Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Recruit Update: USHL Part I

Wisconsin has 8 recruits in the USHL so I'm going to break this update up into two posts. We'll start w/ the young men on the Waterloo Black (Badger) Hawks, all of which will be joining the Badgers next season.

Tyler Barnes has spent the season w/ Waterloo getting his feet wet in the USHL. The Mr. Hockey finalist in MN started off the season strong, but has quieted down. Since Christmas, Tyler is 0-2-2, -4, w/ 0 PIM.

Overall Tyler's stats aren't bad for a rookie USHL season. He is 6-11-17, +5, w/ 22 PIM, 2 PP goals and a 14% shooting %age in 29 games. He is only 4 pts behind the #3 scorer on the team, as Waterloo has a slew of quality talent.

W/ a solid finish to the season, Tyler might hear his name in June at the NHL draft. Either way he'll be a nice addition to Wisconsin's forward corp next season.

Keegan Meuer is in the middle of his third season w/ Waterloo and is definately on track for his best season (only three pts shy of all of last season). In seven games since the break, he is 1-2-3, -4, w/ 2 PIM.

Through 31 games this season, Keegan is 5-16-21, +4, w/ 41 PIM, and 1-4-5 on the PP. He is tied for third on the team in scoring and assists.

I don't expect him to light the lamp early and often at Wisconsin, but he is going to the kinda player (like Patrick Johnson) that makes a team successful.

Similar to Keegan Meuer, Craig Smith is in his third season w/ Waterloo, and having a breakout year. In seven games since Christmas, Craig is 4-8-12, +1, w/ 8 PIM and 3 PP goals. His best performances were on 1/2 when he had 4 assists, and this past saturday when he notched 2 goals and an assist. Somehow in the latter game he wasn't 1st star, something smells fishy in Fargo...

Craig's played in a few less games (27) than most because of the Junior A Challenge, but still leads his team in every statisical catergory besides +/- where he is 2nd. His stats: 18-25-43, +18, 67 PIM, 16.8% shooting, and 7-9-16 on the PP. Overall he is 2nd in the USHL in pts, 3rd in goals, t-2nd in assists, t-4th in +/- and tied for 3rd in PP goals.

I think his season speaks for itself.

Unlike the BCHL, the USHL is about halfway home, w/ the regular season stretching until April (BCHL regular season ends next month). Right now Waterloo sits in 4th in the East Division w/ 41 pts, only 5 pts behind 1st place. The Black Hawks are also the highest scoring team in the league.

Also, Joe Pavelski's #8 will be retired by Waterloo this weekend. Pavs was a key part of the 2004 Clark Cup champions, where he captained the team and was later named USA Junior POY. Congrats to Joe!