Wisconsin hockey recruiting: 12 options for the 2014 forward recruiting class

Burnsvile, Minn., native Tyler Sheehy is one of the top available forwards left for the class of 2014. - Matt Christians

Four to six forward spots remain open in the 2014 recruiting class. We've highlighted a list of 12 options the Badgers might be looking at.

With the Wisconsin men's hockey team at the half-way point of the season, it's hard not to have an eye on the future. While there's certainly plenty of hockey left to be played this year, time is ticking on the coaching staff putting together a 2014 recruiting class.

Of particular area of concern is at the forward position, where Wisconsin has just two committed players to fill upwards of six to eight spots depending on what Nic Kerdiles and Joseph LaBate decide after the season.

We went into depth citing our concerns for the 2014 class and lack of balanced recruiting classes back in August following the decommitment of Christian Dvorak, who signed with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.

On top of Dvorak's decommitment, the Badgers also brought in Grant Besse and Jedd Soleway a year early. Both were originally projected to be part of the 2014 class, but were brought in early to fill holes.

Besse's arrival was accelerated when Wisconsin preferred him to other available 2013 options. Soleway filled the open hole on the roster after Brendan Woods announced his shocking decision to leave school to sign with the Carolina Hurricanes at the conclusion of last season after just two years in the program.

Since the time we wrote about the 2014 forwards back in August, Chase Phelps and Avery Peterson committed to colleges. Phelps chose to attend Boston University, while Peterson picked Nebraska Omaha. While the Badgers showed interest, they eventually chose to pass on both players.

Three other players we wrote about, Leon Bristedt (Minnesota), Connor Murphy (Michigan) and Nolan Stevens (Northeastern) also made college decisions.

Keep in mind recruiting isn't as simple as lose six bodies, bring in six bodies. Each school is limited to 18 scholarships to use as they see fit. So while a departing senior like Mark Zengerle might be at Wisconsin on a full ride, there are others leaving that are on much smaller scholarships.

There's also the fact you have to recruit to certain roles. You can't just cherry pick the leading scorers from every league and offer scholarships. While it's obviously crucial to replace a scorer like Michael Mersch, finding an energy guy like Keegan Meuer or a two-way center like Jefferson Dahl has to be in the cards as well.

The other problem you have is recruiting for the possibility Kerdiles, LaBate, or someone else decides to turn pro. Obviously you can't promise someone the scholarship money those two are owed next season in case they decide to return. That limits your options to players who are willing to spend another year in junior if the Badgers get those players back next season.

Even that's not so easy, as Wisconsin already has verbal commitments from Seamus Malone, Brock Boeser and Matthew Freytag. Malone will undoubtedly be part of the 2015 forward class, and Boeser has certainly played his way into class as well. Freytag could end up in the 2016 class, but with Luke Kunin already committed for 2016, that crop of forwards is already projected to be one over what you'd normally like on a roster.

So, there's a lot more that goes into the process than obviously meets the eye.

So, who is left? We've put together a list of 12 options available to fill recruiting holes in the 2014 class. Is it perfect? No, far from it. But, it's a sampling of kids to keep an eye on as the Badgers try to fill some holes for next season.

Cody DePourcq

Class

Position

Shoots

Height

Weight

2014

Forward

Right

5'6

160

Team

Hometown

DOB

Penticton Vees (BCHL)

Penticton, British Columbia

3/10/1995

DePourcq is a bit on the small side but doesn't shy away from contact. Was teammates last season with current Wisconsin freshman Jedd Soleway. Originally committed to Denver but parted ways with the school after George Gwozdecky was fired and new coach Jim Montgomery was brought in. Star has dimmed a bit on DePourcq's prospect status, but he should still be a good four-year college hockey player. 14 goals, 15 assists, 29 points in 39 games this season.

Jared Fiegl

Fiegl_jared_medium

Class

Position

Shoots

Height

Weight

2014

Forward

Left

6'1

208

Team

Hometown

DOB

USA NTDP U-18

Parker, Colo.

1/23/1996

Fiegl is another player who had previously been committed to Denver but is now looking at other options for next season after the Gwozdecky/Montgomery change. Colorado native has played in just 16 games for the U-18's this season, registering one goal and one assist in the process.

Participated in the USA Hockey All American Prospects Game in Pittsburgh earlier this year. Fiegl is rated by NHL Central Scouting as a "C" level player for the 2014 NHL draft.

I don't think Fiegl is going to be a big time point producer in college, but would be a perfect bottom six guy for Wisconsin. Problem with that is the Badgers aren't looking to spend a lot of scholarship dollars to fill a role like that, so it may be tough to land an out of state kid coming from the NTDP with those restrictions.

Ludvig Hoff

http://kxweb.no/kx/189/portraits/189_10190.jpg

Class

Position

Shoots

Height

Weight

2014

Forward

Left

5'11

190

Team

Hometown

DOB

Lincoln Stars (USHL)

Oslo, Norway

10/16/1996

Editors note: Full disclosure, I don't know if Hoff will be available for the 2014 class. He's a late 1996 birth, which likely means he's a 2015 player. I've tried checking with a few sources on Hoff's graduation date, but didn't hear anything definitive by print time.

