New Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato has been busy since officially taking over following the Detroit Red Wings' first round loss to Tampa Bay. He got an office. He joined Twitter. He even started on the recruiting trail, getting a player to commit without using some variation of the phrase "proud to announce...thanks to all who have helped along the way" when announcing on Twitter.
And Granato put his own stamp on the team, removing players from the Badgers.
Five Wisconsin players from this year's team with eligibility will not be a part of the 2016-17 squad, reports Todd Milewski of the Madison Cap-Times.
#Badgers coach Tony Granato confirmed that Fs Adam Rockwood, Alex Shuchuk, Zac Keryluk, Tanner Barnes, G Gabe Grunwald won't return to team.— Todd Milewski (@ToddMilewski) May 27, 2016
T.Granato: "We had to make changes. We had to make hard decisions to people that were real important to our program, but that's part of it."— Todd Milewski (@ToddMilewski) May 27, 2016
All five are underclassmen with at least two years of eligibility remaining.
The changes help cut down on a roster that had 18 forwards and 3/4 goaltenders last year. Wisconsin's roster featured 29 players and only three seniors. None of the three were forwards.
Of the players not returning, only Rockwood played a game during Wisconsin's 8-19-8 season. The sophomore forward, who had 17 points (2G-15A) spent a good portion of the season on the Badgers' top line with Grant Besse and Luke Kunin. His 17 points was 7th for Wisconsin in 2015-16.
Shuchuk (son of former Wisconsin and current Michigan Tech assistant Gary), Barnes (brother of Tyler) and Keryluk (son of former Badger national champion Ken) all have family legacy connections to the team.
Grunwald was one of two freshmen goalies for the Badgers last season, but missed the second half of the season after undergoing surgery. His injury forced Wisconsin to bring in Ryan Breon, a former high school goalie who at the time hosted a radio show. The Badgers are bringing in 2
Granato, along with assistants Don Granato and Mark Osiecki, was officially hired March 30th to replace Mike Eaves. He is the fifth head coach in Wisconsin men's hockey history.