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Logjammin'

One of the fun parts of summer is figuring out who will and who won't be on a team's roster for next season. It's especially interesting with goalies, since roster spots are so few. Here's a look at a couple teams that have more goalies than nets to cover.

Alpena(NAHL) goalie Shawn Hunwick is going to Michigan after de-committing from D-III Adrian College. Hunwick is likely to fill Mike Mayhew's role of standing on the bench during home games as the third-stringer. But that means Michigan could have as many as four goalies on the roster, with Billy Sauer, Steve Jakiel, Bryan Hogan, and Hunwick. It's probably unlikely that Michigan could carry that many goalies on their roster, causing speculation that one of the four won't be around next year.

Some Michigan fans are concnerned that Hogan, who was recently drafted by the OHL, may sign with Erie and not come to Michigan. I'm a little skeptical of that though. If Hogan definitely was leaving, I'd think Michigan would try to find someone who could replace Sauer once he graduates rather than someone who won't ever likely win the starting role. If anything, I think Hunwick's commitment gives a little more credence to the rumors of Hogan staying in the USHL for another season. An extra year of development for Hogan at the USHL level wouldn't necessarily be a terrible thing.

There is also the possibility that Steve Jakiel isn't interested in being third on the depth chart, and could be looking to move on.

The next team with goaltending issues is Northern Michigan. As mentioned yesterday, Reid Ellingson committed to Northern Michigan, presumably for 2007, since he was released from Chicago's roster. That would mean that next season, Northern would have Brian Stewart, who ended the season as Northern's starter, Derek Janzen, who played for Northern for a year before going back to juniors, and is rumored to be coming back to Northern, Ian Keserich, who played at Ohio State before going back to juniors and committing to Northern, and Ellingson. That's four goalies who could all be capable of starting.

More than likely, at least one of those names won't be on Northern's roster at the start of next season. My first guess would be that Janzen won't return to Northern Michigan. Even that leaves three pretty good goalies. I'd guess we'll hear more about one of them before the end of the summer.

Minnesota State was a team that was hoping to employ a talented goaltending duo last season, until injuries got in the way. Mike Zacharias pulled his groin while warming up for the team's first game a number of games to start the season. Just as he was returning to health, Dan Tormey was injured in a game against Minnesota, forcing him to miss most of the rest of the season. In all, the Mavericks only had a handful of weekends where both goalies were healthy.

It's unlikely that the Mavericks will have the same injury issues this season. But in addition to the tandem of Zacharias and Tormey, they will add Fargo-Moorhead goalie Austin Lee. Lee was near dominant in the NAHL this past season, and would likely be ready to play college hockey next season. Lee at least has the option of returning to junior hockey, but since he wasn't picked in the recent USHL draft, I'd guess he's coming to college next season. All three would likely be capable starters. It should be interesting to see who gets playing time.