Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hockeys Future NCAA Prospects Update (Part 2)

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. Last week we were able to link you to profiles of 6 Badgers. Today we bring you the rest of the drafted Badgers.

Jason Menard has recently profiled the Montreal Canadiens who own the rights of Badgers Junior forward Patrick Johnson.

"The Badgers are fourth in the WCHA, but the pollsters have a whole lot more respect for Wisconsin than what the standings indicate, as the club finished second in the latest USCHO/USA Today poll, behind only Miami of Ohio. However, Johnson's contribution to the cause has been minimal at best and perplexing at worst.

As a freshman in 2007-08, Johnson made a huge impact on the Badgers, playing in 40 games and scoring 21 points (including eight goals). He looked poised to step up as a sophomore and play a key role on this traditional powerhouse.

Then something happened. It's not an injury -- at least physically. For some reason or another, Johnson's play slipped. Actually, slipped is too kind -- it plummeted. Last year as a sophomore, he ended up with seven points (three goals) in 35 games. Sure, he continued his aggressive, feisty play, but his nose for the net suddenly lost its sense.

As a junior, Johnson's had the chance to redeem himself. Unfortunately, instead of reclaiming his freshman promise, he's sunk deeper into his morass. The forward finds himself clinging to a spot on the fourth line. He's matched his goal-scoring totals from last year (three) in 10 fewer games to date, but he's yet to even match his meager assists totals. In 25 games so far, he's scored three goals and three assists.

Johnson's a bubble player who is always playing for a contract. However, it's safe to say he's not doing anything that's going to appeal to the Habs brass."
Leslie Treff has recently profiled the New York Rangers who own the rights of Badgers junior defenseman Ryan McDonagh and sophomore forward Derek Stepan.

"On the top pairing for the University of Wisconsin with an Anaheim Ducks top prospect Jake Gardiner, junior blueliner McDonagh is a two-way defenseman who is not afraid to take the body and protect teammates. Named a tri-captain for the season, McDonagh has an excellent competitive fire and knows how to lead. In what is widely thought to be his final season as a Badger, McDonagh is second among defensemen in total points on the team with 12 (3 goals, 9 assists).

McDonagh is expected to compete for a Rangers roster spot out of camp next season, however, is more likely to spend the campaign in Hartford."
"Stepan has become well known over the past few weeks, as he was captain of the US U-20 World Junior Championship team that won gold in Saskatchewan earlier this month. Named to the media all-star team for the tournament, as well as one of the three best USA players by the coaches. Stepan was the scoring leader of the entire tournament (14 points in seven games, with a +9).

The Rangers second round pick from 2008 did not, however, have a very good start to his season at Wisconsin. The sophomore was expected to do great things and play in all situations, just as he had last spring, but his early games in the 2009-10 campaign were somewhat lackluster. He was not scoring, nor creating the plays that made him so exciting to watch last year. Things began to turn around when Stepan picked up his physical game, and currently, he is a more than a point-a-game pace. In 22 games, Stepan has recorded 29 points (6 goals, 23 assists), with a +6 plus/minus rating. This is made even more impressive by the fact that Stepan has been playing on the third line.

Not too long ago, it was almost certain that Stepan would return to Wisconsin for the 2010-11 season. Since his fine performance in the World Juniors, questions have arisen. Stepan still needs to get bigger and faster to be ready for professional play. Much will depend on the Minnesota native's performance over the next two months on the ice. If he has nothing left to prove at this level, Stepan will move on, but it is more likely that he will spend one more year as a Badger."


Chris Shafer has recently profiled the Detroit Red Wings who own the rights of Badgers Junior defenseman Brendan Smith.

"The University of Wisconsin has treated junior defenseman Brendan Smith very well. He has been surrounded by talent, especially on the blue line. Anaheim's Jake Gardiner is one of a talented core of blueliners that make Wisconsin one of the hardest teams to score against year in and year out.

Smith has found his way to the top of Wisconsin scoring from the blue line with 31 points off of 10 goals and 21 assists through 25 games this season. His +16 rating is tied for second on a team where many blueliners are sharing similar success.

Not lost in his steady offensive improvement each season are all the skills necessary for any mobile, new-era defenseman to make it in the NHL. What was an asset to Smith even before he was drafted, his skating, vision, and stickhandling, has steadily gotten better over the course of three years as well."
Josh Deitell has recently profiled the LA Kings who own the rights of Badgers Junior forward Podge Turnbull.

"Once a promising two-way prospect, Turnbull was drafted by the Kings as a fifth rounder after putting up 54 points in 60 games with the Waterloo Black Hawks in the 2006-07 USHL season. However, Turnbull has been unable to translate his game to the NCAA level, and his games played total has been trending downward because of it. Though he suited up for a respectable 37 games in his freshman season, he only saw the ice in 24 last year, a little more than half of the Badgers' total games. His role has diminished even further this year: Of the 26 games the Badgers have played this year, Turnbull has only suited up for six. Barring a miraculous turnaround, Turnbull's time as a legitimate prospect is over. "