The Michigan Wolverines have a long list of NHL alumni that have blossomed into all-stars and impact players. Few college programs can claim to be more of a factory for professional talent than the maize and gold of the Wolverines. While the 2012 draft class is not stocked with the amount of Michigan talent past season can lay claim to, Phillip Di Giuseppe appears to be the next name to join the list of Wolverines’ NHL alumni.
Phil Di Giuseppe barely scratched the surface of his NCAA career during his freshman season in Ann Arbor as he finished sixth in team scoring and had his minutes progress as the season went along. When he returns to Michigan in 2012-13, he is lined up to be one of the top players in all of American collegiate hockey.
Position: Left Wing
Born: October 9, 1993
What people in the know know
Some will classify Di Giuseppe as a “pure-scorer”. And while there is no doubt that he can put the puck into net, there is far more to his game than just scoring goals. He is equally adept as a playmaker. Two areas that set Di Giuseppe apart from many other freshmen are his tremendous hockey instincts and his ability to cycle pucks down low. He thinks the game extremely well and has a low panic point. Di Giuseppe is also quite good not only around the net but along the boards and corners as well. He sees the ice and follows/supports plays really well too. Di Giuseppe possesses great poise and patience with the puck, and his decision-making is very good.
Phil Di Giuseppe scored 26 points (11 goals, 15 assists) during his freshman year with the Wolverines. He was named CCHA Rookie of the Month in October, posting nine points in his first eight collegiate games, and eventually earned an invite to Team Canada’s selection camp for the World Junior tournament. While some scouts classify Di Giuseppe as a pure scorer, his hockey instincts and playmaking abilities are what set him apart from other freshmen in his league.
True freshmen in their first year of draft eligibility – you’ll only find a handful each year – which gives Di Giuseppe a bit of an advantage when it comes to bird-dog brownie points.
“You give him credit for playing against older competition,” said one scout. “And he wasn’t just a player. He had a good impact on that team.”
The latest Toronto-area product with Italian roots to shoot down the pipeline to Ann Arbor (forbearers include Andrew Cogliano and Mike Cammalleri, whose father is friends with the freshman’s dad), Di Giuseppe didn’t look like a newbie at Yost Arena. The youngster was a presence around the net and finished sixth in team scoring. Di Giuseppe was also a standout at Team Canada’s final national junior camp, but was ultimately cut.
“He’s a skilled player, a competitive kid,” the scout said. “What’s impressive is that his role at Michigan increased as the year went on.”
When you consider the merits of Di Giuseppe’s production against older players in a tough rung of NCAA hockey it’s hard not to see his potential in the NHL. He’ll never be the biggest guy or the strongest guy but he certainly has the wherewithal to compete and find a way to produce.
There are plenty of teams who prefer drafting from the NCAA – the New Jersey Devils, for example – and I fully expect Di Giuseppe to go in the first round of the draft.