If you've been on a few of SB Nation's hockey blogs, you have probably seen a Top 25 Under 25 ranking before now. For those who haven't, it's pretty self-explanatory: a ranking of the 25 best players in the organization under the age of 25. My cutoff day for the rankings is September 15th, the day the current CBA is set to expire.
Rather than list the top 20 prospects on the team, I believe a top 25 under 25 ranking gives a better view of how good the pipeline is, rather than a conventional top 20 ranking. And with the threat of a lockout still looming, a top 20 ranking this season will be too similar to next season, for my taste.
So to begin, number 25 is Michigan Wolverine forward Zach Hyman.
Position: C ▪ Shoots: Right
Height: 6-0 ▪ Weight: 194 lbs.
Born: June 9, 1992 (Age 20) in Toronto, ON
Draft: Florida, 5th round (123rd overall), 2010
The 2010-11 CJHL Player of the Year kicked off his college career with a whimper rather than a bang, due in large part to developing a stronger emphasis on dual-zone play, as Hyman collected only nine points in 41 games with the University of Michigan. However, he previously scored 214 career points in 141 games with the Hamilton Red Wings of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. In 2009-10 he was named captain and led Hamilton in scoring for the next two seasons.
Hyman is a project player; thanks to his time in the CJHL and limited ice he received early in his freshman year, it's hard to get an accurate idea as to how good a prospect Hyman will be based on the small sample of work after a single year in school. He does have good size and athleticism, as well as a rapidly evolving two-way game. But until that scoring translates to the NCAA, his future is up in the air.
With the loss of Wolverines scorers David Wohlberg (NJD) and Chris Brown (PHO), long-time Michigan head coach Red Berenson will provide for better opportunities and expanded ice time to Hyman, a luxury he didn't enjoy in 2011-12. Can the former 1.52 point per game player produce at a higher level as a sophomore? We'll find out next season.