I wasn't planning on posting this until next Friday, but after sending out an email last night to my fellow college hockey bloggers, I've already got a number of responses. Apparently that's the type of power and respect I hold. I'm one step away from being able to dock people for using the wrong color vouchers. Anyway, I thought I'd get this started now, and then repost it again next week when more people have had time to respond.
In case you weren't around last time we did this, I asked all the college hockey bloggers 7 questions and then posted their answers on their blog. I'll add all the updates to the top so they get a little more exposure.
The Blog that Yost Built answered for Michigan. I don't think I really have any comments about it because I think I agree with everything he said. That either says something good about me or bad about him.
NMU Hockey Blog posted his thoughts on Northern Michigan. I actually think Northern Michigan will be very good next season. With Olver and Santorelli coming back and Matt Butcher coming in next season, they should be pretty good offensively. Goalies Bill Zaniboni and Derek Janzen are both back with an extra year of experience. If they can replace Nathan Oystrick on the blueline, they could be as good as anybody in the CCHA. Of course, since It's Northern Michigan, you can pencil them in to finish 4th and just outside of the NCAA tournament.
Just in case you haven't had enough UMD talk, here's the response from the DECC is Stacked! I think it's really interesting to get three different takes on the same team.
Clarkson Hockey fans also added a response. Yeah, they cover ECAC hockey, but they're good at it, so we'll let them in on our fun and games. Plus, they've made in-post picture-posting into a fine art. I'm afraid I just have to smile and nod along with their analysis though.
Mav Hockey Nation took their stab at the questions. I pretty much agree with everything they have to say. Predicting the Mavs to finish 4th might be a little high, but it's the time of the year to make those optmisitic predictions. One more Maverick name I'll throw in is as a key player is Jon Kalinski. Losing David Backes means that the Mavericks will have to move Ryan Carter up to the first line, leaving them without a proven scoring threat on the second line. I think Kalinski showed he could possibly move into that role. He was a young kid last year that played well, but I think he has the upside to be a very good player in this league. Plus, hopefully he'll put on a few more pounds so when he goes flying top speed into the corner and throws a check, he won't just bounce off the guy he's checking.
We're visiting opposite ends of the college spectrum by looking at Wisconsin Hockey Blog's answers as well as UAA Hockey Fan Blog.
To be honest, I was a little nervous when I sent out the questions to an Anchorage Blog, but DTP didn't let me down by picking the Seawolves for 5th place. Ciskie is probably right that I worded that question poorly. Oh well. He mentions the possibility of Nathan Lawson turning pro, and advises against it, which I strongly agree with. Off the top of my head, I can think of a couple examples similar to Lawson's situation that didn't work out: Marc Magliarditi(ECHL all-star, wahoo) Jeff Maund(One AHL season, now playing in Europe), that one goalie from UIC, I think his name was Jon Hildebrand or something(Played most of his career in the UHL). It's very tough for a goalie to make it at the next level, and Lawson wouldn't be gaining much except one extra year of riding a bus and getting a crappy paycheck. Next year should be another rough year for the Seawolves. They still don't have the talent and somebody is going to have to lose some games with all these teams finishing 5th or better. I still think Dave Shyiak will turn things around eventually though.
Things are looking good for the national champs. I guess technically he's right when he calls this season a roller-coaster. But there was a lot more up than down for the Badgers. Other than that, it's tough to disagree with anything he says. He makes a great point that Jack Skille is going to need to step and have a big year playing on the first line with Joe Pavelski. The Badgers should be good, but they weren't a great offensive team this year, and they're losing more firepower than their gaining. If they can have another great first line though, the defense should be enough to carry them.
Bruce Ciskie had his thoughts on UMD's season. He also touched on what I think will be one of the most interesting stories for the Bulldogs next season.
The Florida sun must have fried the Bulldog's brains because in the second half of the season, they basically said "Hey, it's cool, we'll sit this one out. Sure, we'll ruin Denver's season, but that's it for us." As such, they decided to go with young goalie Nate Ziegelmann, who acquited himself quite well in net, and many dubbed him the Bulldogs goalie of the future. The only problem was that USHL goalie Alex Stalock was already scheduled to be the Bulldogs goalie of the future. It should be interesting to see which goalie gets the majority of the playing time.
The other thing with Stalock is that last summer, he was one of the four most highly sout after goalies in the USHL along with Shane Connelly, Drew O'Connell, and Billy Sauer. All three of those goalies were freshmen this season and struggled mightily. It should be interesting to see if Stalock benefited more from the extra year as a starter in the USHL, or if the other benefitted more from being in college, but not seeing as much playing time.
That's enough Bulldog talk. Oh wait, we can never get enough UMD talk here. As such, here's Runnin' with the Dogs roundtable response. I think it's interesting that a lot of Bulldog fans seem to have very high hopes for the return of defenseman Ryan Geris. Both RWD and Ciskie had UMD finishing between 4th and 6th. I kind of get the feeling that we'll have ten predicted to finish in the top five in the WCHA this season.
MavRick's UNO Hockey Blog had had his response to the questions. Like Duluth, there may be a goalie controversy brewing between incumbent Jerad Kaufmann and highly-touted freshmen Jeremie Dupont. Dupont is certainly their goalie of the future, but it can be difficult for a goalie to start in college after accelerating through high school.
He also brings up a point I had mentioned before about the loss of Joe Grimaldi. I think losing Grimaldi had short-term benefits in terms of helping team morale, but at the same team, hurt them defensively in the long run. I'll be interested to see what freshmen Eddie del Grosso can do for the Mavs.
I found it amusing that it took Runnin' with the Dogs three words to answer about the possibilites of UMD players leaving for the pros, while it took Goon's World a solid three paragraphs to describe the Sioux's situation.
He's right that expectations will be high for the Sioux next season, with all of young freshmen being another year older and Jordan Parise likely coming back. My only concern is that they're still going to have a lot of sophomores and they're losing a lot of the talented older players that helped carry this team like Zajac, Stafford, and Smaby, and older character players like Lee Marvin and Mike Prpich. Their recruiting class this year isn't as strong as a typical Sioux recruiting class, especially if Mike Forney can't play due to injury. That said, Jonathan Toews should be good for at least 50 points next season and T.J. Oshie might be the best player in the WCHA.