Friday, September 5, 2008

Erstad Opts for D-3

Wisconsin recruit Travis Erstad, a draft pick of the St. Louis Blues, has opted out of playing another year with the Lincoln Stars, and will instead play for Division III UW-Steven's Point.

Erstad is a native of Steven's Point and UWSP's head coach, Wil Nichol, coached Erstad in high school.

Critics of Wisconsin and their recruiting practices will immediately point to this as an example of Wisconsin over-recruiting and screwing over the players they've already committed to. I'm not sure I see it though.

In February of 2007 when Erstad committed, it was reported that his commitment was for either 2008 or 2009. So it's not like Wisconsin sprung the decision to have him play another year of junior hockey on him at the last minute or anything. If playing junior hockey this year was out of the question for him, he probably shouldn't have made the commitment. Yes, there was the possibility of him joining the Badgers this season, but looking at his scoring line--59 games played 9 goals 10 assists, a team worst -10--it's not like his play clearly showed that he was ready for college hockey this year.

Not that I blame Erstad for his decision. He'll be going to a nice situation in his hometown as opposed to the endless hours of travel and being away from home in Lincoln. I'm just not sure that Wisconsin should be villified for pulling the rug out from under a kid when they were just following what they had initially agreed to.

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