Saturday, March 27, 2010

2009-2010 Incoming Freshman Update

Not all of next season's incoming players have completed their junior seasons; nevertheless it's time for me to do the final recruit update of the year.  There are now six players comprising the incoming class; Matt Bailey with Sioux Falls in the USHL, Brett Cameron with Spruce Grove in the AJHL, Rob Gunderson with Brooks in the AJHL, Wes McLeod with Spruce Grove in the AJHL, Mark Pustin with Fairbanks in the NAHL and Quinn Sproule with Okotoks in the AJHL. 

With seven senior departures and the loss of one underclassmen, I expect at least one more recruit to be added to the class at some point depending on how many players the staff prefers on the roster.  We certainly could easily see two names added to the above list.  There is also some unkown to me potential that Bryce Christianson may not return next season.  If that turns out to be the case then the Seawolves will certainly be looking for another goalie as well.  So in alphabetical order:

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Matt Bailey
6ft 1in - 191lbs; April 5th, 1991
Forward - Sioux Falls Stampede

Matt is currently tied for 4th in scoring on his Sioux Falls team.  With 13 goals and 28 assists in 55 games, Matt is clicking along at +10 rating.  The 41 points is tied for the 24th most points in the USHL this season.  

The Stampede has clinched a playoff spot and are currently in 3rd place (31-14-11 for 73 points)  in the league's West Division.  They have four regular season games remaining before the playoffs.  Matt had 12 multiple point games this season including a couple of 3 point nights in the first month and a 4 assist night the first week in November.  

He was named USHL Offensive Player of the Week for November 2nd. He had one 9 game scoreless streak from February 9th to March 4th but has 5 points (3g, 2a) in the seven games since.

Matt was a Canada West U-17 selectee before going to the USHL.  In his 1st season of Jr. A hockey (as a 16 year old) he scored 13 goals and added 15 assists for the Neepawa Natives in the MJHL.  I greatly look forward to Matt's arrival here at UAA.  By all accounts he has the necessary tools to become a solid offensive contributor.  It may be a slight stretch to call him an elite level player but he will be as fine an addition to the UAA lineup as we've seen in the last decade.  He'll come here with good size as a 19 year old and I anticipate he'll have an excellent career.

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Brett Cameron
6ft 2in - 195lbs; May 11th, 1990
Forward - Spruce Grove Saints

Brett rejoined the Spruce Grove lineup several games before the AJHL playoffs began a few weeks ago.  In 8 playoff games he has 4 goals and 2 assists.  Two of his goals have come on the power play.  He is currently 3rd on the team in playoff scoring.

In 31 regular season games Brett collected 9 goals and 20 assists.  He missed a large part of the season due to a concussion he received but seems to be near back to regular form since returning.

Spruce Grove continues it's dominant play from the regular season with a 4-0 playoff series sweep versus Bonnyville and a 4-1 series win over Camrose.  In the 9 games so far in the playoffs, the Saints have scored 31 goals and given up only 11.  They await the start of AJHL championship series against Fort McMurray.

Brett was projected to be one of the top scorers in the league this season and was off to a nice start when he was concussed.  Brett should get quite a few more games under his belt during the playoffs as Spruce Grove is favored almost all Canadian Jr. A teams to reach the RBC finals.

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Rob Gunderson
6ft - 186lbs; April 1st, 1990
Goaltender - Brooks Bandits

Last December I wrote that Rob Gunderson would be coming to UAA in an ideal situation for a freshman netminder.  At that time I expected that he would be coming to UAA as the default #2 goaltender.  Since that time though there are legitimate questions about Bryce Christianson's intentions to return next season.

If Bryce chooses not to return then there will be some immediate pressure on Rob to perform well.  Over the course of the regular season in the nets for Brooks, Rob had a .900 save percentage overall with a 3.3 goals against average and a 20-17-1 record.  In six playoff games Rob was 3-3 with a .904 save percentage and a 3.38 goals against average.

Rob had a better 2008-2009 season accumulating a  .912 regular season save percentage with a 2.58 goals agains and a record of 26 wins and 8 losses.  In the playoffs he sported a .936 save percentage and a 3-6 record with a goals against of 2.34.

Brooks finished its season with a 4-1 series loss against Camrose which included two OT losses after posting a 3-1 opening round playoff series win versus Calgary.

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Wes McLeod
6ft 2in - 185lbs; September 30, 1990
Defenseman - Spruce Grove Saints

In early January Wes was traded from the BCHL's Prince George Spruce Kings to AJHL power Spruce Grove.  In 14 games with the Saints during the regular season Wes had 4 goals and 6 assists from the blueline.   So far in the playoffs he has 3 assists in 7 games.  While in the "B", Wes accumulated 9 goals and 27 assists in 37 games.  

