Monday, January 19, 2009

New Poll Question: 2009 recruiting class

W/ the Badgers on bye during the upcoming weekend, I thought it would be a good week to devote to catching up on the young men who will be wearing the Cardinal and White in the future.

A good place to start is w/ next season's recruiting class. Six players have signed National Letters of Intent and a total of seven are thought to be coming in next Fall. Andy Baggot has a blog post about next year's recruiting class and how unlike past seasons, Wisconsin is not ranked by Red Line Report. RLR is strongly weighted in NHL potential, and until past seasons there are no 1st rounders coming in next season. The Badgers do have one 2nd round pick already in Justin Schutlz, and a few others could be drafted in June, but nothing like past seasons. Baggot also notes that the Badgers are actively recruiting Dylan Olsen who plays in the AJHL and sounds like a great blue liner. Despite not having a lot of draft picks, most of these players will join the Badgers 19 years of age or older, and I think overall they will be a great class of college hockey players.

Of these seven players, which player are you most looking forward to seeing on the ice next October. Feel free to leave a comment if you'd like.

Option #1 - F Tyler Barnes, the Burnsville, MN native currently plays w/ the Waterloo Black Hawks and is adjusting to the USHL after being a Mr. Hockey finalist last season. He is currently ranked #137 at the mid term by NHL Central Scouting. Sounds like Tyler has a great skill set, just needs to get stronger.

Option #2 - G Aaron Crandall, he currently minds the net w/ Des Moines in the USHL after being traded from Green Bay at the start of the season. Aaron went from one crappy team to another, and I think his real talent is not shown through yet. Mike Valley might have his work cut out, but it sounds like Aaron has all the raw talent.

Option #3 - F Derek Lee, stats wise the small forward is having a down year over in the BCHL compared to last season. His team the Victoria Grizzles are doing well though, and I think Derek will step right in and contribute to the Badgers. I've heard him compared to Ryan Lasch and/or Garrett Roe of St. Cloud.

Option #4 - F Keegan Meuer, having watching him play earlier in the season, he reminds me some of Patrick Johnson. Keegan gives it his best effort every shift and doesn't have a problem mixing it up and talking some smack. He can score a few goals too, and being the nephew of Badger alums, doesn't hurt either.

Option #5 - D John Ramage, currently playing w/ the USNTDP, John is going to bring something to the Badgers I feel is sorely needed: a stay at home defensemen who has a booming slapshot and some offensive upside. Since his commitment to UW, I have not heard a bad thing about this kid. A real steal this late in the recruiting process.

Option #6 - D Justin Schultz, as mentioned Justin was a 2nd round pick of the Anaheim Ducks in the 2008 NHL Draft. He is currenlty 3rd in the BCHL in defensemen scoring, and only 2 points off his season pts total from last year in 19 less games. He has missed a lot of games this season due to the Junior A Challenge and injury, but when he's on the ice he appears to be kicking ass. Should be a next replacement for All-American Candidate McBain, if replacing him is possible.

Option #7 - F Craig Smith, the Madison native will return home to don the Cardinal and White, and after the season he is having in the USHL, people are going to be excited. In his third season, Craig is tied for 2nd in the league in scoring, though he missed several games due to the Junior A Challenge where he captained Team USA, won gold and was named to the all-tourney team. Everything has come together for Craig.