Monday, April 14, 2008

Badger Recruit Recap: Aaron Crandall

This spring/summer I plan to do an update on every currently known UW committed recruit. (I'm going to try and do it alphabetically by last name if possible) I have no idea if that will be once a week or once a month, it all depends on my free time. The first recruit we profiled was Tyler Barnes from Burnsville high school in Minnesota. Todays profile is goaltender Aaron Crandall who played this season with Green Bay in the USHL.

Name: Aaron Crandall
Position: Goaltender
Team: Green Bay (USHL)
Commit date: 11/8/2007
Season entering Wisconsin: 2009
Height/Weight/Birth year: 6'/181/1990

Last Seasons Stats
Record: 5-21-2
Goals Against Average: 3.55
Save Percentage: .882

Numbers wise, last season for Aaron Crandall looks like an absolute disaster. And, as a Badger fan, it kind of makes you cringe a bit. Looking at it a little deeper, the Gamblers were the disaster, and Crandall just went along for the ride. Green Bay was the worst team in the USHL last season only registering 13 wins in 60 games. Scoring the least amount of goals in the league and giving up the most is not exactly a recipe for success.

Crandall is only a senior in high school this season. He left St. Thomas Academy after leading them to the State Tournament once again last season. As a Junior, Crandall had a .930 Save Percentage and a 1.513 GAA for the Cadet’s. As a Sophomore he took the Cadet’s all the way to the title and won the Class A Championship.

Crandall also has been recognized on an international level. He was selected last summer to represent the United States U-18 squad in an international competition in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. That team was chosen from the USA Select 17 festival. (NTDP players were not allowed to go)

Wisconsin is on a 2 year rotation for goaltenders which works out very well for goaltending coach Bill Howard’s, “break them down, build them back up” training style. Crandall will be entering for 2009 after Shane Connelly graduates. Wisconsin wasn’t Crandall’s only choice. Niagara had already offered for next season and Dartmouth and Princeton also wanted him for 2008. He had also according to Todd Milewski and Andy Baggot, talked to North Dakota, Minnesota (where he went on a visit), Michigan Tech, Quinnipiac, and Rensselaer.

The USHL did a sweet feature on Aaron this year that you can find here. He talks about what it was like to play high school hockey in Minnesota and the reason why he chose the University of Wisconsin.

While I’m linking things, here is a link to Chris Dilks blog after the 2007 State Hockey tournament. At that time he predicted that Crandall would be the best goaltender in the state of Minnesota in 2008. (Who knows if this would have been true since he went to the USHL)

One thing that Crandall has to look forward to this summer, (besides forgetting about how bad the Gamblers were this season) is the NHL draft. He is ranked as the #17 goaltender in North America. Committed to Wisconsin I wouldn’t be surprised to see an NHL team take a shot at him with the understanding he is going to have 4 years with Bill Howard.

McKeens Hockey had this to say about Crandall last fall before he committed to Wisconsin: Goaltender with quick pads and good flexibility .. has a quick and smooth lateral-pad-slide across the crease .. calculates the positioning of his pads and adjusts the angle to the ice as he reads the play .. easy to tell when he is ready for and anticipating a shot, as he gets into a compact stance, which allows him to butterfly quickly .. is not immune to laying a stick on attackers who interfere with him .. has not committed to a college .. (Fall Classic stats: 2 gp, .974 SvP).

Overall I am very excited about Aaron Crandall and can’t wait to see what he can do for Green Bay next season. Hopefully the Gamblers hire a good coach who can go out and get some quality players for Crandall. (Rumor has it former Gamblers assistant and current Houston Aero’s assistant Luke Strand is in the running) By the time 2009 rolls around Crandall should be a very solid backstop. Throw in a few years with Bill Howard and it will be a seamless transition from Connelly to Gudmandson to Crandall.

Oh yeah...and he can fight!


Other Badger Recruit Recaps:

Badger Recruit Recap: Tyler Barnes