Michigan Hockey: Starts Anew; Big Ten Inaugural Season Commences — Preview — Part III
The Freshmen: Part II
#21 Nolan De Jong. The big strong defenseman calls Victoria, B.C. his home. De Jong played for the Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL) for three seasons earning 5-19-24 in 51 games last season. Nolan is a Minnesota Wild draftee. He will quickly compete for top six ice time this season. He is a hard skating puck mover with a decent shot.
#23 Alex Kile. The Troy, Mi. product is big and rangy, much like Alex Guptill. Kile played for the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL (2011-13) scoring 30-30-60 in 56 games last season. He helped the Gamblers to the USHL championship in 2012. Kile will most likely earn a third or fourth line spot when placed into the lineup.
#24 Kevin Lohan. The Cold Spring Harbor, NY blueliner is BIG (6’5” 202) and will be imposing on the blue line. Kevin played for the Merritt Centennials of the BCHL netting 5-18-23 in 54 games last season. (And yes, he is a distant relative to Lindsay Lohan.) Kevin will compete most likely for a rotating 6-7th defenseman position.
#25 Max Shuart. The Northville Mi native is a grinder type that played with Muskegon of the USHL (1st half of 2012-13) and the Texas Tornadoes of the NAHL (2nd half of 2012-13.) His combined statistics were 16-9-25 for last season in 50 games. Max will fight for fourth line consideration when dressed.
#35 Zach Nagelvoort. The Holland Mi. goaltender assumes Marty Turco’s number at Michigan. The 6’2” 208 lb. netminder started last season with the Soo Eagles (NAHL)(18 games, 9-5-1, 2.37 GAA and .927 save %) and finished up with the Aberdeen Wings (NAHL) (8-1-1, 1.66 GAA, .949 save % with 1 SO.) He also received a roster spot on the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers during the final weekend of the season, but did not see any action. Zach has good mobility and a strong glove. He will serve as Steve Racine’s back-up unless Racine falters.
It is hard to judge how any of the ten freshmen will acquire themselves to Division I hockey. Compher, Allen and Motte played against Division I competition while with the USNDT and should adjust quickly. Downing and De Jong will most likely stand out as the freshmen on the blue line to supplant incumbent team members.
In general, Michigan’s roster will feature 4 sophomores, 9 juniors and 5 seniors in addition to the freshmen class. 15 forwards, 9 defensemen and 4 netminders will compete for ice time. My initial take is that Berenson is loading up on depth and still has quite a few (unproven) jewels with potential. It will be important to have the defensemen mature quickly especially if injuries bite the Wolverines again.
Michigan also received news that at least one (forward Bryson Cianfrone) and possibly a second member of the 2014 class has de-committed to the OHL. The second is unconfirmed but appears to be stand out defenseman Jared Walsh, who was the Wolverine’s top blue line recruit for next season.
So, it is important that the 2013 class develops and contributes immediately- which is a tall order entering into a year where the schedule is much more demanding.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Yostmeister
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