The University of Maine hockey program has received a commitment from Eastview High School defenseman Keith Muehlbauer. The '97 from Apple Valley, Minn. is a big, rugged blue liner who plays an intense and physical game which is certainly a trait that second year Maine coach Red Gendron and his staff seem to seek out in recruiting.
Muehlbauer had 10 goals and 18 assists in 25 games played last season during the high school season. As a college player he projects to be a steady defenseman who will be reliable in his own zone. He's an athletic player who participated in the USA Hockey Select 16 Festival in 2013 where he had three assists.
A 2013 USHL Phase I Draft pick of the Waterloo Black Hawks, he was taken off the organization's affiliate list this summer. He'll likely be taken fairly high in the USHL Phase II Draft next May as it appears he'll play a year of juniors before heading to Orono for the 2016-17 season.
SB Nation College Hockey Managing Editor Chris Dilks has seen Muehlbauer play several times in Elite League and high school competition. He describes Muehlbauer as a "big kid who skates well for his size. He's okay with the puck, but more of a defensive defenseman than an offensive one. He plays physical, but sometimes can be too undisciplined."
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSports.