Monday, September 1, 2008

HF's Top 20 Prospects, Fall 2008

Below are the Badgers' write-ups in the Top Prospects articles. You can also find their full HF profiles by clicking on their names.

Anaheim Ducks:
#3 Jake Gardiner, D (2nd-ranked defensive prospect)
Acquired: Drafted 17th overall in 2008

The first of five 2008 selections to make an appearance on the Ducks Top 20, Anaheim traded down twice in the first round to select Jake Gardiner. Considered one of the top players in the renowned Minnesota high school hockey program, it’s amazing to consider that Gardiner has only played defense for a single season. Despite his position on the back end, it is clear that creating offensive opportunities isn’t far from his mind. In 25 games with Minnetonka High School, Gardiner scored 16 goals and had 43 points.

Set to start at the University of Wisconsin for the 2008-09 season, Gardiner will benefit from the extra time afforded to him via the NCAA route. Although he’s plenty skilled, there are still rough edges that need to be smoothed out. With a little patience, Anaheim could have a real gem on its hands.
# 16 Justin Schultz, D (6th-ranked defensive prospect)
Acquired: Drafted 43rd overall in 2008

Playing for the Westside Warriors during the 2007-08 season, Schultz is the first player ever drafted out of the BCHL by the Anaheim Ducks. Committed to attend the University of Wisconsin for the 2009-10 season, Schultz will join fellow 2008 Ducks pick Gardiner there.

An offensively talented blue liner, Schultz pairs great skating ability with solid decision-making and in just a single season he already stood out as one of the top defensemen in the BCHL, being named Defenseman of the Year for the Interior Conference. In 57 games, he marked 40 points and he looks set to do even more damage in the 2008-09 season.
Other notables: Nick Pryor, D

Carolina Hurricanes:
#4 Jamie McBain, D (top-ranked defensive prospect)
Height: 6’2 • Weight: 197 • Age: 20

Through no fault of his own, McBain falls two spots from the fall rankings. It’s easy to forget that McBain has only two seasons at the University of Wisconsin under his belt because he has shouldered responsibility beyond his years with the Badgers. McBain exhibited his talents at Carolina’s prospect camp — a combination of size and skill that every NHL team craves. He will return to Wisconsin for his junior season.

Phoenix Coyotes
#1 Kyle Turris, C
1st round, 3rd – 2007, 19, 6’2, 170

For obvious reasons, Turris has a stranglehold on the Coyotes top spot. After a one and done season with the University of Wisconsin, Turris’ sole focus remains on the Coyotes and the NHL. The talented centerman brings an equal amount of speed and skill. He is currently slotted to be the team’s second line centerman, where he’ll be matched with skill and size. Expect Turris to be in the hunt for the Calder Trophy right out of the gates.

Chicago Blackhawks:
#5 Jack Skille, RW
6’1, 205 pounds
Drafted Round 1, 7th Overall, 2005
Born: May 19, 1987

Skille is best known for his speed, blistering shot, strength and contact game. Some see him as a top-six forward based on his offensive talent alone. However, his style of play and lethargic defense could reduce his role to something less than this. Unlike Brouwer, who can create scoring chances regardless of those around him, Skille is highly dependent on his linemates. Fortunately, Chicago has the playmakers to compliment Skille’s game.
Other notables: Jake Dowell, C

St. Louis Blues:
Other notables: Travis Erstad, C

Florida Panthers:
Other notables: Zach Bearson, F -- His HF profile was updated Aug 25, 2008, but apparently they missed the memo that he's no longer playing with the Badgers.