Monday, September 24, 2012

PucKato's preseason picks

The WCHA preseason media poll will be released on Wednesday, and I nearly went up to the deadline before finally turning in my ballot. Other than picking Minnesota to win it, there aren't too many obvious choices this year. So without further ado, here's a look at my ballot.

1. Minnesota 
2. North Dakota
3. Denver
4. St. Cloud State
5. Wisconsin
6. Nebraska Omaha
7. Colorado College
8. Minnesota State
9. Minnesota Duluth
10. Michigan Tech
11. Bemidji State
12. Alaska Anchorage

Player of the year: Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota
Rookie of the year: Teddy Blueger, Minnesota State

Preseason All-WCHA
F-Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota
F-Mark Zengerle, Wisconsin
F-Danny Kristo, North Dakota
D-Joey LaLeggia, Denver
D-Nick Jensen, St. Cloud State
G-Josh Thorimbert, Colorado College

A few thoughts ... The Gophers are the clear-cut favorite to win the WCHA this season, with the return of several outstanding players, including preseason MVP favorite Nick Bjugstad, who opted to return for his junior season. ...

North Dakota is a solid choice for second place, but the standings turn pretty murky after that. I suspect there could be an eight- maybe nine-team race for the other four home-ice spots that lasts late into the season. ...

I didn't quite draw the names out of a hat but was pretty set at putting Denver, St. Cloud State and Wisconsin into the upper half. The next grouping in my mind is a big one with Omaha, CC, MSU, Duluth and Tech. Bemidji and Anchorage take up the bottom. ...

I see Wisconsin (even without Justin Schultz) and Minnesota State making the biggest jumps up in the standings (I didn't have the guts to give the Mavericks home ice), with Colorado College and Minnesota Duluth (it was a heck of a run) slipping the most. ...

Call it a homer pick, but I went with Teddy Blueger as the rookie of the year. After where he was drafted (second round), the interest from the OHL and a reportedly excellent prospect camp in Pittsburgh, it sure sounds like he's the real deal. Why not? ...

As for the all-league picks, I thought the skaters were all solid. (A few forwards also under consideration included Corban Knight, UND; Ben Hanowski, SCSU; Rylan Schwartz, CC; Erik Haula, Minny; and even Jean-Paul LaFontaine, MSU.) But the goalie pick was tough. There will be lots of turnover in net this season. In Thorimbert, went with last year's third-team All-WCHA selection.


Cashu said...

I like your pick of Blueger for ROY. Here's a little profile I did of him for anyone who might be interested:

hockeyfan said...

I think Omaha has lost alot. I would move them down two behind Colorado and Minn. State.

MSU Grad 97 said...

Maybe the Sports Gods were getting you back with the Seahawks/Pack game for not picking MSU in the upper half last night. For Seahawks, Vikings, Lions, and Bears fans, it was one of the greatest endings of all times as the Pack finally got to feel what happens when the refs don't love you. Maybe this year MSU can get some ref love as they'll be a better team this year and probably one of the big dogs next year.