Badgers men's hockey: Recruits get some strong reviews

2014-07-19T03:30:00Z Badgers men's hockey: Recruits get some strong reviewsANDY BAGGOT | | 608-252-6175

Analysis from the annual Select 17 Festival, conducted in June by USA Hockey, suggests a strong future for the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team.

Multiple UW recruits received highly favorable reviews from independent observers who gathered for the event in Buffalo, New York.

Heading the list was center Brock Boeser, from Burnsville, Minnesota, who was viewed as the top forward at the get-together by U.S. Hockey Report, a respected East Coast-based evaluation service for amateur hockey.

“Plays with determination in all three zones, has a powerful stride, a rocket of a shot, is strong on his skates and has a great head for the game,’’ USHR evaluators wrote of Boeser, who is projected to play for the Badgers starting in 2015. “A force all week. Second consecutive year he’s been our top forward here.’’

Red Line Report, an independent international scouting service geared toward NHL prospects, had Boeser ranked third among forwards, saying: “An asset to any and all line mates. He’s great at drawing attention of defenders in the offensive zone, opening up lots of room for others.’’

RLR projects Boeser as a second-round NHL draft pick in 2015. 

Likely joining Boeser in Madison next season will be winger Matthew Freytag from Wayzata, Minnesota.

“Strong power forward has north-south speed, good lateral mobility, and likes to play a physical game,’’ USHR wrote. “Has a strong shot and is aggressive around the net.’’

The RLR scout was surprised Freytag wasn’t chosen for the post-Festival all-star game.

“He’s a smart, skilled power forward with a big-time shot,’’ RLR wrote. “Good-sized winger is effective in traffic. Drives the net hard and can finish in tight.’’

Winger Max Zimmer, a Wayzata teammate of Freytag’s last season who’s scheduled to arrive in Madison in 2017, also impressed.

“A natural playmaker whose motor always revs on high,’’ wrote RLR. “Very responsible away from the puck and loves to engage on the forecheck.’’

USHR said Zimmer “is relentless on the puck and has a strong, accurate shot. His compete level is impressive as he backchecks as hard as he forechecks, blocks shots and battles in the corners.’’

Two future UW defensemen, Tony Stillwell and Adam Parsells, played so well they were paired together in the post-Festival all-star game that also included Boeser.

Stillwell, from Green Bay, is undersized at 5-foot-7 and 152 pounds, but his skill set and speed caught the eye of USHR evaluators who list him coming to Madison in 2016.

“Nearly impossible to get around,’’ the report said. “Can strip the puck and head the other way fast. Fun to watch.’’

Parsells, from Wausau, has a pro frame at 6-5 and 193 pounds, which helps explain why he caught the eye of the NHL-centric RLR scout.

“Great size and impressive footwork for being such a tall, gangly kid,’’ he wrote. “Keeps the game extremely simple and is good in the defensive zone.’’

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