Thursday, March 12, 2015

2015-2016 Seawolves Recruit Update

Here's the promised update on the Seawolves incoming recruits for the 2015-2016 season. I've listed 8 players here but only 7 of them are going to show up next season. 

Cameron Amantea
Cam seemed due to come in last season but that didn't happen. He will come to UAA next season with a 3 year junior career with Penticton in which he scored 22 goals, added 23 assists in 134 games. He is 5ft 10in and 180lbs.

Unless Cam has been hiding some sort of talent that hasn't shown up during his junior career; I'd have to project him as a role player. On paper, I'm guessing he's not likely to play the majority of games next year.

Wyatt Ege
All indications that I've received are that Wyatt Ege has reneged on his verbal commitment to UAA and is "apparently" going to North Dakota. His 3 goals and 11 assists in the USHL this year aren't particularly impressive but it's definitely a loss for UAA as his scouting reports point to him as a quality player.

If I'm wrong about this please correct me in comments. It wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong here.

Edit: I do believe I was wrong about Wyatt. I think reports that he reneged were accurate however, I "think" that Wyatt signed an LOI. He may have wanted to renege at some point but his signature on the LOI doesn't allow him to go to any other D1 team for 2015-16. He turns 20 next week so I guess he could return to juniors next season instead of coming to UAA and then he'd be eligible to select another D1 team. I cannot find official indications that he did or did not sign an LOI. The GNAC website used to track all signees in the conference but they've redesigned their page and I can't find hockey signees anywhere.

So we'll have to wait and see.

Nicholas Erb-Ekholm
Nicholas is from Sweden. He played 10 games for Janesville in the NAHL the season before last. Then he went back to Sweden. That's pretty much all there is to know other than his height/weight. He is 185cm tall and weighs 74kg. That makes him a bit slim. 

Hopefully, he'll hit the weight room. Perhaps that's part of his regimen as one of Tac's Models. Yeppers, he's a model.

Alex Jackstadt
Alex had a bit of a rocky start to his 3rd junior season down in the "B" with Powell River when he was released just 6 games into the season. He spent his first year in Kenai River and scored 20 goals with 19 assists in 59 games; after verballing to UAA he moved onto the Fargo Force in the USHL and bagged 4 goals with 10 assists in 58 games.

After his release from Powell River at the beginning of the season, Kenai River welcomed Alex back into their fold and in 41 games he netted 6g and 16a.  

Alex is the smallest player among the incoming freshman at 5ft 6in and 150lbs. I'm hoping he proves me wrong but I have my doubts that he will see lots of playing time as a freshman. In order to accomplish that Alex is going to have to hit the Wells Fargo ice this coming fall fully ready to showcase his best skills. He'll need to be fitter than the other freshman. If he's ever felt in his career some pressure to prove himself that'll be helpful for him because it's very likely going to need to prove himself. Here's to hoping that he and Coach Thomas can see eye-to-eye. DOH!!!

Jake Larson
5ft 11in and 175lb Larson is in his 3rd year of junior hockey. He graduated from high school in Minnesota and played in the SIJHL with the Minnesota Wilderness where he flourished with big scoring numbers. He moved to the AJHL in 2013-14 and scored 11 goals and 24 assists in 60 games. This season he moved to Chilliwack in the "B" and managed 19 goals with 16 assists in 55 games.

Early scouting reports (post-SIJHL) were real nice for Jake and his junior career maybe hasn't lived up to what the scouts thought of his potential. Nevertheless, there's hope in his numbers when you recognize that single year junior players often don't get the coaching attention that veteran returnees get.

His 19 goals this season are the 4th most on Chillwack and from what I can infer, he played on the 3rd and 4th line most of the season. The Chiefs had a good record this season winning their division but none of their forwards are in the top 20 on the scorers table. I'm going to credit Larson's production from the 3rd and 4th lines as providing balance in their scoring. 

His goal total is only two short of the next player in this update who finished 9th in scoring league-wide. That's a good sign that Jake should have some success at UAA as a freshman.

Jeremiah Luedtke
Luedtke at 5ft 9in and 150lbs comes to UAA as the 2nd smallest of the recruits. And if his scouting reports are accurate; he will be the most skilled offensive player. Jeremiah plays for the Prince George Spruce Kings in the "B" and finished the regular season at 9th on the scorers table. He netted 21 goals this year and added 46 assists. 

He was a 3 year BCHL player and each year progressed nicely production-wise. As a rookie he scored 7 goals and in his second year he bagged 13.  Over The Boards BCHL scout Jeff McCarthy said ...
“Pure skill, has a great set of hands as he can really shoot the puck and make plays in the offensive end. A bit small and slender, he can sneak around defenders and put the puck in the net, creates offense with ease and has a good top speed,” 
I have to peg Jeremiah as most likely the 1st freshman to step up and contribute offense regularly.

