Saturday, September 20, 2008

Men's Player Previews: #20 Ryan Little

Vitals:

Position: Defenseman
Year in School: Freshman
Shoots Left
Height: 5-11
Weight: 178
Hometown: Fond du Lac, WI (grew up in Jackson Hole, WY)
Previous Team: Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)

NHL Considerations: None at this time.

07/08 Stats: 58 games, 2-13-15, -21, 100 PIM
06/07 Stats: 59 games, 4-9-13, +4, 76 PIM

08/09 Role: 3rd EV pairing, 2nd PK Pairing

07/08 Recap: Ryan finished a successful stint w/ the Green Bay Gamblers by serving as team Captain, being named to the USHL All-Star team and being named the team's hardest worker. I wouldn't let his stats last season fool you, Ryan played for a very poor Gamblers team. I was fortunate enough to see him play one game last season. He doesn't do anything flashy, but he is a solid player who does a good job in his own end. He does take a lot of penalty, which is something he'll have to work on as he grows as a Badger.

08/09 Thoughts: Ryan joins a crowded blue line who has a lot of early draft picks who are going to eat up a good portion of the playing time. One advantage that Ryan would have over Craig Johnson or Eric Springer for playing time, is that he is more of a defensive defensman, something this team is in short supply of. While he might not play a big role in this season's team, down the road he will be one of the foundations one the blue line, as there is a good chance Ryan sees all four years in Madison. I wouldn't be surprised to see him wear captain's letter at some point too, but I'm getting ahead of myself and right now Ryan will spend his freshman season getting use to the WCHA. Having played the better part of three seasons in the USHL should help his transition.

Prediction: 20 games, 1-3-4

Photo from uwbadgers.com