Badger Hockey Potential Recruit Update

With the recent announcement of the official 2012 Wisconsin hockey recruiting class, I though it would be an excellent time to take a look into the next few recruiting cycles. The Badgers only plan on bringing in three recruits next season because they will only graduate one senior (Eric Springer), and only plan to lose one early to the NHL (Justin Schultz).

Official numbers for next years roster aren't set in stone at this point for a few different reasons. There is a chance (albeit unlikely) that red-shirt junior Ryan Little who will graduate this year, might not use his final year of eligibility.

Additionally, sophomore Gavin Hartzog who originally joined the program as a forward, has been practicing on defense lately at the urging of assistant coach Bill Butters. With only seven projected defensemen on the roster next season, position flexibility for guys like Hartzog as well as Little (who started his UW career as a defenseman before making the switch to forward last year) will be crucial for roster depth.

2012 Recruiting

I won't spend a ton of time on this subject because I covered each prospect that Wisconsin is bringing in for the 2012 class in depth last week.

Wisconsin doesn't graduate a forward and will bring in elite talents Nic Kerdiles and Morgan Zulinick. Both are expected to be immediate contributors as freshmen.

On defense as previously mentioned Wisconsin graduates Eric Springer and will lose Justin Schultz to the NHL. Kevin Schulze is the only defenseman that Eaves plans to bring in leaving the Wisconsin roster with either seven or eight defensemen depending on if Hartzog sticks on the blue line.

Potential Recruits:

Eddie Wittchow (Waterloo, USHL)-Defense: Wittchow was given an opportunity to join the Badger program this season but turned it down for a chance at regular playing time this season in the USHL. Wittchow, who was drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers is known to be a Badger fan but at this moment doesn't hold a scholarship offer from Wisconsin. Eaves claims to be done recruiting for 2012 but don't be surprised if he eventually pulls the trigger on an offer to Wittchow who would likely accept.

2013 Recruiting

Forwards:

Offensively, Wisconsin is set to lose Derek Lee and Ryan Little to graduation. There is also the possibility that any of Tyler Barnes, Mark Zengerle, or Michael Mersch could forgo their senior seasons to sign pro contracts although Mersch (who was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the 4th round) is the most likely to sign.

Depending on who (if any) leave early for the pros, if the Badgers lose any players to attrition, and if Hartzog sticks on defense, Wisconsin could be looking at bringing in anywhere from 1-4 forwards in the 2013 class.

The only forward already committed for this class is Corbin McGuire (Jersey Hitmen, EJHL) who was pushed back to the 2013 due to numbers.

Wisconsin has been extremely patient with this class and they can as they won't be bringing in many players due to the unbalanced classes on the current roster.

Potential Forward Recruits:

Grant Besse (Benilde-St. Margaret's High School): Besse comes from Benilde-St. Margarets which is a program that Wisconsin has a good connection with. Most recently current freshman Patrick Daly was recruited out of the same high school. Besse isn't a big kid (5'10, 160) and isn't likely to be a big draft prospect. But Besse is extremely talented and could turn into an elite four year player at the college level.

Besse visited Wisconsin when the Gophers were in town and is rumored to have the Badgers #1 on his list. Also visited St. Cloud and Bemidji and will visit Colorado College. Muskegon (USHL) owns his his rights and offered him a spot on the team last year as a sophomore. If he forgoes his senior season at BSM next year he could be a 2013 recruit, otherwise he'll most likely be a 2014 kid.

Michael Zajac (Eagan High School): Zajac actually could be 2012 recruit as he graduates this year but most are looking at him as a 2013 kid with a year in the USHL where I belive Waterloo owns his rights. He's an old '93 which means he's already been passed up in the NHL draft once. He's a decent sized kid (6'1, 200) who has a heavy shot and decent puck skills. He has visited Wisconsin.

Will Merchant (Eagan High School): Merchant like Zajac also plays for Eagan and is a senior this season. Merchant also has good size at just over 6 feet and 170 pounds. Merchant's USHL rights are owned by Tri-City and he'll likely play there for a season before becoming a 2013 recruit. He has also visited Wisconsin.

Hudson Fasching (US NTDP U17): Fasching is another twin cities kid (Apple Valley). This is likely a long shot as he's been rumored to be interested more in North Dakota, Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth and even Cornell. Although he's likely the top available recruit for this class and it's worth keeping an eye on.

