The University of Michigan announced Monday that the team has received National Letters of Intent from two forwards and three defensemen for the 2010-11 campaign.
Jacob Fallon (Southlake, Texas) and Luke Moffatt (Paradise Valley, Ariz.) are forwards for the U.S. National Team Development Program. Two of the three defensemen also hail from the U.S. NTDP -- Kevin Clare (New Rochelle, N.Y.) and Jon Merrill (Brighton, Mich.). Defenseman Mac Bennett (Narragansett, R.I.) plays for the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Roughriders of the United States Hockey League.
Bennett (5-11, 168) has a goal and three assists in 10 games for the Roughriders. The rearguard missed a handful of Cedar Rapids games in early November while skating for Team USA at the 2009 World Junior 'A' Challenge. Bennett helped the Americans win the gold medal and was named to the tournament all-star team, posting one assist in five games. Bennett was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the third round (79th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He spent the 2008-09 season as an alternate captain at the Hotchkiss School (Conn.), where he had a 2-11-13 line in 15 games due to an injury-shortened season.
Clare (6-1, 202) is in his second season with the U.S. NTDP. A member of the Under-18 Team this year, he has two goals, one assist and 37 penalty minutes in 22 games. Clare accumulated six goals and 12 assists in 66 games with the U.S. Under-17 Team in 2008-09. He served as the team captain during the first half of the year.
Fallon (5-10, 184) has yet to play during the 2009-10 season, though he is a member of the U.S. NTDP. Last year with the U.S. Under-17 Team, he racked up 17 goals and 27 assists for 44 points. Five of his goals and three of his assists came at the 2009 World Under-17 Challenge.
Merrill (6-3, 200) has four goals -- all on the power play -- and 10 assists with eight penalty minutes through 22 games with the U.S. NTDP Under-18 team. Merrill split time between the U.S. Under-17 and Under-18 Teams in 2008-09, contributing three goals and five assists over 43 games between the two squads. Ultimately, he helped Team USA win the gold medal at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship. Merrill was rated the No. 7 prospect among his USHL/U.S. NTDP peers by the NHL Central Scouting Service's preliminary rankings on Nov. 17.
Moffatt (6-0, 179) has scored three goals and added seven assists for 10 points in 22 games with the U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team this fall. He notched 21 goals and 20 assists over 67 games as a member of the U.S. Under-17 Team in 2008-09. Moffatt was rated No. 13 in the USHL/U.S. NTDP category by the NHL CSS preliminary rankings last week.
Additionally, Clare, Merrill and Moffatt contributed to Team USA's first-place showing at the 2009 Four Nations Cup in Finland in October.
Goaltender Jack Campbell, who had verbally committed to Michigan, instead withdrew his commitment, did not sign his NLI and will play in the Ontario Hockey League next season with Windsor.
The Wolverines will graduate five players from their 2009-10 roster: forwards Anthony Ciraulo, Brian Lebler and defensemen Eric Elmblad, Steve Kampfer and Chris Summers.
Photos courtesy USA Hockey