Wes has received some nice perks last year and this.  He competed for Canada West in the World Jr. A Challenge tournament and was named to the 6 player all-tournament team.  In December he was named to the Interior Conference starting lineup for the BCHL All-Star Game which he unfortunately didn't get to play in due to the trade.

This BCHL profile story on Wes is very revealing and contains more about Wes than I could possibly cover here.  He talks about wanting to get to the show as well as his continuing development when he gets to UAA.  It's a good article, so go read it.

As I said in December, Wes comes to UAA with as fine a resume as any blueliner to ever wear the green and gold.  Of all the incoming rookies, he would be the first to be expected to contribute.  As always, the transition to D1 hockey must be navigated but Wes should adapt quickly and become a force on the blueline as the season progresses.

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Mark Pustin
5ft 8in 155lbs; October 17th, 1989
Forward - Fairbanks Ice Dogs

In 52 games this season, Mark has 23 goals and 36 assists for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.  Those numbers put him at #7 on the NAHL point scorers table and 2nd on the Ice Dogs in points.

Mark was named the NAHL's West Player of the Week for December 7th for a 3 goal and 4 assist performance in 3 game sweep of Alaska.

I think I can best liken Mark perhaps to a forward like Merit Waldrop.  By all descriptions he seems to have dynamic skills and skates well.  Scoring accomplishments in the NAHL don't necessarily translate to D1 immediately so Mark will come to the Seawolves and likely face a big transition.  

It will be challenging for him even though his coach compliments his defensive play and calls him a "game changing forward."  The Ice Dogs currently sit in 3rd place in the NAHL west division with 57 games completed.  They are one point behind the Avalanche in the standings and have clinched a playoff spot.

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Quinn Sproule
6ft 195lbs; May 5th, 1990
Defenseman - Okotoks Oilers

Quinn finished the regular season with Okotoks with 9 goals and 17 assists in 59 games.  During the playoffs he scored 1 goal and added 5 assists in 11 games.

Quinn was among 4 nominees for the "Top Defenceman" award for the AJHL this season.  His 9 goals was tops on Okotoks amongst the blueliners.  During the 08-09 season he tallied 12 goals and 19 assists.

Quinn was named to and participated in the AJHL All-Star game.  It's difficult from afar to assess Quinn's style and game play.  Similar stats from one year to the next can be a misleading indication.  Normally, improved stats show development but does the lack of improved scoring mean as much for a defenseman?  

It's easy to assume that as a veteran player Quinn was asked to take a more responsible defensive role.  If that is the case then his numbers are quite nice and he'll have had a year developing his game on the back end.  Time will tell how he adapts to the D1 game.  

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In terms of incoming classes this isn't the biggest number of players that UAA has ever brought in.  But I have to say that I think it ranks fairly high in terms of quality.  Wes McLeod is just about a can't miss prospect.  Matt Bailey and Brett Cameron have very strong resume's and shouldn't take too long to adapt to the college game.  Rob Gunderson will have some questions to answer depending on what situation he comes into but has shown an ability to be a force.  Quinn Sproule may be a bit of a hidden gem.  And according to his Fairbanks coach, Mark Pustin is a "pure goal scorer".  

As I mentioned above, don't expect these six to be the final number of incoming players.  It will be interesting in the off-season to see who else the Seawolves acquire.  Or perhaps they'll advance one of the 2011 recruits?  Your guess may be as good as mine in forecasting that.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

UAA currently looking at BCHL goalie to come in with Gunderson.

Donald Dunlop said...

3 of the top 4 goalies in that league are uncommitted.

Blake Voth (Vernon) 21-2, 1.79gaa, .929 sv%
Graeme Gordon (Vernon) 30-7, 2.06gaa, .912sv%
Frank Slubowski (Alberni) 32-10, 2.24gaa .919sv%

a fourth possible could be ...
Ryan Holfeld (Victoria) 17-10, 2.55gaa, .921sv%

Only Voth has junior eligibilty left.

UAAalumni09 said...

Anon 1:57
Any of them the ones that Donald mentioned?

Anonymous said...

Yep

Suze said...

Holfeld is not eligible to play for any US college. He played in the WHL for Medicine Hat for three years before going back to juniors.

Donald Dunlop said...

Excellent catch Suze. I guess that narrows it down to the other 3. From what little research I did, I've got no gripe about any of those guys. They all seem capable.

Anonymous said...

Probably Gordon or Slubowski.

Anonymous said...

Don, Jim, any word on recruiting of B.C. goalie?

Anonymous said...

Bryce is gone. Figured it was coming.

Anonymous said...

If the coaches were recruiting another goalie, it was a given that Christianson was leaving.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone been able to find out who the B.C.H.L. goalie is that the Seawolves are recruiting?

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