Friday, September 19, 2008

Men's Player Previews: #19 Jake Gardiner

Vitals:

Position: Defenseman
Year in School: Freshman
Shoots Left
Height: 6-2
Weight: 182
Hometown: Minnetonka, MN
Previous Team: Minnetonka HS

NHL Considerations: 1st Round pick (2008) of the Anaheim Ducks.

07/08 Stats: 25 games, 20-28-48
06/07 Stats: ? games, 10-22-32

08/09 Role: 2nd or 3rd EV pairing, 1st PP pairing

07/08 Recap: Last season Jake switched to defenseman and his game went to a new level, while his stock in the NHL draft skyrocketed. Jake was considered one of the best skaters in the entire draft. During his final season in HS, Jake led Minnetonka HS to the sectional finals and was named All-Metro POY, along w/ being a finalist for the 2008 Mr. Hockey award. His rising draft stock landed him w/ the Anaheim Ducks w/ the #16 overall pick. During the summer of 2007 Jake skated w/the U18 team at the Ivan Hlinka tourney in the Czech Republic and he attending the World Junior development camp this past summer.

08/09 Thoughts: W/ Jake's addition to the Badger blue line, there are now three 1st round picks and two 2nd round picks who be taking regular shifts for the Cardinal and White on defense. Before his switch to defensman, he was a pretty good forward, but he brings a ton of offensive upside to his new position. That same upside is also his biggest weakness. He should be solid in helping to run and improve the powerplay, but I think its safe to say Jake has some room to grow in the defensive end of the ice. His progression on that side of the rink will go a long way to determine how successful his season will be. Luckily, Coach Osiecki will be mentoring him and honing that part of his game.

Prediction: 30 games, 4-12-16

Photo from uwbadgers.com