Ballots were due today for the WCHA Media Preseason poll. I figured I would post the ballot that I submitted to the league for people to pick apart. Thanks goes out to UMD play-by-play guy/fellow SBN writer Bruce Ciskie for organizing this once again.
2. North Dakota
7. St. Cloud
8. Minnesota State
9. Michigan Tech
10. Colorado College
It sounds like Minnesota is going to be everyone's choice to win the league this year, and I can't argue with that. I'm always a little nervous about a team with a new starting goalie, because that can go either way, but a lot of teams will be breaking in new starting goalies, and the returning crop of goalies isn't particularly strong.
First team All-WCHA
Forwards- Mark Zengerle, Wisconsin, Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota, Corban Knight, North Dakota
These were three pretty simple choices for me, and I don't think I'll get too many arguments as to why I picked them. Ben Hanowski, Rylan Schwartz, and Matt White were the other guys I considered
D-Nick Jensen, Wade Bergman
These were tougher choices. I like Jensen because not only is he an offensive threat, he's also going to log a lot of minutes in all situations for St. Cloud. The second defenseman was a really tough call. I considered Joey LaLeggia--who I suspect most people will go with-- Andrew MacWilliam, and Mike Boivin. Bergman doesn't get much attention, but I really like the way he plays. He's one of the quickest skaters in the league, and a very heady, and tough player.
Yeesh. I felt silly nominating a player that has yet to play a WCHA game for this award, and that left me with an extremely small field to choose from. Thorimbert gets the nod becomes he has the best resume, even though this season could be a struggle for Colorado College. I would be willing to bet a freshman takes this award at the end of the year.
Player and Rookie of the Year
Player of the Year- Mark Zengerle, Wisconsin
Zengerle has put up huge point totals through his first two seasons, and there's no reason he shouldn't for a third consecutive year. He'll be the cornerstone piece of a Wisconsin team that should be much improved, and finish pretty high in the standings this year.
Rookie of the Year: Zane Gothberg, North Dakota
Again, I have some uneasiness about expecting anything from a goalie making the adjustment to college hockey. Gothberg is particularly risky because Clarke Saunders transfers in from Alabama-Huntsville, and with his experience, he could steal a lot of playing time from him. But Gotherberg steps in as an older freshman, having played two years of junior hockey, and should be reliable in net for a strong team.