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Hockey East Season Preview and Preseason Rankings

2015 Hockey East Tournament Champion Boston University
2015 Hockey East Tournament Champion Boston University
Matt Dewkett

It will be tough for Hockey East to top the season it had a year ago in 2015-16. Two member schools, Providence and Boston University, met in the national championship game. Two freshmen were selected in the top five of the 2015 NHL Draft.

The Friars, who won the national championship, didn't even make the Hockey East semifinals at the TD Garden. It was a year full of good publicity and fond memories for a league that enters its 32nd season this fall.

Jerry York's Boston College Eagles were selected first in the preseason coaches' and media polls. The Eagles have the consensus top freshman class in the country and the top goaltender in the conference in junior Thatcher Demko.

While there was mild disagreement between the coaches and media, both polls had Boston University, UMass Lowell and Providence rounding out the top four.

Editor's Note: Click on the team name to follow the link for the full preview of each school.

Boston College
Head Coach: Jerry York
2014-15 Record: 21-14-3 Overall, 12-7-3 Hockey East
2015-16 Coaches' Poll: 1st
2015-16 Media Poll: 1st
Jeff Cox: 1st
Joshua Kummins: 1st
Conor Ryan: 1st
Top Returnees: Forwards Alex Tuch, Ryan Fitzgerald, Adam Gilmour, Zach Sanford, Austin Cangelosi, Chris Calnan; Defensemen Steve Santini, Ian McCoshen, Teddy Doherty, Scott Savage; Goaltender Thatcher Demko
Key Losses: Forwards Destry Straight, Quinn Smith; Defensemen Michael Matheson, Noah Hanifin
Best Newcomers: Forwards Jeremy Bracco, Colin White, Miles Wood, Chris Brown, JD Dudek; Defenseman Casey Fitzgerald; Goaltender Chris Birdsall

Boston University
Head Coach: David Quinn
2014-15 Record: 28-8-5 Overall, 14-5-3 Hockey East
2015-16 Coaches' Poll: 2nd
2015-16 Media Poll: 2nd
Jeff Cox: 2nd
Joshua Kummins: 2nd
Conor Ryan: 2nd
Top Returnees: Forwards Danny O'Regan, Matt Lane, Robbie Baillargeon, Ahti Oksanen; Defensemen Matt Grzelcyk, Brandon Hickey, John MacLeod, Doyle Somerby, Brandon Fortunato, Brien Diffley; Goaltenders Connor LaCouvee, Sean Maguire 
Key Losses: Forwards Jack Eichel, Evan Rodrigues, Cason Hohmann; Goaltender Matt O'Connor
Best Newcomers: Forwards Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Jordan Greenway, Bobo Carpenter, Ryan Cloonan; Defensemen Charlie McAvoy, Shane Switzer

Connecticut
Head Coach: Mike Cavanaugh
2014-15 Record: 10-19-7 Overall, 7-11-4 Hockey East
2015-16 Coaches' Poll: 9th
2015-16 Media Poll: 9th
Jeff Cox: 8th
Joshua Kummins: 5th
Conor Ryan: 10th
Top Returnees: Forwards Shawn Pauly, Spencer Naas, Kasperi Ojantakanen, Patrick Kirtland; Defensemen Derek Pratt, Johnny Austin, Ryan Segalla, David Drake, Joona Kunnas, Kyle Huson; Goaltender Rob Nichols
Key Losses: Forwards Trevor Gerling, Ryan Tyson; Defenseman Jacob Poe
Best Newcomers: Forwards Tage Thompson, Maxim Letunov; Defensemen Miles Gendron, Joseph Masonius

