A tumultuous off-season for prospect Cameron Rowe is finally trending upward. After being one of the biggest surprises among undrafted players back in June and de-committing from the University of North Dakota earlier in July, Rowe appears to have his development path back on track. Todd Milewski of the Wisconsin State Journal hears that Rowe has committed to the University of Wisconsin and cites the young goaltender’s own social media as further proof. Rowe will join a Badgers program that is adding significant talent over the next two years and will continue to have the attention of NHL scouts.
Rowe, 18, did not exactly grab headlines last season, but impressed many hockey minds who did get a chance to see him in action. Rowe played second fiddle to Florida Panthers first-round pick Spencer Knight for the U.S. National Team Development Program last season. Even with Knight missing some time due to injury, Rowe only made 30 appearances to Knight’s 33. He was also overshadowed performance wise, as his respectable 3.40 GAA and .875 save percentage at the junior level paled in comparison to Knight’s 2.36 and .913. Yet, Rowe still emerged as a top goalie prospect in the recent draft class. NHL Central Scouting ranked him as the No. 4 goalie in North America and several other sources pegged him as a fourth- to sixth-round pick. Somehow, Rowe slipped through the cracks and will have to try his luck again next year as an overage prospect.
Things took another turn earlier this month, when Rowe left his commitment to North Dakota. The rumor was that the Fighting Hawks coaching staff was frustrated about Rowe’s lack of dedication to the college route, as he had at least entertained the idea of a jump to the major junior level to play for the OHL’s London Knights. The team released Rowe from his commitment, making him a free agent of sorts beyond the 2019-20 season, during which he will play for the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers.
Well, Rowe didn’t stay available for very long and it seems North Dakota was wrong about his commitment to the NCAA route. Committing to Wisconsin less than a month later, Rowe joins a program that has high expectations in the coming years. Rowe’s USNTDP teammates Alex Turcotte (LAK), Cole Caufield (MTL), and Owen Lindmark (FLA) are set to join the program this year, alongside top 2020 prospect Dylan Holloway. Joining Rowe in the 2020 recruiting class are more intriguing American forwards in Tanner Latsch and Liam Malmquist. Head coach Tony Granato’s team is in for an exciting few years and now have their goalie of the future in Rowe, who will also be excited to get to Madison and show NHL teams what they missed out on in the draft this year.