Tuesday, September 9, 2008

WCHA 08/09 Previews: Minnesota-Duluth

School: Minnesota Duluth
Mascot: Bulldogs
Head Coach: Scott Sandelin, 9th year, 122-160-37

Last Season: 9-14-5, 8th place WCHA; 13-17-6 Overall

Predicted 08/09 WCHA Finish: 8th

Key Departures:
D Jason Garrison, 5-9-14*
F Matt McKnight, 6-10-16
F Mike Curry, 3-4-7
D Travis Gawryletz, 1-5-6
*All stats listed from 07/08

Key Returnees:
F Sharp McGregor (Sr), 7-10-17
F Nick Kemp (Sr), 7-8-15
F Andrew Carrell (Sr), 8-6-14
D Josh Meyers (Sr), 6-8-14
F Jordan Fulton (Jr), 5-9-14

Top Sieve: Alex Stalock (Jr), 13-17-6, 2.35 GAA

Key Additions:
D Brady Lamb, 10-22-32 in AJHL (Outstanding Defenseman Award)
F Jack Connolly, 26-46-72 in USHL (USA Junior POY)
F Mike Connolly, 25-41-66 in AJHL
G Brady Hjelle, 22-14-4, 2.50 GAA in USHL
F Travis Gleksuk, 14-30-44 in USHL

When Wisconsin Beats tUMD: @ DECC 11/14 & 11/15, KC 1/30 & 1/31

07/08 Recap: Similar to Michigan Tech, Duluth went out of the gate pretty strong last season. They were in the running for home ice until the very end of the season, but slowly slid down the standings as the weeks went by. Duluth’s biggest problem was offense, hard to win when you don’t score many goals. Alex Stalock was pretty solid in net, when he wasn’t taking a swipe at Blake Geoffrion, or taking other stupid penalties for a goalie.

08/09 Thoughts: Duluth could finish higher than my predicted finish of 8th. The obvious is that they are going to have to score more goals this season. They didn’t lose much to graduation, and have a solid group of seniors leading the way, though none of them jump out to me. Alexander “the great big sieve” Stalock should anchor a solid defense each night. I would think Scott Sandelin needs a good year too. It wasn’t that long ago that he had Duluth in the Frozen Four, but lately they’ve been battling to stay out of the WCHA basement. One thing that Duluth has going for them is their freshman class. In researching this post, it appears that Duluth has one of the better classes in the WCHA. Jack Connolly and Brady Hjelle are both coming off very good seasons in the USHL. While Hjelle won’t see a ton of time in net, Duluth should have a good one in the future. Being honored as the USA Junior POY is no small honor for Jack Connolly, who could be a top scorer for Duluth. Adding the AJHL Oustanding Defenseman in Brady Lamb doesn’t hurt either.

The blog is headed to Duluth in November. I can’t wait to see how big of a dump the DECC really is.