Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Senior Class

Mark Smith, Justin Bourne, Charlie Kronschnabel, Chad Anderson and Nick Lowe are the Senior Class this coming year. It's significant. Seniors bring leadership and experience. Take a look at the top 3 teams in the WCHA for the last few years and you see some interesting names amongst the seniors. Interesting because a lot of them are names that I wouldn't classify as household. These are guys that stepped up their game in their last season. They're players that made their last season into their best season. Guys like Luke Fulghum at DU in 04-05 who scored 9 more goals as a senior than he did his junior year. Or his teammate that season Jeff Drummond who scored 39 points as a senior versus 28 as a junior. And from the same squad Kevin Ulanski made his senior year his best. No doubt the vastly talented other three classes had a lot to do with DU winning it all that year ... but if those three guys didn't step up their play? The coolest thing about that example though is that none of those guys moved on to NHL careers. Why is that cool? Well not cool for them but cool to me because it says a lot about experience versus talent. It says that those guys learned during their four year career how to improve their contribution to the teams bottom line. They weren't freshman superstar primadonna's waiting for their big payday. They were dedicated and hardworking guys giving it their all night in and night out. They were leaders.

So will Smith, Bourne, Kronschnabel, Anderson and Lowe be able to provide the same sort of contribution or leadership this season? I don't know is the only rational answer that comes to me; I'm no Kreskin. But I can make one more example of a senior that succeeded in a massive way. Martin Stuchlik scored NO goals as a freshman in 16 games. In 40 games over the next two years he amassed a grand total of 4. Then he went out as a senior and just blew up. Ok yeah ... 12 goals isn't exactly earth shattering but to go from a part-timer filling in for injured players to 12 goals in the WCHA? Experience means a lot. Of course each of UAA's seniors this year will have to find a way to put their experience to use. Will Kronschnabel score more than 9 goals this year? He only scored 4 last year but 9 in both of his first 2 years. Bourne lit the lamp 5 times last year after putting in 12 as a sophmore. Will he score more than 12 this year? Smith got back on track last year with 6 goals after a total scoring drought the year before. Can he improve on the 21 points he scored as a freshman? Last season saw Anderson drop from 15 points as a sophmore to 6 as a junior. What will his contribution be this year? Lowe has 9 career goals which all came in his first two seasons. I don't even know if Nick will be playing defense or forward this year so I sure don't know what he'll contribute.

If UAA is going to improve on it's lackluster record from last season then the answer to all those questions will need to be a yes. And just marginal improvements across the board from last season won't be enough. If UAA's 5 seniors can't manage at least a 50 percent improvement in goal output it will likely be another long season; 100 percent improvement across the board would be quite nice. OR ... if even just one of these guys "blows up" like "Stoo-Leek" did; then who knows? Success can sometimes be contagious. It'd be unreasonable to expect that Chad or Nick will provide much scoring. So the task of banging in 100 percent more goals than they did as juniors falls primarily to Charlie, Justin and Mark. But 36 goals between the 5 of them doesn't seem impossible to me.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gotta love you DTP, your eternal optimism will eventually become reality for UAA. Is it this year? Maybe, just maybe these upper classmen will all get it going and get the Seawolves over the hump. With all of the guys buying into Shyiaks system, I am going to look for some realy progress this season, in scoring and in wins.
-Dude

USAFA Bulldog said...

I'm expecting really big things from these guys, especially Bourne and Kronschnabel. It's be nice to have a good UAA team this year.

Donald said...

I wasn't trying to be optimistic though ....

USAFA Bulldog said...

I hear you. Only time will tell.

Anonymous said...

i think you can look to some freshman to make an impact this year. someone is going to come out and have a unknown year. look to some sophomores to step it up as well... beagle,robinson,corrin. and juniors such as waldrop, lawson. i can't wait for the season to get going.

Donald said...

anon @10:32
I sure hope so. I'll be writing about the juniors this week and the sophmores the week after. Expect many words on Beagle.

There'll need to be at least one big surprise from someone. Two surprises would be appreciated greatly. Three surprise performances is too much to hope for.

In all honesty, I have more "hope" at this point than "belief".

I hate to keep pumping the guys name out but what Curtis Glencross showed us his sophmore season is what this team needs most. That kid made everyone better because of his incredible hard work and production.

Who (if anyone) will rise to fill that role is what we're all anxious to see.

Suze said...

Honestly, I see Beagle as a Glencross type player. That guy never quits. He came on so strong the second half of last year. UAA really needs production from the Seniors ... and we haven't seen that much at all in the last 5 or 6 years at least.

I am very optimistic about the incoming freshmen ... all have the ability to put the puck in the net, so I hope they make the transition from juniors to college very quickly.

When are we gonna hear about a few more recruits being added to the roster?

Donald said...

Suze
I'm trying my best to temper my optimism about the recruits. There was no way I would have anticipated that Adam Corrin wouldn't get some goals last year (along with not anticipating any of the other total dropoffs across the board).

So I guess I'm still suffering from that bruising enough to keep me from proclaiming that Clark will be the second coming of Dean Larson. But he could be.

As to filling out this years roster; I'd expect we won't hear anything until after the semester starts.

Anonymous said...

Clark could be another Steve Cygan, good but not great. What we need is a couple of suprises. I amnot about to bank on the seniors after they "tanked it" as juniors. That being said, whatever we get from them will be appreciated. I am expecting the sophmores and maybe Waldrop to be the backbone of the team, the freshman will probably be the second highest scoring class on this team. I am expecting a big season from Lawson. All that being said, I am expecting a 12-14 win season.
-Dude

Suze said...

dude,

I'm not just excited about Clark, but the class as a whole. Crowder, Selby, and Lunden are all talented and left their mark in the Junior ranks. If Lawson has an outstandng year (and we've heard that Olthuis is solid as well), then UAA could surprise some teams. Don't forget what Campbell Blair brings to the table with helping the defense. Hopefully we won't see UAA getting outshot 2 to 1 in every game this fall.

Goon said...

Interesting, at least your club has a senior class, I think UND has like two seniors this season.
One is recovering from a knee injury and the other one is a player that won't play very much.

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