Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Denver Post Looks At DU's Roster Next Season

(above) Lots of questions in the offseason, but DU should be loaded next season
Mike Chambers of the Denver Post has a very interesting article on the players returning next season.  DU has three players who might turn pro early and two players who could potentially return as 'Red Shirt' Seniors.  

Chambers also lists the incoming Freshman class.  The Pioneers could potentially have their deepest team in years next season if it all breaks correctly.
2011 Recruiting Class
D Scott Mayfield (Youngstown, USHL)
F Zac Larraza (U.S. Under-18)
F Garrett Allen (Chicago, USHL)
D Joey LaLeggia (Penticton Vees, BCHL)
F Larkin Jacobson (Janesville Jets, NAHL)
D-F Wade Bennett (Wichita Falls, NAHL)
F Matt Tabrum (Omaha, USHL)

51 comments:

miller said...

I would be surprise if Jackson came back. At 25, I am sure he is ready to move on with his life.

I agree that Donovan is probably a 50-50 chance of bolting.

What's up with Olzewski? Didn't see much of him this year.

dggoddard said...

Sounds like there's a chance that Zucker, Shore and Donovan are coming back.

If they get Jackson to come back, they will really be able to juggle the lines. You can plug him in anywhere from 1st to 4th line.

Obviously Martin is probably another year away from coming back, but who knows, maybe he comes back at midseason.

Potential Lines Next Season

Zucker - D. Shore -Salazar
Knowlton - N. Shore - Bennett
Larraza - Martin - Jackson
Mermis - Dewhurst - S. Ostrow
Allen - Jacobson - Tabrum - W. Bennett - Olszewski

Donovan - Makowski
Ryder - LeLeggia
Mayfield - Lee - Phillips

Brittain - Murray

Anonymous said...

The Danimal really didn't do much when he was out there. He also took a really stupid checking from behind penalty in one game and didn't dress much from then on -- after having dressed pretty regularly before that. He wasn't necessarily ready for regular playing time at this level...

dggoddard said...

Lots of questions to be sure. Maybe one of the projected Freshmen forwards will spend an extra year in the USHL to develop.

Perhaps the lure of a championship will entice Jackson. I'm just speculating.

Its a big jump from the NAHL to college hockey, but one thing we've seen at DU is that the NAHL alums can play once they get an opportunity.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Zucker, Shore, and Donovan back.

I actually think Zucker and Donovan leaving would be a huge mistake.

Donovan went from a freshman standout to a tremendously skilled sophomore, but couldn't really put the pieces together. The AHL is not the place for him to get it together

I also think Zucker needs another season to show that he can be dominant. A DU training offseason and a season of coaching under Gwoz before NHL training camp and he could be a legitimate opening day threat.

I'm really not a fan of underclassmen leaving early just because they exceed expectations. I think a lot of times the media gets in their heads a little bit and they start to see stars.
Certainly can't blame them, but in the long run I don't think it's smart

Anonymous said...

I have nothing against an underclassman leaving early if they step into an NHL lineup. If they are ready, then they are ready and should do it. However, leaving early and ending up in the ECHL is a bonehead move...

Anonymous said...

Another interesting thing to note...if DU gets Ryder and Donovan back, do they play 7 d-men. That sounds crazy but the skill level there is ridiculous. Do they sit Phillips (2nd round draft pick I believe)? or Ryder (biggest physical presence on the team/necessary defensive defenceman)? or Leleggia (huge upside player that hasn't had a chance to prove himself)?
Lee has been a starter since his freshman year. Donovan are Makowski are proven. And there's no way Mayfield sits as a likely 1st round pick.

Maybe someone gets moved to forward? (although none of them seem like likely candidates)
I can't imagine them rolling 7 it just seems like the distribution of ice time would be too great

dggoddard said...

Rather than rolling 7 D-men, I'd rather see DU use a baseball pitcher rotation were each guy sits every 7th game.

Less wear and tear on the body, 15% less chance of getting injured, fresher bodies in the playoffs and more playing time for everybody.

Seems like Wrenn got very frustrated with the "floating" 7th D-man concept.

Twister said...

