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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.

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36 Comments

  1. Whoa

     /  July 12, 2010

    That lineup spells a very long year in Hockey East for U Mass. Yikes!

    Like

  2. Anonymous

     /  July 12, 2010

    What about Leary and Kessler? There has been no announcement of either of them leaving and I know from being in the UMASS athletics office that Kessler was (at least back in April) planning on returning to UMASS this year. It was a mistake on the part of the office by giving him his senior ring because there was miscommunication on returning or not.

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    • I’m hearing that Kessler will likely not be back. That certainly could change, but I’m just going by what I heard.

      Leary not being on the roster is just a guess on my part.

      Like

  3. Kim

     /  July 13, 2010

    I think you pegged the lineup for Langeraap. As for the defensive side, Toot may just pair up the 2 experienced guys Marcou/Kublin to start the year off to see how it goes and to see if there is chemistry with the second pairing of defenseman(younger guys)
    We had not mentioned Czepiel in the previous posts but there is a name worth mentioning – I don’t know if it was just me but it seemed for every 1 min the kid was on the ice, he spent 2 in the box-Toot is going to have to rein him in early and discipline him or it’s going to be an even longer season. The depth across the lines and the clean play we saw for most of last year allowed UMass to pull off a few squeakers but the lack of experience with this squad can’t get away with excessive penalties in key games early in the season
    Lecomte/Syner may also get paired with Carzo-Rocco came up big late in the season and I would love to see what kind of chemistry this line would do- it may just rival the matchup we saw with Casey Welman/Marcou last year early in the season
    Geez man was cravin hockey last weekend and wanted to hop on the skates- now I’m gonna have to really find some place to go and lace them up and start looking at the schedule to see what games I will buy tickets for(attend all home games but I can get in free now as student 🙂 BUT will be buying tickets for big games to insure seat)

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    • I think he’ll keep Lecomte and Carzo on separate lines just up have two scoring lines with experienced centers. Could czepiel end up centering a top two line? Perhaps. He has great vision and good hands. It’ll be interesting to see how he develops this year.

      You may be right about the top defensive pairing. Toot has stuck with pairings by similar experience level instead of trying to spread out the veteran players.

      I’m going through some hockey withdrawal too. I think it may be time to check out some summer junior hockey tourneys.

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  4. massattack

     /  July 13, 2010

    I think the lines look pretty accurate. Maybe there are some minor changes, but looks good on the whole. Hopefully this class has the kind of impact BC’s class had last year. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to see UMass in the 6 spot in Hockey East this year. Maybe I’m crazy but that seems doable.

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    • I honestly have no expectations going into this season because there are just so many question marks. Dainton is truly the only person who I pretty much know what he’ll contribute next year. Everyone else is an X factor.

      I’m not sure if you can expect the incoming class to have the kind of impact as BC’s last year, because that was flat out an amazing recruiting class with elite NHL-level players. However, I would definitely call this class coming in the deepest Toot has had in his time here.

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  5. jall

     /  July 13, 2010

    by the way…love this site..keep up the good work. My lime cmbos were similar but didn’t realize ho wmuch Chase fell out of favor. I had him initially with Lecomte and Syner on the top line. He can be a real presence when healthy and since the largest percentage of goals scored are on deflections, he could be vital. I think Carzo/Hobbs/Perriera get the second slot with some combo of Keane/Czepiel/Guzzo and Filiou/Saunders/olzyk as the bottom six forwards. Bottom line..this is an unheralded freshman class and of the upperclassmen left in the program NONE will get a sniff in the pros and really would be bit players on the top HE teams. Long season ahead

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    • Thanks Jall. I see nothing wrong with the lines you’re suggesting.

      Langeraap was seen as a key part of this team less and less as last season went along and if not for the offseason defections likely would’ve been a small part on the coming season. But with circumstances as they are his veteran status alone will likely mean a lot of playing time, at least to begin the season. If he comes out and has an Ortiz-like resurgence for his senior year it would do wonders for the success of this team.

      I think you’re underestimating this class coming in. It won’t compare to BC or BU of course, but you have top players from the New England Prep League in Pereira and two Canadian junior leagues in Hanley and Gracel. Add in some solid talent from the USHL and this class can come in and help fill some of the holes right away. I also think it’s a little much to say the current players would just be bit players on other HEA teams, especially with guys like Marcou and Carzo off at NHL camps currently.

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  6. anonoymous

     /  July 13, 2010

    I thought Czepiel really stepped up his game towards the end of the year, he and Syner played pretty good together, agree rocks. Gonna need a few freshman to step up and hopefully the sophomores and juniors can continue to develop. Will be interesting to see how the goaltending plays out this year.

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    • I’m interested to see how Czepiel progresses with a year under his belt. If he can emerge as the playmaker he was in juniors and make the players around him better, it could be huge for the team’s bottom line.

      I think for goaltending you’ll see Dainton take 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the starts with Teglia getting in enough play under his belt to feel comfortable when he takes over the starting job full time as a sophomore.

