Tony Stillwell has surgery
Might as well start with the bad news first. Projected 2016 Wisconsin recruit Tony Stillwell will be sidelined after undergoing recent ankle surgery.
Stillwell suffered the injury playing for Team Wisconsin a few weeks ago. He tried to play though the injury, but it never improved. Stillwell, who plays defense for Notre Dame Academy, will miss the first portion of the high school season while he heals up.
One of the top defensemen in the Elite League this season, Stillwell finished with three goals and nine points in 17 games for Team Wisconsin. Stillwell also played in two USHL games this fall for the Madison Capitols, registering one assist. Those two games actually came the weekend after he suffered the initial injury.
Adam Parsells participates in CCM IIT tournament
Speaking of Team Wisconsin, fellow UW recruit Adam Parsells recently wrapped up his fall season with a trip to the CCM IIT tournament in Minnesota. Along with Billy Jerry of River Falls (plays for St. Thomas Academy), Ty Pelton-Byce (U-Mass) of Madison Memorial and Collin Peters (Northern Michigan) of Sheboygan, Parsells was invited to play for the Minnesota Red team. They defeated Shattuck-St. Mary's Prep to win the championship on Sunday afternoon.
Parsells has drawn the attention of NHL scouts with his large 6'6 frame, and will undoubtedly be selected at some point in next June's NHL Draft. The defenseman from Wausau West will also likely be considered one of the favorites to win this upcoming season's Mr. Hockey Award. Other favorites include Stillwell, Pelton-Byce, Peters, Cole Paskus (Madison West), Connor Blanck (Fond du Lac Springs) and Bret Schwengler (Eau Claire Memorial).
Matt Berkovitz out with mono
2015 Wisconsin defense recruit Matt Berkovitz is out for the foreseeable future with mono. Sioux City placed Berkovitz on the USHL's 45-day IR Oct. 12. He's eligible to return for action at the end of November, but it remains to be seen how long he will be out. Mono tends to linger with players and it's going to take Berkovitz a while to regain his strength and stamina.
Berkovitz, who was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2014 NHL Draft in the 5th-round, got off to a slow start this season after being traded by the Chicago Steel to the Musketeers after the USHL Fall Classic. The mono diagnosis explains the sluggish start.
Brock Boeser named USHL forward of the week
Brock Boeser came into the season with very high expectations, but has lived up to them through nine games and has even raised the bar with the Waterloo Black Hawks. Boeser was named the USHL's CCM Forward of the Week on Monday after registering three goals and an assist in Friday's win over Lincoln.
Despite playing two less games than many other teams in the league, Boeser is tied for the USHL lead in goals with nine and is fourth in points with 13, just two off the league lead.
Boeser was able to get his feet wet in the USHL last season when he played for Sioux City in the playoffs. He's been able to hit the ground running after an off-season trade to Waterloo. Boeser's NHL stock continues to rise, as he looks to be a first or second round pick next June.
Frederic, Opilka, Kunin head to international assignments
Three future Badgers will don the red, white and blue this week for the United States in international competition. 2016 recruit Trent Frederic is with the U.S. U17 team in Ontario for the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and 2015 recruits Luke Opilka and Luke Kunin will skate for the U.S. U18 team at the 2014 Under-18 Four Nations Tournament from Nov. 5-9, in Sundsvall, Sweden.
Team USA is 2-0 so far at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Frederic, a center out of St. Louis, has one goal so far in the tournament.
Kunin, also a center out of St. Louis, and Opilka, a goaltender out of St. Louis, are having fantastic seasons with the U.S. U18 team. I spoke with their head coach, Don Granato, and will have a story on them later in the week.
Jost, Fabbro skate for Canada at World Under-17 Hockey Challenge
Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro, who are targets 1a and 1b on the Badgers' recruiting wish-list, are suiting up for Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge this week. Canada sends three teams to the event. Fabbro, a defenseman out of Coquitlam, British Columbia is skating for Canada Red, while Jost, a forward from Kelowna, British Columbia, is on Canada White.
