In the late years under former Badger head hockey coach Jeff Sauer Wisconsin recruiting simply wasn't up to par. That hasn't been the case during the Mike Eaves era as he continues to re-stock the cupboards on an annual basis.
As the game of college hockey changes, coaches need to be able to adjust to the times. The era of a player being all but guaranteed to play four seasons at the college level is in the past. The last 4-5 seasons have seen players leaving earlier and earlier and it's forced coaches to make changes to their recruiting strategies. Some coaches have adjusted, others haven't and it's shown in their results.
Wisconsin's 2011 recruiting class is the perfect example of changes in the recruiting game. Eaves has put together a mix of players coming straight out of high school and players with a few years of junior hockey experience. And while this class may not feature a superstar along the lines of a Kyle Turris, it does bring in a group of players that are very good, and are expected to be in Madison for a while.
More on the 2011 recruiting class with quotes from Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves after the jump.
UWBadgers.com has issued a press release on four recruits that have signed national letters of intent this spring. New goaltender recruit Landon Peterson who we featured on Wednesday has also signed but was not included in the release. In addition to the five who have recently signed and are featured below, four players (Matt Paape, Brendan Woods, Joel Rumpel, and Tyler Lapic) signed LOI's in the fall. You can see Mike Eaves quotes on those players here.
Patrick Daly: Benilde-St. Margaret's High School (Minnesota)
Hometown: Victoria, MN
Size: 6', 180 lbs
Notes: 2011 Minnesota Mr. Hockey finalist. Recorded 40 points in 27 games. Was a Plus/Minus +50 this season.
Mike Eaves: "Patrick Daly is a fine-skating defenseman. He has the ability to jump up into the play. He makes good first passes and will be competitive playing the game."
Joseph LaBate: Academy of Holy Angels (Minnesota)
Hometown: Eagan, MN
Size: 6'4, 195 lbs
Notes: 2011 Minnesota Mr. Hockey finalist. Recorded 49 points in 25 games. Ranked #51 by NHL Central scouting for the upcoming draft.
Mike Eaves: "Joseph Labate is a 6-4 forward. Center ice is what he's played most of the time in high school. For a big man, he moves very well. He has good sense of the puck and has good puck skills. I think once he catches up to the speed of this level, he'll be a very fine player."
Jake McCabe: USA National Team Development Program U18
Hometown: Eau Claire, WI
Size: 6', 190 lbs
Notes: Won gold medal with Team USA at U18 World Championships. Not eligible until the 2012 draft.
Mike Eaves: "Jake McCabe is a young man from Eau Claire who is a well-rounded defenseman. He is very solid in his defensive game, but can see the game open up offensively. He'll be an all-round defenseman for us."
Brad Navin: Waupaca High School (Wisconsin)
Hometown: Waupaca, WI
Size: 6'2, 195 lbs
Notes: Ranked #163 by NHL Central Scouting for the upcoming draft. Recorded 52 points in 14 games before a knee injury ended his season.
Mike Eaves: "Brad Navin is a prototypical power forward. He's 6-2 and skates really well for a big man. He also shoots the puck a ton. He likes to go into the corner and get to hard areas, so he'll bring that type of game to our lineup."