Mason Mitchell
As I write this, Mason is currently serving a 2 game suspension issued by the AJHL for running over Brooks Bandits goaltender during a playoff game this past Friday night. Mitchell led the AJHL for most of the season in penalty minutes. 

The 6ft 3in 195lb forward finished the year in 2nd on that table. The guy who finished 1st in penalty minutes played in 52 games. Mason dressed for 39 games and finished with 217 minutes. The leader had just 20 minutes more.

His offensive abilities are difficult to gauge over his 3 year junior career.  There is progression but he only played in 43 games in his first season and 39 games in his 2nd and 3rd seasons. He went from around .5 points per game that first year to .9 points per game this season. Not numbers that jump out at you. So maybe UAA just wanted him for his impressive penalty stats? Seems like a perfect fit for a team that led the NCAA in penalty minutes this season.

My facetiousness aside, I personally like a hard-nosed player. But in the NCAA you've got to play with discipline. It's all well and dandy to get 200+ penalty minutes on a team that plays 60 games a year. But EVERY game in D-1 is  twice as important as a game in other leagues. That's what a 34 game schedule does. Mason will definitely need to moderate his time in the box next season.

Luke McColgan
6ft 1in, 185lb Luke McColgan is from Manhatten Beach, California. He played two years in the SJHL with Battlefords before moving to Chilliwack this season. He makes the 3rd player from Chilliwack coming to UAA next season.

Luke has 34 goals in 135 games to go along with his 58 assists. His numbers don't paint a picture of a scary good offensive player. So along with a couple of other of these recruits it'll be wait and see before we can know what skills he brings to the table. 

Eric Roberts
Defenseman Eric Roberts is the latest addition to next years class. I calculate that he was added as a replacement for Wyatt Ege. Eric is 6ft 2in, 195lbs. He was Chilliwacks point leader from the blueline and appears to have been it's primary power play quarterback.

His stats from his 3 year junior career aren't horrible but they aren't impressive either. He scored 3 goals and added 28 assists this season. I have to characterize him as a "journeyman" blueliner. I'd expect him to develop and grow into someone dependable. I have no real scouting reports that I found regarding him.

On paper this is not the strongest class the Seawolves have ever brought in. There's always lots of questions about what recruits will be capable of when they get here. My skepticism is pretty high at this point as to how many of these guys will turn into highly effective and competitive D1 players. 

If anyone is expecting this group to be any sort great medicine for the Seawolves woes then you're expectations are out of whack. The guys on this list certainly can be pieces of the puzzle that needs to be put in place for our Seawolves to succeed. But I doubt any of them will be on the 2015-16 WCHA All-Rookie Team at the end of the season. I hope I'm wrong.


Anonymous said...

Seems pretty bleak, but hey there's been worse eh!?
No, I'm not drunk. I was though he he.

Anonymous said...

I'm not seeing anything on the Internet that ege decomitted and is going to und. It wouldn't make sense to replace 3 defenseman with 1 for next year.

Donald Dunlop said...

Yeah, I didn't find anything on the Internet about it either. You might note however, that the USHL page which tracks these things does not list his commitment. I don't take that to mean I'm right about Ege ... I'm going primarily here by word of mouth.

Anonymous said...

This is the best we can recruit?
Meh !

Anonymous said...

Where's the scoring help we desperately need?
Doesn't appear to be a whole lot of help here offense or defense.
And 5'6"150 pounds????
Even Zapozan was bigger than that wasn't he?
But he was a little buzz saw which made him a fan favorite.
Is this guy?

arcticfox said...

C'mon guys, CHEER UP!! I never fret about any recruits because I know (and so do you) that we've been unexpectedly and pleasantly surprised many, many times before. You just never know.

When you say we have a 5'6, 150 player coming in.. Anonymous at 8:58 AM thinks "this the best we can recruit?"

I think.... Steve Cygan. ;)

We'll be fine. You'll see.

Update on our '14/15 seniors as of today...

Derek Docken: Signed w/Springfield Falcons of the AHL (Congrats Derek!!)
Austin Coldwell: Signed w/Quad City Mallards of the ECHL
Brett Cameron: Signed w/South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL
Scott Allen: Signed w/Colorado Eagles, ECHL (got an assist in 6-2 loss to Aces @ Sully)
Kory Roy: Unknown (still in school?)

Also, Scott Warner (senior from last season) signed with Aces today & reportedly played great.

GooOOOooOOOOooOO Seawolves 2015/16!

Anonymous said...

We knew about Cygan's speed before we got him though :)

I believe Kory is finishing up yeah, he was in some of my senior level engineering classes.

AlaskaAl said...

Good for Kory!
I hope he puts his degree to work here in Alaska.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the ushl updated there page and have him listed to uaa.

Now if we could get a few more ushlers in the pipeline for the future

Suze said...

