Thursday, April 05, 2007

Looking Ahead (Part One)

With the skates taken off for the final time of the 2006-07 team, it’s time to stop wondering what might’ve been if we had gotten a better draw—or taken care of business against Notre Dame—and start looking ahead to the 2007-08 edition of the Wolverines.

Here’s my breakdown of the incoming recruiting class (hopefully all of whom will end up on campus and not go Trevor Lewis on us). For more information about these guys, MHNet has a nice breakdown, including quotes from Billy Powers.

Louie Caporusso (Forward, St. Michael’s Buzzers, OPJHL, 5’10”, 180):

Season Stats: 37 GP, 23-27—50, 45 PIMs
Playoff Stats: 20 GP, 14-19—33

Louie has picked up where Andrew Cogliano and Mike McKenzie left off at St. Michael’s, leading the team in scoring this season (FTR, he was second in scoring last season as well). Tbarr has compared him to a more offensive-minded Andrew Ebbett. He can score, he can make plays, and apparently he’s good in his own end as well. He’s also shown the ability to come up big when it matters; 33 points in 20 playoff games is evidence of that. He’s had some injuries the last couple of seasons, but if he can stay healthy we could have a nice duo of St. Mike’s forwards next year (if “Drew Cogs” comes back).

The Wolverine article about him from December (may be $$ link)
My original post about him, which includes the text of St. Mike's press release
An ancient blurb from Redline

Carl Hagelin (Left Wing, Södertälje SK, J20 SuperElit Södra, 5’11”, 176):

EliteProspects lists his stats as follows: 40 GP, 24-31--55, 42 PIMs.

I know next to nothing about this guy. Most mentions of his name are in Swedish. It’s hard enough tracking down his stats on the funky Swedish website that I have linked (and it appears that EliteProspects is more updated.

According to the site that I have linked on the sidebar, he tied for his team lead in scoring and ranked in the top 10 for the league as a whole, so that’s something. Even better, according to EliteProspects, he led the league in scoring.

He was 40% on faceoffs, so he’ll fit right in (ok, that was a cheapshot, he only took 5). In the quote from Powers on MHNet's site, he stated that he's a scorer, a great skater, and he loves to forecheck and play physical. He could be a pleasant surprise since we really don't know a damn thing about him.

A post on Hockeysfuture says that "H has alot of speed and has pretty good offensive abillities. Skating and agility is above average, has an fairly good shoot and okay passingskills and vision. Not that good along the boards and has problem when meeting aggressive defensmen." (sic).

My original post about him.

Bryan Hogan (Goaltender, Lincoln Stars, USHL, 6’0”, 190):

Season Stats: 42 GP, 25-11-3, 3.16 GAA, .884 Save Percentage
Playoffs have not started.

I would call him the most important recruit in this year’s class. After Billy Sauer’s meltdown in the game against North Dakota, I don’t see how anyone could say otherwise. We’ve got a major problem with goaltending on our team, since it appears that Steve Jakiel isn’t well thought of enough to get into more than one game, even when Sauer was saying “Ole!” to hockey pucks for a large part of this year.

Can Hogan change our goaltending from a weakness to a strength? Couldn’t tell ya. I was a lot more excited about him last year, when he played well enough to get Steve Jakiel traded away from Lincoln and put up a 2.50 and a .916 (along with similar win totals).

Red Berenson has indicated that he thinks Hogan could be a "special" goalie. Not that he'd say anything different. But the idea gives me warm fuzzies. He's ranked as the #14 North American goalie in the Midterm Rankings.

If nothing else, he's played a lot of hockey over the past couple of years, which is something that I feel really hurt Billy Sauer upon his entrance to college.

I'll end his profile with the same plea that I have in my Yost Post signature: Please be for real.

Chad Langlais (Defenseman, Lincoln Stars, USHL, 5'8", 170):

Season Stats: 46 GP, 5-34--39, 112 PIMs, -1
Playoffs have not started.

He's not very big, but the penalty minutes suggest that he's willing to hit, and the assist numbers suggest that he makes a nice pass. He has matured this year, with his point totals going up significantly (he's increased that total by 16, despite playing 13 less games at this point). 27 of his 39 points have come on the power play, so he obviously sees a lot of time on the PP. He also averages about 2.5 shots on goal a game.

