Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wisconsin Recruiting: Early Signing Period

With a rather large senior class this season, and the prospects that numerous underclassmen may bolt to the NHL, a lot has been made about what UW is going to do with the early signing period that began November 11th.

First of all, I'd just like to point out that the early signing period is stupid. Let me rephrase, signing periods are stupid. And more to the point, the NCAA is stupid.

Regardless of that, these are the players that can be confirmed so far that Wisconsin will be signing during the early signing period.

Chase Drake-Defenseman, Sioux City (USHL)

Drake is a slick, smooth skating defenseman from Mosinee who has spent the past year and a half playing for the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL. Drakes skating ability should be a big asset in his favor in making the transition from junior hockey to the WCHA. He still has things to work on in his own end of the ice but should be a solid player for Wisconsin.

Rating= 2.5 stars

Jefferson Dahl-Forward, Youngstown (USHL)

Dahl is a smaller forward but he's a pest that you always want on your team. He's very talented with the puck and has the ability to create plays for his teammates. The Eau Claire native can be looked upon as a leader, a good guy in the community, and could evolve in my opinion to be an outstanding college hockey player when it's all said and done.

Rating= 2.5 stars

Sean Little-Forward, Green Bay (USHL)

Little, like his older brother (Wisconsin defenseman Ryan Little) is an all out, balls to the walls physical player. Little has been known to be a bit of a scrapper so far in his USHL career. His offensive statistics have been more underwhelming than what was expected of him, but every team needs a forward who's not afraid to make a big hit similar to a player like Ben Grotting.

Rating= 1.5 stars

Tyler Barnes-Forward, Waterloo (USHL)

It seems like Barnes committed forever and a day ago (October, 07). A lot was made about Barnes being pushed back a year due to the fact that projected departures (Mitchell and Geoffrion), ended up staying. Barnes has handled it in stride and is having an absolute monster year so far in the USHL. Should be able to step in and immediately contribute next season.

Rating= 3 stars

Mark Zengerle-Forward, Salmon Arm (BCHL)

The highlight of this class is hands down Salmon Arm forward Mark Zengerle. Once again, (and no shock to anyone) Zengerle is leading the British Columbia Hockey League in scoring. Zengerle is an absolute stud in the offensive zone. The 5'11 right hander has upped his scoring output this season from a league best 1.7 points per game last season, to a league best 2.2 this season. Zengerle has taken it upon himself to evolve as a player this season.

Rating= 4.5 stars

Keep in mind, these are only players that have been confirmed by either myself, or other sources (Dplaya confirmed Little, Baggot confirmed Barnes and Zengerle, WEAU in Eau Claire confirmed Dahl, and I'm obviously confirming Drake) at this time.

Wisconsin, by being a Big Ten member (yes it still applies to hockey), must be able to show a recruit on a letter of intent EXACTLY how much money is available to them instead of just promising it to them like every other school in the nation without Big Ten ties. Therefore, UW is handcuffed a bit in the fact that some players who have committed for next season are going to have to wait until the spring to sign.

For example, a player like Frankie Simonelli, who is committed to UW for next season may have to wait until the spring to sign because maybe he was promised the scholarship money that Ryan McDonagh is receiving. McDonagh, being a junior (even though everyone and thier mother knows he'll be in a Rangers uniform next season), is still looked at by the Big 10 as a player coming back until he officially leaves. Keep in mind that was just an example, I have no idea what Simonelli was promised.

What I'm trying to say, is that you shouldn't be shocked or concerned if committed players like Simonelli, Michael Mersch, etc etc don't end up signing in the early signing period. Those players are big scholarship players and UW, by following Big 10 rules, might have to wait until things are official in the spring. Hence my reason that signing periods are stupid.

When It's all said and done, I expect the official UW freshman class of 2010-2011 to look like this (Star rating in parenthesis) :


Tyler Barnes-Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL)-Burnsville, MN (3)
Jefferson Dahl-Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)-Eau Claire, WI (2.5)
Gavin Hartzog-Fargo Force (USHL)-Milwaukee, WI (2)
Tyler Lapic-Omaha Lancers (USHL)-New Prague, MN (3)
Sean Little-Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)-Fond du Lac, WI (1.5)
Michael Mersch-USA NTDP (U18)-Park Ridge, IL (4)
Matt Paape-Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)-Appleton, WI (4)
Mark Zengerle-Salmon Arm Silverbacks (BCHL)-Rochester, NY (4.5)


Chase Drake-Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)-Mosinee, WI (2.5)
Frankie Simonelli-USA NTDP (U18)-Bensenville, IL (4)