Monday, January 11, 2010

Linkin' It Up On A Monday: Stepan Staying Next Season?

There is an interesting link on Goons Blog last night talking about the futures of Badger defenseman Ryan McDonagh and forward Derek Stepan. The link comes from the New York Post and has some interesting information.

According to the article, "there was speculation following the tournament (World Junior Championship) that Team USA captain and Rangers' draft pick Derek Stepan would bolt Wisconsin to play junior hockey, but Slap Shots (New York Post Hockey Blog) was told on Friday by a well-placed source that the center will complete his sophomore year with the Badgers." Not a ton of news there, because we know that Stepan would never bolt mid season.

The more interesting news comes in the next paragraph. "The Blueshirts, we're told, believe Stepan needs another year of development either at school or in junior hockey before he's ready to turn pro, but are keenly interested in getting Wisconsin defenseman Ryan McDonagh -- acquired from Montreal in the Scott Gomez deal -- into the organization following the completion of this, his junior season."

The McDonagh news shouldn't be shocking to anyone. I don't think there is a person on the planet who expected him to play his senior season for the Wisconsin Badgers. The interesting news is that the Rangers would like to see Stepan play another season for Wisconsin. I think everyone expected after the WJC that he had that he would be bolting for New York next season. I think it would be a huge for his development to come back and captain the Badgers next season. He could potentially have a Hobey Baker type season if he plays his junior season in Madison rather than for the Rangers AHL franchise the Hartford Wolf Pack.
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The weekly polls have been released and Wisconsin is still sitting extremely high. In the USCHO.Com Division 1 Mens Poll Wisconsin checks in at number three. Last week they were number four. In the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, Wisconsin also moved up from number four to number three.

In the only ranking that matters, the all important Pairwise Ranking, Wisconsin is still listed in a tie for fourth with Bemidji State and Duluth. In the KRACH Ranking, which has nothing to do with the NCAA selections but is probably the best ranking system there is, Wisconsin is listed third.

I refuse to recognize the INCH rankings.
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This link comes courtesy of Andy Baggot. According to Madison.com, former Badger defensemen Brian Rafalski and Ryan Suter have been named alternate captains for the US Olympic Hockey team that will compete at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
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NHL Central scouting released their mid-term rankings for the NHL draft today and there was only one player with Wisconsin ties listed. That is current Badger defenseman John Ramage. Ramage was passed over in last years draft in his first year of eligibility. After his start to the season and his performance in the WJC he should undoubtedly be drafted this time around. He is currently ranked #187 and should be drafted somewhere betweek the fourth and sixth rounds.
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Photo Courtesy of RedHeat15