Real interesting prospect as Hoff is one of the few available recruits who played in the World Junior Championships last week in Sweden. While he registered only two assists in the tournament, his team was overmatched the entire time. The leading scorer on the team registered just four points, so two points as an under-ager isn't bad for the youngest player on the roster.

Hoff played the first half of the season in his native Norway, but is expected to join the Lincoln Stars of the USHL in the second half of the season. Hoff's older brother, Magnus, is a 1993-born forward who has been playing in Lincoln all season. Magnus is a D1 prospect himself as the second leading scorer for the Stars. A potential package for both brothers is not out of the question.

Hoff's father, Geir, played two seasons of college hockey at Michigan State.

Christian Horn

Class

Position

Shoots

Height

Weight

2014

Forward

Right

5'11

180

Team

Hometown

DOB

Tri-City Storm (USHL)

Plymouth, Minn.

6/11/1993

Former Benilde-St. Margaret's star spent a year at Minnesota playing for the Gophers but decided to pursue more playing time by leaving school and heading to the USHL for a year. Badgers had some interest in Grant Besse's former teammate during his initial recruitment, as did a number of other schools. Ohio State was reportedly the runner up for Horn in his initial recruitment, as he chose to walk on with the Gophers over a scholarship offer from the Buckeyes.

Transfer situations are always tricky with the NCAA and Big Ten rules. The positive news on this one is that the Big Ten changed its archaic rules on transfer scholarships a few years ago. Now, with a full release, a player is eligible to receive a scholarship at his new school when transferring from one Big Ten institution to another. That would mean Horn would be eligible to play at Wisconsin on scholarship next season.

That, of course, is assuming Horn was given a full release by Minnesota. I don't have that information. If Horn was blocked by Minnesota from going to Big Ten schools he could still go to Wisconsin, but would have to pay his own way for one season. He could then be on scholarship for his remaining eligibility after that first season.

Cameron Hughes

Class

Position

Shoots

Height

Weight

2014

Forward

Left

5'11

160

Team

Hometown

DOB

Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL)

Edmonton, Alberta

10/9/1996

Hughes has been a hot topic for Wisconsin fans, as we reported Dec. 11 that the Edmonton native would be taking a campus visit to Madison. Hughes remains a major target for the Badgers as they search for 2014 options.

I believe Wisconsin feels good about its chances to land Hughes, but I've heard Hughes has, or will be visiting other Big Ten schools as well in the recruiting process. From the outside looking in, it appears as if Hughes' decision may set a domino effect on other scholarship offers to different players.

Sean MacTavish

Class

Position

Shoots

Height

Weight

2014

Forward

Right

6'0

180

Team

Hometown

DOB

Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL)

Edmonton, Alberta

11/21/1994

MacTavish is the son of former NHL legend and current Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish. Played U-16 midget hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary's for a year with guys like Taylor Cammarata (Minnesota) and Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche). After a year at Shattuck, MacTavish spent a season at the Brunswick school in Chicago before going to Sherwood Park.

MacTavish is currently fourth in the Alberta Junior Hockey League in scoring with 23 goals, 29 assists and 52 points in 41 games. MacTavish was drafted by the Kelowna Rockets in the 9th round of the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft.

Dylan Pavelek

Pavelek_dylan_medium

Class

Position

Shoots

Height

Weight

2014

Forward

Right

5'11

191

Team

Hometown

DOB

USA NTDP U-18

Marysville, Mich.

1/16/1996

Another player who had a previous college commitment but is looking at other options now. Pavelek originally committed to Mark Osiecki and Ohio State, but changed his mind a few months ago. Marysville, Mich., native has six goals and five assists in 29 games for the U-18's this season.

Pavelek is rated by NHL Central Scouting as a "C" level player for the 2014 NHL draft. More offensively gifted than Fiegl, but not projected to be an elite scoring threat at the college level. Should be a good third line forward out of the gates with the potential for more down the road.

Hunter Racine

Player Photo

Class

Position

Shoots

Height

Weight

2014

Forward

Right

5'9

183

Team

Hometown

DOB

Ottawa Jr. Senators (CCHL)

Ottawa, Ontario

4/23/1996

Badgers haven't done a lot of recruiting out of Ontario since they landed the "Toronto trio" of Sam Gagner, Cody Goloubef and Brendan Smith. Racine is certainly a player that would be worthy of pursuing, especially with the bind the Badgers find themselves in. Right winger is currently rated as one of the top uncommitted players in Ontario according to TheScout.ca, and has registered 18 goals and 22 assists for 40 points in 33 games for the Jr. Senators this season.

