Friday, September 05, 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.

28 comments:

Chuck Schwartz said...

You can't blame the kid? This is the worst decision I've ever heard a potential NHL player make. Way to piss of the Blues buddy, and have fun paying for your own equipment playing D-III.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering the same thing. What do the Blues think about all this? I would love to see an interview with the Blue's GM regarding Erstad. They wasted a relatively higher round pick to draft him. Granted there has been some D-3 guys make it pretty far in the pro ranks, it's extremely rare, and I don't think one has eventually played in the NHL. Could be wrong on that though.

I'm also assuming if UW-SP can't find some bogus academic scholarship for him, he'll have to pay his own. I'm betting he was probably getting at least a 1/2 ride from UW.

Dan said...

Chuck

What if he doesn't want to be an NHL player? What if he just wants to play hockey without all the stress and expectations of being a D-1 or NHL prospect?

Anonymous said...

UW didn't want him. Lay-off the kid. Nothing like being pushed aside and then jumped all over. Way to kick a kid when he already has been pushed aside.

Anonymous said...

First Erstad is hardly a Bearson. Bearson was 2X all-star in USHL , played on two USA teams out of the country and put up some pretty good numbers in the USHL. The only comparision is both NHL draft picks pushed aside by Eaves &Co. Everyone keeps denying this coaching group over-recruits and pushes kids out and they just keep doing it more and more blatantly.
They just recruited an 8th grader and pushed out two NHL picks. Pretty much proof positive. Hickey would be another case had they not been pushed by the Wild. Take off the rose-colored glasses gang

Anonymous said...

Surely as a 4th rounder he has a "family advisor", this kid sounds like he needs some advice.

John said...

Anon 3:25

Sounds like it was the kid's decision and had nothing to do with UW. Talking to the Stevens Point Journal, he said:

"Giving up on being a Badgers was pretty hard, but to go to school in your hometown, you can't beat that. I thought about this at the end of last season and again in the middle of the summer. I decided that was what I wanted and went with it." (emphasis mine)

Absolutely no mention of talking to the UW staff about this decision.

Chuck Schwartz said...

Erstad was not pushed out by Wisconsin, didn't you read the article. And Eaves and his staff are PISSED about this. They didn't push anyone out.

Anonymous said...

Chuckie,
Eaves is pissed? The kid made the decision based on conversations with his staff and how they pushed him aside for the high schoolers coming in. In one article Nicols says Eaves acted with class. Now he pissed that he has become so transparent. Much easier for him to say just wasn't good enough,or couldn't compete with all the talent at UW than the kid got the message before he got there and made his own decision. Remember:Recruiting game Eaves is playing is "high risk,high reward".

60min said...

The kid made the decision based on conversations with his staff and how they pushed him aside for the high schoolers coming in.

Anon 6:58 -- Out of curiosity, do you have specific knowledge about conversations that took place between Erstad and the Badger coaching staff? Or are you speculating?

Anonymous said...

Anyone who says he was pushed aside are just Badger haters with a lack of rationalization. I'm assuming they're Gopher fans pissed off about all the comments regarding Lucia's character when he presumably pushed out Guentzel. I guess all players that were recruited for 2008 or 2009 that are not going to be playing or their schools this year are all being pushed out by the coaches then right. Puh-leaz.

Anonymous said...

Whose the coach at ST. Louis? If Murray would have wanted Erstad in he would have gotten him in, he got his own kid in right of high school.

Donald Dunlop said...

LOL ... The Badgers don't over-recruit? Oh ok ...

Anonymous said...

Is he any relation to Darren Erstad of MLB?

Anonymous said...

who cares? its the kids decision! he doesnt have to answer to any of you, just himself! he made a decision where he feels he will be most happy and sobeit that its D-3. you never know whats going on in a kids personal and family life and what his personal life goals are. Stefan Legein, a 2nd round NHL pick just quit hockey altogether just last month. Leave the kid alone. its not like theres a right or wrong answer in the game of life and he made the decision to better his life. obviously he wasnt happy on the path he was on, so he made a decision to change. obviously he has the talent to go to NUMEROUS D-1 schools but he wanted to go where he'd be happiest. im sure everybody on here has been at a crossroads at some point in their life and had to make a decision. we're talking about a 19 year old kid, he might not've made the decision you would've but respect it and move on.

