Badger Hockey Roundup: Skille Signs Extension

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 23: Jack Skille #15 of the Florida Panthers boards Brian Campbell #51 of the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on March 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Drafted 7th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft out of the United States National Team Development Program Jack Skille was supposed to be an NHL superstar. Things haven't quite worked out that way, yet. Jack spent two seasons at his hometown University of Wisconsin, winning a National Championship in 2006. An elbow injury limited Skille to 26 games his sophomore season for the Badgers.

Feeling the pressure of his 7th overall selection, Skille gave up his final two years of eligibility at Wisconsin to sign a 3 year entry level contract with Chicago. Jack spent the next three years up and down between the Blackhawks and their AHL affiliates Norfolk and Rockford, with the majority of that time spent in the minor leagues.

A restricted free agent last summer Skille decided to re-up with the Blackhawks for the NHL league minimum of $500,000. With a plethora of forward positions open on the Blackhawks roster after having to cut payroll after winning the Stanley Cup, Skille was expected to be a key contributor this past season. But after recording only 17 points in 49 games Chicago decided to part ways with the Verona native and traded him to Florida for Michael Frolik.

Panthers GM Dale Tallon (who drafted Skille when Tallon was in Chicago) liked what he saw out of Jack in his limited action for Florida and has signed him to a 2 year contract extension that will pay him $825,000 per season.

"We are pleased to have Jack return for the next several seasons," said Tallon. "He is a high energy and hard working player who made the most out of his opportunity with our team."

More Badger hockey roundup after the jump.

-Former Wisconsin goaltender Shane Connelly who has spent the past two seasons playing professional hockey for numerous ECHL franchises has decided retire from hockey. Connelly tweeted a few weeks ago that he has accepted a job as the Director of Hockey Operations for the Bowling Green Falcons of the CCHA. Shane won a National Championship with the Badgers in 2006.

-2011 Wisconsin forward recruit Joseph LaBate is currently in Toronto for the NHL's scouting combine. LaBate, who played last season for the Academy of Holy Angels in the Twin Cities flew out on Tuesday. A big 6'4 centerman, LaBate is expected to step right into the Badgers lineup next season. LaBate was ranked as the #51 North American skater by NHL Central Scouting for the upcoming draft and is expected to be drafted anywhere from the late first round to the third.

-Wisconsin hockey beat writer Andy Baggot from the Wisconsin State Journal recently spoke to UW head coach Mike Eaves and Eaves reiterated the fact that incoming freshman Joel Rumpel will be the starting goaltender when the Badgers open camp this fall. Rumpel had a fantastic season for the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. His uncle Roy Schultz was an All-American goaltender for the Badgers. Former walk on Mitch Thompson and incoming freshman Landon Peterson will battle for the backup job.

-For those of you who have received ticket applications for the upcoming season you may have noticed something that wasn't on the tentative schedule that I posted on the old Sixty Mintues site. An exhibition game with the United States NTDP has been scheduled for New Years Eve which falls on a Saturday this year. The NTDP game is important for two reasons. One, it's always nice to expose yourself to players on the team (even though most have already committed to colleges). Two, the Badgers would have taken a 3 weekend break between games if they didn't schedule the exhibition contest.

chuckschwartz(at)live.com
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