The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team recently landed a surplus of talent in their 2019 freshman class. The incoming group includes a mix of forwards and defensemen covering a variety of skillsets at different levels of talent which will play a large part in Wisconsin’s upcoming season. Let’s take a closer look at the incoming class, starting with the offense.
Alex Turcotte – Center
Alex Turcotte sits atop Wisconsin’s freshman class and is currently a projected top-10 pick for the NHL draft by a majority of NHL scouts. He is ranked fifth among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.
A native of Island Lake, Illinois, Turcotte is a fantastic playmaker thanks to his exceptional vision on the ice.
He plays all 200 feet and is a complete player both offensively and defensively. His skating ability is among the best in the upcoming draft class, as both his quickness and hockey IQ allow him to be a consistent factor in all game scenarios. Turcotte is an elite talent and has the potential to be a top-two center in this draft class.
Turcotte can fit in easily as a first line center next season and will immediately be a force in the Big Ten that opposing teams will need to account for. He should provide the Badgers with star power and offensive opportunity in both five-on-five and power play situations — areas where the Badgers lacked this season.
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Cole Caufield – Wing
Not far behind Turcotte in terms of talent comes Wisconsin native Cole Caufield, a projected top-25 pick in the draft and ranked 15th by NHL Central Scouting among North American skaters.
Caufield already has experience playing with Turcotte, as they both played in the USA Hockey National Team Development Program and are convincingly the most talented forwards in this freshmen class.
Despite his small frame — listed at five-foot-seven and 157 pounds — Caufield can be an effective player for the Badgers and should see a significant chunk of playing time next season. He is one of the best shooters among the forwards in this draft class, as his finishing and goal-scoring abilities are second to none. Like Turcotte, he is a smart player with sharp decision-making abilities. Plus, it shouldn’t be hard for Caufield to adjust to campus since he grew up less than two hours from Madison.
Ryder Donovan – Center
Ryder Donovan is currently projected to be drafted near the end of the third round or early fourth round in the draft and is ranked No. 46 by NHL Central Scouting among North American Skaters.
He is currently a senior at Duluth East High School in Minnesota and is teammates with fellow recruit defenseman Luke LaMaster.
Donovan can be a top-six forward for the Badgers, and playing with more experienced players should help him raise his game thanks to his talent and frame — Donovan is listed at six-foot-four and 190 pounds. He can provide support down the middle of the ice that can open up offensive opportunities for his future line-mates.
Owen Lindmark – Center
Owen Lindmark played alongside Turcotte and Caufield for team USA and is ranked No. 65 by NHL Central Scouting among North American Skaters. He is also a projected sixth-round pick by NHL scouts in this year’s draft.
He is an intelligent and reliable two-way center who is also a very strong skater. He flashes signs of great hands and finishing ability and will add to Wisconsin’s already deep group of centers. Lindmark will also see the ice a lot next season and could be a top-six forward for the Badgers.
With Donovan and Lindmark added to an already improved top-six, Wisconsin now has outstanding offensive potential and the talent necessary to compete with and shut down other teams’ best players — not to mention that they are deep throughout the rest of their roster too.
Dylan Holloway – Center/Wing
Dylan Holloway is coming to Wisconsin from his native Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Holloway is relatively young compared to his fellow recruits, as he is not eligible to be drafted until the 2020 NHL Draft. Nonetheless, he is still a great prospect and one that brings speed to the squad. Despite his age, his size and ability to get around defensemen will allow him to be a dynamic offensive player for Wisconsin. He is also a crisp passer with great vision.
He is projected to be a top-15 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft by NHL scouts. Holloway has the potential to be a top-six forward for the Badgers next season, but it will be interesting to see where Coach Granato puts the speedy youngster in the lineup.
Other forward recruits include Mathieu De St. Phalle, Josh Bohlin, Ben Helgeson, Ben Almquist and Sam Stevens.
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The Badgers’ defensive core will be improved next season as well, as they have three incoming defensemen that can each play a role in the Badgers’ 2019-2020 season run.
Mike Vorlicky – Defenseman
Mike Vorlicky isn’t the largest defenseman, as he is listed at six-foot-one and 161 pounds. But the Minnesota native moves the puck very well and is a smart player.
Vorlicky provides physicality and will be a solid defender for the Badgers, adding to their defensive depth with K’Andre Miller and newly named captain Wyatt Kalynuk.
Patrick Keegan – Defenseman
Patrick Keegan— listed at six-foot-three and 231 pounds — can improve the Badgers in terms of size. Keegan plays a large presence on the ice both physically and in the game as a whole. The left-handed defenseman is strong, has a hard shot and will be an intimidating defenseman to go up against in the Big Ten next season.
Luke LaMaster – Defenseman
Luke LaMaster is currently a senior at Duluth East High School and is teammates with Donovan.
LaMaster can add to the Badgers’ defensive depth as a positive locker room presence and another right-handed defenseman. At six-foot-two and 174 pounds, LaMaster is a mobile defenseman who moves the puck well.
With six seniors departing from the program, there will be six new roster spots for the 2019-2020 season. Head Coach Tony Granato and his staff have an exciting incoming crop of talent that will lead to much-needed flexibility in terms of line combinations and game plans.
With the draft approaching in less than three months, it will be an exciting journey for Badger fans to see where their future stars will be selected in this year’s loaded draft class.
The 2019 NHL Entry Draft will be held on June 21 and 22 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada at the Rogers Arena.
The city of Madison should embrace this offseason and prepare for this talented group to take storm because they’re coming, and they’re coming in hot.