Posted at 6:00am -- 4/20/2011 GBMWolverine: Michigan Hockey -- Looking Ahea..."/> Posted at 6:00am -- 4/20/2011 GBMWolverine: Michigan Hockey -- Looking Ahea..."/>

GBMWolverine: Michigan Hockey — Looking Ahead to 2011-12


Posted at 6:00am — 4/20/2011

GBMWolverine: Michigan Hockey — Looking Ahead to 2011-12

The Wolverines will lose a tremendous amount of talent next season, with Hagelin, Rust, Caporusso, Winnett and Vaughn departing from the front line, and Langlais leaving the blueline. Bryan Hogan finished a bittersweet career at Michigan also, leaving with several individual records that he established.

Hagelin and Caporusso accounted for 28 goals and 48 assists- with Rust, Winnett and Vaughn adding another 58 points to the offense. Not only that, the leadership these young men provided was invaluable- clutch goals, face-off wins, penalty killing and other factors will certainly be missed. Langlais is Michigan’s iron-man, playing every game in his career- a steady mix of solid defensive play with offense and speed.

The biggest concern will be the offensive skill and leadership void that will exist. At first glance, Michigan’s incoming recruiting class is nondescript especially with the glaring hole left by centerpiece recruit Lucas Lessio’s decision to opt for the OHL instead. The Wolverines will still have a solid class, but will not have any “lightning in a bottle” type offensive stars coming in this upcoming Fall. Currently Michigan has commitments from forwards Phil DiGiuseppe, Alex Guptill and Travis Lynch. Once they are in the fold I’ll have a pre-season rundown on what to expect from these freshmen. On the blue-line, Michigan has commitments from Michael Szuma and Brennan Serville. Both are big and strong and should bolster what will be one of Michigan’s strengths for next season- provided that our returning letter-men all come back. Goal-tending will be another strong suit with incoming freshman John Gibson committed to the Wolverines. Gibson is a big, rangy goaltender that has been playing for the USNDT and is one of the top rated goaltenders as ranked by the NHL’s Central Scouting. Fifth year senior Shawn Hunwick will assume number one duties. Sophomore Adam Janecyk should return as Michigan’s third goaltender.

Returning to the forward lineup will be senior Captain Luke Glendening, senior Kevin Lynch, senior David Wohlberg, junior Chris Brown, junior AJ Treais, junior Lindsay Sparks, junior Jeff Rohrkemper, sophomore Derek Deblois and sophomore Luke Moffatt. Glendening will be looked at to provide steady leadership and grit to the lineup. Lynch, Wohlberg, Brown and Treais will need to step up their offensive game to provide scoring from what will be presumably the top two lines. Sparks and Moffatt will also be expected to contribute offensively, especially with Spark’s speed. Rohrkemper and Deblois are checking forwards that should anchor the back two lines along with the freshmen. One other roster possibility is (would be) sophomore Jacob Fallon who was dismissed this season, but could be given another opportunity with the team. He is currently undergoing counseling therapy for personal issues. Either way, we wish him the best and hope that he can straighten out his life.

The blue line (hopefully) returns senior Brandon Burlon who missed the final six games of the season due to complications from strep throat. He is contemplating his future with the Wolverines in lieu of his status with the New Jersey Devils who own his rights. He is, along with sophomore Jon Merrill, the biggest flight risk. Merrill is said to be leaning towards return to the Wolverines, at least for one more campaign.

Senior Greg Pateryn, junior Lee Moffie and sophomores Mac Bennett and Kevin Clare also are slated to return. Freshmen Szuma and Serville should immediately compete for ice time. There is some suggestion that Berenson may consider moving either Moffie or Bennett up to forward since the backline depth is so strong-pending the return of his two top d-men.

The prospects for competing for a conference title, a GLI title and a bid for the NCAA appearance are dependent on how well the returning starters can grow into their opportunity- as well as the contributions by the freshmen class. At this point it is easy to discount this team on paper and conservatively hope for a top five conference finish and another NCAA bid. This team will be built on defense and goaltending and will await offensive reinforcements from what appears to be a stronger group of recruits in 2012 and 2013.

I’ll give a deeper review for the upcoming season once we know who will be returning at Michigan and at the other CCHA schools.

One other note of interest:

It has been speculated that our coaching staff may change next year. Assistant coach Mel Pearson has been courted by his alma mater, Michigan Tech, to lead their hockey team. As of April 18th, he has indicated his desire to stay on at Michigan for a 24th season. This is not to say that Coach Pearson may not look at other opportunities- or coach Powers for that matter. Good luck to both, either way. I am 100% sure, short of any serious health issues that head coach Red Berenson will return and honor the final two years of his contract.

In closing, I want to thank all of the loyal GBMWolverine readers and forum posters for their kind comments and questions throughout the season. I also want to send a thank you to the outgoing seniors for their candor and kindness to the writer. It was a pleasure and a privilege to watch you and report on you during your career.

Take care and we’ll see you in October!

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — YostMeister

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