While acquiring talent in the recruiting process is important, keeping it around is just as crucial. The Wisconsin men's hockey team received big news on that front Monday night, as it was reported that Michael Mersch will return to Madison for his senior season.
A 2011 fourth-round draft pick (110th overall) of the Los Angeles Kings, Mersch elevated his game to new heights in his junior season, setting career highs in goals with 23, and points with 36. The Park Ridge, Ill., native led the Badgers in both categories last season.
The news is big for the Badgers, who last week learned that sophomore Brendan Woods was leaving school to sign with the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes.
The departure of Woods marked the eighth consecutive season under head coach Mike Eaves that Wisconsin has lost a player to the NHL. Woods was the 17th early departure over Eaves' 11 years at the helm.
Along with classmate Mark Zengerle -- who told Bucky's 5th Quarter recently that he also plans to return -- the Badgers have quite the foundation laid for next season. Keeping the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Mersch in cardinal and white is another big step toward the Badgers climbing back to the top of the mountain.
For more hockey coverage, follow Andy on Twitter -- Follow @AndyJohnsonB5Q
You can also reach Andy via e-mail (AndyJohnsonB5Q@gmail.com)