Goon’s Top 20 pre-season ranking

Posted by goon in CHL & NCAA,Goon's World on September 8, 2009 — 14 Comments

1.)    Denver University – On paper it would appear that the Denver Pioneers don’t have many real weaknesses offensively, on the blue line the Pioneers are a little young this season. There is a very good possibility that there could be two or three freshman defenseman playing in the top 6 defensive positions from night to night. The Pioneers return — Forwards Rhett Rakhshani (15g-22a-37pts), Joe Colborne (10g-21a-31), and Tyler Ruegsegger (15g-11a-26pts), on defense Patrick Wiercioch (12g-23-35pts) decided to not sign a contract and junior goalie Marc Cheverie (23-12-5, 2.34 GAA and .921 SV %) is a very serviceable goaltender and with a younger defensive core he will be tested. The Pioneers lose forward Tyler Bozak (8g-15a-23pts), defensemen Patrick Mullen (4g-21a-25pts), and J.P. Testwuide (3g-10a-13pts). Will be the odds on favorite to finish first in the WCHA.

2.)    Miami University - Looking at Miami University’s 2009-2010 roster it would appear that the RedHawks are going to be well balanced team and could make another run to the Frozen Four, I don’t think it is a stretch so that say that RedHawks have a legitimate shot at an NCAA title. Miami’s biggest departures are forward Justin Mercier (14g-15-29pts) and defenseman Kevin Roeder (2g-4a-6pts). The 64,000.00 question; will be any lingering affects of the alleged choke job in the final minutes of the third period of the championship game?

3.)    Notre Dame – The X-Factor is Irish head coach Jeff Jackson who has turned Notre Dame into a national contender after being a door mat team for many seasons. Key losses goalie Jordan Pearce (30-6-3, 1.68 GAA and .931 SV%), Erik Condra (13g-25a-38pts) and Christian Hanson (16g-15a-31pts) While the Irish lose a big time goaltender and a couple of decent forwards the Irish’s still have a lot of talent left to make a run towards the Frozen Four and should be a top five team.  

4.)    University of North Dakota – Fighting Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol has been the coach of the Fighting Sioux hockey team for five seasons and has compiled a an impressive 130-70-19 winning a regular season title, a conference tourney title. Hakstol’s teams have also finished 2 (x1) and 3rd (x3) in the NCAA tourney. Last season was the first time in his tenure at UND Hakstol’s team didn’t win a regional title and advance to the Frozen Four. Key Loses Ryan Duncan (20g-19a-39pts), Brad Miller (6g-29-35pts), Matt Frattin (13g-12a-25pts). While there were some key loses for the Fighting Sioux there are good replacements coming in for the Fighting Sioux, forwards Danny Kristo, Michael Cichy, Corbin Knight, Carter Rowney, defenseman Andrew MacWilliam  and goaltender Aaron Dell should challenge Brad Eidsness (24-12-4 2.56 GAA and 906 SV%) for playing time.

5.)    Boston University – last season the Terriers were an explosive team that could score goals in bunches and in a very short period of time; this was the team that scored five goals on UND and seven goals on Michigan. B.U. was also defensive powerhouse; the Terriers had to be based on the number of penalties minutes they racked up last season. Gone from the Terrier line up are the big offensive numbers of Colin Wilson (17g-38a-55pts), Chris Higgins (14g-34a-48pts), Brandon Yip (20g-23a-43pts), Jason Lawrence (25-14-39) and Matt Gilroy (8g-29a-37pts). The Terriers return a very strong defensive core led by Kevin Shattenkirk (7g-21a-28pts), David Warsofsky (3g-20-a-23pts) and a proven sophomore goaltender in Kieran Millan (29-2-3, 1.94 GAA, .921 SV %).

6.)    University of Michigan – the Wolverines still smarting from losing to Air Force Academy in the first round of last season’s regional will be ready to avenge last season’s disappointing exit from the NCAA tourney.  The Wolverines return a pretty good group pretty solid group of core players forwards; Louie Caporusso (24g-25a-49pts), Carl Hagelin (13g-18a-31pts), David Wohlberg (15g-15a-30pts), defenseman; Chad Langlais (6g-18a-25pts), and goalie Bryan Hogan (24-6-0, 1.97 GAA, .914 SV %). Expect the Wolverines to be at the top of the CCHA with Miami.

7.)    Vermont University – the Catamounts lose their star forwards Peter Lenes (15g-16a-31pts) graduation and Viktor Stålberg (24g-22a-46pts) to the NHL but the Catamounts should be a pretty good team that returns a solid core of players. Key returnees Brian Roloff (10g-19a-29pts), Justin Milo (12g-14a-26pts). Vermont is my pick to win Hockey East. 

8.)    University of Minnesota – Key loss Ryan Stoa (22-g-22-a-46pts) signed with the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL in the off season. Super Sophomore Jordan Schroeder (13g-32a-45pts) returns for what will probably be his last season in the WCHA. Key new arrivals Zach Budish, Nick Leddy and Seth Helgeson.

9.)    University of Wisconsin- On paper the Badgers would appear to have one of the best defensive blue lines in college hockey, Brendan Smith (9g-14a-23pts), Jake Gardiner (3g-18a-21pts), Ryan McDonagh (5g-11a-16pts), , Cody Goloubef (5g-8a-13pts) is a pretty solid top four defensive group. While there seems to be the perception around the WCHA that Wisconsin is all defense and no flash the Badgers were the 3rd ranked in the WCHA in scoring last season. This season the Badgers should be a pretty balanced this season as well offensively lead by Sophomore Derek Stephan (9g-24a-33pts) who is a game breaker and will only get better in his second season. The biggest question mark for the Badger is in goal.

