Sunday, September 20, 2009

09/10 Men's Previews: #20 Ryan Little


Vitals:

Position: Defenseman
Year in School: Sophomore
Shoots Left
Height: 5-11
Weight: 185
Hometown: Fond du Lac, WI
Major: Undecided
Previous Team: Green Bay (USHL) in 07/08

NHL Considerations: He has a ways to go, but he has the right coach to get him to the pros.

08/09 Stats: 22 games, 0-3-2, -1, 12 PIM
07/08 Stats: 58 games, 2-11-13, 100 PIM

09/10 Role: Fighting for PT

08/09 Recap: Ryan was a regular in the lineup during the first half of the season, sometimes in street clothes when Eric Springer played. In the 2nd half, as the calendar turned to February, he never saw the ice again, at least in a game, as Craig Johnson became the regular 6th defenseman.

Biggest Strength: I’m not sure if this is a strength, but I sure enjoy it. Ryan is the little biggest hitter on the team, often going after opponents w/ some reckless abandon. He owned a lot of people, and his hit during the minnesota series in October led to Patricia “Whitey” White getting beat down by Ben Grotting in the ensuing extra curriculars.

Biggest Weakness: His decision making at times is suspect, but he was a freshman and he needs to get better to see more PT on a crowded blue line.

09/10 Thoughts: The blue line is crowded this season. Its going to be tough for several defensemen to crack the lineup, even occasionally, and I think Ryan will be one of them. One thing I love about speculation and predictions is that there are always surprises, both the good kind (Derek Stepan last season) and the bad kind (Ben Street’s injury). The blue line could be like that this season, or it could easily be like everyone thinks, w/ Ryan, Eric Springer and John Ramage as the odd men out fighting for PT. In the past, Eaves has used 7 dmen, but w/ 16 forwards and the depth there, I don’t see that happening either. I like Ryan, I like his gritty play and the big hits, but I might have to wait until 10/11 to see them regularly.

Prediction: 8 games, 1-1-2*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com