He ranks sixth on the team in points, fourth in assists (second amongst defensemen in both categories), and is second in PIMs. He'll be an older freshman (he'll be 21 by the time he plays his first game) so he probably doesn't have the upside of some of our other incoming freshmen, but he should be ready to step in and play. Plus he'll hopefully provide some leadership back there, which will be nice with as many young defensemen as we're bringing in.

One of my original posts about Langlais, which includes quotes about he and Bryan Hogan.
I hate Pat Caputo, but here's an old article (2004) about Chad and his twin, Chase.
This is from the 05-06 season on the USHL website.

Tristin Llewellyn (Defenseman, Tri-City Storm, USHL, 6'1", 193):

Season Stats: 49 GP, 3-15--18, 152 PIMs, Even

Is he really going to finally be a Wolverine? It seems like we've gone through a full class of players since he committed. He was the youngest player in the USHL back in the 04-05 season and was a very highly touted player. The hype-meter seems to have dropped off. Kyle Woodlief from Redline says that it's because he hasn't improved "one iota" in the last three years. Part of that could be boredom. He's been playing in the same league for three years. Hopefully a change of scenery will do him some good.

He's big, I assume he can hit (again with the PIMs) and the book on him a few years ago was that he was a pretty good skater.

I'll have stuff up on the remaining players (Palushaj, Pacioretty, Quick, Rust, Vaughan, and Winnett) in the near future.

Until then, here's a couple of other tidbits:

A feature from January on the USHL's site about 2009 recruit Chris Brown.

Also, we've added a new commitment, 2010 player Jared Knight. Tbarr and WCH have the scoop. He leads his league in scoring with a 35-30--65 line in 31 games. He's ten years younger than me. I feel really old.


colin said...

What I really want to know is which of these guys can be the point per game freshman? In general, we've been within the normal distribution for offensive performance from our forwards and haven't gotten anything above a .8 in a while (Hensick and Tambs). We desperately need one to replace Jack and TJ, plus any other departures. Conjecture?

Packer487 said...

I think it's asking quite a bit for a freshman to step in and score a point per game. Like you said, Hensick and Tamby did it, but I don't know that we've got anyone coming in that's quite that good.

What I DO expect however--and I'll get to this when I wrap things up for the "Looking Ahead" posts--is that we'll be much deeper up front. We lose Hensick and Rohlfs up front, and that's basically it. I suppose Summers might have to slide back to D and that'd be another forward gone, but we're bringing in six forwards--5 of whom are pretty highly touted and the sixth (Hagelin) we know nothing about.

Gone are going to be the days of zero production out of our third and fourth lines I have a feeling. If everyone stays, we're going to be very deep up front. Big if.

Chris said...

My money is on Winnett, Palushaj, and Pacioretty. All three could be monsters next season.

There's all sorts of things I could say about Kyle Woodlief, but I won't. Suffice to say, I wouldn't worry about what he says.

colin said...

Over the last 7 years, there have been 57 .9+ pts/gm scorers, and only Dartmouth(4), Notre Dame (3), Minnesota(4), North Dakota(3) and Denver(3) have had more than 2. Considering that after 3, teams like Quinnipiac and WMU start showing up, it seems likely that the trend only extends to 3 (obviously informal though this is). Having gone back a few more years for Michigan, this seems to hold up. Other than Hensick and Tambs, only Comrie has achieved the .9+ since 98 (I think that's it).

So, basically, it seems like the chances are at least low that we'll get one of those. And, as you say, if we're going to keep pace, we're going to have to do it through depth rather than a superlative first line. I would like to say that IF Porter, Cogs and Kolarik stay, that would likely be a damn good line itself, one that could see three guys average, say, 1.2 p/g. That's down from the 1.3 between Hensick, Rohlfs and Porter and also takes the two highest scorers from the second line last year and puts them on the first this year. Our second line last year averaged about 1 p/g between Cogs/Kolarik/Naurato. It's the third and fourth lines that, as we know, really sucked, averaging about .45 and .15 p/g.

