Hockey Recruiting: Committed Recruit Updates

Recent commit Grant Besse from Benilde-St. Margaret's is on a scoring tear.

With most high school and junior hockey teams starting the second halves of their seasons, we figured it would be an outstanding opportunity to update you on how the players that are currently committed to the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team are doing.

In addition to statistical updates on all nine players that have given a verbal pledge to become a Badger, we were able to chat with a few different coaches of currently committed recuits.

I recently chatted with P.K. O'Handley, head coach of the Waterloo Black Hawks about 2012 defenseman Eddie Wittchow. We also talked with Danton Cole, head coach of the United States NTDP U18 team who gave us his insight on 2012 forward recruit Nic Kerdiles.

Additionally, we have some comments from Ken Pauly, head coach at Benilde-St. Margerets where the newest Wisconsin recruit Grant Besse plays his high school hockey and Cory McCracken, head coach at Notre Dame Academy where Tim Davison plays.

2012 Recruits

  • Player: Nic Kerdiles
  • Team: USA NTDP U18
  • Hometown: Irvine, California
  • Position: Center/Left Wing
  • Size: 6'1, 196
  • Handed: Left
  • 2012 Stats: 35 games, 13 goals, 13 assists, 26 points (team leader)
  • Head Coach Quote: "Nic has had a great first half of his second year with the NTDP. His game has become faster and stronger and he is becoming a ‘200 foot player' that can dominate both ends of the ice. He scores goals in the dirty areas and uses his speed well to separate himself from defenders on offense and close on defense. It has been fun to see him excel in NCAA DI games and it shows that he will not miss a beat when he moves on to the University of Wisconsin." - U.S. National Under-18 Team head coach, Danton Cole
  • Chuck's analysis: Kerdiles continues to look every bit the blue-chip recruit he was when he committed to Wisconsin. He leads the U18 National team in scoring and by all scouting reports looks like he'll be selected in the first round of the NHL draft this summer. Penciled in as a top six forward next season.

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  • Player: Morgan Zulinick
  • Team: Salmon Arm (British Columbia Hockey League)
  • Hometown: Kamloops, British Columbia
  • Position: Center
  • Size: 5'11, 185
  • Handed: Left
  • 2012 Stats: 40 games, 18 goals, 30 assists, 48 points (team leader)
  • Chuck's analysis: Zulinick is an outstanding hockey player playing on a terrible hockey team. Salmon Arm is second to last in their division and Zulinick, who is one of the youngest players on the team is carrying the load offensively with little help. He'll step into the Badger lineup right away next year. Projected third line center right now.

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  • Player: Eddie Wittchow
  • Team: Waterloo (USHL)
  • Hometown: Burnsville, Minnesota
  • Position: Defense
  • Size: 6'4, 200
  • Handed: Left
  • 2012 Stats: 31 Games, 2 goals, 9 assists, 11 points
  • Head Coach Quote: "He is playing well. He leads our team in +/- and is generating chances from the point. Works his tail off in the weight room and in practice."-Waterloo Black Hawk's head coach P.K. O'Handley
  • Chuck's analysis: Wittchow was created more in the mold of a John Ramage than a Justin Schultz. He's outstanding in his own end and it shows in his team leading plus/minus. Wittchow is an elite skater for his size and will be a force for the Badgers for years to come.

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  • Player: Kevin Schulze
  • Team: Omaha (USHL)
  • Hometown: White Bear Lake, Minnesota
  • Position: Defense
  • Size: 5'9, 155
  • Handed: Left
  • 2012 Stats: 34 games, 0 goals, 19 assists, 19 points
  • Chuck's analysis: Schulze is a smaller defenseman but he's an elite puck mover and skates very well. He's going to be in a fight for ice time next season but he's got very good skills with the puck that will give him an edge over some others.

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2013 Recruits

  • Player: Tim Davison
  • Team: Notre Dame Academy (Wisconsin High School)
  • Hometown: DePere, Wisconsin
  • Position: Defense
  • Size: 5'10, 169
  • Handed: Left
  • 2012 Stats: 20 games, 7 goals, 27 assists, 34 points
  • Head Coach Quote: "Tim is playing very well as of late. Tim would be the first to tell you that he had an inconsistent start to his season (first 4-6 games were too much up and down). As of late he has been very, very good...best player on the ice for both teams. Tim was outstanding in the Duluth Marshall tournament. He played very well against Superior and was the best player on the ice against Marshall, in my opinion. Marshall has Jud Peterson (at the time the leading goal scorer in MN HS hockey). Tim and Jud dominated the game for their respective teams."
  • "No question in my mind that Tim is the front runner for the Player of the Year award. The tougher the competition, the more Tim separates himself from the pack.There is so much more to Tim's game than just points. Fortunately we have depth and Tim doesn't play 40+ minutes a game like some players are forced to at this level. Tim has the opportunity to play the right way, consistently from shift to shift. If I played him 40+ minutes he may get 65 points but he would never be ready for the USHL next year or take a step forward for his commitment to UW."
  • "Defensively he has progressed nicely. Tim doesn't sacrifice offense for Defense any longer but his transition from Defense to offense is very quick. Tim has the unique ability to read the right situation to distribute a puck and then join the rush appropriately. Tim quarterbacks our Power Play, which is currently at 44% for the year. He is making good decisions on puck movement and shot selection.Perhaps the biggest step forward for Tim has been his preparation prior to games."
  • "As a captain he is doing a wonderful job at leading a group of pretty talented younger players. This team has had a bulls eye on its back since day one. Tim has done a very nice job of making sure that the players are paying attention to the details and putting the necessary time into preparing the right way."-Notre Dame Academy Head Coach Cory McCracken
  • Chuck's analysis: I've gotten to see Tim quite a bit the past few years and he's continually gotten better. Tim, like the other defensemen committed skates very well but he's got to work on things like clearing bodies out of the front of the net. He's going to play in the USHL next year and it's going to be a good opportunity for him to work on playing against forwards 1 on 1 that are a higher caliber of player than there are at the high school level.

