The USHL is tying up all the headlines this week. Monday they completed an expansion draft for the Youngstown franchise which moved from the NAHL to the USHL. Tuesday they held the futures draft for 1993 born players. Yesterday they completed the Entry draft which had a few familiar names you might be interested in.
The first familiar name is a name I didn't even bring up when I was doing my USHL draft preview. 2010 Wisconsin forward recruit Mark Zengerle was selected by the Fargo Force in the third round #33 overall. Zengerle has already proved that he's a bona-fide superstar in the BCHL which he absolutely tore up this past season. A move to the USHL would prove more of a challenge with better defenses and goaltending. The USHL game is much closer to the college hockey game than the BCHL is, and if I were Zengerle I'd definitely consider making this move. He has nothing left to prove in the BCHL.
The next player to go with connections to the program was another 2010 forward recruit Cody Strang. The Youngstown Phantoms, who selected Wisconsin natives Jefferson Dahl and David Donnellan in the expansion draft Monday, took the Madison native in the 5th round, pick #57 overall. Strang, who played last season for Madison Edgewood high school, was the winner of the 2009 Mr. Hockey award which is presented to the best high school hockey senior in the state of Wisconsin.
The very next pick after Strang was selected, the Sioux Falls Stampede stepped up to the podium (err computer) and took Springfield Jr. Blues forward Trent Frey. This isn't really a Badger connection but Frey is from River Falls and is a fantastic hockey player. I've personally gotten to see him play on more than 5 or 6 occasions and I've never been disappointed. Frey, who had an outstanding season rookie season for the Jr. Blues, is committed to Mercyhurst for 2010. After a season with a great coach in Sioux Falls Kevin Hartzel, Frey should be ready to make an immediate impact in the Laker lineup.
Another player that I figured would go was Madison Capitols forward Tyler Lundey. The defending Clark Cup Champion Indiana Ice continued their trend of selecting Wisconsin born players (they took Merill native Alex Racino and Verona native Joey Fiala Tuesday in the futures draft) by selecting Lundey in the 12th round. Lundey, a 5'10, 170 lb forward from Middleton had 71 points in 69 games this season for the Capitols. Lundey has been in contact with the Badgers and is also considering Denver, Minnesota Duluth, and the Air Force Academy.
Team Wisconsin U-16 forward Russell Blaser was selected by the Tri-City Storm in the 12th round, number 156 overall. Blaser, who plays his winter hockey with the Monona Grove high school team, was a member of Team Wisconsin minors who went to Nationals this spring. To be perfectly honest with you, I don't know a thing about the kid and didn't see this pick coming. I'm not knocking him, because I've never seen him, but I'm just wondering if this pick was really worth it. He's a junior and he played with TW minor last year. That doesn't exactly scream USHL draft to me. But to each his own I suppose.
The Indiana Ice went back to Wisconsin to find a defenseman in the 15th round. They selected Milwaukee Jr. Admirals defensman Jarrod Rabey with the 193rd pick in the draft. This is another pick that surprises me. Not that Rabey isn't deserving of this selection, but the thing that surprises me is that Rabey not only isn't the best defenseman on his own club, but there is a better '92 defenseman on that club in Joe Delgadillo. Also, I'm not trying to make fun of the kid, but he's listed at 240 lbs and unless your Derek Boogard, you can't play in the USHL at that wieght.
In arguably the most shocking move in the history of the United States Hockey League, the Chicago Steel set a new precedent by selecting goaltender Alex Rigsby of the Milwaukee Jr. Admirals in the 16th round. The big deal? Rigsby is a woman. Rigsby, who is from Hartland, is committed to play goaltender for the lady Badgers in the 2010 season. She has already played for Badger women's coach Mark Johnson. She was a key member of Team USA, who was coached by Johnson, that won gold this winter playing in the U-18 championships. Rigsby was named the best goaltender in the tournament.
Honestly, I thought there would be a few more kids selected. I figured Ryan Belonger and C.J. Eick would be locks to go in the draft. Belonger is considering playing his senior season with Team Wisconsin majors if he doesn't make a USHL roster. Like I already mentioned as well, I thought that Jose Delgadillo would be selected. I'm also surprised that all of the Team Wisconsin senior forwards like Wauters, Westmark, Johnson, Treddinick, and Dalbec were all passed over.