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Hockey East Preview: Ranking the Offenses by Returning Players

Merrimack returns the most percentage of its offense, but is that enough?

Boston College junior forward Johnny Gaudreau was a Hobey Baker Hattrick Finalist in 2013.
Boston College junior forward Johnny Gaudreau was a Hobey Baker Hattrick Finalist in 2013.

Hockey East will have a new look this year, with the addition of Notre Dame to the conference and the reduction in conference games from 27 to 20. The impact of freshmen is not yet known, but one thing to look at as we begin previewing the 2013-14 Hockey East season is the offensive production of the returning players.

The following table ranks each Hockey East 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 Rank Leading Returning Scorer
Merrimack 91.1% 91.2% 7 Mike Collins, Sr. (17-21--38)
Vermont 87.0% 87.8% 9 Chris McCarthy, Sr. (13-18--31)
UMass-Lowell 82.4% 78.9% 4 Scott Wilson, Jr. (16-22--38)
Providence 78.8% 86.7% 5 Ross Mauermann, Jr. (12-12--24)
Notre Dame 77.0% 78.2% * Bryan Rust, Sr. (15-19--34)
New Hampshire 74.3% 68.0% 2 Kevin Goumas, Sr. (10-32--42)
UMass-Amherst 67.6 69.9% 6 Branden Gracel, Sr. (14-20--34)
Boston College 67.5% 64.2% 1 Johnny Gaudreau, Jr. (21-30--51)
Maine 68.4% 61.1% 10 Devin Shore, So. (6-20--26)
Northeastern 63.8% 64.2% 8 Kevin Roy, So. (17-17--34)
Boston University 56.1% 52.5% 3 Dan O'Regan, So. (16-22--38)

* Notre Dame's rank is left blank because it was not in Hockey East last season. The Fighting Irish's offense was ranked 23 nationally. Only Boston College, New Hampshire, Boston University and UMass-Lowell were ranked ahead of Notre Dame out of Hockey East schools.

Merrimack returns a huge percentage of its offense, but that offense was terribly inconsistent last season. The only consistent was Mike Collins who carried the offense on his back. Others will have to step up next season if Merrimack can become a contender and not a flash-in-the-pan.

Boston College lost 88 points of scoring in two players to graduation, but still has two-thirds of its offense returning. Led by Hobey Baker frontrunner Johnny Gaudreau and Kevin Boyle and Bill Arnold, the Eagles should find plenty of scoring and be better defensively.

Boston University lost a ton of scoring to graduation and early departures. New head coach David Quinn has some talented players up front, but it's hard to imagine the lack of depth not becoming an issue at some point.

UMass-Lowell and Providence both had a team fielding many underclassmen last season. The River Hawks and Friars have the third and fourth highest percentage of offense returning, respectively. Combined with two stellar sophomore goaltenders, these two teams are legitimate championship caliber teams.

An interesting tidbit is that of the three teams returning the least offensive production, Maine, Northeastern and Boston University, all three have a sophomore who is the team's top returning scorer.

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