Your Way Too Early Michigan Hockey Preview

So, after a one year hiatus, I'm back to a semi-regular status of posting—which basically means whenever I find time to actually write something. Since football has been beaten to death per usual, I'll instead devote the remainder of this post to hockey season, which is still one month away.

Following their thrilling run to the Frozen Four, Michigan will see a large piece of last year's roster depart. Gone are Louie Caporusso, Scooter Vaughn, Matt Rust, Brandon Burlon (a year early to the New Jersey Devils), Ben Winnett, Chad Langlais, Bryan Hogan, and resident Swede Carl Hagelin. Normally this would mean disaster, as Caporusso, Rust, and Hagelin were responsible for a sizable portion of Michigan's offense. However, Michigan managed to pull of a last minute steal from Princeton in Zach Hyman, who is hockey's equivalent of a 5-star recruit, and who should hopefully offset the loss of these players. Other newcomers include Mike Chiasson (D), the son of Steve Chiasson, Brennen Serville (D), who was drafted in the 3rd round by the Winnipeg Jets, Phil Di Giuseppe (F), Andrew Sinelli (F), Travis Lynch (F), Mike Szuma (D), and Alex Guptill (F). Guptill's rights are owned by the Dallas Stars, while Hyman's are owned by the Florida Panthers.

Returning players to watch will be David Wohlberg, Luke Glendening, Chris Brown, Jon Merrill, and, naturally, Shawn Hunwick. Glendening will be the team's captain, while Wohlburg, Pateryn, and Hunwick will serve as alternates. Goaltending, shockingly, will be the position to watch. With the abrupt defection of John Gibson to the OHL's Kitchener Rangers, the roster only has two goaltenders in Hunwick and Adam Janecyk. Look for Michigan to pick up another walk-on goaltender at some point this season.

Michigan's schedule this coming season is not as difficult as in years past. All out of conference games are at home this year, and none are against particularly difficult opponents. The toughest challenge (outside of the GLI, where Michigan faces Boston College) will be Union, which was ranked #1 for a time last year. Highlights in the CCHA schedule include 2 series with Miami, with the RedHawks traveling to Ann Arbor the first weekend of February; the usual two series with Michigan State, with the lone home game being December 10, and two series with Ohio State, which has the series at Yost on the same weekend as the football game against Nebraska—prepare to have no voice if you do all three games in two days—and also features the teams playing at Progressive Field (home of the Cleveland Indians) on January 15. Unfortunately, Michigan only plays Notre Dame in one series this year and it is in South Bend.

Overall, this shapes up to be an interesting year for Michigan's hockey program. The team has currently made the NCAA tournament 21 times in a row and the streak appeared to be in jeopardy after the departure of most of the team's offense. Retaining Hunwick and capturing Hyman late in the recruiting process are two key components to keeping this streak alive. If Hunwick goes down with injury, however, it could be a very long season barring the emergence of Janecyk. Look for questions on offense in the beginning of the season, but if the team manages to find it's footing offensively and Hunwick does not get injured during the season, Michigan should be able to keep the streak alive.

As for the rest of the CCHA, Western Michigan lost its coach to the Detroit Red Wings, but made an excellent hire in Andy Murray, who has coached in the NHL and is known for developing young teams. Western should have a decent season. Miami loses a sizable portion of its team including Hobey Baker winner Andy Miele and starting goaltender Cody Reichard. They also lost highly regarded recruit Connor Murphy to the OHL. They will still, however, be a title contender. Michigan State hired Tom Anastos as its new head coach following the retirement of Rick Comley, which stunned many people, as Anastos was the commissioner of the CCHA before he was hired. Look for Michigan State to reload and not pose a serious title challenge this season. Notre Dame returns much of its roster and is likely the favorite heading into the campaign.

Check back for more hockey news once the season begins—October 1 exhibition game against the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, first real game against Bentley October 8.

1 Response to "Your Way Too Early Michigan Hockey Preview"

  1. Dark Blue says:

    you really posted a hockey preview during opening week of FOOTBAW season? FIRE RICH ROD

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