by John McGourty
(left) incoming DU recruit David Carle is expected to be drafted by an NHL team this weekend
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 -- DU recruit/defenseman David Carle, center Derek Stepan, center David Toews, right winger Alexander Fallstrom and left winger Jordan Murray.
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 current DU player 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.
"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 DU recruit 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 & former DU player) 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."