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  7. Anon

     /  July 13, 2010

    Sheary from Cushing was at orientation this week.

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  8. Anonymous

     /  July 13, 2010

    My understanding that Lefebvre, Wolcott, & Kessler have been released. Lecomte redshirting with serious injury depletes the senior class even more – let alone the projected #1 line. Don’t know that we’d go with two lefties and two righties on same d lines.

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  9. anonoymous

     /  July 13, 2010

    lecompte is red shirting this year?

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  10. Anonymous

     /  July 13, 2010

    Lecomte is out for four months at least, he just had surgery and isn’t allowed to skate until around October. And I think Wolcott is transfering, that was his decision not that he was released.

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  11. massattack

     /  July 14, 2010

    that stings about lecomte, but would he redshirt? If he could be back by say Thanksgiving or a little after, that still leaves plenty of season left. Interesting to see how that plays out.

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  12. jall

     /  July 14, 2010

    Rocks … there are a lot of guys that go to NHL camps. Hobbs has been every year and he has been a major bust for this program. Carzo is not going to suddenly emerge and be a 20 goal scorer. He had 12 points last year and with more playing time and potential time on the power play i think you are looking at maybe 10g and 14a…not bad…but less than what we need. And you have to factor in who those goals come against and when. If he gets those extra four goals against Army and say Providence..then the impact is even less. I looked at the top returning forwards for UMass and collectively they added up to 15 goals (minus Lecomte who apparently wont play). Merrimack has 2 players coming back with more than that each! DaCosta had 16 and Barton had 19. If one player can outscore your top 6 forwards combined then you have a production issue. My point about the incoming class is magnified when you look at what is coming back. Someone in that freshman unit has to be an impact (re: 12-15 goals) player. I dont think they have that

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    • I don’t totally disagree with you. I guess I’m just thinking more along the lines of players make contributions relative to the needs of the team and opportunities given. Carzo and similar players didn’t put up a ton of numbers because frankly they didn’t need to. That’s what Marcou and Wellman were getting all the ice time for. Increased playing time and added responsibility will allow these guys to potentially develop into the impact players you’re talking about.

      And I’ll say it again, there may not be any NHL draftees in this recruit class but It could be the best in terms of quality from top to bottom that I know of.

      Even with those two points, I still acknowledge it will likely be a challenging season ahead.

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  13. anonoymous

     /  July 14, 2010

    would love to see toot play the top 3 lines a little more consistently this year, rather than wearing out the top 2 lines by February. then see what kind of play makers he has.

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    • Consistency with the lines has certainly been a popular subject in the last few years among the fans.

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  14. Amherst hockey guy

     /  July 14, 2010

    This has been stated throughout this conversation. That the upperclassman are going to be the conductors of this season. The production for the seniors up to this point in their careers hasn’t been to good. So the mass attack absolutely needs a good effort from guys like Langeraap and Keane. Other then Keane and langerapp I’d like to see saunders and concannon ( neither of the two have really been mentioned?) have good seasons. I would like to see Saunders who may be the fastest skater in hockey east play a speedy relentless game,which we saw towards the end of his sophmore year and flashes in games during his junior season. As for concannon I’d like to see him keep progressing into a power forward. If he could tune up the weak points in his game( skating and finishing) I think he could put together a nice senior season. I found it a little odd he was not In your top 4 lines? With these four guys coming back healthy and hopefully hungry, it would be nice to see them accomplish something .

    Like

    • “Conductors” of the season. I like it!

      I fully expect Concannon to be a big part of the lineup and either split time with Saunders on the fourth line or maybe even see time on the third if Toot is looking for a little more grit against a certain lineup. When I was doing my lines I just got to that one spot and thought it’d be one of those, just wasn’t sure which one.

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  15. jall

     /  July 14, 2010

    I thought of Concannon too but realistically what do you think happens to these kids over the summer that might make them legit goal scorers or major contributors?…don’t forget, they have been practicing their trade for up to 15 years by the time they get to college!!! Another summer of development is only going to have incremental results. I think scouts and recruiters need to look at what a player is during their junior career and NOT predict upside, just take them for what they are…there are some exceptions of course but really who is the last freshman to score 2 goals in year one and then score 20 as a senior?

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    • Plenty, especially in talking about the underclassmen. Here some stats from recent players.

      Alex Berry had 1 goal and 2 points as a freshman. As a senior he had 11 goals and 30 points.

      Cory Quirk went from 8 goals and 13 points to 11 goals and 30 points.

      Kevin Jarman went from 4 goals and 10 points to 9 goals and 23 points.

      Mark Matheson went from 2 goals and 5 points as a sophomore to 13 goals and 24 points.

      Hell look at Hockey East’s best player last year. Bobby Butler had 9 goals and 12 points as a freshman and 29 goals and 53 points last year.

      Players progress…normally.

