Image via WikipediaFighting Sioux defensive recruit Jordan Schmaltz who is expected to go high in next summer’s NHL entry draft, is Ryan Clark’s, (the beat writer for the Fargo Force from the Fargo Forum), top defensive recruit to watch in the USHL this season.
Ryan S. Clarke Slightly Chilled — 1. Jordan Schmaltz, Sioux City: Eh, he’s bum. Really, he’s actually the truth and might be the most high-profile player heading into the league this season. Schmaltz is arguably the USHL’s most gifted offensive defenseman and he certainly showed why last season. When Sioux City was looking to edge into the playoffs, Schmaltz went all T-800 series and basically said, “Come with me if you want to live” by scoring 12 points in his last 13 games. That includes a 10-game point streak he used to end the season. In all, Schmaltz scored 44 points (13 goals and 31 assists) in just 59 games. Very few players could control a game last season like Schmaltz and there’s a good chance that it could be that way this year. Some have wondered if the 6-2, 175-pound North Dakota will come out a bit more defensive-minded this year. If Schmaltz is able to do that along with having another electric year on offense, it could be an amazing season for the Wisconsin native.
Now armed with a one-year, $2.35 contract extension, Oshie says he’s healthy and ready to begin the 2011-12 season. Here’s my conversation with T.J. Oshie…
JR: Congratulations on your contract. What was that process like for you?
TJO: “It was tough. The first time for me. I was kind of just sitting back, trying to take it all in … take it slow. It came down to the wire (before the start of restricted free agency). They threw out a number that we were really comfortable with and felt like it was best for both sides.”
JR: Some Blues fans were hoping that you would signing a long-term deal. Why only one year?
TJO: “It’s a chance for me to prove that I can go away for a summer, have a good summer on my own, working out and training. I was doing all of (Blues strength coach Nelson Ayotte’s) stuff, but I just wanted to prove to them after everything that happened (an unexcused absence at practice, leading to a two-game suspension), that I’ve matured and have grown up. I’m just ready to step in and hopefully play as good
There has been increasing chatter that there is a possibility that Notre Dame might be joining the Big Ten along with the University of Texas. This might also explain why the Fighting Irish have not joined the NCHC