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Big 10 Hockey Preview: Ranking the Offenses by Returning Players

Minnesota has to replace the most offensive production of any team in the Big 10, thanks to five early departures to the NHL.

Wisconsin sophomore Nic Kerdiles (17) will be one of the most offensively gifted players in the first season of the Big 10 Hockey Conference.
Wisconsin sophomore Nic Kerdiles (17) will be one of the most offensively gifted players in the first season of the Big 10 Hockey Conference.
Jonathan Daniel

Factors such as the impact of recruits, defense and goaltending will have a direct result on the final standings in the first year of the Big 10 Hockey Conference, but let's take a look at each team's offensive productivity for returning players.

The following table ranks each Big 10 team in terms of the percentage of offensive productivity returning. The ranking was determined by dividing the total points scored last season by the points scored by returning players. The same was done to determine the percentage of goal scoring of returning players.

Team Pct. Points Returning Pct. Goals Returning '12-13 Offense Nat'l Rank Leading Returning Scorer
Penn State 93.9% 94.6% 31 Casey Bailey, So. (14-13--27)
Ohio State 90.3% 90.5% 46 Ryan Dzingel, Jr. (16-22--38)
Michigan State 81.7% 83.9% 55 Matt Berry, Jr. (15-16--31)
Wisconsin 78.9% 81.2% 33 Michael Mersch, Sr. (23-13--36)
Michigan 64.2% 66.7% 7 Alex Guptill, Jr. (16-20--36)
Minnesota 56.2% 56.8% 1 Kyla Rau, Jr. (15-25--40)

Note that Penn State played a 27-game schedule last season as an independent. The Nittany Lions played some Division III teams and some club teams as head coach Guy Gadowsky was elevating the program from club to varsity. Although PSU returns all of its scoring output, it is a skewed statistic.

The other factor that affects this ranking is that Minnesota and Wisconsin played in the more challenging WCHA while Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State played in the CCHA.

In terms of pure numbers, Wisconsin is bringing back the most points with 239, followed by Ohio State (232), Michigan (217), Minnesota (214), Michigan State (192) and Penn State (184).

Wisconsin's returning players accounted for 91 goals last season, the most of any group of returnees in the Big 10. Michigan and Ohio State (86) are tied for second most goals by returning players followed by Minnesota (79), Michigan State (73) and Penn State (70).

One thing that really steps out is Ohio State was heavy in underclassmen last season and Mark Osiecki was bringing in some top-end talent. It is too bad things didn't work out in Columbus as the Buckeyes could have been primed for a big couple of years if all the recruits had shown up as originally scheduled.

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Jeff Cox is a hockey reporter for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.