Is Adam Mueller playing minor hockey anywhere right now? If so what kind of numbers does he have? Also without any major injuries(hopefully) can we also assume that this will be a red shirt year for Brett Peterson? Mueller is playing for Roseville High School and has 24 goals and 17 assists in 20 games. Thursday night against Hastings, he had a hat trick and five assists. It was his second game in a row with at least three goals and fourth of the season. As for Peterson, if he doesn't play the rest of the year I'm sure he'll be eligible for a redshirt season. I'm not sure if that's the plan or if he just hasn't worked his way into the lineup yet. Below, there are some more questions on incoming recruits, and, we're finding out, there will be plenty of competition for roster spots, much less playing time, next season. There was a related question from an e-mailer who wondered about redshirts' eligibility academically. They wondered if a player was done with his degree in four years what happens in the fifth. As long as they have athletic eligibility remaining and stay enrolled in school they can play. In the past, some have taken graduate-level classes, while others will just take an elective or two.
What is the thinking behind Berge never killing penalties or rarely playing 4 on 4? Goal scoring is at such a premium in WCHA and you think you would want your goal scorers on the ice as much as possible especialy 4 on 4. Other teams goal scorers get tons of ice time. I wrote about Mick Berge in today's Freep, and one thing coach Jutting told me was that Berge was recruited as "a points guy," meaning he's offense first. I think the coaching staff would rather give Berge a breather during a penalty rather than put him out there to do something that's not one of his strengths. Keep him fresh for the third period. Although the Mavericks have given up more power-play goals of late, they do have forwards who are excellent killers (Hanson, Kalinski, etc.). To be honest, I haven't charted 4-on-4 ice time to see who's out there every shift but will try to pay more attention to that.
What sort of jump might the Mavericks make in the polls/pairwise rankings should they find a way to split or, dare I say, sweep the Pioneers this weekend? I think it's safe to say this is going to be a huge weekend for our hockey team. A sweep would indeed be huge for the Mavericks, both for the WCHA standings and the Pairwise. They're ranked 20th in the Pairwise now and need to get up to 14 or higher by the end of the year. I'd need to sit down and figure out all of the comparisons and how they work to guess how far they'd move up with a sweep or split. Just how important are the Pairwise rankings? Well, one WCHA writer has decided that, from now on, he only uses those rankings when referring to where a team is ranked nationally. For example, he'd call this weekend's matchup No. 3 Denver vs. No. 20 Minnesota State, as opposed to No. 4 Denver vs. unranked MSU. He, like me, votes in one of the national polls but admits that it is completely meaningless compared to the Pairwise. He probably has something there, and I might consider doing the same now that we're in the final five weeks of the regular season.
Do you think with the amount of defensmen MSU will have next year that Cameron Cooper or Baylor Dieter will have an immediate impact on the team? Also Adam Mueller and Joe Schiller for the forwards? One impact those players will bring is depth. The Mavericks will only lose three players to graduation: Joel Hanson, R.J. Linder and Matt Tyree. Tyree doesn't play much, and the other two will leave one opening each at forward and defense. Up front, the Mavs will also have Mike Louwerse back from injury, so there should be good depth and competition there. Same with defense. The Mavs already have seven D -- all of whom they seem to like -- for six spots; they'll have eight next year. Players are going to have to earn their playing time, that's for sure.
Staying on the topic of incoming recruits, can you give us anymore info. on Tyler Thompson, the Mavs latest recruit? I noticed he appears in the NHL's Central Scouting Mid Term Rankings and is 15th in the USHL in scoring. What sort of impact might he have on this up-and-coming Maverick hockey program? Again, the Mavericks could be very deep at forward, not only with the players they're bringing in but with the maturation of their current players, especially the sophomores: Trevor Bruess, Zach Harrison, Kael Mouillerat, Jason Wiley, Geoff Irwin and Jerad Stewart. I don't know much about Thompson, other than he's made a huge jump in scoring from last year to this year. I wish the MSU coaches could talk about him but we'll have to wait until he signs for to get their take. With so few roster spots opening up, I'll be curious to see how many of the freshmen actually come in next year and who might stay back for another season of junior hockey.
What are the chances of Kalinski staying for his senior season? I would guess pretty good. As a mid-level draft pick, the Flyers probably don't have to throw a ton of money at him, and if the organization likes and respects college hockey (which some NHL teams don't), having him play in the WCHA should be as good for his development as playing in the minors would be. I might have thought differently about this if Kalinski was putting the numbers he put up last year. That's what got him noticed. Right now, he has six goals and three assists; last year he broke out with 17 goals and 10 assists. I don't think he's having a bad season, though. He's been tremendous on the kill and is second on the team in shots on goal. He just doesn't have the points right now.
Thanks for your questions this week. Sorry to get to them a few days late and sorry if I didn't get to one of yours. Keep them coming for the future and enjoy this weekend's games against the Pioneers.