Adam Rockwood

Class

Position

Shoots

Height

Weight

2014

Forward

Left

5'10

175

Team

Hometown

DOB

Coquitlam Express (BCHL)

Coquitlam, British Columbia

9/22/1995

Rockwood is lighting it up in the British Columbia league this season with eight goals and 41 assists for 49 points in 37 games for Coquitlam. Rockwood leads the BCHL in assists and has recorded more points than any other uncommitted player in the league this season.

Obviously a pass-first type player, Rockwood would be a great replacement for the skill set Zengerle currently brings the Badgers.

Tyler Sheehy

http://cdn1.sportngin.com/attachments/roster_player_info/2714/8055/Tyler_Sheehy_new_medium.jpg

Class

Position

Shoots

Height

Weight

2014

Forward

Right

5'10

185

Team

Hometown

DOB

Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)

Burnsville, Minn.

11/20/1995

Burnsville, Minn., native originally committed to Mark Osiecki and Ohio State but changed his mind after Osiecki was fired last spring. Played with future 2015 Wisconsin recruit Brock Boeser last season at Burnsville high school. After annihilating the competition in the Elite League earlier this fall with 21 goals and 16 assists for 37 points in just 21 games, Sheehy decided to spend his senior season with Waterloo in the USHL, where he has continued to rack up points with 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 points in 20 games. Sheehy is rated by NHL Central Scouting as a "B" level player for the 2014 NHL draft.

Sheehy has taken an unofficial visit to Madison, but the Badgers have been dragging their feet on an offer. All indications are that if Wisconsin offers, Sheehy will accept. Very few uncommitted players available with the offensive skill package Sheehy presents. There is no reason this kid shouldn't be a Badger.

Parker Tuomie

Player Photo

Class

Position

Shoots

Height

Weight

2014

Forward

Left

5'9

178

Team

Hometown

DOB

Wenatchee Wild (NAHL)

Biemerhaven, Germany

10/31/1995

A bit of an off the radar player (at least to the average fan) coming out of the NAHL, but he's an intriguing prospect for a number of reasons. First of all, he's a Badger legacy, as his father, Tray, spent three seasons at Wisconsin after transferring from St. Cloud State. Tuomie's father was even part of the team that won a national title during the 1989-90 season.

With a late 1995 birth date, Tuomie won't be eligible for the NHL draft until next June. That made Tuomie one of the few draft-eligible players at the World Junior Championships this past week, where he represented Germany. Nic Kerdiles was on the USA squad that defeated Tuomie and Germany, 8-0. Tuomie also represented Germany last year at the World U18 championships.

Tuomie wants to play college hockey and is having a good season with Wenatchee in the NAHL with 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points in 27 games. He's also pretty good when it comes to shootouts.

Blake Winiecki

Player Photo

Class

Position

Shoots

Height

Weight

2014

Forward

Left

6'1

190

Team

Hometown

DOB

Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)

Lakeville, Minn.

1/10/1994

The biggest asset Winiecki has is that he can put the puck in the net. Winiecki is currently 9th on Waterloo in points so far this season with 22 in 29 games, but his 14 goals on the year rank him second behind only Peter Krieger. In fact, Winiecki's 14 goals this season put him in the top 10 in the USHL.

Played high school hockey at Lakeville North in Minnesota. Third leading scorer on his Elite League team behind only Minnesota freshman Justin Kloos and Nebraska-Omaha freshman Jake Guentzel.

Wouldn't take a full scholarship to bring Winiecki to campus. With reciprocity and the lack of talented Wisconsin-born forwards available for this class, a kid like Winiecki could be a great fit for a lower level scholarship offer.

Other potential options:

PLAYER TEAM HOMETOWN HEIGHT WEIGHT
Drew Callin Janesville Jets (NAHL) Middleton, Wis. 6'2 190
Alex Falconer Shattuck-St. Mary's Prep Kohler, Wis. 6'1 170
Gage Hough Omaha Lancers (USHL) Omaha, Neb. 5'11 187
Mitch Hults Indiana Ice (USHL) Stoughton, Wis. 6'2 200
Kyle Lee Fairbanks Ice Dogs (NAHL) Wausau, Wis. 5'8 170
Conor Lemirande Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) Janesville, Wis. 6'5 235
Eddie Matsushima Coulee Region Chill (NAHL) Verona, Wis. 5'11 185
Nick Monfils Corpus Cristi (NAHL) Oshkosh, Wis. 5'7 165
Spencer Naas Benilde-St. Margaret's high school St. Louis Park, Minn. 5'10 180
Anthony Petrella Shattuck-St. Mary's Prep Hilton, N.Y. 5'9 185
Alex Rodriguez Shattuck-St. Mary's Prep Faribault, Minn. 5'11 176
Kyle Schmidt Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) Menomonee Falls, Wis. 5'9 175
Jesse Tredinnick Coulee Region Chill (NAHL) Onalaska, Wis. 5'10 170

For more hockey coverage, follow Andy on Twitter --
You can also reach Andy via e-mail (AndyJohnsonB5Q@gmail.com)

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