Brandon Morley (Surrey Eagles, BCHL): I have no inside knowledge that Morley is being recruited by Wisconsin but he seems like a fit. If Morley is willing to play in the BCHL for another season he could be an immediate contributor for 2013. He's averaging over a point per game for Surrey this season and recently played for Canada West in the World Junior A Challenge. Morley currently has offers from St. Cloud State, Western Michigan, and Alaska Anchorage.

Alexander Kerfoot (Coquitlam Express, BCHL): This is similar to Morley as this is more of a guess but he profiles into a player that would fit in well for the Badgers. He's a smaller kid (5'9, 155) but has a lot of talent and will be a solid four year college hockey player. He's only 17 right now so it's likely that he'll end up a 2013 recruit. Has 18 points in 15 games for Coquitlam this season.

Defense:

Wisconsin is most likely going to go into 2013 with six returning defensemen (McCabe, Daly, Faust, Simonelli, Drake, Schulze). The only committed recruit for that class right now is Notre Dame Academy blue-liner Tim Davison. The Badgers are likely to bring in one more recruit on the blue line in this class but they are being very patient.

Potential Defense Recruits:

Ian McCoshen (Waterloo Black Hawks, USHL): McCoshen is the #1 target in this class as he's a Wisconsin kid (Hudson) and is extremely talented. I interviewed McCoshen a while back and he had listed the Badgers, Minnesota, Notre Dame and Ohio State on his list. However in talking with some insiders recently the consensus seems to be McCoshen ending up at North Dakota. He'll be a great player wherever he ends up and would be a great fit for the Badgers if they can pull it off.

Michael Kapla (Eau Claire Memorial High School): I've gotten to scout Kapla on a number of occasions and really like the way he plays the game. The Wisconsin native moves the puck well and is built like a rock. Kapla is a junior and is likely to end up as a 2014 recruit but if he plays next season in the USHL with Sioux City who owns his rights I wouldn't be shocked if someone jumped on him for 2013.

Forwards

2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
1 Ryan Little
Ryan Little Mark Zengerle
Brendan Woods
Nic Kerdiles**
2 Derek Lee
Derek Lee
Tyler Barnes Matt Paape Morgan Zulinick**
3 Mark Zengerle Mark Zengerle
Michael Mersch** Brad Navin
Corbin McGuire
4 Tyler Barnes Tyler Barnes
Keegan Meuer
Joseph LaBate**
5 Michael Mersch
Michael Mersch
Jefferson Dahl Tyler Lapic
6 Keegan Meuer
Keegan Meuer
Sean Little Nic Kerdiles
7 Jefferson Dahl
Jefferson Dahl
Gavin Hartzog Morgan Zulinick
8 Sean Little
Sean Little
Jason Clark
Corbin McGuire
9 Gavin Hartzog
Gavin Hartozg
Brendan Woods
10 Jason Clark
Jason Clark
Matt Paape
11 Brendan Woods
Brendan Woods
Brad Navin
12 Matt Paape Matt Paape
Joseph LaBate
13 Brad Navin
Brad Navin
Tyler Lapic
14 Joseph LaBate
Joseph LaBate
Nic Kerdiles
15 Tyler Lapic
Tyler Lapic
Morgan Zulinick
16 Nic Kerdiles
Corbin McGuire
17 Morgan Zulinick
18
Legend:
Senior Junior Sophomore Freshman

Defense

2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
1 Eric Springer
Justin Schultz**
Frankie Simonelli
Patrick Daly
Kevin Schulze
Tim Davison
2 Justin Schultz
John Ramage
Joe Faust
Jake McCabe
Tim Davison
Jake Linhart
3 John Ramage
Frankie Simonelli
Chase Drake
Kevin Schulze
Jake Linhart
4 Frankie Simonelli
Joe Faust
Patrick Daly
Tim Davison
5 Joe Faust
Chase Drake
Jake McCabe
Jake Linhart
6 Chase Drake
Patrick Daly
Kevin Schulze
7 Patrick Daly
Jake McCabe
Tim Davison
8 Jake McCabe
Kevin Schulze

 

 

Legend:
Senior Junior Sophomore Freshman

 

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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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