Monday, September 29, 2008

WCHA Season Preview

Here's the league-wide preview for the WCHA. Individual team previews start tomorrow.

Projected Order of Finish

1. Colorado College
2. Denver
3. Minnesota
4. North Dakota
5. Minnesota State
6. St. Cloud
7. Wisconsin
8. Minnesota-Duluth
9. Michigan Tech
10. Alaska-Anchorage

All-WCHA 1st Team

F-Chad Rau, Colorado College
F-Tyler Ruegsegger, Denver
F-Ryan Lasch, St. Cloud
D-Jamie McBain, Wisconsin
D-Josh Meyers, Minnesota-Duluth
G-Richard Bachman, Colorado College

All-WCHA 2nd Team

F-Garrett Roe, St. Cloud
F-Billy Sweatt, Colorado College
F-Rhett Rahkshani, Denver
D-Brian Kilburg, Minnesota State
D-Ryan McDonagh, Wisconsin
G-Alex Kangas, Minnesota

All-Rookie Team

F-Jason Gregoire, North Dakota
F-Jordan Schroeder, Minnesota
F-Jack Connolly, Minnesota-Duluth
D-Aaron Ness, Minnesota
D-Jake Gardiner, Wisconsin
G-Brad Eidsness, North Dakota

Player of the Year- Chad Rau, Colorado College
Rookie of the Year-Jordan Schroeder, Minnesota


Anonymous said...

Another interesting year in the wcha. Many good freshman coming in. It'll be interesting to see how Ness adjusts and Gregoire should be a solid player. Cant wait for the team previews.

Anonymous said...

genoway will be a 1st or 2nd teamer on D, he scares me as a non sioux fan.. i like the msu pick and scsu will not win a ncaa game again.........

i think ness may contend with toews for ROY

Anonymous said...

Has Ryan Duncan really fallen that far off the face of the earth? Hobey winner to no conference honors?

Goon said...

I think UND are going to be better than predicted. Don't forget Toews as well...

Anonymous said...

UAA to finish a solid last for the fourth year in a row.

Anonymous said...

goons a goon..........duncan is solid still, he had 40 points last year. he is wearing the C this year and has earned it for sure. i like ness and gregoire to contend for ROY and i as well like the msu pick and uaa is garbage, bring in BSU and dump them please to the ccha....

du78 said...

Interesting that you left off Joe Colborne of DU off of the All Rookie team.

Anonymous said...

No way MN finishes ahead of UND unless they have some returning players STEP UP. Besides Kangas. He's good, we're aware.

Ryan Duncan
Chay Genoway way they're not all-wcha. seriously. gregoire and toews will be just SICK freshmen!I cannot wait.

Anonymous said...

I agree with others that Chay Genoway of UND is gonna be a 1st or 2nd team.

Anonymous said...

Joe Colborne of DU good call he will probably have a pretty solid freshman season.

Anonymous said...

Kilburg isn't even the best defensemen on his own team

444 said...


Better than predicted?

Ok, he should switch Minnesota and North Dakota.

Chris is going way out there with his UND prediction.

Anonymous said...

With 12 Freshmen it's going to be hard to finish in the top 4 for Minnesota. But it should be fun watching. Just so we finish ahead of und!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

St. Cloud will be better than 6th.
They have better offensive depth than they've had in a while and they return a very solid goalie.
My guess is people will rank them low because of their defense but I think that D-core will surprise a lot of people.

Anonymous said...

Gotta agree with the previous posters who commented on Genoway. He will be a 1st or 2nd team selection.

Mr. Larson said...

I also agree that St. Cloud will finish higher than 6th. With Lasch and Roe on offense and Weslosky in goal they will finish at least in the top 5 if not the top 3. Not to mention the D will be better than years past.

6>1 said...

After watching Genoway in the Frozen Four against BC last year how could he be considered 1st or 2nd team material? He almost single-handedly cost the Fighting Sioux the game.

Good call by Chris, Genoway looks good but lets his team down when it really matters.

I'd put Buckey over St. Cloud.

Anonymous said...

