Jordan Schmaltz on fast track to NHL

Updated: August 1, 2011, 5:40 PM ET
By Mike Hume

When it comes to his hockey career, it seems like Jordan Schmaltz has always been ahead of the curve.

Three years ago the Verona, Wisconsin, native made headlines by giving a verbal commitment to the University of Wisconsin ... at age 14. While that unorthodox decision drew attention in the national media Schmaltz arguably made bigger waves in hockey circles this past season with his performance on the ice, leading all USHL defensemen in points ... as a rookie.

In today's NHL, where offensively-gifted defensemen are rare and coveted treasures, Schmaltz's skill set has many scouts intrigued and has him pegged as an early candidate for a top-10 selection in next June's draft. Until then he'll look to build off a phenomenal freshman campaign with the Sioux City Musketeers, one in which he, again, emerged early.

"Coming into last season, we knew the talent Jordan had, and it was our job to get it out of him," says Musketeers assistant coach Keith Paulsen. "We knew there were going to be some learning experiences, after all he was only a junior in high school, but he was fine. By Dec. 15 he was playing unbelievable hockey."