Monday, March 26, 2012

Offseason Questions

As is always the case, now that the season is over, the question has to be asked: Beside the four seasons, who else are we going to lose? There are some obvious flight risks: Merrill, PDG, Bennett, Brown, and Trouba from the incoming freshman class.

The writers from The Michigan Daily got a hold of some of those players today and here are the current statuses:

PDG: Is coming back.
Merrill: Hasn't decided what he is going to do. He'll talk with Red Berenson, amongst others, before making a decision "soon". 
Bennett: "I'm not ready to leave this place yet. I love it too much. I'm coming back for sure."

Spath says that Red believes Merrill will return for his junior season. And that makes sense. If he was going to bail this summer, why hang around all year to only play half a season? Spath also mentioned that PDG has learned from some friends in the OHL, including Lucas Lessio, that they don't really like it there as much as they thought they would. That's not the first time I've heard that about Lessio, though that may have also come from The Wolverine.

Lou Lamoriello, GM of the New Jersey Devils, who hold Merrill's rights, says that, "As far as we know he's staying in school, unless he tells us otherwise. It's his decision."

As for the guys who have exhausted their eligibility, Wohlberg has signed a tryout contract with the Devils and will head to Albany of the AHL. Montreal wanted Pateryn to sign, but he's going to finish out the school year and graduate.

Red believes that Glendening could be an NHLer someday and that Hunwick will get a shot in the AHL/ECHL. They'll also be voting on captains for next year and the smart money seems to be on Brown with Treais and Bennett wearing letters.

The Daily had an excellent article about Hunwick's career and legacy. For the record, the blog Hunwick references was not this one. Though, just for giggles, I dug up a few things that I wrote about him when he committed.

Right when Shawn committed, Bryan Hogan had been rumored to either be spending another year in the USHL or heading to Erie of the OHL. If you read the message board at The Wolverine, you'll remember that Hogan was my signature picture with a caption that said something along the lines of, "Please save us." I was really down on Sauer. (To Billy's credit, he had one helluva junior season and a solid senior year even though the team couldn't play in front of him.) So here was the initial post:
Personally, I'm still hoping that Hogan is coming and can get back to last year's form to contend for the starting gig. It appears less likely with today's development, however. Then again, it's also possible that this is more of a "I'm probably not making the NHL, so I might as well go get a great education at Michigan rather than play for a D-3 school, and maybe I can play some in practice" decision rather than a "They need a 3rd goalie for a year or two since Hogan isn't coming, so why not?" decision. Either way, best of luck at Michigan to Shawn.
Over the weekend, I was able to get confirmation that it was Steve Jakiel who was leaving and that Hunwick had put up impressive numbers in the MWEHL and got off to a good start in the NAHL before being injured. 

Before the season I broke down the entire roster in individual posts over the span of about a month--this was when I didn't have a job and could do things like that!--and I wrote the following:
Expectations: I expect him to be the third goalie, but with Hogan's illness and Sauer's problem with not stopping the puck, the goalie position has been listed as wide open. Unfortunately, Shawn came down with an illness before the Blue/White game and didn't get into the Western Ontario game, so he hasn't had a chance to show what he can do in game action.

He'll be the backup until Hogan is well again, but I don't expect him to see a lot of playing time.

It is fair to point out that, despite lesser competition, he did have the best save percentage last year out of all three of our goalies.

Level of Necessity: 3 out of 10.

Probably a higher rating than your typical third-goalie would normally get because there's so much of an unknown at that position. I don't expect him to play, but if the other two falter and he shows something in practice, you never know what can happen.

If nothing else, maybe shooting on a shorter goalie (Hunwick is 5'7") in practice will help them better prepare for Jeff Lerg.
At some point in there, I know I said that I never expected Matt to get a sniff in the NHL. I'm never doubting a Hunwick again. I still can't believe that it was 2 1/2 years before anyone realized that he could play and then he turned out to be Hobey-contender good. That truly was a remarkable story. I just wish he had gotten his Cinderella ending.

Some other good stuff I've read this week:
Hoover Street Rag goes with the Hockey Christmas thing and points out that sometimes Christmas ain't all that great. Really well-written piece.

MGoBlog has his typically excellent thoughts on the Cornell game.

Melissa from The Yost Post has her thoughts as well and seems to be just as stunned and saddened by the premature end to the season as I am.

Bob Miller's College Hockey Prospective has a fun read from Mike Bagley, firing a shot at the OHL and their recruiting practices. Bob also covered Connor Carrick in his countdown of the top NHL Draft prospects that appear to be college-bound.

In other news, Michigan commit Dylan Larkin became one of the first to sign with the NTDP for next year. (HT: Chris Peters)

Also, Travis Turnbull scored his first NHL goal the other night for Buffalo. It was the type of goal you'd expect Travis Turnbull to score in the NHL, and I mean that as a compliment. He also threw down for the first time and won that one against Nick Johnson.

Here's the goal:

Atta boy, Travis!

I think that's all I've got for tonight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hunwick will be on the bench for the Blue Jackets tonight!