|Five players from Shattuck-St. Mary's School are ranked among the top 210 North American skaters eligible for the 2008 Draft.
There are five players from Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault, Minn., ranked by NHL Central Scouting among the top 210 North American skaters eligible for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft -- center Derek Stepan (58), defenseman David Carle (60), center David Toews (79), right winger Alexander Fallstrom (159) and left winger Jordan Murray (173).
The Shattuck-St. Mary's hockey era began in the early 1990s when former NHL defenseman Craig Norwich was hired to start a hockey program at the elite prep school. Norwich brought former New York Islander J.P. Parise on board a few years later. St. Louis Blues coach Andy Murray (Jordan's father) also coached there. The current coach is Tom Ward.
Throughout the years, top players like Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Zach Parise, Drew Stafford, Brady Murray, Ty Conklin, Ryan Malone, Taylor Chorney
, Jack Johnson and Matt Smaby have graced the Shattuck lineup. Many of them won national championships, but no Shattuck team accomplished what the last team did.
"This is the first Shattuck team to win back-to-back national Midget championships," Ward said. "It's as good as any team we've had. I'm looking at the championship photograph of another team, the one with Kyle Okposo, Angelo Esposito and Tyler Ruegsegger, and they couldn't win two in a row. We had one team lose in the final when they tried and another in the semifinal.
"Chorney, Jon Toews, Mike Gergen, those guys couldn't do it. The team with Zach Parise, Sid Crosby and Drew Stafford, they couldn't pull it off and they played in championship games two years in a row.
"That's what makes this team so special. The stars need to be aligned and you need luck and good goaltending. That makes this a unique group. They had a mission. They could have done other things and not stuck together as a team, but they finished out their time here and put a cap on something that no other team has been able to do.
"A lot of good players have come through these doors and these players are one up on them. I can imagine guys like David Carle, Jordy Murray and David Toews can sit around a campfire one night and give it to their older brothers pretty good."
Ward says one of the nicest bonuses of his job is spending time with Andy Murray while the Blues coach vacations near the school every summer. Both Ward and Murray were asked to provide NHL.com with insight into the five draft-eligible players.Derek Stepan
Ward -- "Derek is a unique kid and a very good student. He's a very intelligent kid with great street smarts and a lovely personality. He will do fine in hockey or in some other way of making money. He has great skills and leadership qualities. He has great personal skills and is a very good communicator. Best of all, if he talks the talk, he walks the walk. When he has something to say or he wants something done, he's very direct and gets support. He makes intelligent comments to his peers. Then he goes out on the ice and does it. He's a great player and a great kid."
Murray -- "Derek is a smart player who has some very good offensive skills."David Carle
Ward -- "David has made probably the greatest improvement in 18 months that I've ever seen. He was better than average when he came to our program but he was not a guaranteed (NCAA) Division I player. He was nonchalant and didn't take hockey seriously. He was on the verge of being a kid who could have been good, but never did what it took. Then he had a moment … he decided he wanted to be a player and he began to do what was needed, on and off the ice. It was a metamorphosis in his hockey career.
"Now he has a chance to be a very good college player and professional. He's a fantastic skater who reads the ice well and a kid who doesn't leave a stone unturned. He was a kid who thought it would just happen to him because he's (San Jose Sharks defenseman) Matt Carle's brother. Now he understands that's the farthest thing from the truth. Being a brother can be an albatross, but David worked hard and gave himself a chance."
Murray -- "David continued to get better here. Neither Derek nor David was considered this type of draft candidate when they got to Shattuck, but they developed under Tom Ward's tutelage."David Toews
Ward -- "David is equal in hockey ability to (brother) Jonathan. It completely surprised me that he wasn't invited to the (Scouting) Combine. He's as good as anyone who was there. It might have been because he had a season-ending injury – nothing serious, he'll be fine. David is an intelligent player with great offensive skills. He has a different body than Jon, more lanky. He plays the game and thinks the game the same way. He has the same intensity and leadership skills that Jon had.
"The biggest difference is that Jon has a Type-A personality; he has his days planned out three or four years in advance. David goes by the seat of his pants, which is great. The brothers do it different ways and get to the same result. David, in time, will prove that rating wrong and be a very, very fine player."
Murray -- "He's got that Toews competitiveness. David is a great kid who is hard on the puck and he has a good knack around the net."Jordan Murray
Ward -- "If Jordan was 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, he would be a first-round draft pick. But he's short and weighs 150 pounds. He's got his Dad's intensity and Brady's skills. Jordy is a peach, a coach's dream, and you can tell he is a coach's son. He's very heady about the game, he gets it. In the three years that I've coached him and the six years that he's been in school here, no one, not once, has ever had to tell him to get going. He plays like his hair's on fire. He's a go-getter and another player I think was rated too low. When they get older, into their early 20s, I'll put my money on Jordy to beat out a lot of higher-ranked players and take their money. He's a beauty."
Murray -- "Kind of the leader here. He's got a big heart and put up a lot of points. He grew a lot and had a good spring. He's a guy you like to coach. He's off to the University of Wisconsin and that will be exciting for him."Alexander Fallstrom
Ward -- "Alex is a great kid, big and strong. He's got a chance to be a good player. I think one day he'll probably be a typical kind of Swedish player in the NHL. He's going back to Sweden next season to play for Djurgarden."
Murray -- "He's big and strong, but he's still learning the game."
Carle and Stepan were asked at the Combine to give scouting reports on each other.
Carle -- "Derek is very shifty and slick, and going against him in practice was always a challenge. He has a good shot and can score from anywhere. It's not necessarily a rocket, but he knows where to put it because he has that goal scorer's instincts. Derek is a hard worker who won't back down from anyone and will do whatever it takes to win."
Stepan -- "David is a smooth defenseman who is a powerful skater. In practice, he's the guy you don't want to go one-on-one with. He just pokes the puck right off your stick and he doesn't look like he's trying. David has a hard shot and he's big and physical. He has a winning instinct and a big brother who pushes him. Both Carle and Toews have that 'fight the big brother' thing – they don't want to lose to them or anyone else. You know David Carle will play in the NHL one day. He has that drive."
Author: John McGourty | NHL.com Staff Writer