Friday, April 17, 2009

Which recruit had the best season?

Time for a new poll question to whittle away some time in the off season. Most of the Badger recruits are already done for the season, but a few are still alive in the USHL and elsewhere. Several young men had outstanding seasons for their respective junior team or high school. But who was the best?

F Craig Smith - The Madison native totaled 28-48-76 in 54 regular season games. This was good enough for a tie for 2nd in pts and 2nd in assists, and 4th in +/- (+32) league wide. He led his team in most categories and was Captain of those Waterloo Black Hawks most of the season. Smith also was a key part to Team USA's success at the World Junior A Challenge. He was named to USHL 1st Team following the season.

G Brett Bennett - The transfer from Boston U was the backstop to the Indiana Ice's successful regular season. Brett played in 54 games and went 35-17-2 w/ 4 shutouts. He by far logged the most ice time of any goalie in the USHL and led the league in wins. He was 7th in GAA w/ 2.59 and was t-4th in save % at 0.910. He joined Smith as a 1st Team USHL selection.

D Justin Schultz - For the second consecutive season Justin was named the top defensemen in the Interior Conference of the BCHL. He once again led the Westside Warriors to the playoffs totaling 15-35-50 in 49 games from the blue line. For defensemen, that point total was t-4th, though he led all defensemen in pts/game. Justin was drafted last summer by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2nd round.

F Mark Zengerle - 1st Star committed to the Badgers during the season and then proceeded to tear up the BCHL. The 1st Star nickname is fitting as he earned the honor over and over in games for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. He finished the season 2nd in the BCHL in scoring w/ 31-62-93 in 54 games. He led the league in assists and pts/game. 1st Star was named MVP of the Interior Conference for his efforts.

F - Tyler Lapic - The 2010 recruit finished out his MN HS career w/ a spectacular season w/ New Prague HS. In 27 games, Tyler was 25-45-70 and +9. He was named as of the finalist his state's Mr. Hockey award. His stock continues to remain steady on the NHL Central Scouting List as he sits 114 in the final report. Tyler will be playing in the USHL next season, likely for the Omaha Lancers who currently have his rights.

F - Cody Strang - Following an outstanding season at Madison Edgewood, Cody was named WI's Mr. Hockey. In 23 games, he tallied 39-37-76 and led his team to the Regional Final before being upset by Verona. I was able to see him play a few times w/ Team Wisconsin and I look forward to Cody's progression in juniors the next few seasons as he faces stiffer competition and builds up his strength.

Following this poll, we'll take a look at some Badgers who had great seasons, but are making the big $$$ in the NHL doing it. See which alumni had the best pro season.