Jost and Fabbro are projected first-round picks in the 2016 NHL Draft, and are two of just four players Canada is sending to the event who haven't committed to playing major junior hockey. The duo is playing this season for the Penticton Vees in the BCHL, a team owned by former Badger Ron Vincent.
Wisconsin assistant coach Gary Shuchuk is in Ontario this week. I know coach Shuchuk loves Tim Horton's coffee, but I'm guessing these two will be his primary focus on the trip.
Peter Tischke takes on bigger role with Chicago Steel
2015 committed recruit Peter Tischke doesn't get a ton of publicity, as he's a no-nonsense, shutdown-type defenseman that doesn't put up a ton of points. But reports out of Chicago this fall have been all positive for the future Badger blueliner.
An NHL scout I spoke with recently said Tischke has the body of a man and is using it to his advantage. He's also been able to add a few points on the offensive end, with a goal and five points in 11 games so far this season with the Steel.
He won't draw headlines because he's not an offensive guy, but Tischke is one of the more important players in Wisconsin's upcoming recruiting class. With offensive-type defensemen Tim Davison and Jake Linhart already on the roster and finesse guys like Matt Berkovitz and Tony Stillwell in the pipeline, a guy like Tischke is necessary to balance the defensive core.
I'll get my first look at Tischke this season Thursday night when Chicago squares off against Boeser and the Waterloo Black Hawks as the feature event in advance of the 2014 Bauer World Hockey Invite in Chicago.
Matthew Freytag coming on strong in USHL
Power forward Matthew Freytag is starting to adjust to play in the USHL after deciding to spend his senior season with the Tri-City Storm. The former Wayzata high school winger is third on the club in scoring with three goals and eight points through 10 games this season.
Freytag plays a power game and is learning how to play away from the puck, and has five points in his last four games, including a two-goal performance against Team USA Oct. 24.
Slow start for Seamus Malone?
Expected to be one of the top forwards in the USHL this season, Seamus Malone is just fourth on the Dubuque Fighting Saints in scoring this season and has registered only two goals. Coming off a 26 goal, 55 point season for the Fighting Saints, Malone is not off to the start some had projected for the third-year USHL forward.
I wouldn't be too concerned, however, as Malone has the talent to score goals in this league and it's only a matter of time before he gets it going on the offensive end.
Future recruits on the horizon?
Unlike last season where the Wisconsin coaching staff had a number of slots to fill for the upcoming recruiting class, the Badgers are pretty much set for the next few seasons in that regard. They are in a bit of a holding pattern until they know more about Jost and Fabbro, and likely won't offer up spots until they know what direction those two players are heading.
Looking further down the road, head coach Mike Eaves was on the recruiting trail last weekend watching the Team Wisconsin U14 team play the Shattuck-St. Mary's bantam squad. Shattuck is absolutely loaded and has some intriguing pieces including a kid out of Belarus named Grisha Gotovets who is off to a hot start. Eagle River, Wis., native Max Zingler is another player from that team who will be on the radar. Same can be said about Team Wisconsin defenseman Ty Emberson, who has generated positive reviews. He'll be a freshman at Eau Claire Memorial this fall.
Speaking of young players on the radar for the future, Shattuck Prep forward Grant Mismash, Shattuck U16 forward Charlie Dovorany (Wausau) and Team Wisconsin U16 forward Mick Messner (Madison West) have played strong in the early going so far this season and are getting strong NCAA looks. Milwaukee Jr. Admiral's forward Grant Cruikshank, who is the son of former Olympic speed skaters Bonnie Blair and Dave Cruikshank is another kid to keep an eye on. Same with teammate Jacob Nielsen.
On the defensive end, Hill-Murray defenseman Casey Staum, Wayzata defenseman Hank Sorenson and Benilde-St. Margaret's defenseman Connor Mayer are three out of the Land of 10,000 Lakes that are likely to get strong NCAA interest this season. Team Wisconsin U16 defenseman Davis Bunz (Middleton), Madison Capitols (USHL) defenseman Carver Watson (Appleton) and Chicago Mission U16 defenseman Alec Semandel (Waunakee) are locals who are in the picture.
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