This seasons junior class is now Matt Bailey, Brett Cameron, Rob Gunderson, Chris Kamal, Andrew Pickering and Quinn Sproule. I'd thought Jordan Kwas was amongst these guys when I started this post but ....
Jordan Kwas is a senior. When I did the senior class last week I'm pretty sure he was a listed as a junior. Of course, it's completely possible that I made a mistake. His bio page shows his stats from his freshman and sophomore years, so there's that. No use in speculating as the reasons but perhaps someone knows and could edify us in comments.
Matt Bailey could certainly have been given consideration last year for his untiring work ethic. If there was a returning player that more intensely went into every situation on the ice than him I'd be happy to hear the name. This season Matt can be afforded the opportunity to showcase his skills at creating offense. He has a really solid set of skills, his footspeed is excellent and he can puck handle as well as finish. If the Seawolves succeed more this season, Matt's scoring will be a likely contributor. Color me unsurprised entirely if he leads the team in scoring at season's end.
Brett Cameron is hopefully a player ready to break out. He's looked so very close (to my eyes) on the verge at any point. Now is the time for a player like Brett. He's got all the tools he needs and a real nice wrist shot that needs be peppering goalies this season. Like Matt, Brett needs to be an offensive force contributing to scoring. FAWTF. That's the acronym that best applies. Find A Way To Finish.
Neither Rob Gunderson nor Chris Kamal's starts this season are written in stone. There's a freshman who's going to hope to play. And when he gets a chance if he stones the opposition then you can guarantee that he'll get more chances. I don't know how much competition exists between Chris and Rob. Maybe not enough. Maybe having a freshman hungry for playing time will result in some positive competition that makes everyone better. Over the course of the last two years I cannot honestly say that there's anything in particular that would distinguish between these two guys. Chris' run up to and through the WCHA playoffs of course the accomplishment that might separate them. But having said that we've seen the same sort of performances from Rob. If anyone can establish consistency they'll have the inside track to the most starts.
Andrew Pickering is in his 3rd season having dressed for only 14 games. He missed most of those games as a result of a pretty dramatic puck to the face he took while going down to block a shot versus DU (if I remember correctly). Every time I've seen him play before or since ... he showed grit. I cannot feature Andrew as a key contributor offensively but instead he'll have to find a role to gain ice time and outperform freshman and sophomores who'll be just as hungry to play as him.
Quinn Sproule is the picture of consistency in my book over his first two seasons. He is equally comfortable rushing the puck as he is locking it down in his own end. He's an adept open ice hitter and wins most of his battles along the wall. He's got real good wheels when he wants to turn on the jets and a great eye. He'll be an important power play and shorthanded asset this season. Positive play from Quinn will help spur more team success without a doubt. He's a key player.
So again .. um ... I thought Jordan Kwas was a junior. Anyway; Kwas + Puck + Phone Booth = Cool Shit You Wanna See. Let me be the first to say that Jordan's statistics do not match his talent or potential. He's a capable finisher ... as a freshman he racked up a nice 20 assists. He's capable of more scoring in general and should be considered a threat to be the scoring leader ... if like Brett Cameron he FAWTF. He's got the wheels, stick work and heads up play to bring it all together and become an offensive threat that other teams must counter. If he does that then the team benefits.
All these guys are capable of contributing in one way or another. The goaltending success probably lies in this class as well as a majority of potential scoring across the team. The junior year can be a tough one (unless you're Jordan Kwas and just skip it entirely) sometimes for some unknown-to-me reason, so let's all hope that each of these guys is given the necessary opportunities and excels whenever they have a chance. That equals more team success.