While Monday's news of Jordy Murray's early departure still stings in the hearts of many Badger fans, looking towards the future can be the distraction needed to ease the pain. Turning our attention to Murray's replacement has delivered us to two possible scenarios.
Scenario number one involves bringing in Waupaca high school senior forward Brad Navin who originally had made a verbal commitment for either the 2012 or 2013 season depending on development and departures. Scenario number two would be to offer a scholarship to Alberta Junior Hockey League forward Reed Linaker from the St. Albert Steel.
The Sixty Minutes blog caught up with Linaker on Tuesday night in hopes of clearing up the murky water that is the current forward opening on the UW roster. Linaker noted that he has not yet received an offer from the UW coaching staff but would jump at the chance to come to Wisconsin. "I'd love to be a Badger and I'd do it in a heartbeat but I guess its kind of a wait and see process."
Linaker, 5'9, 165 pound forward who was on campus late in the season fell in love with Madison on his visit, "Loved the University. It was a beautiful campus and the electricity and atmosphere was unbelievable in the arena. Was definitely better then anywhere I've been and exceeded my expectations."
As a rookie in the AJHL Linaker put up 39 points in 47 games. Last year he registered 81 points in 54 games. And this year saw him net 52 points in 34 games before a knee injury ended his season early. Linaker sounded confident he would be able to rebound from the injury. "My knee is doing well. I had a tear of the MCL an partial tear of the ACL so its been a long road. I've just begun workouts and light skating."
Ironically, Navin who will likely be brought in if the staff doesn't make an offer to Linaker is also coming off a knee injury. Navin was sidelined early in the high school season with an MCL injury and made his return to the ice a few weekends ago for the Minnesota NIT senior tournament. By all indications, Navin has made a full recovery and is at or near 100%.
Both Navin and Linaker can play center which after losing Sean Dolan and Podge Turnbull is a possible position of need for the upcoming season. No matter what direction the coaching staff goes in it looks like they have some solid options.
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