Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Reed's All About It

Special thanks to Wisconsin blogger Chuck Schwartz for the tip on this one. I have no clue how that guy stays as connected as he does, but it's appreciated. Be sure to read more of his ridiculously astute stuff, coming soon to Bucky's 5th Quarter.


St. Albert Steel (AJHL)
5'9", 165 pounds
Edmonton, AB

AJHL Player Page

Season   Team                   Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM

2007-08  St. Albert Steel       AJHL    2    0    1    1    2
2008-09  St. Albert Steel       AJHL   47   19   20   39  127
2009-10  St. Albert Steel       AJHL   58   37   44   81  119
2010-11  St. Albert Steel       AJHL   34   26   26   52   88

So this Gadowsky fellow is okay at recruiting, eh? Not even 12 hours after finding out about our latest recruit, Brandon Russo (his first known commit as head coach), in comes another exciting get: Reed Linaker, who happens to hail from Gadowsky's hometown of Edmonton.

Right off the top, it should be noted that Linaker will play another year of junior before joining Penn State's class of 2012, just in time for the first season of NCAA competition. I've renamed the recruit page and divided it accordingly.

The right-handed sniper has spent the last three full years in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, with the St. Albert Steel, as you can see. And while he's a little undersized (common theme alert), he certainly doesn't lack toughness - he's willing to drop with guys who outweigh him by 30 pounds, and his PIM totals indicate that he doesn't shy away from a little chippiness.

Photo: Saint City News
In 2008-2009, Linaker was named to the AJHL North Division all-rookie team, then followed that up by exploding through 2009-2010 with a point total that was good for seventh in the league, while his 16 power play snipes led everyone. Just for a little context on Linaker's 2009-2010 season: Matt Frattin was 49-34-83 in the AJHL in 2006-2007. He parlayed that into being drafted by the Maple Leafs and a stellar career at North Dakota.

Last season, Linaker actually improved on his 2009-2010 points per game output. His stat of 1.53 in that category was second in the league among those who played more than one game. It included 16 multi-point games, two of which were four-point efforts, on September 11th against Drayton Valley and on January 7th against Drumheller. However, about a month after the Drumheller game, his season was over thanks to a torn MCL and meniscus.
“I’m pretty devastated to say the least,” said Linaker in a phone interview while his team practiced at the Performance Arena at Servus Credit Union Place Tuesday afternoon. “Obviously, it sucks coming back from an injury and it being only my second game back. It could have been worse with my ACL being torn, but I dodged that bullet. But to still miss the rest of the regular season and playoffs is pretty devastating.”

The Edmonton-born Linaker said he is getting an MRI soon to determine whether or not he needs surgery to repair his MCL. He said he thought it wasn’t likely that he would need the surgery for his MCL, but, if anything, he’ll need surgery to fix his meniscus.
Despite missing a good chunk of the season, he was named to the North Division all-league team, which says a lot.

It seems that a rather fortuitous sequence of events led to Linaker's commitment to Penn State. As noted by Schwartz, Wisconsin, upon being hit with Jordy Murray's early departure, had two options: offer Linaker a scholarship or accelerate the timeline on Waupaca High School's Brad Navin, a UW commit for 2012 or 2013. It seems like Linaker would have jumped at the chance to go to Wisconsin if offered.
"I'd love to be a Badger and I'd do it in a heartbeat but I guess its kind of a wait and see process...loved the University. It was a beautiful campus and the electricity and atmosphere was unbelievable in the arena. Was definitely better then anywhere I've been and exceeded my expectations."
As I'm sure you've figured out, Wisconsin chose Navin, and Linaker chose PSU. Fine by me, we could do a lot worse than Wisconsin leftovers at this point.

But "leftover" is a grossly inaccurate description of a guy who made the Canada West team for the 2010 World Junior A Challenge last November. And while his team finished fourth, Linaker represented himself well in his first go-around in the Canadian sweater (which he called "probably the greatest two weeks of my life"), registering two goals and an assist in five games. Back in 2009, College Hockey Recruit Exchange called Linaker the fourth-best uncommitted AJHL prospect, and back in 2006, he was selected by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL bantam draft.

Make no mistake about it, this is a huge piece of the "we're not going to suck forever" puzzle. Believe me when I say that the latest word from the Jordan Center is that Gadowsky and crew have no plans on adhering to the supposedly mandatory five to ten year building period.

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