Scott Allen, Austin Coldwell, Derek Docken, Corbin Karl, Sam Mellor, Andrew Pettitt, Kory Roy and Eric Scheid are the eight new Seawolves this season. Perhaps the best thing every season about analyzing the freshman is that I don't really know what they bring to the party. So it's all pure anticipation. And I'm full of positive anticipation regarding these guys.
The first order of business in this preview is to note that freshman defenseman Tony Larson has withdrawn from school and returned to Minnesota in order to attend to personal business. I anticipated his arrival highly as I would have expected him to become an impact player at some point during his career. I wish him the best of luck in the future.
Scott Allen comes to UAA from the Spruce Grove Saints where he was teammates with Brett Cameron and Wes McLeod. He only led the Saints in playoff scoring last season from essentially what was the energy line. Roster circumstances and timing lead to that spot for Scott; and though grinding it out on the 4th line isn't glamorous he damn sure made some lemonade out of what could have been a lemon. He's a big kid at 6ft 3in 190lbs and reportedly skates well. I've seen a lot of forwards with similar numbers come out of Canadian Jr. A and I'd expect Scott to spend some part of his first season adapting to the college game. When he starts scoring goals we'll know he's done with that phase.
Vancouver, Washington born defenseman Austin Coldwell comes to UAA from the Des Moines Buccaneers in the USHL. He was a league All Star; scored 19 goals and 52 assists in 117 games. The Seawolves recruited Austin with his abilities on the power play in mind and as a future power play quarterback. We'll see him in that role this season but there shouldn't be a big expectation that he'll produce from it. As with most WCHA freshman he'll probably require time to develop and adapt.
Derek Docken comes to UAA via Northfield, Minnesota where he also played high school hockey. He played last season with Dubuque in the USHL and before that played two seasons with Albert Lea in the NAHL. Responsible, dependable and committed are three very apt words to describe what Derek has brought to the ice over the last three years in Jrs. He's been a consistent +/- leader on every team and also led those leagues at times in that stat. Derek is the dream partner for a blueliner that rushes the puck. We're going to be damn glad Derek is on this team.
Defenseman Corbin Karl is from Foremost, Alberta and comes here from the Olds Grizzlys. His 12 goals and 27 assists put him near the top of the AJHL last season for definsive scorers and 3rd overall on his squad. His junior coach had real nice things to say about Corbin's leadership on that team.
The short time that I have known Corbin he has certainly shown his leadership qualities. Through any kind of adversity, Corbin would be willingly to sacrifice himself for the benefit of his team. Playing multiple roles and always coming to the rink with a positive attitude and a great work ethic were traits that made Corbin a consistently positive leader.
It's hard to guess the future of a player you don't know much about but his coaches words are hopefully a preview of Corbin's Seawolf career.
There isn't a freshman here that I've followed closer over the last couple of years than I've followed Sam Mellor. Do not let it surprise you when you see Mellor turning some heads this season. His junior history is full of production against older competition. He's a true 18 year old freshman. He's talented and in all the press I've seen he's seemed like a focused team player. My confidence in him and his talent aren't guarantees of production of course but ... I just cannot feature the WCHA rookie scoring table this season without his name somewhere near the top of a it. Maybe that's a big expectation for me to throw out on the internet but there's I think Sam Mellor is the most talented forward brought here since Kevin Clark.
Andrew Pettitt is the 2nd recent player from Whitehorse to join the UAA roster. Not many other places you could live in Canada where you actually can drive to Anchorage in a day. He scored 121 points in 162 BCHL games with 63 of those being goals. Though I've followed Andrew for a couple of years in juniors I don't have much of an idea about his game. He's 5ft 10in and 167lbs. I read the UAA Live Blog of the exhibition game and Nate Sagan noted a sweet spin move during the game by Andrew. Obviously a player doesn't get to this level without some skill. I'm looking forward to learning by seeing.
Kory Roy was the last addition to this years class. The Anchorage born forward comes to UAA after spending the last two seasons with Canmore in the A. He scored a nice 30 goals and added 33 assists last season. I've known less about players before but honestly not many. I'm going to assume that Kory will have to prove himself a bit to the staff. But one good thing about Dave Shyiak is that on the whole he really gives freshmen good chances to play in games during the 1st half.
Eric Scheid comes to UAA from the Lincoln Stars in the USHL. The 5ft 9in Scheid scored a sweet 15 goals with 21 assists for the stars in his only season there after leaving Blaine High School. Eric is a quick playmaking forward who has lots of experience finding his linemates for a scoring chance or finishing himself. I expect Eric to see lots of action this season. He should have the talent to sustain a regular role even as a freshman.
I'm looking forward to seeing all these guys in action and getting a better idea of what they'll contribute over the season and during their careers here at UAA. If they match or exceed the contributions from last year's freshman class then I'm sure the Seawolves will earn more points in the standings this year.