6>1, Last time I checked the WCHA all conference picks go by stats in WCHA play! And lets not forget that Genoway is a big reason that the Sioux got there in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Denver's Colborne is a sure fire all rookie pick.

St. Cloud has way too much talent not to finish in the top 5.

Genoway, like most UND players, will have a good regular season but stink in the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

After Colorado, every team has big question marks. Denver and UND have no goalie experience. Minnesota has to show it can get back to scoring goals. SCSU fans like to talk about scoring and goaltending, but last season they got both and finished in Fourth only three points above Seventh place. UW ought to be strong defensively, if Connelly can be more consistent. And as usual Eaves will need find scoring. MSU-M is the hardest to predict for me. They a nice core of players back and the goalie Zacharias played well. I'm not a Jutting fan, so to me he is a question mark.

Anonymous said...

St. Cloud had good power play scoring last year but actually had less goals total last year than the two years before it.
This year should be a lot more balenced and teams won't be able to just focus on stopping Roe and Lasch.
They will also be a lot more physical so teams won't be able to push them arouns as much, not to mention Weslosky set school records in goals against and save percentage behind a suspect defense last year that should be much improved this year.
If they hit the ground running they are a definite threat for top 3.

6>1 said...

Anon 9:59: Better go check last years stats and report back with your findings. Last years All Conference teams were not based on stats. If that were the case Genoway would have been a first teamer last season.

My opinion was based upon watching him perform in important games irrespective of stats. He has a tendency to underperform when the games matter most. The Frozen Four loss to BC being the most glaring example.

He is a good player, no doubt. Just not as good as some others think he is.

Anonymous said...

ask don lucia which d man scares him most with open ice in the wcha, he will say genoway hands down. good picks for sure. i also like ness/shcroeder and gregoire/toews for ROY and think uw will finish higher or eaves is gone. msu will have a nice year as well. colborne will be all rookie and eidsness has a hell of a D in front of him so that should help him at UND

Anonymous said...

After looking at SCSU stats from last year and incoming class, I don't see where you're getting "much improved" when describing the defense. It may be better, but that's not saying much.

The scoring situation certainly is better, but even here it won't be simple. I think replacing the 35G and 50A of Nodl, Dey, and Hartman will not be as easy as you think. Plus it seems SCSU fans are assuming that Roe and Lasch will duplicate, if not improve, last seasons totals. If Oshie and Duncan couldn't achieve this last season, it's no gimme for Roe and Lasch this season.

I don't know whether Brocklehurst played D or F most of the year, but he and Stephenson chipped in an additional 11G and 31A. Raboin your best returning defensemen had 3G and 16A in 40 games. SCSU's other four returning defensemen have a combined 2G and 4A in 79 games. Raboin is +2 the other four are a combined -6 with best other returning defensemen +1.

Nothing about this says "much improved defense" to me.

Anonymous said...

The McNaughton is CC's to lose. That team is loaded. They lose Hillen but otherwise are stacked with offensive talent and have the league's best goaltender.

Spots 2-5 are a crapshoot. If DU gets solid goaltending they will be a force but if not they are a middle of the pack team. Same with North Dakota. The sleeper is St. Cloud.

Anonymous said...

As a Sioux fan, I am glad Ryan Duncan has been a part of our program for four years. He'll make a great captain this year. From a hockey standpoint, I think Duncan made a big mistake by not turning pro after his sophomore year. His stock couldn't get any higher, and he left a max deal on the table. You can always go back to college, but that kind of cash doesn't come around every day.

Anonymous said...

St. Cloud is a definite sleeper. I wouldn't be suprised if they finished in the top 3. While I don't think they won't get much offense out of their D-Men, I think they will definitly help keep the puck out of the net. If Weslosky shows up this year, they will be damn good! Anything under 5th is unacceptable for them.

Anonymous said...

Minnesota 3rd...NO WAY. Nice to see McBain who Lucia wanted no part of be projected a 1st teamer. Nice to see Rau who dissed Lucia a 1st teamer. These Minnesota boys know what we all know...LUCIA SUCKS. Perhaps this upcoming year will humble Lucia enough so he resigns.

Anonymous said...