If we get an average distribution of freshman performers based on the numbers I culled from mgoblue since '98-99 (pretty sure that was the year I started it for), then between the 6 new forwards, we'll average .53 pts/g. That really puts in perspective the degree of suck our third and fourth lines were at last year. They couldn't even manage average freshman performance.


Porter/Cogs/Kolarik - I think will average 1.2 avg next year...probably won't get much better than this year because none of them are excellent passers.

Summers - Had 8 pts in the last 10 games after he got moved up to forward in that 3-3 tie against State.
Miller - added appx .2 p/g to get up to .6
Naurato - similar output as Miller, but upped his by .3 over frosh year
Turnbull - stagnated. .45 p/g
Fardig - still can't score
Lebler - .3...didn't show too much outside his physicality, right?

The second line should include Summers, because he appears to be a dynamite up front and a liability at D. Fardig can't score, but skates a lot better than, say, Tim Cook did until this year. Move him back instead. Miller's improvement is encouraging, but his athleticism seems fairly limited. If he can pass, then he'll have a place on this team, because everyone else has such a high Goals to Assist ratio. Both Naurato and Summers are goal scorers and I think they'll get better with Miller feeding them. Say .8 average from that line then, unless one of the freshmen steps up and really knows how to pass AND skate.

Lebler wasn't really a disappointment, since he's a 3-star sort. He's a big forward on a team that doesn't really know how to utilize them, imo. Ryznar and Rohlfs are the only two others that I've seen have any kind of success and they progressed very slowly year to year. Maybe he'll go up .2, but .1 more likely, unless his PT drops further. Turnbull doesn't really do much for me either and he didn't improve a lick between this year and last in terms of output. He'll probably get bumped to the 4th line, but if he posts yet another .45, then he'll be light years better than last year's fourth liners.

I don't know how to distribute the freshmen, but if they're average, it looks like 5 of them will get PT.

Porter/Cogs/Kolarik - 1.2.
Summers/Miller/Naurato - .8
Frosh 1/Frosh 2/Frosh 3 - .53
Lebler/Frosh 4/Frosh 5(Turnbull) - .4

That actually addds up to slightly more pt/g than last year, at 8.79 to 8.7. I'm somewhat skeptical of my own math, but it seems like there's cause for hope.

Of course, this doesn't include the D, which ought to see a marked decline because of Jack. Technically, Hunwick was good in the O-zone, but his mistakes probably add up to at least a wash, if not a slight minus. Mitera/Quick, Llewellyn/Langlais, Vaughan(Kampfer)/Fardig seems to be a giant question mark, thanks to the uncertainty past the top 3. Maybe Lebler could go back to D too? Goaltending obviously also remains a huge issue. Billy's performance in the NCAAs is baffling.

Conclusions: We might be okay on offense. D and especially G are scary. This is the longest post ever. I should get a blog or something.

colin said...

Oh, and I just did a quick look through of that Swedish league's top goal scorers from 95-01 (7 seasons) and 15 of them either made an NHL team or contributed significant time to the national team. Sweden's national team is pretty decent and the NHL is the NHL. About 2 per season I checked got through, which means Hagelin, if the trend follows, has about 40 percent chance of accomplishing that. From the looks of it, the Swedish players from that league have a hard time getting across the Atlantic and into NHL systems, so I bet that's what the draw for Hagelin is. If that's the case, then I would also bet that certain European countries could become fairly fertile grounds for recruiting in the future. I kind of pulled that out of my ass, though, since I have no idea what hockey's status in Europe outside of Russia is.

Packer487 said...

Holy crap, you really should get a blog. That was awesome.

Seeing Hagelin's numbers from EliteProspects makes me feel that he could actually be a good player. I like him a lot more knowing he was the leading scorer in the league, rather than when I thought he was like #10.

Interesting stuff about what you found out about that league though. I was having a seizure trying to get through the site that I originally linked.

I think everyone is really going to be impressed with Rust. For a kid coming out of USA, you'd think I wouldn't keep forgetting he's in this class, but everyone mentions Patch, Pal, and Winnett. Rust was really impressive in the games I saw him play. I'll get more into him when I post about him, but he'll definitely play, and I think he'll be damn good for us.

I think we will see a slight bump in production from our forwards next year, but you're right...we're going to lose a lot of offense from our blueline.

And goaltending still has potential to be a disaster.