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USHL goes 1-on-1 with Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Ryan Zuhlsdorf

02/15/2016, 1:00pm CST
By Aaron Paitich, special to USHL

Sioux City Musketeers captain Ryan Zuhlsdorf talks about his second season in the USHL, development and looking ahead to college hockey.


1-on-1 with Ryan Zuhlsdorf


University of Minnesota recruit Ryan Zuhlsdorf is thriving in his second season at Sioux City. The Edina High School (Minn.) product has earned the team captaincy and has represented Team USA two straight years at the World Junior A Challenge.


We sat down with the Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick and dynamic defenseman to discuss his experience and development in the USHL.




On making the transition …


The first week I was in the USHL, it was really eye-opening how hard these guys have to work to maintain their spot on the team. From training off the ice, to practices, to games, everything is so much faster and stronger. Since then I’ve been fully engaged in hockey and it’s really helped my development.



On his coaches …


Jay Varaday, I think he’s the best coach in the league. He makes sure all the guys are healthy and have the right mindset every day. We go over lots of video and he makes sure guys know what they’re supposed to do on the ice. Our defensive coach helps me a lot. We work a lot with video. He’s very hard on me and makes sure every pass is on the tape. They’ve been huge with my progression.



On the USHL’s intensity …


You have to take every shift seriously. You can’t take a shift off. If you take a shift off, there’s somebody that’s going to run you through the boards, grab the puck and score on you, or they’re going to dangle through your feet and score that way.



On his progression to college hockey …


My plan was to come here and get two years of USHL hockey under my belt. No excuses. That should be enough for me to be ready for college hockey. That was the plan.



On making his decision …


I absolutely recommend the USHL. This is the best league possible if you’re seeking the college route, which is the best route, in my opinion.


Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 14th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2015-16.  A record 37 players were chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft and more than 375 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.

Tag(s): Player News