Who did Duncan get a max deal from?

Anonymous said...

maybe duncan cares about his education as well?? ya ever think about that? im assuming not. ryan had a solid deal but it was important for him to come back and try to win a title and now get his degree. he will be a career minor leaguer and he knows that and has no problem with that. probably a over seas career as well. duncs is a good guy as well. i really like aaron ness and david toews as ROY candidates..........2 great plaers that will be ont he same nhl team someday together.......

Anonymous said...

7:30 - St. Louis

7:31 - You think colleges are fading off into the sunset? If hockey didn't work out, is there anything from preventing him from going back? You actually think Ryan Duncan chose UND for a degree you dipshit??

Anonymous said...

ANON 731 Dont forget about Jason Gregoire joining Ness and Toews to!

MNMAN said...

Toews is getting way overrated by people on this site. Anyone realize he wasn't even the best player on his high school team last season, let alone the ultra-talented WCHA. I have seen a lot of Shattuck and MN HS games in general and Stephan was clearly the better player in the four games I saw. I wish I had the optimism of others regarding Ness' ROY honors, but I don't see it happening. I think he' gonna have a slow first half, then get it all together in the 2nd after he adjusted. ROY honors are using stat based so I don't see him putting high enough numbers this year. I hope he does, but realistically I don't think he will

Anonymous said...

Stats won't say why SCSU's D will be better because most of the guys they are bringing in aren't terribly offensive minded but they are better on defense than the guys we are losing especially Brocklehurst and Anderson.
They will also be a lot more physical with Rioux, Hepp and Lauridsen.
As someone mentioned, they may not score much but they will help Weslosky and Dunn quite a bit clearing both pucks and bodies.

As for Lasch and Roe not duplicating their seasons, you're right, it's no gimme but they've also never been a pairing except on the power play and that will likely continue this year meanbing you can't focus on one line to shut them down.
I also think the added depth from the freshman and better years from last year's freshman like Marvin and Mosey will help them not be completely focused on by defenses.
I wouldn't be surpised to see both of them hit 50+ and Lasch break 60.

Anonymous said...

Both of Duncan's parents have UND degrees. To think that the kid has some perspective and would actually put education first wouldn't be that great a stretch.

Anonymous said...

Well I guess everyone is optimistic before the season begins, but SCSU fans take it to another level. First you agree Lasch and Roe may have trouble duplicating last season then you end by saying that you won't be surprised if they exceed those totals. I won't be surprised by this either, I'll be shocked. If Oshie and Duncan couldn't achieve this last season neither will Lasch and Roe. Half of Roe's goals came on the power play. It's not like he really needs to be shut down until SCSU's opponents are a man down.

On defense this season SCSU will have a Sr who played in 31 games, a Jr who played in 40 games, and a So who played in 30 games. Plus two more Juniors who last season did not manage 20 games played between them. SCSU has four defensemen who are 5'10" or under. Two juniors, a senior, and a freshmen so there will be a choice to be made between size and experience. Motzko will already be staring at least one freshmen every night. If he wants Hepp, Rioux, or Lauridsen for their size then he could be starting two or more freshmen. By the end of the season this may be an upgrade, but it could easily be brutal in the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Just because Oshie and Duncan didn't do it does not mean Roe and Lasch can't.
Also, no offense to those two players, but Toews made that line what it is, without him, they suffered as teams could focus on the two of them more.
For SCSU, while losing Nodl will hurt, the guys who made the offense really click last year were Roe and Lasch, that should continue this season.
Roe and Lasch are not linemates, never have been so even strength you can't use your best players to focus on just one of them as the other one will burn you.
And yes, we know that half of each of their goals came on the power play, but there should be more depth up front for SCSU this year which should open up more 5 on 5 chances, especially with a freshman class that is likely deeper than any we've seen over the last 8 years.

Finally, on the defense, if Ammerman and Gaudet couldn't crack the lineup last year I don't expect them to crack it much this year either.
I also expect Motzko to go for size over experience because the kids with the size are better players than the kids with experience.
Barta and Raboin were the Huskies two best defensemen in the 2nd half and both return as does Carlisle who isn't flashy but does his job and knows he likely won't be above the 3rd pairing which he's fine with.
Yes, they may have some growing pains, hell the blueline did last year, the difference this year is Weslosky has the experience when he didn't last season.
SCSU will be dangerous and no one in the league should take them lightly.

