Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hockeys Future NCAA Prospects Update

Hockey's Future is doing a series of updates on NHL teams college hockey prospects. Hockey's Future is one of the best resources on the net for following NHL prospects. We're still waiting on the profiles for five other players. When they become available we'll post them as well.

Cody Goloubef:

Chris Roberts has recently profiled the Columbus Blue Jackets who own the rights of Badgers Junior defenseman Cody Goloubef.

"Known primarily as a quiet defenseman possessing a sound defensive game in his first two seasons of collegiate hockey, Goloubef has been involving himself on the offensive side of the ice more frequently this season. He recorded a career high of 13 points in 36 games last season, and in just 22 games this season he’s almost matched that total with 12 points. His ability to move the puck up the ice and jump in on the rush has improved, and he already has a career high in assists with nine.

Goloubef is seeing top minutes on defense on a team that boasts a trio of first round picks on the blue line in Brendan Smith (DET), Ryan McDonagh (NYR) and Jake Gardiner (ANA). Add in John Ramage, an important piece to the United States’ blue line at the WJC, and Goloubef has been an important part of one of the top defense corps in the nation. He is currently tied for the team lead with a +16 rating as his defensive game continues to flourish as well."

Jake Gardiner:

Kyle Kujawa has recently profiled the Anaheim Ducks who own the rights of Badgers Sophomore defenseman Jake Gardiner and freshman defenseman Justin Schultz.

"After a promising rookie season, Gardiner’s game has taken a step back this season. He’s produced only three points in 20 games on the season after 21 as a freshman. A big part of the lack of production has to do with Gardiner being slotted into more of a defensive role. Brendan Smith (DET) receives most of the power-play minutes, so Gardiner is focused more on the defensive end of the ice.

The smooth-skating defenseman will likely step into that role if Smith turns professional after the season, as expected. From a development standpoint, it’s a move that could pay off for Gardiner, as he converted to defense from forward while in high school.

Gardiner won gold at the World Junior Championship with the United States. Gardiner started the tournament as one of the three defensemen rotated in and out of the last pairing, but gradually earned more ice time as the tournament progressed. His +9 rating was tied for the best on the team. He also added three assists in seven games."

Justin Schultz:

"One of the more pleasant surprises in the system is the play of the Schultz. Playing on a Wisconsin defense that is one of the deepest in the country, Schultz has been able to step in as a freshman and make a contribution. He’s put up nine points in 22 games so far, even logging some power-play minutes.

Schultz is a superb skater who excels at moving the puck. So far his defensive play has been acceptable. He still needs to put on considerable weight until he turns pro, as he’s still listed at 185, though he doesn’t look it. The former second-round pick has a lot of time to work on that though, and he’s in a system that has produced a few very good offensive defensemen in recent years."

Brett Bennett:

Andrew Sykes has recently profiled the Phoenix Coyotes who own the rights of Badgers Junior goaltender Brett Bennett.

"Bennett, a fifth-round pick in 2006, has gotten off to a nice start with the Wisconsin Badgers. After starting his college career at Boston University, Bennett decided to leave the school and play a year in the USHL before returning to the collegiate level. That decision has turned out to be a good one as Bennett has been solid in goal for the fourth-ranked Badgers. The 21-year-old has appeared in nine games, posting a 6-3 record with a solid 2.12 goals against average and a save percentage of .904. Bennett has split the goaltending duties with fellow junior Scott Gudmandson and that formula has worked well all season, and has the Badgers very much in the mix for the national title."

Blake Geoffrion:

Connor Jennings has recently profiled the Nashville Predators who own the rights of Badgers Senior forward Blake Geoffrion and Freshman forward Craig Smith.

"Geoffrion is a tri-captain at the University of Wisconsin. The 21-year-old is a strong two-way winger with professional physical attributes.

The senior has progressed in the goal column every year at Wisconsin, and has continued that trend this season. Geoffrion leads the team with 15 goals, and has 21 points in 21 games, which is good for fourth on the team. He has also shown great ability on the power play, with nine of his goals coming when up a man. Geoffrion projects as a second or third-line forward."

Craig Smith:

"Smith has been having a solid season as a freshman for the Badgers. He has not shown much of a scoring touch, but has flashed significant playmaking ability in his short time with Wisconsin.

The fourth-round pick has 3 goals and 14 assists in 20 games. Smith is fifth on the team in scoring, only four points behind Geoffrion. The 20-year-old has a long time to develop, but could be a potential top-six forward in the NHL."