Monday, September 1, 2008

Recruit Recap: Travis Erstad

This summer I plan to do a recap of every current committed recruit. While I have been slacking on this so far this summer, I still plan to try to get every recruit done in the next few months (or so). The first recruit that we profiled was forward Tyler Barnes from Burnsville. We've covered goaltender Aaron Crandall who is from Lakeville, MN and played for Green Bay last season. (He got traded to Des Monies in the off-season) We've also covered Jefferson Dahl, 2008 Wisconsin Mr. Hockey award winner from state champion Eau Claire Memorial who will play for Green Bay next season. Most recently we previewed Chase Drake from Mosinee, Wisconsin who will be a teammate of Dahl's in Green Bay for the upcoming 2008-2009 season. Today we take a look at Travis Erstad formerly of Stevens Point who plays for the Lincoln Stars in the United States Hockey League.

Name: Travis Erstad
Position: Forward
2008 Team: Lincoln Stars (USHL)
2009 Team: Lincoln Stars (USHL)
Commit date: 10/15/2007
Season entering Wisconsin: 2009
Height/Weight/Birth year: 6'4/185/1988
NHL Draft Status: 2007 St. Louis Blues, 4th Round, 100th Overall

Last Seasons Stats

Games: 52
Goals: 9
Assists: 10
Points: 19
Plus/Minus: -10

By far the tallest recruit Wisconsin has lined up, Travis Erstad is looking to have a monster season as he wraps up his USHL career. Erstad is originally from Madison and moved to Stevens Point with his mom before high school. While at SPASH, he was one of the best forwards the school has ever seen. (No disrespect to Joe Pavelski) He teamed up with Pavelski's brother Scott to form one of the top forward lines the state of Wisconsin has ever seen. (Scott is currently a forward with the Waterloo Black Hawks) While at Stevens Point Erstad guided his squad to the State Tournament his Junior and Senior seasons. After being eliminated from the tournament his senior year, Erstad joined the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League for the final 11 games of the season and the playoffs. Last year he continued with the Lincoln Stars and put up 19 points in 52 games.

Erstad is a prospect who has the opportunity to be a special forward when he enters the University of Wisconsin. 19 points last season in 52 games for Lincoln is somewhat of a disappointment considering the talent of Erstad. He is very tall and very lean, (6'4, 185) and moves very well for his size. His biggest knock is his lack of physicality on the ice. I'm sure this was the biggest factor moving from Wisconsin high school hockey to the USHL. At times during high school games he could get away from shying away from contact and just skating around everyone. Obviously you can't get away with that in a league like the USHL. For his size, he controls the puck extremely well. Once he learns to play to the contact, and with his skills with the puck there is no doubt he will be a productive forward in the USHL.

If I were to compare him to anyone, I would compare him to an advanced John Mitchell. Not just because of the size but because of the raw talent. I feel that Travis still has a great chance to play in the NHL once he fills out at Wisconsin and learns the defensive side of the game. St. Louis has an excellent scouting department and they took a 4th round pick on him so you know that they are high on him already. The strength and conditioning program at Wisconsin has done wonders for John Mitchell and will turn Erstad into a great player at UW.

Like I said earlier, expect Erstad to have breakout season in the USHL this winter. I expect him to average a point per game for Lincoln. There is no doubt that the talent is there and as long as he plays like he can, he will be one of the top forwards in the league. There are no excuses, It's his time to shine.

Tyler Barnes recap

Aaron Crandall recap
Jefferson Dahl recap
Chase Drake recap