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Making the grade

Colin Wilson was taken seventh overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

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Colin Wilson was taken seventh overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

All right, so there’s not a lot of hockey going on right now, but that doesn’t mean The Hot List – out weekly rundown of player we can’t wait to see in the NHL one day - is slowing down. No sir, it just means the focus will be more laser-like this summer. This week, the laser is aimed at the NCAA, where, despite some high-profile defections, there will still be some intriguing names duking it out come fall.

1. Colin Wilson, C – Boston University Terriers (Hockey East):
As the son of an NHLer, Wilson had a good model in preparing for a career in elite hockey.

“My dad told me you have to be physically ready at 14,” said Colin, channeling the advice he received from his father, Carey, who played for the Flames, Whalers and Rangers.

With that in mind, Colin hit the gym early and often as a teen and the results were reflected in his selection seventh overall by Nashville at the NHL draft this year.

“I can be a first- or second-line center,” Wilson noted. “But I can also work as a third- or fourth-liner, that’s why I think they took me.”

That and a heap of skill, of course. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Terrier notched 35 points in 37 games as a freshman at B.U. and will likely return to improve on that mark next season.

Joining Wilson is a murderer’s row of future NHL talent, including fellow 2008 draftees Corey Trivino, David Warsofsky and Grant Rollheiser. Wilson will also faceoff against workout buddy and Boston College Eagles recruit Jimmy Hayes. So is fraternizing with the enemy going to end?

“When I’m with my buddies, we’re really tight, so we can do things like that,” Wilson said. “But it’ll be fun playing against him – B.U. and B.C. for the Beanpot (tournament trophy).”

One thing is for sure, there won’t be many Eagles having fun when they face the tenacious Wilson.

Drafted seventh overall by Nashville in 2008.

2. James van Riemsdyk, LW – New Hampshire Wildcats (Hockey East):
The players drafted around him – Patrick Kane and Kyle Turris – both saw NHL action this season, but that’s no reason to believe JVR won’t be joining them one day; his Flyers team just had a bit more depth to rely on. In the meantime, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound left winger will continue to hone his game in New Hampshire, where he put up 34 points in 31 games as a freshman. Drafted second overall by Philadelphia in 2007.

3. Richard Bachman, G – Colorado College Tigers (WCHA):
So what exactly will this kid do for an encore? Bachman was lightning in net for the Tigers this season, posting the best record in the conference (.729 winning percentage) and the second-best goals-against average (1.85) and save percentage (.931). The next and only mission is a Frozen Four title. Drafted 120th overall by Dallas in 2006.

4. Max Pacioretty, LW – Michigan Wolverines (CCHA):
With his former linemates Kevin Porter and Chad Kolarik off to Phoenix (well, more likely San Antonio) next year, Pacioretty will have to continue his good work in Ann Arbor if the Wolverines are to remain the cream of the CCHA crop. After earning 39 points in 37 games as a frosh, Pacioretty should be up to the task. Drafted 22nd overall by Montreal in 2007.

5. Patrick Wiercioch, D – Wisconsin Badgers (WCHA):
Like Wilson, Wiercioch will be surrounded by talent next year, especially by his fellow blueliners. Along with Wiercioch, who had a breakout playoffs with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers this year, the Badgers will line up NHL picks Jamie McBain, Cody Goloubef, Ryan McDonagh and Jake Gardiner. Drafted 42nd overall by Ottawa in 2008.

6. Corey Trivino, C – Boston University Terriers (Hockey East):
Trivino raised his profile at the Under-18s, where he was a point-a-game player for the gold-medal winning Canadians. He’ll once again get a shot to shine next year, moving his superior playmaking game to Boston. Drafted 36th overall by the New York Islanders in 2008.

7. Daultan Leveille, C – Michigan State Spartans (CCHA):
Everyone’s favorite out-of-nowhere draft pick, Leveille rode his otherworldly speed to a first round selection this year and will showcase said skating wizardry in East Lansing next fall. Drafted 29th overall by Atlanta in 2008.

8. Joe Colborne, C – Denver Pioneers (WCHA):
The potential for dominance is why Colborne will be well served by a couple of seasons with the Pios. The 6-foot-5 lad is growing into his power forward frame and learning under coach George Gwozdecky will be a boon to Colborne’s development. Drafted 16th overall by Boston in 2008.

9. Aaron Ness, D – Minnesota Golden Gophers (WCHA):
Slick blueliner Ness will take his game to the big stage in Minnesota next season, where his offensive gifts and hockey IQ will be a great asset to the always dangerous Gophers. Drafted 40th overall by the New York Islanders in 2008.

10. Zac Dalpe, RW – Ohio State Buckeyes (CCHA): Though Dalpe seemed really amped about going to OSU, rumblings are still out there that he could bolt for Plymouth of the Ontario League. For the Buckeye’s sake, let’s hope it’s all bluster, because Dalpe has a boatload of skill. Drafted 45th overall by Carolina in 2008.

The Hot List, a weekly roundup of minor league, junior, college and high school players we’re excited to one day see in the NHL, appears every Tuesday, only on thehockeynews.com.

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