Maine
Head Coach: Red Gendron
2014-15 Record: 14-22-3 Overall, 8-12-2 Hockey East
2015-16 Coaches' Poll: 10th
2015-16 Media Poll: 11th
Jeff Cox: 11th
Joshua Kummins: 12th
Conor Ryan: 12th
Top Returnees: Forwards Blaine Byron, Cam Brown, Steven Swavely, Nolan Vesey, Will Merchant; Defensemen Dan Renouf, Eric Schurhamer; Goaltender Sean Romeo, Matt Morris
Key Losses: Forwards Devin Shore, Connor Leen, Liam Pecararo; Defensemen Ben Hutton, Jake Rutt
Best Newcomers: Forwards Justin Rai, Dane Gibson, Brendan Robbins; Defensemen Robert Michel, Keith Muehlbauer, Stephen Cochrane, Sam Becker; Goaltender Robert McGovern

Merrimack
Head Coach: Mark Dennehy
2014-15 Record: 16-18-4 Overall, 5-14-3 Hockey East
2015-16 Coaches' Poll: 11th
2015-16 Media Poll:10th
Jeff Cox: 9th
Joshua Kummins: 10th
Conor Ryan: 8th
Top Returnees: Forwards Brett Seney, Hampus Gustafsson, Brian Christie, Jace Hennig, Chris LeBlanc; Defensemen Marc Biega, Jonathan Lashyn, Jared Kolquist; Goaltender Collin Delia
Key Losses: Forwards Clayton Jardine, Quinn Gould, Kyle Singleton, Vinny Scotti; Defensemen Dan Kolomatis, Justin Mansfield; Goaltender Rasmus Tirronen
Best Newcomers: Forwards Mathieu Foget, Ludvig Larsson; Defensemen Ethan Spaxman, Alex Carle; Goaltender Drew Vogler

New Hampshire
Head Coach: Dick Umile
2014-15 Record: 19-19-2 Overall, 10-11-1 Hockey East
2015-16 Coaches' Poll: 6th
2015-16 Media Poll: 8th
Jeff Cox: 10th
Joshua Kummins: 8th
Conor Ryan: 9th
Top Returnees: Forwards Tyler Kelleher, Andrew Poturalski, Shane Eiserman, Warren Fogele; Defensemen Matias Cleland, Cameron Marks, John Furgele; Goaltenders Danny Tirone, Adam Clark
Key Losses: Forwards Grayson Downing, Matt Willows, Casey Thrush; Defenseman Brett Pesce
Best Newcomers: Forwards Marcus Vela, Ara Nazarian, Jason Kalinowski, Frankie Cefalu; Defenseman Matt Dawson

Northeastern
Head Coach: Jim Madigan
2014-15 Record: 16-16-4 Overall, 11-9-2 Hockey East
2015-16 Coaches' Poll: 5th
2015-16 Media Poll: 7th
Jeff Cox: 6th
Joshua Kummins: 7th
Conor Ryan: 7th
Top Returnees: Forwards Kevin Roy, Mike McMurtry, Dalen Hedges, Zach Aston-Reese, John Stevens; Defensemen Matt Benning, Colton Saucerman, Garrett Cockerill; Goaltender Kevin Roy
Key Losses: Forwards Mike Szmatula, Adam Reid, Torin Snydeman; Defenseman Dax Lauwers; Goaltender Clay Witt
Best Newcomers: Forwards Adam Gaudette, Lincoln Griffin, Jason Cotton; Defensemen Eric Williams, Jon Barry

Notre Dame
Head Coach: Jeff Jackson
2014-15 Record: 18-19-5 Overall, 10-7-5 Hockey East
2015-16 Coaches' Poll: 7th
2015-16 Media Poll: 5th
Jeff Cox: 5th
Joshua Kummins: 9th
Conor Ryan: 6th
Top Returnees: Forwards Mario Lucia, Sam Herr, Thomas DiPauli, Steven Fogarty, Anders Bjork, Jake Evans; Defensemen Jordan Gross, Andy Ryan, Luke Ripley; Goaltenders Cal Petersen, Chad Katunar
Key Losses: Forwards Vince Hinostroza, Peter Schneider, Austin Wuthrich; Defenseman Robbie Russo
Best Newcomers: Forwards Joe Wegwerth, Andrew Oglevie, Dylan Malmquist, Jack Jenkins; Defenseman Bobby Nardella, Dennis Gilbert

