Saturday, August 9, 2008

Recruit Speculation

Lately, I’ve been pondering future recruits who might commit to UW in the future. I’ve meant to post this site for a long time, so check out the College Hockey Recruit Exchange sometime. It’s an interesting website w/ perspective on the best available recruits, often broken down by Development Camp or USHL or what not.

A few names on those lists draw my attention. First would be Dman Aaron Harstad from Steven’s Point. Recently there were some comments from RLR on the Badger Blog about him, “An offensive defenseman with good skills. Likes to carry the puck out of the zone and head up ice. Is intelligent in his own end and with the puck. Tall and lanky, needs to put some more weight on his frame.” Sounds like he would be a good pickup for the Badgers for 2010. I would assume he will be on Team Wisconsin for the High School Hockey Elite League this Fall, so I should get to see him play in Verona next month.

Another name I wonder about is Sean Little, Freshman Ryan Little’s brother, a forward who spent last season w/ the Madison Capitals. I don’t know much about Sean, but he was at the Select 17 Development Camp this summer and selected for the Ivan Hlinka Tournament later this month. As one of the posts on the Exchange points out, almost everyone who played on the same team last year have either committed to college or went Major Junior. Sean should find a place, either committing to UW or somewhere else, in the near future.

Further down the page is forward Anders Lee who was the highest rated uncommitted player in the final Central Scouting rankings before the draft, but was not drafted. As Chuck reported a few months back, there is mutual interest between Anders and the Badgers, but he has not committed at this time. Anders will play for Team Southwest in the HS Hockey Elite League. Apparently he will be playing at Edina this year, since he doesn’t appear on the Green Bay Gamblers roster.

One of Anders’ teammates on Team Southwest, will be Max Gardiner, Jake Gardiner’s younger brother, who will be a sophomore this year at Minnetonka. Max also had a glowing scouting report from RLR, “Showed lots of raw skill here and we are projecting he'll be a high NHL pick in two years. Has great size, but (like Jake) needs to grow into his body in order to become a force. Played well every game and has drive to compete. Just scratching the surface of his vast potential.” I’m sure that coach Eaves and staff are talking to him already, and though he might be a 1 or 2 year player, I hope they land him for 2011. Max and Michael Mersch would be a great class all by themselves.

One last recruit to point out is Ross Henry, who the Exchange lists as the #2 uncommitted player in the USHL who could “at best star and at worst service in D1.” I discussed Ross w/ DPlaya of the HIW Blog. Sounds like one big weakness of Ross is sometimes he gets out of position because he wants he goes for the big hit, and forgets about the team. Sounds like something Coach Osiecki should be able to overcome w/ coaching. He is a possible replacement for the Defector (Patrick Wiercioch) in 2009 if we lose 3 defensemen to the pros. Wisconsin could also bring Chase Drake in early.

Lastly, I want to point everyone back to Chuck’s Wisconsin Recruit Map from a few months back. Chuck made some other predictions on there, and I kind of like the way he has that set up. I just glanced at it, still not sure where we have room for 5 forwards next year, but you never know who is going to leave early.

I remember last year following the HS Hockey Elite League there was a rash of commitments right after, I would expect the same this season.

Feel free to post any comments below if anyone has information to share on recruiting.