A look at next season for UND

As I write this post, there are 182 days until the University of North Dakota men’s hockey team opens the 2013-14 season with an exhibition game against the University of Manitoba, but why not start looking forward to next season?

Who is leaving

UND loses six players to graduation: forwards Corban Knight, Danny Kristo and Carter Rowney; defensemen Andrew MacWilliam and Joe Gleason; and goalie Tate Maris.

It seemed that the two players in danger of leaving early were defensemen Derek Forbort and Dillon Simpson, but things have been cleared up already on that regard. Forbort has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Los Angeles Kings, giving up his final year of college eligibility. Simpson tweeted on April 4: “For the number of you who seem to think I may be planning on leaving UND, I’m not going anywhere #senioryear”.

Here’s a taste of what UND will be missing with the seniors and Forbort leaving:

  • Five draft picks (Knight, Kristo, MacWilliam, Gleason, Forbort)
  • Two Hobey Baker finalists (Knight, Kristo)
  • The player with the most faceoff wins in the nation (Knight, 623)
  • A physical presence on defense (MacWilliam)
  • 46.27% of total goals scored by the team
  • 49.55% of total assists
  • 48.32% of total points
  • Three of the four top +/- on the team (Kristo, Knight, MacWilliam)

Who is staying

With the seniors and Forbort gone, here is who remains at each position (with their classes listed as what they’ll be next season):

  • Forwards
    • Seniors – Mitch MacMillan, Derek Rodwell
    • Juniors – Connor Gaarder, Mark MacMillan, Brendan O’Donnell, Michael Parks, Stephane Pattyn, Dan Senkbeil
    • Sophomores – Drake Caggiula, Bryn Chyzyk, Rocco Grimaldi, Coltyn Sanderson, Colten St. Clair
  • Defensemen
    • Seniors – Dillon Simpson
    • Juniors – Nick Mattson, Andrew Panzarella
    • Sophomores – Jordan Schmaltz
  • Goalies
    • Seniors – Clarke Saunders
    • Sophomores – Zane Gothberg

Goaltending should be a strength for the 2013-14 team. Saunders and Gothberg were new additions to the 2012-13 team, and both put up good numbers. Gothberg got a lot of time in goal as a freshman (39% of total goalie minutes) and played well down the stretch, picking up three weekly WCHA honors in a span of five weeks (Feb. 5 rookie, Feb. 12 defensive player, March 12 co-defensive player) and earning the first-round NCAA tournament win against Niagara.

Offensively, look for Grimaldi, Mark MacMillan, Caggiula, and a healthy Parks to step up and fill the huge scoring void that is left by the departing players. Grimaldi is the highest scoring returning player with 13 goals and 23 assists. That goal number would have been a lot higher had he not hit so many posts.

With Forbort gone, the defensive corps will be a big question mark, with only four players remaining including Panzarella who only played seven games. Schmaltz and Mattson should be the biggest question marks, as Schmaltz started slow but improved down the stretch and Mattson had a bit of a sophomore slump. Simpson will provide a strong veteran presence on D (it sounds strange to call him a veteran, considering incoming freshman Paul LaDue is five months older).

Who is coming

UND’s roster the past two seasons had an average of 15.5 forwards, 7.5 defensemen, and three goalies. The players returning for next season consist of 13 forwards, four defensemen, and two goalies. Thus, it might be safe to assume that UND will want two or three forwards, three or four defensemen, and one goalie coming in.

The general consensus seems to be that UND’s three incoming forwards will be Wade Murphy, Adam Tambellini, and Luke Johnson. I’ve also seen Luke Voltin and Jack Rowe‘s names tossed around, but with Murphy, Tambellini, and Johnson coming in, there really isn’t room for any other forwards.

Stats as of 4/6/13 at 1:50 p.m.
Player Birth Year Team League GP G A P
Wade Murphy 1993 Penticton BCHL 50 23 47 70
Adam Tambellini 1994 Vernon BCHL 36 22 17 39
Surrey BCHL 16 14 12 26
Luke Johnson 1994 Lincoln USHL 54 18 27 45
Luke Voltin 1995 Des Moines USHL 59 7 19 26
Jack Rowe 1994 Cedar Rapids USHL 53 16 12 28

Coming in on defense appear to be Paul LaDue and Troy Stecher. My guess is that UND would bring in one other defenseman recruit, which could be Keaton Thompson, Tucker Poolman, or Geoff Crisfield. Though he is two years younger than Poolman and Crisfield, Thompson might be the frontrunner.

Stats as of 4/6/13 at 1:50 p.m.
Player Birth Year Team League GP G A P
Paul LaDue 1992 Lincoln USHL 59 11 35 46
Troy Stecher 1994 Penticton BCHL 52 8 39 47
Keaton Thompson 1995 USNTDP U-18 USHL/International 59 4 15 19
Tucker Poolman 1993 Omaha USHL 61 13 14 27
Geoff Crisfield 1993 Vernon BCHL 51 1 2 3

With Tate Maris graduating, UND will also have to bring in a new third-string goalie. UND currently has no recruits at that position.

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