So, there are rampant rumours that a certain player who decommitted from a certain sister school is interested in coming to a certain Harvard of the Midwest. But really, where would this certain individual fit in? tUMD is stacked. With or without this certain player, we’re going to have good players sitting every weekend, which is both good and bad. I’ve been wondering how everyone is going to fit in. And hey, I haven’t posted in awhile, so let’s do this.
Ok, so let’s take the team at face value. Here’s what I’ve got (freshmen positions are based on Heisenberg’s site):
Jack Connolly (Jr)
Travis Oleksuk (Jr)
Danny DeLisle (So)
Chris Stafne (Fr)
Max Tardy (Fr)
Mike Connolly (Jr)
Kyle Schmidt (Sr)
Cody Danberg (Sr)
Jake Hendrickson (So)
Justin Fontaine (Sr)
David Grun (Jr)
Mike Seidel (So)
Keegan Flaherty (So)
Joe Basaraba (Fr)
J.T. Brown (Fr)
Dylan Olsen (So)
Scott Kishel (Jr)
Wade Bergman (So)
Drew Olson (So)
Trent Palm (rs-Sr)
Luke McManus (Fr)
Brady Lamb (Jr)
Mike Montgomery (Sr)
Chad Huttel (Sr)
Chase Ryan (rs-Sr)
Justin Faulk (Fr)
Brady Hjelle (Jr)
Kenny Reiter (Jr)
Aaron Crandall (So)
Well, obviously this isn’t going to work. Too many right wings and too many left defencemen. Too many MCs, not enough mics. I’ve made some changes, and here’s what I’ve got.
Ok, first I’m gonna sneak Keegan Flaherty to centre. Jake Hendrickson could do the same but I’m going to give the nod to the Keeg based on his playing time last year, and based on some other things you’ll see later. Stafne is a lefty so I am going to sneak him over to LW.
Now our centres are Jack Connolly, Travis Oleksuk, Danny DeLisle, Keegan Flaherty and Max Tardy.
Note that I have MCON down as a LW even though he has played RW, but at LW he shall stay. Left wingers are Mike Connolly, Kyle Schmidt, Cody Danberg, Jake Hendrickson and Chris Stafne. Right wingers are Justin Fontaine, David Grun, Mike Seidel, Joe Basaraba and J.T. Brown.
At defence we can make the easy adjustment of removing Chase Ryan from the lineup. He has extra eligibility left, but he is getting a real degree in a real subject so let’s say that he is going to start a new career. Someone else has to scoot over to RD, unless Palm chooses not to/is not able to play. But, let’s just assume the best here. Anyway, I think maybe to make things easier I will just put Palm there. He’s also right-handed.
Left defencemen are Dylan Olsen, Scott Kishel, Wade Bergman, Drew Olson and Luke McManus. Right defencemen are Brady Lamb, Mike Montgomery, Chad Huttel, Trent Palm and Justin Faulk.
Goalies are still Brady Hjelle, Kenny Reiter and Aaron Crandall. Now we’re in business and can start crankin’ out the lines.
Top line: Mike Connolly – Jack Connolly – Justin Fontaine
No way is Sandy going to open the season any other way. I am sure there will be many different combinations throughout the year, but this is such an easy call. With no Overly Mature Canadian team to tune up with, gotta stick with what ya know.
Second line: Kyle Schmidt – Travis Oleksuk – Mike Seidel
Left wing and centre were easy picks, but I am really unsure about this one. I can see either J.T. Brown or Joe Basaraba on here, too at some point in the season. I really hate the idea of Seidel relegated to the 4th line, but he could also pick up a spot on the 3rd line without losing any grit there, and I could see him on the top line if Sandy gets the urge to juggle things. He’s my breakout pick.
Third line: Cody Danberg – Danny DeLisle – David Grun
People might be killed by this line. Literally, not figuratively.
Fourth line: Jake Hendrickson – Flaherty – J.T. Brown
J.T. has been explosive so far in the USHL, which as we know is not a guarantee of success, but that’s why I put him in over Basaraba. Flaherty and Hendo are in to start with because they’ve paid their dues, as (almost) all freshmen must. Of course, once the season gets into high gear, anything goes, and there are going to be a lot of guys duking it out for a spot in the lineup.
Bleacher line: Stafne – Tardy – Basaraba
Get those suits pressed.
Top defensive pairing: Dylan Olsen – Mike Montgomery
Obvious pairing is obvious.
Second pairing: Wade Bergman – Brady Lamb
Ah, who can forget Rat Boy? Dear, dear Rat Boy. (I am sorry, this is not nice. But somehow I thought this one time and can’t get it out of my head. It’s better than Smeagol, which is what Akins calls him.) Bergman was voted rookie of the year and I am totally in agreement. Lamb has his issues but defencemen mature more slowly. He should be solid this year.
Third pairing: Scott Kishel – Justin Faulk
Complete opposite of what I said about the forwards. Faulk is going to get a chance right away.
Fourth pairing: Drew Olson – Chad Huttel
It just pains me to put Drew here. I think he’s awesome and has really come into his own, but I think Scotty’s been placed ahead of him by the coaching staff. If Sandy refuses to sit seniors, then Faulk will be here instead of Huttel, but Faulk’s offensive upside blows away Huttel’s, um, temper.
Fifth pairing: Luke McManus – Trent Palm
It all depends on Palm’s health and his plans. However, I think he’ll be eased back into the lineup if he does return, so I’m putting him here. And Luke, I am sorry, but you are the low man on the indigenous wooden sculpture.
Starting goalie: Kenny Reiter
Kenny Reiter? Yes he can! His overall performance last year (North Dakota game notwithstanding) gives him the first game of the year.
Backup: Brady Hjelle
When Hjelle’s hot, he’s hot, and if he can find consistency, he’ll be back in there again.
Backup’s Backup: Aaron Crandall
He didn’t see a second of ice time this past year, so I don’t see him climbing the ranks. I hope we at least see him in the exhibition game against the teenagers in January.
So, really, this is a full lineup and then some. I don’t see any way to fit another guy into the lineup, let alone give him any scholarship money.