Anyone who has followed the recent recruiting haul of UMass coach Greg Carvel and his staff for this fall has realized that the numbers didn’t add up. UMass will be adding nine newcomers this coming season but has only subtracted two seniors to graduation plus Henry Dill, whose departure was reported last month. It was clear there was further roster turnover coming and we learned which players would not be returning today. After Dennis Kravchenko’s departure was first reported today on Twitter by @USHockeyWire, Matt Vautour of the Gazette confirmed that he plus Maddison Smiley and Keith Burchett were no longer with the program.
I feel comfortable saying this was not just a case of Carvel freeing up roster spots for his recruits. If he were doing so he obviously wouldn’t part ways with the team’s 2nd leading goal scorer in Kravchenko. Discipline was at times an issue under former coach John Micheletto and it probably played some role in the team’s struggles. From discussions I’ve had, including with the coach himself, Carvel is going to run a much tighter ship in Amherst. He has high standards for the players on the ice, in the locker room, in the community, and in the classroom. From what I can tell these players are no longer with the program because they did not meet those standards.
Kravchenko is going to be the toughest to replace. However, based on some things I heard throughout and following the season, he may not have been able to stay on the team even if there weren’t a coaching change. In fact even before the season ended I thought there was a good chance he may leave on his own volition.
I wish these three players well in the future. Kravchenko’s play was one of the few bright spots of the last two seasons. I will forever hold a grudge against Hockey East that he was snubbed of an All-Rookie Team spot during his freshman year (when the only freshman who had more points than him was some dude named Eichel). His 12 goals and 16 assists will be tough to replace, but there will be some quality freshman who hopefully will help fill the void. Kravchenko’s departure actually happened a number of weeks ago and at that time there was talk that other Hockey East programs wanted to at least speak to him. So we may not have seen the last of him yet.
Smiley proved to be a versatile player who saw action in 27 games last year and was able to fill in both at forward and defense as needed. His biggest moment as a Minutemen was likely his game-tying goal against UNH last fall when they came back from being down five goals. Burchett’s best game was actually very early in his career when he scored a pair of goals in just his second collegiate game against Michigan State.
This appears to be the end of the roster turnover as the coaching staff has indicated that they’re done with recruiting for this coming season and I don’t think there are more departures. So that means I can move into the next phase of my offseason coverage. Very shortly I hope to post a recruiting summary listing the players due this fall and those players still committed for the coming years. I’ll be updating the Projected Future Roster page as part of that, reflecting these departures as well.
The Collegian has this article about the departures.
Here’s an interview with Conor Sheary by the NHL Network shortly after he raised the Cup.