Anonymous said...

9:59 AM:

...and Goofer fans think their team is always going to be near the top. Yeah, last year was an "aberration" to Gopher fans, while fans of other teams saw that year coming. You basically have the same team of underachieving forwards...look at your own team...who is gonna score?? You think Lasch and Roe will not put up the same points, but your team has nobody even in that position. I'd take proven past-season scoring returning instead of "hoping" a couple of freshmen (one who plays on the blue line) are gonna carry the team, since the returners in maroon and gold certainly did not.

BTW, Hepp is not a freshman...he is a sophomore since he transferred from Air Force.

Could it be the Goofer fans can't see much on their own team so they've got to pick other teams' fans analysis apart? Check.

Look in the marron and gold mirror...looks pretty cloudy.

Anonymous said...

Well Roe only burned another team at even strength nine times in 39 games, so it seems a safe bet to concentrate on Lasch who scored more than half his goals on the power play. It will be interesting to see if SCSU can generate even strength offense with Lasch and Roe on separate lines.

Toews is certainly the best player of the six, but Oshie is a close second and Lasch is, at best, a distant third. Nodl will be missed by Lasch and Roe probably at least to the extent Toews was missed at UND last year.

It sounds like you're ready to concede that Motzko will be starting three freshmen defense most nights. That is a recipe for inconsistency in the first half.

I'm not saying SCSU won't be a dangerous opponent. But just the like every team except CC your team has a big question or two to answer. Namely can you improve defensively and not rely so much on the power play for your offense. The offense I'll give as a likely yes, the defense is no better than a maybe

Deeber said...

How much longer are St. Cloud fans going to put up with Motzko's lack of success? Beaten in the Final Five by the Gophers and then losing in the first round of the NCAA's (Again).

You just can't win in the WCHA trying to rely on two forwards over the course of the season and the play-offs.

Look for fewer power plays for St. Cloud because the refs will be watching for Roe's dives. That only gets a team so far. The history of the WCHA has lots of guys struggling in their second season. Will Roe be the next one?

Without Nodl St. Cloud will be looking at some serious problems duplicating their Power play success from last season.

Time to replace Motzko.

Anonymous said...

SCSU's starting D will likely be

Raboin Sr.
Carlisle Sr.
Barta So.
Hepp. So.
Rioux Fr.
Lauridsen Fr.

Yes there are 3 newcomers there, but keep this in mind, Hepp does have college hockey experience as he's a transfer from Air force and Rioux was with the team all last season as a redshirt, so he at the very least knows the system Motzko and Rud will be running.
The only one completely green is Lauridsen, that should help the transition.

Roe will not stuggle in his second season, he's too much of an agitator and plays with too big a chip on his shoulder to not at least meet what he did last season.

Also, nice try troll, but SCSU gave Dahl 17 years to keep screwing up and Motzko doesn't have a complete team of his own guys yet, he's going nowhere.

Anonymous said...

Your logic would conclude then that since it is time to replace Motzko for not getting that tourney win and relying on 2 proven (read: past years) point scorers, then it is certainly time to replace Lucia of the Goofs. Certainly you'd agree that the defections, low scoring, pathetic power play, and overall disappointment of last year puts him right in line with Motzko. Correct?

I suppose all those freshmen that the UM is relying on to produce this year gets him off the hook though in your mind. Last I checked SCSU also has some freshmen coming in that can light the lamp too. Wasn't Roe a freshmen last year that burst onto the scene? So what makes you think nobody will do that again? History has already disproven your thoughful post....yikes.

Deeber said...

Didn't the Gophers eliminate St. Cloud in last years Final Five?

Seriously, how long will St. Cloud fans go blaming their teams lack of success on Craig Dahl? Who was his last recruit to play for the Huskies?

Anonymous said...

