Eaves Rounds Out 2012 Class With Waterloo's Eddie Wittchow

Waterloo defenseman Eddie Wittchow signed his letter of intent this week, becoming the final member of the 2012 class. Photo Credit: Britta Lewis.

Mike Eaves made his 2012 recruiting class official when he announced the signing of Burnsville, Minnesota native Eddie Wittchow on Tuesday. Wittchow, currently a defenseman for the Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL) made his verbal pledge to the Badgers back on December 8th.

A 6'4, 200 pound blue-liner, Wittchow notched 18 points in 60 regular season games for the Black Hawks and was a team best +22. Waterloo is in the middle of a playoff run, and are currently tied 1-1 in the Clark Cup Finals against the Green bay Gamblers. Wittchow has four points in nine playoff games.

In a release today from the University, Eaves noted that the Badgers expect big things from Wittchow right out of the gates.

"Eddie will be able to come in and give us a real physical presence on the blue line," said Eaves. "He's got a big body and moves very well. He's got the propensity to make a good breakout pass and gets back quickly to help get the puck out of the zone. He possesses a really nice shot from the point - a smart shot. He's going to be a real anchor for us on the blue line."

Wittchow burst on to the national recruiting scene in the 2010-11 season with a huge senior year at Burnsville high school. The self proclaimed defensive-defenseman turned the heads of scouts all year and was selected by the Florida Panthers in the 6th round of the NHL Draft last summer.

Waterloo head coach P.K. O'Handley has had success with other former Badgers like Joe Pavelski and Craig Smith taking the Waterloo to Wisconsin pipeline on to the NHL. He thinks that Wittchow could follow in their footsteps.

"Eddie has the skills to be successful in college and the size to be intriguing to pro general managers," said Black Hawks coach P.K. O'Handley. "Wisconsin has helped a few Black Hawks get to the NHL, and Eddie could join that list."

Wittchow is the fourth member of the class of 2012 to sign his letter of intent. Barring an unforeseen late departure, the Badgers are only expected to bring in four to Madison in the fall. Forwards Morgan Zulinick (Kamloops, B.C.) and Nic Kerdiles (Irvine, CA) as well as defenseman Kevin Schulze (White Bear Lake, MN) all signed letters of intent in the fall.

2012 Recruits

  • Player: Eddie Wittchow
  • Team: Waterloo (USHL)
  • Hometown: Burnsville, Minnesota
  • Position: Defense
  • Size: 6'4, 200
  • Handed: Left
  • 2012 Stats: 69 Games, 5 goals, 17 assists, 23 points, +26
  • 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
  • Mike Eaves on Wittchow: ""Eddie will be able to come in and give us a real physical presence on the blue line," said Eaves. "He's got a big body and moves very well. He's got the propensity to make a good breakout pass and gets back quickly to help get the puck out of the zone. He possesses a really nice shot from the point - a smart shot. He's going to be a real anchor for us on the blue line."
  • 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: Nic Kerdiles
  • Team: USA NTDP U18
  • Hometown: Irvine, California
  • Position: Center/Left Wing
  • Size: 6'1, 196
  • Handed: Left
  • 2012 Stats: 54 games, 22 goals, 26 assists, 48 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
  • Mike Eaves on Kerdiles: "He's a big forward with great feet, good first step and is really good in the corners. For his age group, he's one of the top players in the country."
  • 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: 57 games, 24 goals, 42 assists, 66 points (team leader)
  • Mike Eaves on Zulinick: “He’s an offensive forward playing in British Columbia. He sees the ice really well and protects the puck well. He’s a very strong competitor who will bring an offensive flair to our forward group.”
  • Chuck's analysis: Zulinick is an outstanding hockey player playing on a terrible hockey team. Salmon Arm finished second to last in their division and Zulinick, who is one of the youngest players on the team carried 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: Kevin Schulze
  • Team: Omaha (USHL)
  • Hometown: White Bear Lake, Minnesota
  • Position: Defense
  • Size: 5'9, 155
  • Handed: Left
  • 2012 Stats: 58 games, 2 goals, 26 assists, 28 points, +9
  • Mike Eaves on Schulze: “Kevin is a real smooth skating young defenseman. He sees the ice very well and can make a really good pass. For his size, he plays very aggressively and very well away from the puck.
  • 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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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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