Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Potpourri: No Girlie Pic Edition

In case you missed one of the several times I've noted it; I will not be posting with any sort of regularity during the off-season. I will be trying to think about things other than the upcoming season ya know. I suppose if there is some big news that I won't be able to keep myself from chiming in with my 2 cents. So if you see some news somewhere else and wonder what Donald thinks about it then visit here. Otherwise, there should be almost no reason to visit this joint.

I will give you all something comprehensive with regard to the incoming recruits this week. I have decided that I'll dedicate a post to each, so there'll be at least 6 more posts before I pack it in for the offseason. By every measure one might use to predict future performance the Seawolves should put together the most successful WCHA season they've ever had. So don't think I'm not excited about it. I am. But there is life outside of hockey fandom.

With Paul Crowder gone the question of whether other current Seawolves might bolt arises. That's a tough one to answer. I'd tend to think there are 3 players that are some sort of risk. Josh Lunden has performed well enough over his career to be noticed. Kevin Clark's mad skills and good numbers and growing reputation make him a risk. And Tommy Grant's blow-up year saw him being mentioned as a flight risk back in December. I couldn't begin to guess the likliehood of any of these three guys leaving. I suppose it would just take the right offer to make it happen. Will it? Your guess is as good as mine.

Of the three, I personally think that Tommy Grant has the most to gain by returning. For Josh and Kevin, we can only hope they are all about getting their degree and that they don't see another year of D1 as a risk. I believe either of them could excel at the AHL level today.

None of those three guys were NHL draft picks and as such, it makes them nice fodder for NHL GM's that are looking. Draft picks have a nice advantage under the new collective bargaining agreement. The team that drafted them have just a few months after their senior year to sign them or they become free agents. That is why I don't believe Nils Backstrom is a flight risk. It would be in his interest to stay another year and increase his worth. He's dropped deep down Detroit's prospect list. Another quality year in the D1 ranks can do nothing other than move his stock upward. He's also a good student.

There could be other unknown risks on the team as well. Jay Beagle's departure is a good example. He didn't think he would be a successful student and took the unusual route of signing with an ECHL team. In many many cases that doesn't make a lot of sense. But Jay had enough confidence in his abilities to believe he would move up and hey ... he skated in the NHL this season. Good choice by him. Nathan Lawson made a similar signing with an ECHL team. He signed a contract with the Islanders recently and is owning at the AHL level. So what might normally be considered a risky move turned out nicely for two recent Seawolves. There are any number of current Seawolf players that could opt for the same thing. The chances that any will are slight ... but don't think it can't happen.

Let's all hope that Duluth wins the National Championship. It'd be nice to spend the offseason knowing that our team went 3-0-1 against the NCAA champ eh? UAA's collective regular season record against the three NCAA-bound WCHA teams? 5-4-1.

I'm looking for a partner. I have something specific in mind. If I can find someone who wants to cover alumni then I think the added dimension would be a great thing for the blog. I simply don't have enough time. My email address is there on the right column, so if you are interested then please contact me. You can write under a psuedonym if you want, if you require an editor I'll fill that role for you. I'd just ask/hope that anyone volunteering would be committed to regular posts. As always, the blog is open to other submissions especially those which express a perspective different from mine.


Anonymous said...

I am having some difficulty believing that four CCHA teams made the tourney and only three WCHA. This just seems hard to believe.

Donald Dunlop said...

That's what happens when a league has 9 out of the top 25 teams. It may seem to be counterintuitive at first glance .... but there was so much parity that the cream at the top was thin.

With just a couple of different outcomes earlier in the season the WCHA could have gotten 5 teams in and the CCHA only 3. The Gophs and Bucky were both very very close to making the Pairwise cut and only got knocked out by an RPI tiebreaker ... in Bucky's case it was a .0002 difference.

sitkafan said...

Robinson to ECHL Las Vegas

Anonymous said...

Thanks Donald for a great season. I've enjoyed your opinions, wit, sarcasm, humor and, oh yeah I have learned LOTS about hockey too. New to the sport but I am hooked on it forever. Thanks for everything you do. There are alot of hockey fans out there who not only love the Seawolves but who look forward to your entries. It's going to be a long summer for some of us!

Let's hope we lose only the seniors and Crowder. We'll still woo them all next season with the boys who are returning. It's been a fantastic run but we'll prove to everyone next year what many of us have been saying all season long. Can't wait. Missing it already.

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