Badger Hockey Recruiting Update

With most Wisconsin recruits seasons already underway or starting shortly, I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to give you an update on where the current committed Badger hockey recruits are playing, and how their seasons have started. A bunch of recruits are off to fast starts, and are really making Badger fans excited about the future of the program.

Before we get into individual notes, let's take a look at a few aspects of the current recruiting cycle. As of right now, it looks like the 2012 recruiting class is close to complete. It's all but a lock that they are done looking at forwards for the 2012 class. The Badgers have three lined up to come in and don't graduate anyone at the position and don't expect any to leave for the NHL. There's a decent chance one of the three forwards scheduled to come in gets delayed a season and Wisconsin rolls with 17 forwards unless they lose someone to natural attrition.

Defensively they have one recruit lined up for sure and another that is most likely going to end up a 2013 recruit. The Badgers will graduate one, and will lose Justin Schultz to the NHL. The Badgers are going to have to land one more defensemen for next season and possibly even two if John Ramage signs with the Calgary Flames. Wisconsin is not looking at any goalies for the 2012 cycle.

2012 Recruiting Class

Nic Kerdiles

  • Team-USA NTDP U18
  • Hometown: Irvine, California
  • Position-Forward
  • Size-6'1, 194
  • News and Notes: Kerdiles is the definition of a blue chip recruit and may be the #1 forward recruit in the country for next season. He's off to a fast start with the NTDP this season and has 5 goals in his first 5 games including a goal in a game last night v.s. the Michigan Wolverines. Next weekend should be huge for Kerdiles as the NTDP has two more games against big time opponents. Friday night they play at Denver and Saturday night they'll be at Colorado College.

Morgan Zulinick

  • Team-Salmon Arm (BCHL)
  • Hometown: Kamloops, British Columbia
  • Position-Center
  • Size-5'11, 185
  • News and Notes: Kerdiles has, and will get most of the headlines in this class given that he's coming from the NTDP and is a potential first round draft pick. What people are failing to realize is how good Morgan Zulinick is. I'd also consider him a blue chip prospect and one of the top 10 forwards in the 2012 recruiting cycle. Zulinick is going to have a huge year for Salmon Arm and is off to a fast start. He's already notched 3 goals and 5 assists in his first 5 games and is starting to heat up early.

Corbin McGuire

  • Team-Springfield Pics (EJHL)
  • Hometown: Ridgefield, Connecticut
  • Postion-Forward
  • Size-5'8, 185
  • News and Notes: McGuire is an interesting case because last year he made the jump to the USHL as a high school junior and suffered a concussion and missed half the season and never got things going. Basically last season was a wasted year of development for him. When he committed as a 15 year old it was for 2012 but with his wasted year last year, and the Badgers being tight on scholarship dollars and roster spots next year, I could see him spending an extra year in junior hockey. McGuire is off to a decent start in the EJHL with 4 points in 5 games but that is a league that he should be dominating. Will be interesting to see how he develops this season.

Kevin Schulze

  • Team-Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)
  • Hometown-White Bear Lake, Minnesota
  • Position-Defense
  • Size-5'9, 155
  • News and Notes: Schulze is one of the only Badger recruits to have not started his season yet. He'll kick off his season this Friday as Muskegon gets underway on Friday in Cedar Rapids. Schulze is the only defenseman that is a lock to come in next season so it's crucial that he has a good season developmentally. He's going to get an opportunity to play special teams for Muskegon and has a great coach there with former Badger assistant Kevin Patrick to learn from.

2013 Recruiting Class

Tim Davison

  • Team-Team Wisconsin U18 & Notre Dame Academy
  • Hometown-DePere, Wisconsin
  • Positon-Defense
  • Size-5'10, 165
  • News and Notes-I included Tim in the 2013 recruiting class even though he's listed as a 2012 or 2013 right now. I still think he very well could end up coming in next year but it would be smarter if he spent a year in the USHL. I got a chance to see Davison a few weeks ago with Team Wisconsin and was impressed as usual. He's a smooth skater and made some really nice plays with the puck. He stepped up in the rush a few times and one of them led to a goal. Like other times I've seen him play, he's still got work to do in defensively to play in the WCHA (errrr Big 10). I would like to see him work on clearing players out from in front of the net and continue to get better at using his body to separate players from the puck.

Gabe Grunwald

  • For the first time since I can remember covering recruiting at this level I have no idea where Gabe Grunwald is. I've searched high and low to find information on where he is and have come up with nothing. After he committed last spring he told this website in an interview he would be playing with New Market in the OJHL. He isn't listed on their roster or any roster in the OJHL.
  • The only thing that comes up in searching for Grunwald is that he was in camp with an OHL team (Oshawa) this fall but was cut. If you're not familiar with how the OHL works, Grunwald loses his NCAA eligibility if he plays in any games (exhibition or regular season) for them. I don't believe he jeopardized his NCAA eligibility just by being in camp as long as he paid for his own expenses.
  • Regardless of his eligibility, it's still a mystery where this young man is right now. Messages left for Grunwald have gone un-returned. I'll keep you updated if there is any news but as of right now I'm extremely skeptical about this situation.

2014 Recruiting Class

Jake Linhart

  • Team-Chicago Mission U16
  • Hometown-Brookfield, Wisconsin
  • Position-Defense
  • Size-5'10, 160
  • News and Notes-Linhart is the most recent Badger commit and is playing for a really, really good program with the Chicago Mission U16 team. They are currently 14-1-1 on the season and most recently won the Compuware tournament in Detroit. Linhart is extremely young (15) but is projected to be a blue chip type recruit by the time he's ready to come to Madison. In talking recently with Notre Dame Academy head coach Cory McCracken, who is also the GM of the Team Wisconsin U16 squad he compared Linhart to Jordan Schmaltz of Verona, who is a projected first round NHL Draft pick this summer.

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For more Wisconsin hockey coverage, follow Chuck on Twitter (@UWChuckSchwartz)

Chuck can also be reached via e-mail at chuckschwartz@live.com

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