The Wolverine

October 2011

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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2011-12 hockey preview don���t have to be our best players. We have a few seniors and that junior class that need to take the lead, and then our freshmen can fill in, but someone might just really take off and have a big year.��� Chipping In From The Blue Line In 2009-10, Michigan���s defensemen added 22 goals to the final tally of 148 (14.9 percent). Last year, they scored 27 of U-M���s 146 markers (18.5 percent), and with the offensive-minded Merrill and an equally adept Lee Moffie (eight goals and nine assists), the blue line will likely contribute quite significantly against this year. However, the Wolverines know they cannot expect even greater production. ���You know that certain guys are going to chip in, and we���ve probably got more offensive defensemen on this team than you do most years, but you don���t want to have to count on them,��� said senior Greg Pateryn, arguably the best defensive defenseman among the Wolverines. ���Jonny Merrill is something special, and Lee shoots the puck like an NHL player. I think [sophomore] Mac Bennett, after getting used to the college game, will really help us offensively also. ���We certainly expect to contribute from the blue line this year, but I also know that we have a lot of forwards that are going to be big-time scorers for us. They���re going to get the ice time and they���ll produce.��� Hunwick will carry the greatest burden if the Maize and Blue do struggle depositing pucks into the net, but he���s the least concerned. ���We didn���t have a 20-goal scorer last year, we were more scoring by committee, and we still won our conference, went to the Final Four and played for the national title,��� he said. ���It���s always easier when you can look around your locker room and know where the scoring is going to come from, but when I look around our locker room I see a ton of guys that could score 10 goals, 15 goals, maybe 20 goals. ���On paper, maybe that���s our biggest question mark, but a month into the season or by midseason I don���t think we���re even talking about it.��� ��� Breakthrough Performers Since 2000 For Michigan to be its best of(2002): Nystrom was one of fensively this year, it needs a few 10 freshmen to lace up for the skaters to experience breakout Wolverines in 2002 and carried seasons. In the main feature, the most hype as both a highly four categories of scorers were sought-after recruit and the son identified: big-name talents, hitof former New York Islander legor-miss contributors, the freshend Bobby Nystrom. The Syosmen and defensemen. Here is set, N.Y., native had the most an example of one Wolverine productive season of his rookie in each of those categories that cohort, finishing with 31 points, had a breakthrough season for including a career-high 18 goals. U-M. He was also plus-23. Nystrom Big-name talent ��� Andy sparked a run to the Frozen Four Hilbert (2001): A top-20 recruit too, scoring twice, with an asout of Howell, Mich., Hilbert was sist, in leading U-M to an NCAA an early-second-round draft regional finals win over Denver. pick in 2000 and was supposed Honorable Mention: Jeff to provide instant offense for Tambellini (2003); T.J. Hensick the Wolverines that year. He (2004); Max Pacioretty (2008). did, tallying 33 points, including Defenseman ��� Jack John17 goals, as a rookie. In 2001, son (2007): Jon Merrill���s Hilbert avoided the sopho25-point campaign in 2011 more slump, giving Michigan Defenseman Jack Johnson notched 32 points as a freshman ranks as the fourth-best efeven greater production with and 39 points in his second season at U-M. fort by a rookie defenseman in Photo by Wolverine Photo U-M history. If he plays up to 26 goals and 38 assists for 64 six assists, but contributed only seven points. His 31-point bump represents his potential, he could have a sophogoals and 15 helpers in his next two the single-biggest increase from one more year like Johnson did in 2007. years combined (he did see some time year to the next during the first 12 Though he was feared for his brutality as a defenseman). Michigan wanted seasons of the new millennium. on the ice, the 6-1, 200-pound Ann more from the Northville, Mich., naHonorable Mention: Milan Gajic Arbor native was a skilled offensive tive, though, and as a senior, he de(2005); Chad Kolarik (2008). defenseman, contributing 32 points livered. In 41 games, Rohlfs notched Hit-or-miss contributor ��� David as a freshman. He increased his tally to career highs in goals (17), assists (17) Rohlfs (2007): At 6-3, 215 pounds, 39 points in his second season, while and points (34), while his defensive Rohlfs was the epitome of the power his 16 goals set a Michigan sophomore acumen helped balloon his plus/miforward, but that much size is often defender single-season record. nus to plus-33. a curse and not a blessing early in Honorable Mention: Jeff Jillson Honorable Mention: David Moss a career, head coach Red Berenson (2001); Mike Komisarek (2002); Matt (2005); Travis Turnbull (2008). has said repeatedly. Rohlfs had a nice Hunwick (2006). The Freshman ��� Eric Nystrom rookie season, with seven goals and ��� Michael Spath 56��� the wolverine��� ������ October 2011

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