When I heard the news last night that Jefferson Dahl had committed to the University of Wisconsin for 2010 I was absolutely elated. As some of you know I am from Eau Claire as well so this commitment hits a little closer to home than most. While I grew up on the other side of the river, Eau Claire Memorial stand out Jefferson Dahl has been one of my favorite hockey players for the past 6 plus years. I've gotten to know him and his family quite well and he and his family have been some of the nicest people I have ever met.
You know his accomplishments: 2008 Wisconsin Mr. Hockey, Team Captain of the 2008 undefeated and state champion Eau Claire Memorial Old Abes, member of the 2008 chicago showcase champion Team Wisconsin, and thats just the start. I'm much more happy to have a recruit that is as good of a person that Jefferson Dahl is. It's rare that you meet a high school kid that is as respectful, mature, and personable as Dahl. While he may never earn a pay check playing hockey, (he very well may some day) I have no doubts that he will be successful in whatever avenue he pursues professionally.
Wisconsin hockey fans will get a good look at Jefferson the next 2 seasons as he plays for the Green Bay Gamblers. There isn't a doubt in my mind that if he isn't captain sometime next season he will be in year 2. It's just the person that he is not only as a leader in the locker room but a leader on the ice.
Jefferson reminds me a lot of Garrett Roe when I watch him play. Maybe it's a little to do with the size. (Roe is 5'8 160, Dahl is 5'9 165) More I think it has to do with his ability to see the ice and see the play happening before it does. He's not going to take that straight line bull rush you way to the net in the way that Jack Skille plays, but his ability to maybe circle back and allow his teammates to come into the play and get themselves open is something that can't be taught. Being a smaller player he has done a very good job of learning to control the puck while taking contact. He's very good when in the corners with bigger stronger players. He'll never be confused with Matt Ford in terms of shot velocity, but he's very quick with it and always puts him self in good shooting lanes and is very good at hitting his spots. His play making ability is probably ahead of his goal scoring ability at this point but hes no slouch lighting the lamp. I think one thing that gets over looked is his ability to draw penalties. He's a greasy player and that sometimes gets confused with diving. While he's not a diver I don't know if another player in the state drew more penalties. Getting your team power play opportunities is something that shouldn't be over looked in my opinion.
Overall this looks like a great fit for everyone. I wasn't sure if Jefferson would wait the two years it was going to take to come to Wisconsin once I found out he was willing to do that it was a no brainer. Like I said hes a very, very good hockey player and 2 years in the USHL will be absolutely phenomenal for him. He will take his lumps like every one does but he will do fine there. Add in the fact that he is one of the best people I have ever met and the match with him and UW looks pretty damn good to me.