The NHL's Research, Development, and Orientation Camp wrapped up a week and a half ago and Sioux commits Jordan Schmaltz and Miles Koules appear to have had solid camps. Schmaltz is part of a draft class that is stacked with high-end defensemen, while Koules impressed scouts with his hockey sense and ability to finish. Koules also displayed a sniper's accuracy, as he impressively took out eight targets on only ten attempts to win the accuracy shooting portion of the Skills Contest.
The RDO camp featured the best of the best of the 2012 eligibles as they prepared to begin their ever-important draft year season. There is obviously a lot of rising and falling that will occur among the top prospects between now and June of 2012, but the early rankings are out and three Sioux commits have made this aggregated list of the Top 100 prospects:
#10 - Jordan Schmaltz
#35 - Stefan Matteau
#88 - Miles Koules
I wouldn't be surprised to see Koules' ranking jump after his performance at the RDO camp, particularly if he gets off to a solid start with the NTDP Under-18 team.
The College Hockey Blog has the Sioux sitting at #4 in their preseason rankings.
Two key cogs to the Sioux living up to such lofty rankings (and hopefully exceeding them) are junior forwards Corban Knight and Danny Kristo. With a very solid defense/goaltending corps returning, offensive production appears to be the biggest question mark entering the season and Knight and Kristo are two of the returnees who will be heavily relied upon early to lead the way offensively for the Sioux. Knight is looking forward to taking on an expanded leadership role while Kristo is featured in this Montreal Canadiens fan blog piece.
Kristo appeared to be a bit snakebitten early on last season. He was generating solid scoring chances but seemed unable to get the puck into the goal. These things tend to even out over time, and when he returned to the lineup towards the end of last season he played very well and seemed to be developing some good chemistry with centerman Brock Nelson. Knight meanwhile, will be the top returning point producer, and I'd love to see him on a line with freshman Rocco Grimaldi. Knight's setup abilities combined with Grimaldi's dynamic and multi-faceted finishing skills could make for a very explosive combination.
Several former Sioux took part in this summer's Minnesota Hockey Camp in Brainerd.
Speaking of former Sioux NHLers, T.J. Oshie is among those primed for a breakout season while the New Jersey Devils' Travis Zajac is expected to miss the first month and a half of the upcoming season due to an Achilles tendon injury.
Sioux commit Charlie Pelnik was sporting some Force gear while conversing with Hurricane goalie Cam Ward as he prepares for the upcoming season at "Camp Brind'Amour." Pelnik will be attending Shattuck-St. Mary's this fall.