Deeber: Again, your knowledge of other teams is pathetic. The reason the previous poster mentioned Craig Dahl recruits is that this is the first year that Motzko will have MOSTLY all his own recruits. The first three years of Motzko's tenure were loaded with Craig Dahl recruits(all seniors from the past three grad classes were Dahl's, including last year)...this year he will have one still in John Swanson (not that it is a bad thing in this instance). So actually next year (2009-2010) will be Motzko's first year with all his own players.

BTW, didn't SCSU also eliminate the Goofs in the Final Five 8-7? WHo was behind the Husky bench for that one? Keep picking and choosing your has worked well so far.

Anonymous said...

how pathetic are duluth? uaa? tech? and msu usually? what a crappy ass bunch of bottom feeders. they also have dorky fans like drunk hockey guy, donald and meanegirl and then msu doesnt have any fans.

lucia blows and eaves sucks

go DU

und will have the roy in gregoire who should be a pioneer

Anonymous said...

Puck Swami, is that you?

Anonymous said...

6:43 is some schmuck, probably a UND fan, who shows up on various blogs and tries to stir things up. This poster is not a DU fan and needs to get a hobby.

Anonymous said...

SCSU fans like to blame Dahl for things because it gives them an excuse to gloss over reality when Motzko fails to come up with the results. It is easy to blame the guy who is gone for the failures of the current squad because it means they don't have to admit the faults of their current coach. The truth is Dahl had very little impact on the failures of the last few years. Something SCSU fans simply are afraid to admit to.

The funny thing is watching some fans talk about a team defense being better simply because they add a few bigger guys on the blue line. As if it is as simple as that. They don't seem to ask if these guys have what it takes to play defense in general. Size can be a detriment in some cases. SCSU fans should remember Gaffaney as a perfect example. Some of these guys like Lauridsen may be big but are they going to have the mobility to be successful? Especially when they play most of their games on a big ice sheet? That size could be more of a liability than an asset when all is said and done.

Anybody take a close look at Roe's numbers last year? A very high percentage of his points were on the PP. Otherwise, he was a very ordinary player. I respect Lasch though because he produces under different circumstances.

Anonymous said...

No one is saying SCSU's D will be better simply because it's bigger.
But they should be better in the long run because they have more talent.
SCSU's D likely will struggle a bit to start the season but that defense was playing as well as anyone in country towards the end of last season, they can do that again.

And yes, a lot of Roe's points came on the power play, SCSU was a power play dominated team.
To discount his play because he had a majority of his scoring done while on the power play is crazy.
And really, who cares how he gets his points, he gets them, that's what matters.

As far as Motzko goes, Dahl couldn't carry his jock when it comes to coaching and he'll get his titles at SCSU soon enough.

Anonymous said...

SCSU has three Defensemen coming in this season. One Redshirt, one Swede, who most people will not have seen play, and Hepp who played in 18 of Air Force's 40 games. While they may eventually be an upgrade, to say they are all more talented than the guys they are replacing, at this point, is ridiculous.

Unless Hepp was injured, he only managed to crack AF's lineup in fewer than half games for the season he spent in Colorado Springs. Nobody outside of some scouts have seen Lauridsen play and really against what kind of competition and how many times? Why did Rioux, an '86 birthday, need a redshirt season if he so much talent?

Show me!

Until then "much improved" are just words on a message board.

Anonymous said...

The only pick I have real problems with is Gardiner. Tremendous offensive talent and tremendous defensive liability. At least that was the story of his High School season last year.

I would put Wiercoch, Lamb, or maybe Lofquist as the second All-Rookie defensemen.

zooomx said...

Yeah... Roe only had 7 points in the Huskies opening sweep... soph. jinx huh?

I don't get the hating on Motzko? 3 years in and still loading up with his own recruits. Yeah...he does need to win in the NCAA's, but to say he has to go?

I think we are ranked where we should be with the unknowns out there. I also think our freshmen will surprise some people too.

Wisconsin and UND both lose their first two games... tough match ups but ouch!

Anonymous said...

Hepp played in all AF games before opting out of the Military. He returned to the USHL and captained the team for a year and one-half - and he captained them to a national championship.