Undoubtedly the biggest Badger hockey news of the week is on the recruiting front where Sun Prairie, WI native Will Butcher made his college choice this week choosing Denver over Wisconsin, North Dakota, and others. Butcher is one of the top 5 defensemen in the 2013 recruiting cycle in the entire nation and was unquestionably one of the top two or three targets for the Badger coaching staff for the 2013 recruiting year.
Growing up just outside of Madison, many recruitniks figured that Butcher was a virtual lock for Wisconsin given their history of churning out NHL caliber defensemen year after year so it came as a surprise to many when it was released that he would be a Pioneer after a two year stint at the NTDP. In an article today on the Lets Go Du blog, they note (via USHR) that Butcher's father played hockey in high school and in the USHL with current Denver assistant Steve Miller who is from Butcher's hometown of Sun Prairie.
Despite the Butcher family connection to Miller and DU, it's not a lock that Butcher ever puts on a Pioneer sweater. This past summer Butcher was selected in the 10th round of the OHL draft by the Windsor Spitfires who are notorious for pursuing Americans with college commitments including most recently stealing Jack Campbell from Michigan and Cam Fowler from Notre Dame. In an article in late May a Windsor scout noted that Butcher would have been a top 10 pick in the draft had he committed to the OHL. In the article Butcher notes he has not ruled out the OHL and went as far as saying, "I'm taking it year-by-year and we'll see where I go."
Wisconsin, who only has one known commitment past 2012 in Toronto goalie Gabe Grunwald surely could have used Butcher but are hardly out of ammunition. In fact there happens to be another in state player in the 2013 recruiting cycle who may be even better than Butcher who remains uncommitted. If you've read my recruiting news over the past few years you know that I'm talking about Waterloo (USHL) defenseman Ian McCoshen who is from Hudson, a city that has produced recent Badgers Andy Bohmbach (AHL) and Davis Drewiske (L.A. Kings).
McCoshen is an ultra talented blueliner who played in the USHL last year as a 15 year old and has two more years in the league before he'll make the jump to college. McCoshen is big and likes to be physical. He has skates well for his size and that should improve as he grows into his frame. His shot is also coming along.
In an interview last winter with McCoshen he said that he had mutual interest with Wisconsin, Minesota, Ohio State, and Notre Dame. Most recently the 1995 born McCoshen has visited Minnesota-Duluth and said that he would also be visiting the Badgers.
Join the Badger conversation on Facebook! Go to our Facebook page and "like" us!
For more Wisconsin hockey coverage, follow Chuck on Twitter (@UWChuckSchwartz)