Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Recruit Update: Starting Another Season

This is the first of several Recruit Updates that I'll have over the course of the season. At minimum, I'll post another near mid-season and again near the end of the season. I'll post other newsy tidbits throughout the season as well.

There are currently nine future Seawolves on the docket. 4 are playing in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. 2 are plying their trade in the British Columbia Hockey League. And 1 each are playing in the USHL, NAHL and in Sweden. The USHL and Swedish league are on the cusp of beginning their regular seasons. All the other leagues are well underway.

In alphabetical order:

Scott Allen
(Forward, DOB July 6th, 1990: 6ft 3in 190lbs):
Scott is a big left-handed power winger skating with the Spruce Grove Saints. In 6 regular season games he has tallied 3 goals and 2 assists with 23 penalty minutes. Spruce Grove has played 8 games and his absence in the lineup for two games is a mystery to me. I'll assume that it was related to some hopefully minor injury. He did play in their most recent tilt. Scott is a linemate of UAA recruit Brett Cameron and is well regarded. Last season he notched 15 goals and added 15 assists in 49 games with 124 penalty minutes. It's likely that the line he plays on will become the highest scoring trio in the AJHL this season.

Matt Bailey
(Forward, DOB April 5th, 1991: 6ft 1in 185lbs):
Matt first committed to UAA while a member of the Neepawa Natives in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. In his rookie year in that league he scored 13 goals and added 15 assists in 56 games. Last season he joined the USHL's Tri-City Storm and scored 10 goals with 14 assists in 58 games. This season Matt is with Sioux Falls in that league. Tri-City had a horrible year but this season Matt's team in SF looks to be in the mix as possibly one of the stronger teams in the league. Sioux Falls first regular season game is scheduled for this Friday. In three preseason games Matt scored 1 goal on a power play and added 1 assist.

Gustav Bengtson
(Forward, DOB August 31, 1989: 5ft 10in 185lbs):
Gustav came onto UAA's radar while playing AAA Midget Major for the Northwest Regulators in the 06-07 season. Since that time he's been on a bit of an unfortunate whirlwind tour of North American junior leagues. He made the powerful Cedar Rapids roster in the USHL in 07 but was buried down the depth chart and so was traded to the Texas Tornado in the NAHL where he did well scoring 9 goals with 13 assists in 37 games. Texas ceased operations for the 08-09 season to build an arena or something so in 08-09 Gustav found himself on the Topeka Roadrunners roster. After little playing time on that stacked team he was traded to the Kenai River Brown Bears. He finished the final 28 games with that club with 2 goals and 7 assists. Gustav has returned home to Sweden for a final season before coming to UAA. He is with the Sollentuna Hockey Club playing what is essentially a North American overage junior year. I have a contact who will supply me with updates throughout the season which is just about to start (as best as Google Translate can tell me).

Brett Cameron
(Forward, DOB May 11th, 1990: 6ft 2in 195lbs):
Brett is a highly regarded right-handed power winger with the Spruce Grove Saints. He is a linemate of fellow UAA recruit Scott Allen. Brett is currently attending the Canada West World Junior A Challenge evaluation camp. In 8 games so far this year he has 2 goals and 7 assists with 24 penalty minutes. He is playing with (former UAA recruit target) centerman Adam Henderson who left Michigan State after his freshman year. Brett finished last season as the 12th leading scorer and could be expected to be among the top scorers in that league by the end of this season; making him one of the NCAA blue-chip recruits from that league. He has all the tools to help him succeed when he gets to UAA next season.

Matthew Friese
(Forward, DOB April 17th, 1992; 5ft 1oin 170lbs):
Matthew is now in his 2nd year with the Alaska Avalanche in Wasilla. Last season in 34 regular season games he scored 4 goals and had 4 assists. Don't let the numbers fool you; he was in his rookie year as a 16 year old playing in a league full of 20 year old player in thier 3rd or even 4th year of juniors. Everything I know about Matthew tells me he is a skilled puck handling, playmaking and scoring forward. This season in 7 games he has 1 goal and 4 assists. The Avalanche look to have perhaps their best lineup ever this season and as it progresses I'd expect Matt's production to increase.

