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Friday, August 04, 2006

WCHA departures hit 16

A few weeks ago, I started to wonder how Colorado College has been able to avoid the early-departure bug the past few summers.

How CC got four years out of Brett Sterling, I'm not sure. Same with Marty Sertich. And Brian Swanson. And Tom Preissing. Getting three out of Peter Sejna was a steal, too.

Then, the Anaheim Ducks answered my question. In this summer of rampant early exits, the Tigers aren't getting let off. The Ducks signed CC defenseman Brian Salcido this week, leaving the Tigers without their top four scorers from last season. Salcido had one year of eligibility left.

CC is the sixth WCHA team to lose somebody early, and Salcido is the 16th WCHA player to bolt. That means the number of WCHA players that have left early this offseason now equals the total number from all of college hockey last summer.

UND has been hit harder than anyone in college hockey -- losing five underclassmen early. But this stat may surprise you. I took a look at every team in the WCHA and how many of their top five scorers are returning. These are the results (in order of last year's finish):

Minnesota -- 2 returning, 1 of them still pending.
Denver -- 2 returning.
Wisconsin -- 0 returning.
UND -- 3 returning.
Colo. College -- 1 returning.
St. Cloud -- 1 returning.
Mankato -- 1 returning, he still could leave.
Mich. Tech -- 2 returning.
Minn. Duluth -- 4 returning.
Anchorage -- 3 returning.

The only WCHA team returning more top-five scorers than UND is Duluth. And the only team that ties UND is Anchorage. When you consider those figures... and that Duluth and Anchorage were the two worst teams in the conference last season... and that the Sioux return almost their entire defensive corps... maybe this offseason wasn't so bad for UND?


Anonymous Matt said...

How about goalies? Any other teams lose their goalie this year other then UND?

7:03 AM  
Blogger Schlossman said...

Actually, only UND and Minnesota Duluth lost their No. 1 goaltenders from a year ago. Otherwise, every team has their top goalie back.

The Sioux should be fine in goal with Phil Lamoureux ready to step in. And Duluth will probably be better off with new blood in net. Isaac Reichmuth certainly had a disappointing end to his career.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Battle Hymn said...

Since you are talking about returning scorers, your stat is a little off the mark concerning the Gophers. They plan on returning Tyler Hirsch this year. While he didn't play last year he was there top scorer (44pts) two years ago. Not a big deal as your data was accurate from last season, Hirsch's case is a statistical anomaly.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Schlossman said...

That's a good point, battle hymn. Being the only senior forward on the team, Hirsch should be a key factor for the Gophers this season. It will be interesting to see how he does after the year off.

6:24 PM  
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