Anonymous said...

If Eaves is pissed, he should take a look in the mirror. He and his staff have recruited more kids than they have playing time for and consequently some of these kids or their parents wised up enough to move on.

I hope all the paint-thinner fans will continue justify this behavior as their program under Eaves especially minus the goalie coach doesn't exactly inspire fear for opposing teams. Of course if the Becky fans don't Eaves might punch them.

Anonymous said...

Erstad's decision confuses me.

His decision, coaching staff aside, basically screamed at me "I'm done with hockey as a career. Sure, everyone would love to have the six to seven figure salary, but I'm happy with a salary in the five digit range more because it means I can play in my home town."

Really, Eaves is getting good recruits so I doubt he'd be THAT pissed at Erstad. The only person I'd possibly think would feel pissed would be Davidson, the Blues' GM. Pissing away a 6th or 7th rounder is one thing, but a 4th rounder has to smart a bit.

This isn't the first time it's happened. I believe UNH had a player at one point who just decided to quit and walk away... he was a second round draft pick too. I can't remember his name though.

Anonymous said...

You can think what you will regarding Eaves potentially "over recruiting".

One thing is for sure - it will be used against him in future recruting battles.

Anonymous said...

I hope he does well with his hockey career and in school. good luck to him.

Anonymous said...

I know that the Blues did not like the role he was playing in Lincoln, so they may have a role in this decision. The Badger do over recruit and you can not trust what they say.

Anonymous said...

Lincoln screwed Mr Wisconsin(Erstad) just like they did Mr Minnesota ( Festler). New coach in his effort to "pack the Barn" pushed Ertsed into an unnatural fighting role for his style of play and benched the other guy because he wouldn't go along with it.Look how far a highly touted recruit fell in the draft after coming to the Stars.No wonder he didn't want to go back to lincoln!

Chuck Schwartz said...

Anon at 8:20-Then ask for a trade away from Lincoln. It happens ALL the time in junior hockey.

Anonymous said...

Chuck it's not that simple, sometimes it's hard for kids to ask for trades. Some kids are just shy about it or some kids don't want to get "labeled," since asking for trades might bring up some black flags involving his character.

Chuck Schwartz said...

I'm sorry I'm being a little hard on the kid. I just really feel bad for him when in a year or however long it takes to realize that he just threw away a scholarship to play division 1 college hockey and have a darn good shot at playing in the NHL some day.

Maybe he will never regret his decision I don't know for sure. But it just doesn't make sense to me.

Anonymous said...

Nothing on Ethan Werek yet? Gutless...

The news keeps getting worse

Anonymous said...

Are you not writing anymore or what?

hockey chick said...

Chuck Schwartz Maybe he isn't worry about pissing off the Blues maybe he just wants to play hockey for himself again and not for people like you! And does it really matter what the Blues think he is the one that has to go to bed at night thinking about the decisons that he has made.

Also there are NO scholarships that a D III school can give out and yes he will have to pay his own way. Which goes to show how much he just wants to play hockey to have fun again not for the money or fame. Somehing that I think that people lose sight in ..... playing for the pure joy of the game. And he doesn't need advice for a 19 year old kid I think that his is doing pretty will with making his own choices and sticking to them.

Third, Wisconsin DOES over reqruit! COme on a 14 year old kid for goodness sakes! giving out full rides and the kids never play and then are released. Do not look at this stuff? Not going to go into names but just watch

Anonymous said...

Another new recruit for Wisconsin. New week new recruit

The latest — Matt Paape, a 17-year-old winger from Appleton who committed Monday during an unofficial campus visit — is the seventh prospect to cast his lot with the Badgers since May.