I still have hope
by ndmd99 (2020-03-09 19:26:47)

Definitely a frustrating season. But I’m still very optimistic for the future.

I don’t see the program trending downward. Last year, Wegworth was off to a monster start with a 20+ goal pace. If he doesn’t blow out his knee, I think the season would’ve played out differently. I think this past year will end up being an outlier.

This year the team’s struggles were multi-factorial. Amongst the forwards, the upperclassmen struggling really surprised me. Other than Morrison, none of the others really had a great year. Cal Burke hit a wall after a blazing start and I can’t figure out why. He still was able to get some great scoring chances, but couldn’t get the puck in the net. His shooting % plummeted compared to prior years. And since his freshman year, I’ve thought Theisen had the skills to put some point on the board, but he hasn’t been showing much improvement over the years.

A lot of focus is on the scoring struggles, but stopping pucks from getting into the net is just as effective at winning games. This year’s upperclassmen on the blueline were awful defensively. +/- usually is considered an unreliable stat, but Hellickson’s -12 was pretty indicative of his play. The weakness was especially magnified on the PK.

Goaltending was for sure inconsistent. Some of that was on Cale…some of that was on the D. This past weekend, MN didn’t get a ton of SOG. But the number of high danger scoring chances Cale faced due to sloppy turnovers or losing guys in the D zone was astronomical. As a fan, I probably would’ve liked Bischel to get some time toward the end of the year. But I’m guessing Jackson wanted to give Cale every opportunity to try and re-kindle some spark for his fading professional aspirations.

My expectations for next year:
1. I think the forwards will rebound some and scoring will improve. Steeves had a great season so hopefully he continues the trajectory. I’m thinking Graham will score more. Janicke showed some good skills. I still am optimistic Theisen may breakout. And I expect some contributions from incoming freshmen. My biggest concern is the lack of size. Battling in front of the net wasn’t a team strength this year and will only get worse with Morrison leaving. The team really needs to bring in a bigger body to help in front of the net with dirty goals and tipping shots (similar to the role Wegworth excelled at last year before getting hurt).
2. I like the younger defensemen. I think Stastney may end up the team’s best player (if he isn't already). I’d like him to be a little more selfish and take advantage of his puck skills more in the offensive zone. It’s a beautiful thing to watch when he starts dangling around opponents. Leivermann was pretty solid. Unfortunately, unless Hellickson suddenly develops some defensive awareness and stops turning the puck over I think the blueline will still struggle. He’s a draft pick and a senior, so he’s probably going to still get a ton of minutes which could be painful.
3. It’ll be St. Cyr’s net to lose. He’s showed some promise in his limited career. I’m not expecting a Richter, but think he’ll be an improvement on this year.

To me, this year seemed more like a fluke. Overall, I expect the team to be better next year and have a good chance at making the tourney (although I’m not expecting a Frozen Four).

Recruiting is tough to follow with limited information available, but I have kept up with it a little bit. Which is why I’m excited for the 2021-22 season.

Next year, F Ryder Rolston looks to be the highest rated signee. Mocks currently have him picked in 3rd round. F Landon Slaggert probably 3rd-4th round. D Ryan Helliwell may be a late round pick. Looks like F Grant Silianoff (previously signed LOI to join our current Freshmen) will join next year. Delayed maybe due to wrist surgery May 2019. Surgery probably also why he didn’t get drafted (had been projected 4th-6th round). Class took a blow when D Brock Faber de-committed last Fall. He is projected 2nd round. Overall, it seems like the class is solid. Will add important depth and probably guys that are going to stick around 3-4 yrs. But I’m not anticipating any of them to immediately contribute 30+ points out of the gate.

2021-22 is when things get more exciting, although who knows what’ll happen until they sign. Sasha Pastujov is putting up big numbers on the u17 NTDP (1.02 PPG). He might sneak into the late 1st round. Keep in mind both of his brothers are currently at Ann Arbor, so hopefully his commitment doesn’t waver. Justin Janicke was having a very good year as well (0.75 PPG for u17) and just recently promoted to the u18 team. I’ve seen projections for the 2nd round. Also committed from the NTDP are D Ethan Straky, D Ty Gallegher, and F Hunter Strand. The way things are shaping up as it stands now, in 2021-22 our current deep sophomore class will be seniors, the sophomore class looks like it could have some solid players, and incoming freshmen like Pastojov and Janicke might provide some high end talent. I anticipate that team may do some big things.

2022-23 has 4 commits, but in the all-too-early hype it looks to be a great class as well. All 4 have invites to NTDP evaluation camp this month. Led by F Rutger McGroarty who has lots of 1st round chatter surrounding him (and he looks to be a perennial contender for the All-Names team).

McGroarty's quote from at his commitment: “Also, the recruiting class is unreal – a bunch of great kids who want to do some big things.”

Thx for the recruiting info.......sounds promising.... *
by Wolfetone  (2020-03-11 15:55:57)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

If one were to ask me (and most don't!), ND hockey is in
by other_guy  (2020-03-10 19:09:03)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

dire need of a reliable, consistent scorer. Who would you want to have the puck on his stick with the game on the line. Probable answer may have been Cam Morrison; but it appeared that most of his magic was for the 2018/2019 season.