I never like thinking about the early departure issue, but I guess it's a good problem to have, with all of the talent and draft picks on the roster. Let the speculating begin......

I can't fathom Zucker bolting after just one year. He was terrific this year. How good might he be next year, after another year of offseason training and maturing? I sure hope we get one more season out of him, but who knows...

Donovan, while supremely talented, had some ups and downs this season. If he sticks around and puts it all together he will be one of the top blueliners in all of college hockey and a potential POY candidate in the WCHA. He will also likely be asked to take on more of a leadership role as a junior. I really think he could use another year of development at DU.

To me, Shore is the biggest wild card. He made huge strides from last year, leading the team in points and becoming one of the top forwards in the WCHA. He obviously worked his tail off in the offseason and it paid off. Hopefully the lure of playing another season with his brother, not to mention the potential greatness of next year's team, will keep him. Then again, maybe he's ready to try the next level.....

pessimisticfan said...

Unless your name is Derek Stepan, Jonathan Toews, or Jon Quick stay in school.

Anonymous said...

No way in hell Ryder should sit in favor of Lee or Philips. I'd take him over those two in a heartbeat.

CIS said...

Exactly. Leaving early to play in the minors all season makes no sense to me. Do you think Colborne, Cheverie and Wierchoch think it was worth it to play a few games in the show this year (if that), rather than staying at DU and quite possibly playing for a national championship?

Shore and Zucker need another year. Donovan might need two.

Anonymous said...

What's more appealing....a chance to win a title or $ in your pocket. AHL guys make a decent paycheck, right? A lot of guys would rather take the $.

Anonymous said...

The money will always be there though, the "college experience" will not and its something that you can't re-create. As I've been told by many people, college is the best years of your life...hopefully this is something these boys consider before running off for the big bucks that will still be there in 2 years

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - I agree with you. I hope the boys stay in college. Anyway, I love the freshman line of Bennett, Shore and Mermis. They created lots of scoring opportunities this past weekend. I hope they are together next season - great chemistry there. I really enjoyed the whole team - and look forward to next year. I am going to miss college hockey.

Anonymous said...

None of the three are NHL-ready.

All of them are AHL-ready. They'd earn about $70K for a year in the "A", plus the one-time rookie signing bonus (which I think is less that $200k)

Or they can be college stars next year with a real shot an an NCAA title.

Mike B said...

Seriously, don’t go the way of Pauko, Skinner, Bookie (aka B Trotter), and those dudes from last year, previously mentioned. Right, I know, there are exceptions. Bozak, Stastny, and Carle. Carle was ready. He won everything he could win and it was time to move on. Bozak was offered too much money and really had to go; however, he has had a pretty mediocre last two seasons with the Leafs and there is speculation that they are going to let him walk at the end of this season. Stastny is still a mystery to me. I didnt think that he should have left at the end of his sophomore season, but he really made an instant impact with the Avs. Then, he inked a huge deal for mega bucks and he looks like a shadow on the ice at times. When the Avs score 5 goals he is all over the sheet. When it’s a one goal game, the lights are on but nobody is home.
In my very amateur opinion, I think that Dono has the highest probability of leaving early. The Isles need all the help that they can get and would be more than happy to give him a deal for 2 years with a $50k signing bonus and hope that he develops in the A. That's how they (Vancouver at that time) got Skinner. Skins could have been the big man on campus as the captain of the team; instead he played as long as he could in the A and defected to the KHL.
Stay. Play. 3 years should be the absolute minimum. Take Matty Carle for example. He was probably mentally and physically ready to play pro after his sophomore year, but he stayed one more year. I would say that getting regular time with Pronger isn’t too bad. There are too many examples of underclassmen leaving early to play major junior or minor pro that just get lost in the shuffle. Make the GMs of these teams drool for one more year. Boost the value of your stock that much higher. Have the opportunity to make even more money.
I think that it’s an easy decision personally, as an alum and a fan. What you don’t hear this time of year is what these teams are telling these young players. You go from the GM of the Wild telling everyone that they lover where Zucker is developing and they want him to stay as long as possible to ready himself for the next level, and then they turn around and pressure these kids to sign based on possible injury and money.
I would love to see one group of talented underclassmen stay one more year to win some hardware for there school and not take the easy way out and grab that cash.

dggoddard said...

