Roster/Line Thoughts

Three months from today the UMass hockey team will already have a weekend of hockey under its belt after opening the season out in the Twin Cities against Minnesota.  In fact, we now find ourselves closer to the beginning of next season than the end of last season.  And, I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to leave last season long behind.  So with that in mind, let’s take a potential look at the roster and lines we may see come October.  UMass usually does not update the roster, in terms of offseason subtractions and incoming freshmen, on UMassAthletics until late August or early September, so what you’ll see here is my best guess based somewhat on information I’ve found and part hunch.

Freshmen (14):
D – Djan Lefebvre (redshirt), D – Anthony Raiola (redshirt), F – Eric Filiou, D – Colin Shea, F – Peter DeAngelo, F – Mike Pereira, D – Joel Hanley, D – Conor Allen, F – Stephen Guzzo, G – Jeff Teglia, F – Troy Power, F – Brenden Gracel, D – Adam Phillips, F – Pat Kiley.

Sophomores (6):
F – Rocco Carzo, F – Kevin Czepiel, D – Mike Donnellan, F – Eddie Olczyk, D – Darren Rowe, G – Randy Wolcott.

Juniors (4):
F – Danny Hobbs, D – Mike Marcou, G – Kevin Moore, F – T.J. Syner.

Seniors (7):
F – Marc Concannon, G – Paul Dainton, F Brian Keane, D – Doug Kublin, F – Chase Langeraap, F – Mike Lecomte, F – Shawn Saunders.

Obviously, this looks like a lot of players.  But it’s actually pretty comparable to last year’s roster size if you include Kevin Moore as the 4th goaltender and count redshirts Lefebvre and Raiola.  Coach Cahoon could choose to go the redshirt route yet again, perhaps with a Colin Shea, Peter DeAngelo, and likely walk-on Pat Kiley.  Or perhaps someone like DeAngelo ends up in juniors for another year.  So all in all the roster, in terms of size, is about the same.

Obviously what jumps out at first is the size of the freshmen class.  The second thing that jumped out at me was the class breakdown of the defensemen; one senior, one junior, two sophomores, two redshirt freshmen, and three true freshmen.  Ideally I was hoping depth at defense would allow Toot to experiment with Darren Rowe up at forward.  Matt Irwin’s early departure pretty much sunk that idea as he now is one of just four defensemen with game experience.  Maybe guys like Phillips and Shea can come in and play solid minutes right away, but for now you have to think Rowe will end up on the blue line to start the year.

So let’s get to some thoughts on lines and pairings:

Pereira / Lecomte / Syner
Keane / Carzo / Gracel
Hobbs / Czepiel / Filiou
Langeraap / Olczyk / Saunders

Kublin / Hanley
Marcou / Phillips
Donnellan / Rowe

Dainton / Teglia / Wolcott / Moore

So that’s my best guess.  Could I be wrong?  Hell, yeah!  At this point guys like Raiola and Lefebvre are complete question marks.  Beyond Pereira and probably Hanley it’s tough to guage which other freshmen are talented enough to come in and play right away.  One thing I do think is that if guys like Keane and Langeraap come in and just go through the motions as they did at end last season, they’ll probably find themselves in the stands while guys like Guzzo and Power are on the ice.  Believe it or not those two senior forwards are likely the key to next season.  If UMass want to surprise some teams and have success, it is absolutely essential that the upperclassmen all contribute.  Freshmen are going to be freshmen.  They’ll have a great game and then be horrible the next.  They may start off hot and then fade as the season takes it toll.  But the seniors don’t have that luxury.  UMass desperately needs a full effort from the juniors and seniors every time they take the ice.  No excuses.