Goaltender Daniel Lebedeff has liked his time in Madison so much since arriving last year that he's decided to extend his stay.
Lebedeff on Monday added his name to a long list of oral commitments secured by University of Wisconsin men's hockey coaches this offseason.
The Helsinki native came to the U.S. last year to join the Madison Capitols program, and he said his new home has fit him perfectly.
"I've liked it a lot. It's like a second home for me right now," said Lebedeff, a 17-year-old who could join UW in the fall of 2018 or 2019. "I think Wisconsin fit me well, especially with the new coaching staff. I thought it was a great opportunity to develop my game and get a new start."
With sophomore Matt Jurusik and freshmen Jack Berry and Johan Blomquist already in the Badgers program, Lebedeff said he knows the time to start his college career is still in the distance.
He said he was also getting interest from Michigan State, Omaha, Western Michigan and others.
Lebedeff played for Finnish junior program HIFK before deciding to move to the U.S. and pursue a spot on a college team.
"I wanted to play college hockey because it's a great way to get an education and play hockey at the same time," he said.
He started 2015-16 with the Capitols' under-18 team before getting some playing time with the United States Hockey League program.
In 31 games with the under-18 team, he had a 2.32 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage.
Lebedeff, listed at 6-foot-2 and 181 pounds, made his USHL debut in the Capitols' win at Green Bay on Dec. 31, 2015. In six appearances in the USHL, he was 3-1-1 with a 3.06 goals-against average and .896 save percentage.
He said he plays a butterfly style but occasionally changes things up.
"Sometimes it can look a little silly," Lebedeff said, "but I just try to do my job."
He's the 19th player known to have given the new Badgers coaching staff of Tony Granato, Don Granato and Mark Osiecki a verbal commitment since they were hired in late March.
NCAA rules prohibit coaches from commenting on recruits until they've signed a National Letter of Intent.
Lebedeff made three appearances in the USHL preseason this month, going 1-1 with a 2.83 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage.
The Capitols open the regular season Friday at Green Bay. Lebedeff will be teammates with UW recruits Mick Messner, a forward from Madison, and Philip Nyberg, a defenseman from Sweden.