Come on DD, didn't you watch "Miracle on Ice"? The coach didn't recruit all of the best players, he recruited roll guys who would fit into his system. In reading about Eric Roberts, I find what his coach said about him very impressive:

"In spending some time with Eric it was obvious in our discussions that he would be a great person to lead our team. He has a tremendous work ethic. He battles hard and we want to be a hard team to play against in all zones. We expect Eric to lead our team and prepare them for those battles. We are going to strive for excellence and it starts in the dressing room under Eric’s leadership.” He has a history of being a captain for many of the teams he played on.

After the lack of leadership we had this past season, Eric sounds like a very, VERY welcome addition.

Ege will be here this fall. Dubuque tweeted on 3/12/15:

"ICYMI: D-Wyatt Ege (@W_Ege58) will play college hockey with @UAAHockey. Ege will be attending UAA in the Fall of '15".

Suze said...

Wyatt came alive in the playoffs, with 4 goals and 3 assists in 14 games. Solid for a defenseman.

Suze said...

Since this is a pretty pessimistic view of our recruits, I thought I'd take a look at what others think about our incoming guys. From

"Twenty-year-old forwards Jake Larson and Mason Mitchell are parts of that 2015 class as well. Larson, a former Minnesota high school star (STMA), is a skilled forward who put up prolific numbers for most of his career, coming off somewhat of an off-year in the AJHL. He could take a step and end up as one of the Seawolves top playmakers as an upperclassmen if all pans out. Mitchell is a 6’3 skater described as a physical “ball of energy” from Alberta. He spent the last two seasons in the BCHL with Nanaimo, and brings high-end skating ability and an intimidation factor with his frame and ability to impact the physical side of the game.

With a strong group pulled together in just one season from, primarily, Western Canada, Ciocco notes their staff will always do the diligence on other regions and junior circuits, but knows they can find the talent they need very close all the same. For example, lined up next season, the Seawolves have a potential star defensemen in Wyatt Ege, who skated for an in-state NAHL franchise, Fairbanks, but they’ve also lined up a nice mobile talent who calls Anchorage his hometown in Aaron McPheters, one of a number of Selects Academy (CT) defensemen to pick up Division 1 attention this year. Forward Alex Jackstadt is another recruit that only started playing hockey out of state this season, moving from Kenai River (NAHL), just three hours away from Anchorage, to below the border with the USHL’s Fargo Force. He’s set to arrive in 2015 alongside Penticton’s Cam Amantea."

I did hear that Amantea is VERY fast. The report I got on him, from one of our current players family, is that he is a solid player. The fact that Penticton recruited him says a lot.

It's not all doom and gloom! Where is our best cheerleader? What happened to you DD?

Anonymous said...

He found a girlfriend?
That'll do it.

Donald Dunlop said...

Compared to past recruiting classes this one simply isn't impressive. One kid who is in the top ten in his league scoring? Our classes have more often than not included higher scoring players and/or players who have more extensive positive things written about them. I have seen the OTB article you referenced; it's from last May. My assessment (from never having seen a single one of these kids play) is what it is.

As far as what happened to me? I'm just being more skeptical than in the past. I've penned here that this kid or that kid would turn into a stud at UAA and seen it not happen more times than I care to remember.

And of course I understand that a recruiting class is composed of guys that are going to be expected to fill certain roles. The obvious biggest need for UAA right now is scoring. And well, it just doesn't look like there's a lot of help coming to resolve that problem. I hope I'm wrong.

Suze said...

Which proves my point ... recruits are a gamble. Look how high we were on Sam Mellor. He has one goal and two assists for Western Michigan - as a junior, no less. Highly touted recruits does not always equal success.

Anonymous said...

The article you wrote on these same players last October was much more upbeat. Snap out of it DD!

Anonymous said...

And yet Fairbanks seems to get top notch guys every year, what's up with that?

Suze said...

While the penalty minutes that Mitchell took gives me pause, I am also extremely excited to see him play. From all I have read, he is an extremely talented ball of energy. He reminds me of Clarky ... and we all know the huge penalty minutes he put up in juniors. Heck, he got kicked out of his very first UAA game! But look what he turned into, and he sure was a fan favorite ... I see Mitchell in this same way. And the fact that Mason will be attending an NHL development camp adds to the excitement!

Anonymous said...

You can't get players just because they are goons with biker 1% protect every inch of the ice mentality, uaa has been a team that gets the most penalties in Div 1 hockey almost every year. Get some good players that play the right more cheap shots that make you proud.

Anonymous said...

It's not the strength that appears to be lacking. It's the conditioning.
Last 10 minutes of the 3rd and the guys seem to lose steam.
That is not the case with most of the teams we face.
These guys need to get busy in the off season and step the conditioning up several notches.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 8:42 you sound like a Nooks type person.
Before you spout off take a look at the stats.
In conference play Nooks took 167 penalties to the Seawolvea 159..

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that we have Tanner coming back - he should be healthy and raring to go. He was also a scorer in juniors. A nice addition, to be sure!

Donald Dunlop said...

Great point Anon@8:24 ... I think he's likely to be a bit of a spark plug. His play as a freshman was energetic. Thanks very much for reminding me.

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