Head coach Ted Donato '91 added a notable recruiting class to a strong group of experienced veterans (photo courtesy jjmillerdesign.com).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.-The Harvard men's hockey team has the nation's No. 5 freshman class, according to the Inside College Hockey recruiting rankings, released Wednesday.
INCH also named Leblanc the top freshman forward in the country. INCH named its top 20 forwards, defensemen and goaltenders. Leblanc was followed in the rankings by Kyle Palmeiri of Notre Dame, Chris Kreider of Boston College, Riley Sheahan of Notre Dame and Drew Shore of Denver.
Leblanc is the first player from outside the WCHA to garner selection as INCH's top freshman forward. Previous honorees are Minnesota's Phil Kessel (2005), Kyle Okposo (2006) and Jordan Schroeder (2008); North Dakota's Brady Murray (2003) and Travis Zajac (2004) and Wisconsin's Kyle Turris (2007).
A 2009 first-round draft pick of his hometown Montreal Canadiens, Leblanc is just one part of the Crimson's standout freshman class. The group also includes forwards Marshall Everson, Alex Fallstrom, Luke Greiner, Conor Morrison and David Valek and defensemen Danny Biega and Brendan Rempel.
Fallstrom was a fourth-round pick of the Minnesota Wild, while Biega has been named an "A" prospect by National Hockey League Central Scouting. Rempel and Valek won an under-18 world title with Team USA. Fallstrom and Greiner helped lead Shattuck-St. Mary's School to a USA Hockey national title. Morrison represented Germany in the IIHF World Junior Championships, and Everson and his Edina High School classmates were featured in Sports Illustrated earlier this year.
Harvard's class was the highest-ranked of any team in ECAC Hockey, and only Boston College, at No. 3, was ranked higher among Eastern schools. Notre Dame was listed as the top freshman class, with Denver second and Minnesota at No. 4. Boston University, St. Cloud State, North Dakota, Rensselaer and Michigan rounded out the top 10 classes.
The Crimson's freshman class will see its first competitive action in a home exhibition game Oct. 23 against McGill. Harvard opens its 110th season Oct. 30 at Dartmouth.