When Nic Kerdiles gave his verbal commitment to the Wisconsin hockey program for 2012 last February, many recruitniks indicated that the Badgers had landed a big time target. Almost a year after Kerdiles made his commitment public, It's become apparent that they might have even underestimated him.
The recently turned 17 year old is having an outstanding season with the USA National Team Development Program. Kerdiles is third on the U17's in scoring but leads the team in scoring in USHL play. Kerdiles has also played well on the international level with 9 points in 11 games.
Thanks to a tip from @chrismpeters we've learned that Kerdiles outstanding play with the NTDP U17's has gotten him a promotion to the U18's.
Kerdiles has been up with the U18's for the past two weekends playing in four games. The first weekend Kerdiles got his feet wet with the big club playing in two USHL games. Last weekend however Nic got a big boost in competition when the U18's played two games against college teams Quinnipiac and Providence.
Apparently head coach Ron Rolston is confident in Mr. Kerdiles because he threw him right into the fire. Kerdiles has been playing on the U18's top line with projected first round NHL daft pick and North Dakota recruit Rocco Grimaldi. Kerdiles has even spent some time on the power play registering an assist on the man advantage against Providence.
Chris Peters indicates in his tweet that he's not sure if Kerdiles promotion is permanent or just a temporary thing but Peters reviews of Kerdiles should make Wisconsin fans Salivate. "Reports on Kerdiles have been really positive. Apparently he hasn't looked out of place with the U18s. His size helps." In the past in speaking with Peters told me, "He's only going to improve, kids like him are why the NTDP was created."
One of the biggest biggest amateur tournaments every year is the IIHF World Under-18 Championship. This years tournament is being played in Germany and usually it's rare for underage players like Kerdiles to be invited. Jack Skille and Phil Kessel come to mind as a few of the exceptional under agers who were invited by the United States. When I asked Chris Peters what Kerdiles chances of making this years squad was, it sounded promising, "I'd say they are very good. IF he goes with U18s to 5 Nations in Feb, I'd say he's a lock. Not definite just yet."
The U18's have three more games in the USHL before they leave for the 5 Nations tournament in the Czech Republic in early February. Those three games will undoubtedly serve as a three game tryout for Kerdiles to see if he's got what it takes to play with the U18's internationally. I have a feeling he'll do just fine.
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