Rob Gunderson
(Goaltender, DOB April 1st, 1990; 6ft 186lbs):
Rob is currently attending the Canada West World Junior A Challenge evaluation camp. In 6 starts this season with the Brooks Bandits, Rob is unbeaten and sports an impressive .944 save percentage with a 2.16 goals against average. Rob is a stud. Not much doubt about that. In 08-09 Rob finished with a stellar 26-8-3 record for 2nd best in the league and a .912 sv%. During his freshman year at UAA, I'd expect that Rob will give Bryce some serious quality competition for playing time.

Sam Mellor
(Forward, DOB November 13th, 1992; 5ft 10in, 175lbs):
I've reached that point in my UAA fan career when recruits are younger than my daughter. Sam was a bit of a phenom last season in the KIJHL Junior B league as a 15 year old scoring 19 goals and adding 21 assists in a league full of 20 year olds. I have the highest possible hopes that Sam should match or exceed those totals in the B this season. In 8 games so far this season he has 4 goals and 3 assists with the Trail Smoke Eaters and looks to be settling in nicely in his rookie season there as a 16/17 year old. The Smoke Eaters are struggling early with a very young team overall. They're 1-6-1 in those 8 games which have come against some of the stronger teams in the league. Sam will be one of the few "true" 18 year old players at UAA when he gets here next season. For comparison's sake ... think Kevin Clark.

Wes McLeod
(Defense, DOB September 30th, 1990; 6ft 2in 185lbs):
Wes is also currently attending the Canada WEst World Junior A Challenge evaluation camp. In 6 games with the Prince George Spruce Kings this season, he has 3 goals and 4 assists along with 15 penalty minutes. That's good enough to be the 3rd leading scorer on PG's lineup. Wes is a highly regarded blueliner who at one point looked to be coming to UAA this season. But numbers being what they are, returning to the B for another season looks to be a good decision. Wes will have an additional year to add some bulk to his frame. And oh yeah ... Happy 19th Birthday to him today. Wes looks to be a potential All-WCHA player at some point during his NCAA career.

Quinn Sproule

(Defense, DOB May 5th, 1990; 6ft 195lbs):
Quinn plays for the Okotoks Oilers in the AJHL. Last season he lead that team's blueliners in goals with 12 and added 19 assists. Word is that he moves the puck up the ice extremely well. For some reason I can't help but think of him as a larger version of Curtis Leinweber. So far this season, Quinn has tallied 3 goals in 7 games. No assists? Does that mean I get to say that all he does is score goals? It will be interesting to watch how many he scores this season. I'm betting on at least 20.

That pretty much covers it for now. Best of luck to all these guys during their junior seasons. Before I do the next Recruit Update you can expect to hear about whatever "fall signings" that UAA gets. This is one of the busiest times of the year for recruiters so I've no doubt that Campbell and Regg are racking up the frequent flier miles finding some more gems to add to future UAA squads that only look to be better and better.


Suze said...

Great analysis Donald, I hope each of these guys have a great year in juniors and come to UAA fired up to take it to the league.

Thanks for all your hard work!

Andrew said...

Concerning, Gunderson.........Assuming of course, if Bryce doesn't get an offer he can't refuse from an NHL organization.

Donald Dunlop said...

Let's not start thinking like that. While I of course wish each player the chance to take his game to the next level, I also want them to stay here and contribute to some winning.

But then again ... if Bryce had the sort of year this season to get a contract offer then he will have contributed mightily to the winning I'm desperate to experience.

LOL. Great play from a player in the WCHA is a blessing and a curse!!!

Donald Dunlop said...

Thanks as always. You always take the time to appreciate my efforts and I always keep that in mind. I'm relatively sure that I can make your head spin with my politics.

So the fact that you look past all that and are still probably my most loyal reader speaks volumes about how important Seawolf hockey is to you.

Good on ya for all that. See ya Friday.

Suze said...

Yessir, see ya at the game!

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