Badgers having fun in the professional ranks

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Now that the 2010-11 Badgers have completed their season, it's time to check in with the 2009-10 Badgers who either graduated or left Wisconsin for the professional ranks. The group moved on and has so far performed admirably at the next level.

2009-10 Hobey Baker Memorial Award top-10 finalist and All-American defenseman Brendan Smith was named an AHL All-Rookie Team pick. Smith skates for the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Detroit Red Wings top affiliate.

A pair of Badgers - Andy Bohmbach and Ben Street - earned similar accolades at the ECHL level. Toledo's Andy Bohmbach, who was just returned to the ECHL from the Rockford Ice Hogs of the AHL, was named to the all-rookie squad as the league's top rookie scorer with 68 points. He was also a member of the all-star team that played in the all-star game mid-winter.

Street, despite playing the last two months for the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for former UW assistant coach John Hynes, made the ECHL rookie team.

Former Badger and former ECHL skater Aaron Bendickson was named an all-star at midseason, but decided to return to school and passed on the game and the second half of the season.

While the aforementioned Badgers, as well as a handful of others play in the minors, three Badgers from last year's team are making contributions as their respective squads make playoff pushes.

New York Ranger rookies Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh both contribute, with Stepan reaching 20 goals last week with a game-winning tally in a 1-0 victory, and McDonagh skating on the top-two defensive pairs for the Blueshirts.

2010 Hobey winner Blake Geoffrion made his NHL debut 15 games ago and, like Stepan, boasts an NHL hat trick his rookie season. Geoffrion is now teammates of former UW defenseman Ryan Suter with the Nashville Predators.

2009 Hobey top-10 finalist Jamie McBain nearly became the third Badger rookie with an NHL hat trick this season on Wednesday, but stopped at two goals for a career-high performance.

Hungry for a McBainwich? There is such a thing if you're hungry and traveling in the Raleigh, North Carolina vicinity. 

One Badger who has been away from the Kohl Center for about 10 years is San Jose's Dany Heatley. The 2001 Hobey finalist recently made news because of a stick swap with an opposing team's fourth liner because of twitter.

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