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  • Player: Corbin McGuire
  • Team: Jersey Hitmen (ECHL)
  • Hometown: Ridgefield, Connecticut
  • Position: Forward
  • Size: 5'8, 185
  • Handed: Right
  • 2012 Stats: 32 games, 7 goals, 12 assists, 19 points
  • Chuck's analysis: I don't think I'm out of line by stating that McGuire's season has been underwhelming from a statistical standpoint. We're talking about a kid who when he committed at 15 years old, was one of the most elite players in his age group in the country. Now he's not averaging a point per game in an average junior league. He's got one more year of juniors before he comes to Madison, he's going to have to make some strides.

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  • Player: Gabe Grunwald
  • Team: Kenai River (NAHL)
  • Hometown: Chappaqua, New York
  • Position: Goalie
  • Size: 6'3, 190
  • Catches: Left
  • 2012 Stats: 7 GP (1-4 record), 3.82 GAA, .888 Save %
  • Chuck's analysis: It's been a struggle for Grunwald this season. He was in Michigan in the NAHL and only played in 6 games and didn't do very well. He was traded this week to Kenai River (Alaska) and in his first start stopped 28 of 29 shots in his first win of the season. Hopefully that momentum will carry over to the second half.

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2014 Recruits

  • Player: Grant Besse
  • Team: Benilde-St. Margaret's (Minnesota High School)
  • Hometown: Wayzata, Minnesota
  • Position: Center
  • Size: 5'10, 175
  • Handed: Left
  • 2012 Stats: 16 games, 21 goals, 25 assists, 46 points
  • Head Coach Quote: "I don't know of any player who worked harder than Grant in the offseason. He is going to continue to get better and he will be a great college player."-Benilde St. Margaret's Head Coach Ken Pauly
  • Chuck's analysis: Besse is another player that I've personally had a chance to evaluate and he's a treat to watch. He's a smooth opperater and gets up and down the ice with ease. He almost seems to float at times when he's skating. He's an elite playmaker. Muskegon owns his USHL rights and he'll likely play there his senior season as well as another year before coming to Wisconsin in 2014.

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  • Player: Jake Linhart
  • Team: Chicago Mission (U16)
  • Hometown: Brookfield, Wisconsin
  • Position: Defense
  • Size: 5'10, 160
  • Handed: Right
  • 2012 Stats: 20 games, 4 goals, 8 assists, 12 points
  • Chuck's analysis: Linhart's commitment kind of flew under the radar when it happened because he's so young and so far away from actually going to college that not many people are aware of his abilities. But Linhart is dynamic and is by all accounts having a great season. He's going to be a candidate for the USA NTDP next season.
Wisconsin Committed Recruits
Player
Team
Position
Arrival
Size
DOB
Games
Goals
Assists
Points
Grant Besse
Benilde-St. Margaret's
F
2014
5'10, 175
7-14-1994
16
21
25
46

Team Northwest***1




24
17
18
35
Tim Davison
Notre Dame Academy
D
2013
5'10, 169
3-2-1994
20
7
27
34

Team Wisconsin***2




21
1
11
12
Nicolas Kerdiles
USA NTDP U18
F
2012
6'1, 194
1-11-1994
35
13
13
26
Jake Linhart
Chicago Mission U16
D
2014
5'10, 160
1-17-1996
20
4
8
12
Corbin McGuire
Springfield (EJHL)***3
F
2013
5'8, 185
3-2-1994
11
4
2
6

Jersey (EJHL)




21
3
10
13
Kevin Schulze
Muskegon (USHL)***4
D
2012
5'9, 155
4-29-1993
8
0
6
6

Omaha (USHL)




26
0
13
13
Eddie Wittchow
Waterloo (USHL)
D
2012
6'4, 200
10-31-1992
31
2
9
11
Morgan Zulinick
Salmon Arm (BCHL)
C
2012
5'11, 185
6-29-1994
40
18
30
48
Wisconsin Committed Recruits (Goalies)
Player
Team
Position
Arrival
Size
DOB
Record
GAA
Save %
SO
Gabe Grunwald
Michigan (NAHL)***5
G
2013
6'3, 190
3-15-1993
0-4
4.56
.871
0

Kenai River (NAHL)




1-0
1.00
.966
0

Updated: 1/25/12 7:00 PM

***=Not currently on active roster

1-Team Northwest is Grant Besse's Upper Midwest HS Elite League team (before & after HS season).

2-Team Wisconsin is Tim Davison's Upper Midwest HS Elite League team (before & after HS season).

3-Corbin McGuire was traded from Springfield to Jersey.

4-Kevin Schulze was traded from Muskegon to Omaha.

5-Gabe Grunwald was traded from Michigan to Kenai River.

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