The Wisconsin hockey team has had outstanding success recruiting defensemen out of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. Jake Gardiner (Minnetonka), Ryan McDonagh (Cretin-Durham Hall), and David Tanabe (White Bear Lake) were all first round NHL draft picks and Tom Gilbert (Bloomington Jefferson) turned himself into an All-American and an NHL regular. Most recently the Badgers dipped into across the border to nab incoming freshman Patrick Daly (Benilde-St. Margarets) who the Devils took this summer in the 7th round of the draft and sophomore Joe Faust (Bloomington Jefferson) who the Devils took in last years draft in the 4th round.
The most recent addition from the Twin Cities pipeline is White Bear Lake native Kevin Schulze who committed to Mike Eaves and the Badgers over the weekend. Schulze played his high school hockey at the private school Hill Murray where he was elected as a captain last season. The 5'10, 170 pound blueliner notched four goals to go with 29 assists for 33 points for the always strong Pioneers leading them to a 23-4-1 record where they made it to the section finals before being eliminated by White Bear Lake. As a junior Schulze's three assists in the state tournament helped Hill Murray to a third place finish.
This spring Schulze was selected in the fourth round of the USHL draft by the Muskegon Lumberjacks who are currently coached by former Wisconsin assistant Kevin Patrick. Schulze will play the 2011-2012 season in Muskegon under Patrick before coming to Wisconsin for the 2012-2013 season when the Badgers are set to lose Eric Springer to graduation and most likely Justin Schultz to the NHL's Anaheim Ducks. Defenseman John Ramage, a Calgary Flames draft pick could also decide to sign a pro contract before he uses up his four years of eligibility.
Patrick had great things to say about Schulze shortly after the Lumberjacks selected him this spring.
"Kevin is a versatile defenseman who uses his feet and moves the puck very well. We'll count on him to show up in the score sheet with regularity." -Kevin Patrick, Head Coach, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)
Schulze has been on the Badgers radar for a while and at one point was even rumored to be a possible addition to this seasons current freshman class. He'll be an outstanding addition to next years class as he's most likely not a full scholarship player.
As previously mentioned, with Wisconsin only set to graduate one senior in Eric Springer as well as Justin Schultz most likely moving on to the NHL the Badgers will be tight on scholarships for the start of the 2012 season. They are set to bring in forwards Nic Kerdiles from the NTDP, Morgan Zulinick from the BCHL and Corbin McGuire from the EJHL who are all either high or full scholarship players. Eaves needed to find 1-2 low to mid level scholarship defensemen to step in next season and he found an excellent option with Kevin Schulze.
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