

I’ve received a lot of questions in the last week about Matt Greene’s visit to Grand Forks with the Stanley Cup.

As of now, I know that he will have it here on Aug. 12 (I actually think it’s arriving on Aug. 11, but the 12th will be the day to mark on your calendar. That’s when it is expected to be out and about.)

Specific times and details will be announced later this week. But if you wanted to get the day off of work or make plans to come to Grand Forks, mark down the 12th.