Tuesday, September 8, 2009

CORRECTION: Rats (Do Not) Sign D-Man Beau Schmitz to Two-Way Deal UPDATED

CORRECTION: The original version of this article was written under the assumption that Beau Schmitz had signed a two-way ECHL/AHL deal with the Rats. The information was considered solid, as it came from Kyle Hanlin, the Hurricanes' Manager of Media Relations. We have since learned from Hanlin that his report was a mistake. Beau has not signed a deal with Albany. We apologize for the erroneous story. Mr. Hanlin also sends his apologies.

Keep an eye on next year's draft, though.

Beau Schmitz
(Photo from PlymouthWhalers.com)

This undrafted 18-year-old native of Howell, Michigan, played alongside Chris Terry and Brett Bellemore last season with the Karmanos-owned Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League.

The 5-foot-10, 186-pound offensive defenseman scored 37 points (6 G, 31 A) in 66 games and earned 97 penalty minutes in his first OHL season. He tallied another two goals and two assists in 11 playoff contests.

Prior to joining the Whalers, Schmitz skated for the Under-17 U.S. National Team, registering 15 points (6 G,9 A) in 59 games. He was selected by Plymouth in the first round, 12th overall, in the 2007 OHL priority selection draft.

Schmitz is playing this week in the prospects tournament in Traverse City, Michigan. He landed an assist tonight in the team's win against the Red Wings. He also scored two goals last week in a preseason game with the Whalers.

News of Schmitz signing an ECHL/AHL contract is mentioned only in passing on the Hurricanes' website (the report was an error and has now been removed). Without the details, it is hard to determine when Schmitz will enter professional hockey.

Beau Schmitz buries his first OHL goal on a feed from Chris Terry
(More video of Schmitz going end-to-end)

Schmitz models himself on Brian Rafalski. Plymouth General Manager
and coach Mike Vellucci compares him to Chicago Blackhawks' D-man James Wisniewski.

"They're both offensive defensemen that can play in their own end," Vellucci said of Schmitz last year to the Detroit Free Press. "They're both tough. But Beau's a better skater than James. Beau's biggest strength is that his skating ability is exceptional."

Schmitz may be considered a bit small for a defenseman, but he plays a physical game and isn't afraid to drop the gloves when necessary.

"He's tough, hates to lose and is the complete package," Vellucci said during another interview. "He plays a very in-your-face style of hockey."

"Beau's an exceptional offensive talent," Vellucci added. "He will be one of the best skaters in our league. He's a very tough defenseman and can play any aspect of the game that we ask."