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  16. anonoymous

     /  July 14, 2010

    Not to beat a dead horse here, but it will be interesting to see how each line plays together this year. There was some very selfish hockey being played towards the end of last year, you obviously need talent to win in this league, just thinking out loud. Not throwing anyone under the bus from last year either.

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  17. watcher

     /  July 14, 2010

    Most of these players were scorers in juniors. When they arrive on campus their roles are changed to fit team needs. If you don’t change you don’t play. Some players are given a much greater latitude for mistakes than others. That is the why it is it is tough for players to get comfortable playing when one mistake can get them out of the lineup It has been the history with UMass to change it’s lineup for no apparent reason. You can beat BU on Friday night and have three to four different players in the lineup on Saturday. This confuses everybody because the change comes after success. This leaves the players not knowing where they stand and shakes their confidence thus makes them think about not making a mistake rather than just playing. I do agree the selfish hockey hurt them at the end of the season. Players looking to cash out. They cashed their checks and are gone others have to emerge as leaders and take over.

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  18. Hockey

     /  July 14, 2010

    I like what everyone is saying, but I disagree with that lineup

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  19. jall

     /  July 14, 2010

    rocks..you just proved my point..not a single player improved enough to be a 20 goal scorer. And Alex Berry missed more than half of year one with an injury. The best examples improved by 3 goals and five goals. Matheson went from a part time defensemen to a combo- forward and D on the PP. Butler played for UNH ..they don’t recruit guys based on “upside” – they just get teh best guys

    by the way…thanks for letting us all talk a little hockey on July 14 !!

    Like

    • I’m not sure why you keep bringing up a 20 goal scorer considering UMass has only had two of them in the last ten years. I’m just trying to make the point that players can significantly increase production as they progress and playing time and roles increase.

      I agree, it’s been great talking hockey the last couple days. Is it October yet?

      Like

  20. The Boss

     /  July 14, 2010

    Okay these line combos look pretty solid to me. I agree that chase can be a big physical presence in front of the net, but he is just injured way too much. He just isn’t a first liner, second at best. A fourth liner could be accurate, especially if you are using them as a checking line. So I see him fitting in well in the third or fourth line.

    On to the underclassmen. I also believe you guys are under rating them a lot. Like mark said of course they aren’t like BU’s or BC”s freshman class, but they are a very talented class. Pereira is an incredibly talented skater and player and should put up at least 20 points this year. Along with Gracel who put up huge numbers in the AJHL. He had over 100 points this year including playoffs. Hanley is also a very talented player along with Filiou and Guzzo . So don’t underestimate them.

    Yes, it doesn’t look like the most talented team for the minutemen on paper, but people show improvement every year and can really turn it on if they got on a streak and their confidence is high. So don’t count the minutemen on quite yet.

    My line combo guesses are: with Mike lecomte in there without lecomte u move every center up and you slide in guzzo in the line up
    Syner/Lecomte/ Pereira

    Hobbs/ Carzo/ Gracel

    Concannon/ Czepiel/ Keane

    Langeraap/ Saunders/ Filiou

    D-
    Kublin/ Marcou

    Hanley/ Rowe

    Donnelan/ Phillips

    Goalie

    Dainton/ Teglia/ Moore

    Predictions

    Danny Hobbs leads the team in goals

    Tj Syner leads team in points

    Carzo leads team in assists

    Freshman who puts up most points is Mike Pereira

    Mike Marcou finishes with most poitns as a defenseman

    Umass finsihes 6th in hockey east

    Like

    • Thanks Boss!

      In the end, though I didn’t put it in my post, I think we will end up with a Marcou/Kublin pairing and then everything shakes out from there. Toot has a habit of arranging his defensemen more like 1st line, 2nd lines, etc versus trying to have three balanced pairings which is how I approached it.

      Hobbs leads the teams in goals? Hope you’re right! Hell, I’ll be satisfied if he leads the team in hits.

      Like

  21. The Boss

     /  July 14, 2010

    I know Hobbs leading the team in goals is a bold prediction, but with this team who knows who will lead the team in goals. Hobbs is an nhl draft pick and hopefully this year he shows why he is an nhl draft pick

    Like

  22. George

     /  July 14, 2010

    Even as far back as Joe Mallen, a UMass hockey team has either had goalies playing out of their minds (Regan, Helanen) or solid D that could get into the offense (Pock, Braun) that would keep this team “competitive.”
    The Matt Irwin loss, assuming he was going to play like the end of 2009 and not 2010, will be more crippling than you’ll ever know.
    The fact that I’m saying that Doug Cublin (yes he played well at year’s end, but was he fresh legs after his illness or a flash?) is the top returning D man (sorry Mike Marcou) shows you how much this team needs some luck with it’s incoming freshman class, because the offensive is littered with those 5′ 10″ 180 lb guys Toot likes that get their token 7-10 goals.
    It shouldn’t be 2001-02, but this is shaping up to be one of the more frightening seasons in the Toot Cahoon era.
    Love your work here Rocks. Hockey in July is like Christmas in July!:)

    Like

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