Maine recruit Joe Widmar is a gifted offensive player, skating for the Connecticut Oilers in the newly formed Eastern Hockey League (EHL). The Northbrook, Ill. native leads his team in scoring with nine goals and 19 assists in 21 games played.
"Joe has a great compete level. He is excellent along the boards, strong on the puck and hard to knock off the puck when he's coming out from the boards," said his junior coach Eric Lind, a former New Hampshire defenseman.
Widmar's biggest strength is his ability to be physical along the boards, but he also has a good shot. "He's got a good release, but what will help him the most in college is he beats defenders off the boards," said Lind.
Widmar played last season in the USHL, splitting time between the Chicago Steel and the Indiana Ice. Widmar has some raw potential that some observers see turning into something special, but like any young player he has areas of his game he is working towards developing further. "As a team we're working on power skating. Joe is working on those first two steps," said Lind.
The Eastern Hockey League is a new junior league that began competing this season once the old Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL) broke off. Some of the teams went to the new USPHL while others like the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, Valley Jr. Warriors and CT Oilers went to the EHL.
"We were a first year team in the EJ last season. We've played the Monarchs and the Northern Mass Cyclones, and they are as good as any team was in the EJ last season," said Lind. "I've been really impressed with the competition. We're using the half shields, and the sticks have been down," added Lind, a former assistant at Yale from 2008-2013.
Widmar, a '95, will head to Orono in the fall to play for Red Gendron.
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Jeff Cox covers college and junior hockey, NCAA recruiting, NHL Draft prospects and the AHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.