10.)      University of Mass Lowell - the River Hawks return most of their team  including 12 Seniors from last season that 12-5- 2  after January 16th and almost landed them in the NCAA tourney falling one game short by losing to Boston University in the Championship game of the Hockey East tourney. Goalies Nevin Hamilton (10-7-1, 2.15 GAA, .925 SV %) and Carter Hutton (9-8-1, 2.06 GAA, .916 SV %) make up a pretty nice two headed monster in net for U-Mass Lowell.                           

 The Rest of the Field.

11.) University of Minnesota Duluth

12.)  Boston College

13.) Yale University

14.) Princeton University

15.) University of New Hampshire

16.) Northeastern University

17.) Saint Cloud State University.

18.)  Northern Michigan University

19.)  Cornell University

20.) U.S. Air Force Academy

For more from Eric of Goon’s World check out my twitter, the Goon’s World Blog. Also Goon’s World on MVN.COM

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com Kyle

    Interesting thoughts. I think Minnesota’s exuberance over its new players will be short lived. Leddy is young, Budish is raw and Helgeson is terrible.

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com goon

    I think we will soon find out how good they are. I think Minnesota has some good pieces in place, even though they are young. Prediction; but if there is another mid season meltdown it could get ugly for Lucia.

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com david

    Great opening post. Welcome to the site Eric!! Looking forward to reading more inside college hockey by you.

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com goon

    Thanks David.

  • redwing77

    I’m mostly in agreement.

    I think BU and UND should swap places. I think there’s questions on both sides of the puck for UND. Will they be able to sustain scoring and do so at a great clip? How will they gel from the start?

    BU is coming off a stellar season and, though they lose a lot of scoring, they should be just fine.

    I also think that UMN is too high. Kangas was brutal at times last year and their defense was abysmal along with Kangas. I do agree with the poster above in believing that Helgeson is overrated. I don’t know if he’s “terrible,” but I don’t think he’s as good as projected either. I think Leddy will be good, but he’ll start slow. The question again likes in the Minnesota defensive zone. Leddy is a puck mover. If you can maintain puck control and pressure the Gophers and throw in physical play to boot, I still don’t see the Gophers as being as explosive as any team ahead of them.

    I guess I’d move UW ahead of UMN but it is hard for me to think that there isn’t going to be someone that comes out of nowhere this year.

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com goon

    BU lost a ton of scoring and isn’t going to be as good as they were last season. I think Hockey East is going to be down but it’s the pre-season poll. I think the NCAA tourney will be wide open and I like where UND is right now. We will see what happens. That is why they play the games.

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com goon

    Gopher homer Lou Nannie said that the Gophers are going more physical so I guess that solves it for me.

  • dave

    Kind of a homer forecast on the Sioux there Goon. Your rationale for UND being #4:

    We have alot of freshman coming on board!!

    I think you could easily argue that the Sioux rank in the middle of the pack. I would love to believe they are contenders, but I can’t find one compelling reason to rank them so high. Who on the team is dominant? Just a bunch of good players and alot of underclassmen. Should be quite good but top four???

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com goon

    I don’t think so UND has balance and still has a lot of talent through the forwards to go along with a pretty good defensive corps and goaltending. They lost a lot of Seniors (8) but only three of them were of the top end variety (Finely, Miller, Duncan).

  • F2B&G

    NMU is not Top 20 material until they prove themselves capable of playing at least .500 hockey before January 1st, and beating teams that a Top 20 squad should beat (like mine).

    Your Top 3 are pretty much spot on. I also think you underrated Cornell a few notches. Though it’s not always super exciting, tight defense wins a lot of games in the ECAC.

    The Gophers probably aren’t Top 10 material unless they miraculously learn to play tight defense. Still, it is hard to envision a third mediocre year in a row for the almighty Gophers. I think Lucia will find a way to flog them back into the NCAAs, though they probably won’t go too deep.

  • http://www.theiceislife.wordpress.com rhhb

    you are having a large-sized laugh if you think lowell is only 10th-best in the country or that you think vermont is somehow going to win hockey east while losing 40-something percent of its scoring.

    this manner of thinking proves you’re hilariously unfamiliar with hockey east. what a joke.

  • James P.

    Think Michigan has to be rated above NoDak. Michigan returns its top 4 scorers and 10 of its top 12. It returns its entire defensive core save one guy who missed 33 of 41 games last year. It returns its #1 goaltender.

    To replace a group of outgoing senior journeymen 2nd/3rd line forwards, they bring in a 2nd round NHL draft pick (Kevin Lynch), a 3rd rounder (Chris Brown), and another kid who starred for the USNTDP (AJ Treais).

    Michigan was every bit as good as NoDak last year, and returns a much stronger team. NoDak’s freshman are going to be awesome, but I can’t see how that justifies ranking them ahead of a far more established team.

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com goon

    James P. once the games are played these pre-season polls really don’t matter. I am sure Air Force wasn’t all that impressed with your pre-season ranking last season.

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com goon

    Kyle after seeing Minnesota play I agree Helgeson is brutal and I don’t see why people think so highly of him. I think he is a waste of a uniform.