Following an NHL Draft that featured four Badgers, the University of Wisconsin squad is loaded with young talent. Alex Turcotte, Cole Caufield, Ryder Donovan and Owen Lindmark will all play an integral role in the Wisconsin offense next season.
Let’s take a look into their return to Madison and the expectations that come with their freshman season.
Turcotte, an incoming freshman, was drafted with the fifth overall pick in the NHL Draft by the Los Angeles Kings and stands as the third-highest picked Badger in the NHL Draft in school history behind second overall pick Dany Heatley in 2000 and third overall pick Kyle Turris in 2007.
Turcotte is a brilliant playmaker with breakaway speed and finishing ability. He is very skilled with the puck on his stick, has a great shot and his speed makes him a threat in transition.
Turcotte is an elite 200-foot player who backchecks hard and sacrifices his body. He is a force on the defensive end, as he creates plenty of turnovers and is incredibly strong on the puck.
Men’s hockey: Wisconsin’s overloaded 2019-20 freshmen class is its best in yearsThe University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team recently landed a surplus of talent in their 2019 freshman class. The incoming Read…
As a potential NHL franchise-changing talent, Turcotte will see the ice a lot this year and will be a top-six forward for Wisconsin for the next few seasons.
LA Kings General Manager Rob Blake discussed Turcotte’s development at UW in an interview at the NHL Draft.
“I know I’ve had a relationship with Coach Granato for a long time, so we understand we put him there and let him develop. He is going to teach him how to be a pro on and off the ice and that’s going to benefit us,” Blake said in the interview.
As Turcotte is just 18 years old and is not entirely developed, it was clear that he would not be entering his rookie NHL season, but rather his first season in college. Turcotte will definitely have the chance to live up to the hype of being the fifth overall pick, but it will take some time. Wisconsin would be lucky to have Turcotte for his upperclassmen seasons.
Caufield, another incoming freshman, was drafted with the 15th pick in the NHL Draft by the Montreal Canadiens. Projected as a top 10 pick by NHL.com, Caufield’s draft night slide was one of the biggest surprises of the draft, classifying him as a potential steal.
Men’s hockey: Wisconsin’s season ends after gut-wrenching 4–3 OT loss to Penn StateThe University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (14-18-5) saw their season come to an end Sunday after dropping the tie-breaking Read…
Caufield is an elite goal scorer who is terrific at reading the ice to find open space. His best attribute is his shot, which is extremely accurate and quick.
With a dangerous offensive arsenal, Caufield can find the back of the net in a multitude of spots on the ice. Caufield also has good hands and is elusive on the ice. His tremendous work ethic gives him the edge in many battles for the puck, as well as a defensive presence.
Caufield is a great match with Wisconsin and head coach Tony Granato’s offense. The Badgers averaged 3.1 goals per game last season, and the addition of Caufield should enhance and suffice the goal-scoring necessity in order to climb to the top of the Big Ten standings.
Montreal Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin spoke on Caufield’s development situation in an interview at the NHL Draft.
“Just keep producing like he has been at the U.S. program and make him ready as an NHL player. Only, like I said, he needs to get NHL experience and it’s a good place to play hockey,” Bergevin said in the interview.
Caufield’s window to playing in the NHL will open shortly, but will also take time, as he is only 18 years old and has a smaller frame at 5’7’’ and 163 pounds. Caufield could remain as a Badger for two to three seasons.
Men’s hockey: Badgers add Ryder Donovan to already strong 2019 recruitment classThe University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team turned heads in the recruitment world this past week with the addition of Read…
Freshman Ryder Donovan was drafted with the 110th overall pick in the fourth round by the Vegas Golden Knights. Being drafted to a franchise entering just its third season, Donovan will have a chance to compete with a very talented prospect pool.
Donovan brings more depth and speed down the middle for UW, and his tremendous vision and hockey IQ allow him to be a great playmaker.
Donovan is a 200-foot center whose size at 6’4’’ and 185 pounds compliments his skill and makes him an extremely effective player in every part of the ice. His work ethic — combined with his willingness to win — displays the leadership qualities that he will take to Wisconsin.
Teammate and fellow freshman Mike Vorlicky will join Donovan in at the Golden Knights camp.
Donovan described his experience at the Knights’ development camp in his blog.
“They found a handful of areas that they want me to work on this week that I’ve never even considered before. I’m going to work those things into my game this week and eventually into next season at Wisconsin to see where the small details can help me improve overall,” Donovan wrote in the blog.
With a large frame and a strong all-around game, Donovan has one of the more interesting, yet unpredictable futures for Wisconsin. Donovan’s likelihood of staying in Madison will genuinely depend on his development progress in the next few years.
Men’s hockey: After sweeping home series against Michigan, Badgers prep for Big Ten TournamentThe University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (13-16-5, 9-10-5-2 Big Ten) finished the regular season on a high note this Read…
The fourth Badger freshman to get drafted, Lindmark was drafted with the 137th overall pick in the fifth round by the Florida Panthers. With a surplus of talented young centers, it will take Lindmark at least a few seasons before he truly gets the opportunity to make his mark on a professional level.
Lindmark is a very strong skater who provides depth at the center position for any team. He has a strong hockey IQ and is a reliable two-way center. With great hands and finishing ability, Lindmark can make his impact on a game in a variety of ways.
He has experience playing with many current Badgers, including both Turcotte and Caufield. This experience should give Lindmark an advantage in adapting to the Wisconsin offense.
Lindmark joins current Badgers’ junior defenseman Tyler Inamoto in the Florida organization.
NHL Network Analyst Brian Lawton gave high praise to Wisconsin and Lindmark’s game in an interview at the NHL Draft.
“He is a guy that you can count on to do the right things, to be a 200-foot player, but I personally think there’s more offensively in his game, but in order for Wisconsin to win a championship, this is the type of player exactly that’s going to shine through for them,” Lawton said in the interview.
The Florida Panthers currently have a crowded and center-filled prospect pool, which means Lindmark could spend the next two to four years as a Badger.
These four will be an addition to a Wisconsin team that now has 12 NHL draftees on its roster and should make an immediate impact on a squad that stacks up well in the Big Ten.