A private school degree costs $200,000 these days. That's a heck of a head start in life to have a degree in your back pocket and no student loans on the old credit report.

Spend your twenties traveling the world getting paid to play hockey and then when "real life" hits you're ready to go.

miller said...

As has been previously posted, I think if you talk to a lot of guys that left early, if they had to do all over again they would have waited another year or so. Paukovich and Dingle come to mind. I don't see them getting close to the NHL. Once they have outlived their usefullness in the minors, then what?

It's a brutal world out there in the minors. DG had a great point. Why pass up a $200K education.

Bozak is going back to school and has to foot the bill.

Anonymous said...

Bozak is making 3.7 million... taking a few classes probably wont break the bank.

However, I agree about saying the extra year. That said, its easy for us to think that. When the NHL is calling, something these guys have dreamed about since they were kids, its really hard to say no.

You would like to think that is what they have advisors for, so they make the best decision. In the end, when they get to the point when a contract is on the table, everyone gets paid.

Anonymous said...

"The money will always be there though, the "college experience" will not" Well the argument that a sports agent is going to make to the player is that they money won't be there is you blow out your knee or sustain an injury and you can always go back and get your degree if you are serious about your education.

Interesting to see that DU is recruiting more from the Tier II level (NAHL & BCHL) and not just the USHL and NTDP which I feel is right direction. They also need to get some kids from the SMJL like CC does *(most recently the Schwartz brothers from Notre Dame in Wilcox SK). There is some great talent in that league that DU should not overlook.

Anonymous said...

Denver needs big chunky D-men. Hope these new kids do some hefty eating this summer.....

Twister said...

This is always an interesting topic--I think both sides have merit. Staying in school and earning a degree is always the best option, in my opinion. If you have a full ride to play hockey, take advantage! On the flip side, there is always the argument that school is not going anywhere, that the chance to go back and earn a degree will alwsy be there, whether you are 25 or 45, whereas the window to play professionally is relatively small.

dggoddard said...

If you were going to throw all your eggs in one basket and win the NC next season, DU might try and bring in a 2012 recruit early.

Assuming that Jackson doesn't come back and Martin doesn't play, DU has a recruit that's just had a real nice season in the USHL.

Daniel Doremus is a 1991 birthdate and has been quite a pleasant surprise for Sioux Falls (15g, 18a).

He was a USHL first round draft pick so he could be an elite player by the end of next season.

At 6'1 192 he would seem to have more potential as a third line scorer/banger than a lot of the waterbug guys who will be fighting for ice time next season.

miller said...

I had a chance to talk to Doremus during the Hyde interviews. A real solid guy, couldn't wait to suit up for DU.

Crimsonandgold05 said...

I would like to see Dono play wing. Many of us have commented on here recently that Dono is good at defense when he wants to be; and most of this year, at least watching him at Magness, he preferred to be on the offensive blue line instead of protecting his. He has a wicked slapper and can do some wonders with the puck when he isn't sitting in the box. Just a thought.

ISayISay said...

How much did Wiercioch make this year? I bet he wouldn’t trade his opportunity to play in the NHL this year for the “college experience”.

When Bozak and Stastny hang out with their college buddies from the DU team, who buys the beer?


That’s a joke boy.

Anonymous said...

Do you guys think there would ever a possibility of someone putting an NAHL team in the Metro Denver area? It's such a great league. Don't know if any of you out there ever had the chance to go to an NAHL game anywhere - but I saw a few games down in Texas years ago.... and I really enjoyed them. Lots of talent. It's a haven for collegiate-bound superstars. It's interesting to ponder, seeing as how 2 CHL teams couldn't cut it here along with Avs and DU. I think maybe in the future it could happen.....

Anonymous said...

Donovan's gone.

Anonymous said...

I heard the same thing.

dggoddard said...

If true, and I suspect it is, best of luck to him. Donovan has had a meteoric rise from Oklahoma youth hockey to 4th Round Draft pick of the Islanders to one of the top players in college hockey.

When the game was on the line, he played his best hockey and most of his late game heroics resulted in game winning goals.