Providence
Head Coach: Nate Leaman
2014-15 Record: 26-13-2 Overall, 13-8-1 Hockey East
2015-16 Coaches' Poll: 3rd
2015-16 Media Poll: 4th
Jeff Cox: 3rd
Joshua Kummins: 3rd
Conor Ryan: 4th
Top Returnees: Forwards Nick Saracino, Mark Jankowski, Trevor Mingoia, Brandon Tanev, Brian Pinho; Defensemen Tom Parisi, Jon Gilmour, Jake Walman, Anthony Florentino, Kyle Mckenzie; Goaltender Nick Ellis
Key Losses: Forwards Noel Acciari, Ross Mauermann, Shane Luke; Defenseman Mark Adams; Goaltender Jon Gillies
Best Newcomers: Forwards Erik Foley, Garrett Gamez, Bryan Lemos; Defensemen Vincent Desharnais, Steven Ruggiero; Goaltender Hayden Hawkey

UMass Amherst
Head Coach: John Micheletto
2014-15 Record: 11-23-2 Overall, 5-16-1 Hockey East
2015-16 Coaches' Poll: 12th
2015-16 Media Poll: 12th
Jeff Cox: 12th
Joshua Kummins: 11th
Joshua Kummins: 11th
Top Returnees: Forwards Dennis Kravchenko, Steven Iacobellis, Shane Walsh, Patrick Lee; Defensemen Ben Gallacher, Marc Hetnik; Goaltender Henry Dill
Key Losses: Forwards Frank Vatrano, Troy Power; Defensemen Brandon Montour, Oleg Yevenko
Best Newcomers: Forwards Austin Plevy, Joe Widmar, Kurt Keats; Defensemen Ivan Chukarov, Callum Fryer, Carmine Buono; Goaltender Nic Renyard

UMass Lowell
Head Coach: Norm Bazin
2014-15 Record: 21-12-6 Overall, 11-7-4 Hockey East
2015-16 Coaches' Poll: 4th
2015-16 Media Poll: 3rd
Jeff Cox: 4th
Joshua Kummins: 4th
Conor Ryan: 3rd
Top Returnees: Forwards C.J. Smith, Adam Chapie, Joe Gambardella, Evan Campbell; Defensemen Dylan Zinc, Michael Kapla, Tyler Mueller; Goaltender Kevin Boyle
Key Losses: Forwards Terrence Wallin, Chris Maniccia; Defensemen Jake Suter, Zack Kamrass
Best Newcomers: Forwards Ryan Dmowski, Nick Master, Connor Wilson; Defensemen Niklas Folin, Avni Berisha; Goaltenders Sean Cleary, Christoffer Hernberg

Vermont
Head Coach: Kevin Sneddon
2014-15 Record: 22-15-4 Overall, 10-9-3 Hockey East
2015-16 Coaches' Poll: 8th
2015-16 Media Poll: 6th
Jeff Cox: 7th
Joshua Kummins: 6th
Conor Ryan: 5th
Top Returnees: Forwards Brady Shaw, Mario Puskarich, Brendan Bradley, Jonathan Turk; Defensemen Alexx Privitera, Yvan Pattyn,,Dan Senkbeil; Goaltender Mike Santaguida
Key Losses: Forwards Jake Fallon, Colin Markison, Kyle Reynolds; Defensemen Michael Paliotta, Nick Luukko; Goaltender Brody Hoffman
Best Newcomers: Forwards Brian Bowen, Liam Coughlin, Craig Puffer, Conor O'Neil, Drew Best; Defensemen Mike Lee, Jake Kearly; Goaltender Packy Munson