Bemidji State commit Eric Pohlkamp named USHL Defenseman of the Year
Cedar Rapids blue liner named USHL Defenseman of the Year after racking up a career-high 51 points and continuing to develop his two-way game
The USHL individual awards continued Thursday morning as Eric Pohlkamp was named the USHL Defenseman of the Year.
The Cedar Rapids blue liner excelled in his second USHL season with a career-high 16 goals and 51 points in 59 games, while also playing top-pair minutes and seeing the ice in every situation.
The Bemidji State commit is the second player in RoughRiders’ history (Jack Ahcan, 2016) to win the award.
“I think his potential is very high because he works so hard,” Cedar Rapids head coach Mark Carlson told The Rink Live earlier this season. “He’ll continue to work on his skating, he’ll continue to improve his body and even though he’s got the tools to be successful, the work ethic is the big thing with Eric.
“He’s a guy that you’re going to see continue growing and I don’t think you can say that about a lot of guys.”
Pohlkamp’s 16 goals ranked second among USHL defensemen and his 51 points were tied with Dubuque’s Max Burkholder for the league lead. The Baxter, Minnesota, native was named to the All-USHL First Team earlier this week and was named the USHL Defensemen of the Week twice during the regular season.
Standing at 5-foot-11, 205 pounds, Pohlkamp isn’t exactly the biggest player on the ice. And the offensive side of his game is what stands out on paper.
However, he’s also been one of the league’s most physical and aggressive players on the back end.
Congrats to Eric Pohlkamp of @RidertownUSA for being named USHL Defenseman of the Year! 🔒— USHL (@USHL) May 4, 2023
Read: https://t.co/ZfTBvDDHUQ pic.twitter.com/Xc8zYKIDIL
He also turned into a lethal threat on the power play where he registered nine of his 16 goals and 27 of his 51 points.
Pohlkamp is draft-eligible this summer and came in at No. 118 among North American skaters on Central Scouting’s final rankings of the season.
“He’s done everything you’d like to see from a second-year junior player,” Carlson said. “He’s worked really hard in the weight room, he’s grown and matured as a person and his game has taken off at both ends of the ice.
“He’s added more offense to his game this season. But he’s also done a great job of paying attention to all of the defensive details and has turned into a good two-way defenseman. He’s an exciting player to watch and an exciting prospect.”
League awards are voted on by each member club’s general manager after each club nominates their players for awards.
More USHL awards will be named this week.
To view the full schedule of awards for this week, click here.