None bigger that the game tying goal against Western Michigan in the NCAA Tournament. Anyone who thinks he isn't ready for the next level is crazy.

To me his game is somewhere between Chis Butler and Matt Carle when they departed DU. Both those guys made the NHL and Matt will be there soon enough.

Anonymous said...

Makowski is way more Chris Butler than Donovan. Especially once he lifts some weights this summer.

Anonymous said...

Donovan can play at the AHL level certainly. If he wants to get a start on his pro career, that's ok. Makowski and Laleggia will fill the puck-mover/PPQB

Anonymous said...

If a team wants you to turn pro you do it..."the money will be there"---well you get on with your first contract, which gets you to your second one sooner. The college experience and a NC sound nice to fans, but these guys are here to become pros-- thats it

dggoddard said...

While that's true, Rakhshani, Carle and a few others stayed an extra year.

The reality is that less than 10% of DU players will play more than a handful of games in the NHL. Almost all the guys who play regularly at DU will become "professionals."

dggoddard said...

New line charts, subject to change at a moments notice...

Potential Lines Next Season

Zucker - D. Shore -Salazar
Knowlton - N. Shore - Bennett
Larraza - Dewhurst - Jackson
Mermis - Jacobson - S. Ostrow
Allen - Tabrum - Olszewski

Ryder - Makowski
Lee - LeLeggia
Mayfield - Phillips

Brittain - Murray

miller said...

As I said, I think Jackson returning is a long shot.

Who are the candidates for captain?

Mannino Saves said...

DG -

I gotta say, you're off the mark with Donovan. He is not close to Carle or Butler. His decision making is sometimes poor. His defensive game needs development. He is a middle of the road AHL'er at this point.

dggoddard said...

Potential captains in order...

Lee, Ryder, D. Shore & Zucker

miller said...

My vote is for Ryder

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mannino says.

Dono has a ton of potential but we saw him getting caught out of position and having to take either a penalty or knock the cage over.

He probably is a "wannabe" forward

dggoddard said...

IMO Donovan will be an above average AHL player right off the bat due to his skating. If you were to ask me who has the potential to become an NHL regular sooner, Dono or wiercioch...I'll go with Donovan.

I go to a half dozen AHL games a year and my read on the league is that the defensemen are big, have great hands but are a step slow which is why they aren't in the NHL.

AHL forwards are either big, have great hands or are smaller and have great hands. Robbie Earle & Gabe Gauthier are prototypical AHL players. Great skills, but can't crack the NHL because they're too small to be a banger and not strong enough on their skates to score with a gorilla hanging on.

du78 said...

Islanders called up 2 defensemen from Bridgeport yesterday to replace injured players whose seasons are over. Makes all the sense in the world that Dono is leaving and joining them as Bridgeport is short d-men now.

Anonymous said...

Captain Drew - end of discussion. The only other I would even consider before him is Captain Jesse.
I seriously think Matt Donovan needs another year in college. That's easy for me to say sitting at my computer. Without knowing his grades and how he's doing in classes or who's sending him contracts to sign..... seriously man - one more season could make the difference in him becoming a great player at the next level vs. becoming an averahe AHL player. It's got to be tough - because in his defense, I'm sure in 2005 he thoght he could win an NCAA title here too one day - and now, maybe he's doubting that... it's a tough call to have to make,

vizoroo said...

Lee wore the "A" for the last part of the season, so he might have the advantage. Shore would certainly be a good pick with his intensity and work ethic.

vizoroo said...

It's official--Dono to Bridgeport on an ATO. http://islanders.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=557673&navid=DL|NYI|home

Anonymous said...

Mannino Saves,


But didn't you say the same thing about Bozak when he left? So your opinion as to NHL talent means what exactly?

Anonymous said...

Saw Wade Bennett play a game this year.Played both D and F as well as PP and PK.Not big but made solid plays with good vision and spot on passing. Could improve speed.I'll take the hockey sense though over the speed.

Anonymous said...

Wade Bennett is an absolute stud, I have seen him play a ton over his young career, he will put in a great four years at DU!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if shane bennett is looking towards du? Or what about the other shore boys?

Anonymous said...

Wade also has a big caboose, so he will have good lower body strength..