Here's his rankings:
|Colorado College||Yes, Jack Hillen is gone. But so many formidable elements return as the Tigers seek their fourth MacNaughton Cup in the past seven seasons.|
|Denver||Rakhshani and Ruegsegger (with a hefty helping of Bozak) make the Pioneers as hard to stop as they are to spell. The lone question is in goal.|
|St. Cloud State||Good goaltending and great offense return to the fold, as Husky fans swear this is the year they'll be playing in April, in Roe's backyard.|
|Wisconsin||With Gardiner joining McBain, Smith, Goloubef and McDonagh on the back side, the Badgers have arguably the most defensive talent in the nation.|
|Minnesota State||The political world isn't the only place where you'll find hard-working Mavericks who talk about the importance of veteran experience.|
|Minnesota||Thirteen members of the Gopher roster didn't play college hockey last year. A dozen of them are freshmen, and one, thankfully, is Ryan Stoa.|
|North Dakota||A lack of proven talent in goal is the big question for the Sioux. Of course, we had similar thoughts about CC last year, and that turned out fine.|
|Minnesota Duluth||The offensive depth and the goaltending are the bright spots at the DECC. But defensive questions need answers for the Bulldogs to move up.|
|Michigan Tech||The duo of Nolan in goal and Kinrade on the blue line is a good place to start. But the Huskies need goal-scorers to stay in the home ice race.|
|Alaska Anchorage||The trio of Lunden, Crowder and Clark combined for 73 points last season. Beyond them, well, did we mention that you can see Russia?|
This is what he said about the Sioux:
PRIMED FOR A FALL
|North Dakota doesn't have any superstars, unless you count a former Hobey Baker winner.|
The words sound like a sports cliché, until you remember that the guy uttering them has a Hobey on his resume.
"There are no superstars on our team this year," said North Dakota senior forward Ryan Duncan, who took home the game's top individual award as a sophomore. "There's a different team aspect here than in previous years."
The list of would-be Fighting Sioux who have elected to take a paycheck instead of a fourth (or in some cases, a third) year of college hockey is impressive. What remains in Grand Forks is a close-knit group of seven seniors determined to lead North Dakota on a fifth straight Frozen Four trip, and to win two more games than they have in previous years. Still, there are myriad questions to be answered about defense, goaltending (returning senior Aaron Walski has less than two full games worth of playing time in his college career) and who will lead the offense. Duncan welcomes the challenge, and invites opponents to make him the center of attention at their peril.
"If you're going to concentrate on me, you're going to have a whole heap of trouble from other guys," said Duncan, who is the team's top returning scorer with 40 points last season. "I'm just one piece of the puzzle, so if they want to focus on me, that's fine."
First off, as Goon as alluded to in his blog, Duncan isn't exactly going to tell the media that the Sioux will walk all over everyone this year; nor is he going to throw his team under the bus. But let's take a look at Jess's own words and tear him down piece by piece, shall we?
Still, there are myriad questions to be answered about defense...
Oh are there now? Last I checked the likes of Joe Finley, Chay Genoway, and Zach Jones are ALL returning this year. And let's see...that's 3 defensemen. 2 seniors and a junior. Adds up to...11 years worth of WCHA Hockey experience. But apparently those are big question marks. (rolls eyes)
Who will lead the offense...
Rumor has it that VandeVelde is returning this year. So is Matt Watkins. And Andrew Kozek. And Ryan Martens. And Brad Miller. Oh, and a former HOBEY BAKER winner in Ryan Duncan. Wow, I guess there is really no one to lead the offense this year. These will just be a bunch of ragtag nobodys that will not perform. (rolly eyes, again)
The only thing I do agree with him on is goaltending. Yes, there are questions at goal. We as Sioux fans know this, accept it, etc. But until the Walski gets a chance to perform and prove to us that he is NOT capable of the job, writers should not pin the Sioux at the bottom of the conference. I mean, let's face it here. CC returns mostly intact. UND returns mostly intact. DU lost a lot of players. But somehow CC and DU get mad props from Myers, whie the Sioux drop to 7th. I don't buy it. No Sioux fan should.
edit: my buddy Steve pointed out to me that the total experience adds up to 8, not 11. I was counting this year as experience. Thanks Steve.