Sunday, October 02, 2011

2011-12 Season Preview Part 2: The Returning Forwards

Last week, we covered the guys that won't be returning. Last season, they accounted for 41.7% of Michigan's 146 goals and 50.6% of the assists. That's a lot, but Michigan has handled similar losses before (50% and 46% in 08-09 and 07-08). Here are some quick blurbs about the forwards who return:

Chris Brown: Really struggled to put the puck in the net for long stretches of last season. He had just two goals when he left to join Team USA for the World Juniors, but rebounded a bit in the second half of the year to finish with a 9-14--23 line. He was held scoreless in the NCAA Tournament, however.

Kevin Lynch: Lynch had a long drought last season as well, but his came in the middle of the year. After scoring 6-3--9 in the first 14 games, he was held scoreless for eighteen straight games. He didn't tally a point from November 21-February 17 before scoring 7 points in Michigan's final 12 games (including the game-winner as part of a two-goal effort against UNO in the NCAA Tournament). There are those who think very highly of his game, and I'd expect that he'll get plenty of chances to have a big season offensively.

David Wohlberg: Michigan's top-returning goal scorer (15) has been on a downward trajectory in terms of points (31, 27, 21 in his first three years), but he did match his freshman-year's goal total last year. Wohlberg was heating up at the right time last year. He has a four-game goal streak before a broken collarbone ended his season in the first round of the CCHA Tournament.

AJ Treais: A really offensively-gifted player who took a step up as a sophomore. He had 13 points as a freshman and increased that to 22 as a sophomore. He went 8 games without a point to start the year, but came on after that. He had 13 points in 16 games at one point during the season. Needs to be a little more careful with his breakout passes from the boards in his own end. I fully expect to see him up around 30 points this year.

Lindsay Sparks: Kind of an intriguing player really. He doesn't play all that often, but has looked really good at times. He had 3 goals and 4 points during the CCHA Tournament before finding a seat on the bench during the NCAA Tournament. Had 4-2--6 in 17 games. We'll see if he can gain the coaches' trust this year and find a spot in the lineup.

Luke Glendening: The captain has really turned into a nice player for Red Berenson. A one-time preferred walk-on, Glendening has scored 21 goals and 28 assists in 124 games, including 8-10--18 last year. This will be the third season he's worn a letter, and the second season he's had the C. He'll be a key player on the penalty kill, as we lost most of the guys that made up those units.

Luke Moffatt: A highly-regarded recruit, Moffatt struggled offensively for a good portion of last season after getting off to a pretty good start. He had 8 points in an 8-game span in November, before putting up just 3 goals and 2 assists the rest of the way. He'll at least get a shot to earn his way onto the power play and see more ice time. Time will tell if he lives up to the hype he had coming out of the MWEHL.

Derek DeBlois: I really kind of like DeBlois. He caught the "Hit people from behind" bug at one point last season, but I liked what I saw out of him. He ended up +8 on the year and didn't hurt Michigan when he was out there most of the time. Chipped in with 6 points.

Jeff Rohrkemper: He sure picked a good time to score a couple of his 3 goals last year. He put one in in the NCAA Championship and had the game-winner in the CCHA Third Place Game. I don't think he ever really looked out of place, despite being put into a tough position having played only 7 games all year before being pressed into service in the CCHA and NCAA Tournament. Outside of his boarding penalty against CC that darn-near killed me, you can't complain about his contributions in a very limited amount of ice time.

Hopefully sometime tomorrow, I'll have the defense and the goalies.

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