After being selected to win the league, it's no surprise to see Minnesota State well-represented in the WCHA preseason awards. Just behind the Mavericks, Ferris State and Michigan Tech each have multiple players on the preseason All-WCHA teams. The WCHA may not have the same depth that it once did, but the players on this list could certainly compete with any conference in the country.
Here's a look at WCHA preseason awards:
1st Team All-WCHA
F- Matt Leitner, Minnesota State
F- Ryan Carpenter, Bowling Green
F- Alex Petan, Michigan Tech
D-Jason Binkley, Ferris State
D-Zach Palmquist, Minnesota State
G-Stephon Williams, Minnesota State
I can't see much argument here. I think this is pretty much the first team that everybody had.
2nd Team All-WCHA
F- Reed Seckel, Northern Michigan
F- Cody Kunyk, Alaska
F- Blake Pietila, Michigan Tech
D-Colton Parayko, Alaska
D-Scott Czarnowczan, Ferris State
G-CJ Motte, Ferris State
There's three really good forwards and it wouldn't be a surprise if any of these three ended up on the first team by the end of the year. Parayko is a big kid with some offensive ability, and is actually the second highest NHL draft pick in the league behind only Teddy Blueger. Czarnowczan struggled through an injury early last year, but was brilliant in the Bulldogs run to the national title game two years ago. It's going to be quite a race in goal, because a lot of goalies should put up huge numbers in this league. Motte gets the nod, because he's likely to be on the best team.
F- Zach Stepan, Minnesota State
F- Brendan Harms, Bemidji State
F- Jared Van Wormer. Ferris State
D-Justin Woods, Alaska
D-Shane Hanna, Michigan Tech
G-Tomas Sholl, Bowling Green
Some difficult choices here. Michigan Tech's Brett Baltus has drawn some rave reviews, but I ultimately went with the big playmaker out of the NAHL in Van Wormer. Shane Hanna could have the opportunity to step in and be a big factor on Michigan Tech's power play . Goalie came down to a toss-up between Sholl and Northern Michigan's Derek Dun and Mathias Dahlstrom.
Player of the Year: Matt Leitner, Minnesota State
Rookie of the Year: Zach Stepan, Minnesota State
Breakout Player of the Year: Matt Bailey, Alaska-Anchorage
Again, probably not much argument with the first two choices since they were overwhelming selections for those awards by the coaches and media. Breakout player is defined as a guy whose numbers last year don't necessarily merit inclusion on a preseason team, but could find themselves on an all-league team at the end of the season.