Is it worrisome that our best shoot-out player is our
by zahm82  (2020-03-10 23:54:49)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

senior defenseman?

If I'm choosing the route, the route I'd take is to find
by wearendhockey  (2020-03-10 21:57:11)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

a way to improve on the offense. And while the less successful (missing the NCAAs) seasons are generally a failure at both ends of the ice, the offensive woes are usually a little more pronounced.

The 11 NCAA teams were ranked, on average, 19 in offense among all NCAA teams and the 6 that failed to make it were ranked 42. There is a similar correlation defensively, but the range is smaller. The NCAA teams averaged a 9th place ranking among all NCAA teams while the 6 that missed were 29th on average. So when the offense goes south, it makes it all the way to Miami, but when the defense wants a warmer winter it only makes it as far south as South Carolina.

I don't think it stretches the imagination to know that the less successful seasons experienced problems on both offense and defense, but to me it looks like the bad seasons are caused more by the failure to put pucks in nets.

Related, the cliche that defense wins championships has always been a bit of a pet peeve with me, because it often is not true. Since Notre Dame first got a chance to play for an NCAA title in 2004 16 NCAA champions have been crowned. 8 had offenses that were ranked higher than their defense, and 8 were better defensively. The average ranking for the offense was 9.3 and for the defense it was 8.7. Interestingly Yale had both the worst offense (24th) AND the worst defense (25th) of any team that claimed a title in this stretch. 10 times a team with a top-10 offense won, and 9 times a top-10 defense won, while 5 times the top-3 defense won and 4 times the top-3 offense took home the big prize.

Good points
by wearendhockey  (2020-03-09 22:32:08)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I'm more concerned than pessimistic, although it would be fair to say I do harbor some pessimism as well.

You are clearly more optimistic about the scoring prospects. We were scoring at a good clip in the beginning, but 6 of our first 10 games were against Lake State, Air Force and Wisconsin, all weak teams with porous defenses, especially Wisconsin and Lake State. Burke had 13 of his 21 points against those 3 teams.

After the 8-1-1 start we scored 2 or fewer goals 21 times, not surprisingly losing 2/3rds of those games. And as noted by a couple of us, the offense has been losing steam. We've scored fewer goals than the previous season 3 years in a row.

Of the 16 teams that would be in the tournament if it started today, 11 are in the top 20 in scoring. Of the 5 that are not only Penn State isn't among the top 15 in defense. But to me that says to be in position to make the NCAAs, a solid offense might be more important that a great defense. We need more scoring.

I also expect Stastney to be our most effective player. He does need to shoot more. He has a quick release when he wants to and I think he could easily be among the leagues scoring leaders as far as blueline players. 45 shots on goal from him is not enough. I don't know about doubling that, but I would sure like to see 65-70 or so and see what happens.

Hopefully your sense of optimism is rewarded.

That makes this weekend sting a little more with Faber
by zahm82  (2020-03-09 20:31:22)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

decommitting and going to the Gophers (just like Perbix last year). Sounds like a great prospect. Having 4 sophmores on D may limit future playing time for high-end prospects leaving 1 spot open for the next two falls to replace Dello and then Hellickson although the Gophers were playing 3 Frosh and a sophomore on D this weekend

Among the 6 teams leading the conferences + Arizona State
by wearendhockey  (2020-03-09 23:17:38)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

there are 16 underclassmen among the top-6 defensemen as far as games played (9 frosh and 7 sophomores). Only 1 has no freshmen among the top 6, Minnesota State. MSU is an experienced team for sure, with 15 upperclassmen among their 21 most regularly dressed players. Of course experience does not = NCAA success. MSU is still looking for their first NCAA tournament win after 6 tries, including 2 straight losses to #4 seeds.

I don't want 6 freshman on the blueline, but until my dying days I believe Jackson overuses the experience crutch. The 2011 team had 3 freshmen and a sophomore manning the blueline in front of a sophomore goalie. The lone senior was a transfer who had not played a game in an Irish jersey before that season and the two leading scorers up front were also freshmen.

edited: For some reason I left American International out of the mix of underclassmen playing defense, and they have 1, sophomore Brennan Kapcheck.

I'll always take talent over experience.... *
by Wolfetone  (2020-03-10 09:00:01)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I think it depends on the player.
by wearendhockey  (2020-03-10 12:41:03)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Of course it is sometimes hard to predict what will happen after someone gets to campus, but good recruiters (Slaggert is certainly that, and not just because he has long gotten good players to come to Notre Dame) can usually figure out what personalities will mesh well.

Sometimes talent isn't worth it. Kyle Palmieri is a good example. Probably one of the 2 or 3 most talented players to ever skate for the Irish (maybe more NHL goals than any other ND product or is that still Poulin?) but he didn't want to be here. Didn't help us when he was here, didn't miss him when he was gone.

Very much ....
by BIGSKYND  (2020-03-10 14:30:47)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

especially with D-men and the way they're developed in USHL, high school, and below, which varies widely.

Thanks for restoring some optimism ! *
by zahm82  (2020-03-09 20:06:17)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Great post- thanks for sharing
by garbageplate  (2020-03-09 20:00:51)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I've found it nearly impossible to follow recruiting, so I never quite know what to expect from the incoming freshmen. Recruiting isn't an exact science for football or basketball either, but there is so much more information available.