The Wolverine

May 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Four Wolverines Among Potential Early Departures important senior contributors next season. However, the Maize and Blue will also be tasked with filling the void cre- ated by an early departure. Chris Brown became the 20th U-M skater or goalie since 2000 to leave Ann Arbor before exhausting four years of eligibility— a tally that does not include players that were dismissed from the program for various reasons or recruits that renege on their commitment before signing a letter of intent. And he may not be the last to go this offseason. Four more potential early departures are: sophomore de- It will be difficult enough for the Wolverines to replace four in 2010, the 6-3, 206-pound Merrill has the most NHL-ready game. However, he missed the first half of his sophomore campaign after violating team rules and needs to show im- proved maturity off the ice before the Devils will be willing to factor Merrill into their plans. Besides, Merrill could have gone pro when the suspension fenseman Jon Merrill, freshman forward Phil Di Giuseppe, incoming freshman defenseman Jacob Trouba and junior forward Lindsay Sparks. Jon Merrill: A second-round pick of the New Jersey Devils Berenson, who believes Merrill will stay put. Chances He'll Return: 75 percent. Phil Di Giuseppe: An early CCHA favorite for Rookie of the " said head coach Red was handed down last fall but chose to stick it out, and is likely to return to Michigan for a junior year because he genuinely wants to be in Ann Arbor. "Right now, his heart is at Michigan, Year accolades, after scoring eight goals with six assists in U-M's first 17 games, Di Giuseppe then endured a 14-game goalless drought as his NHL Draft prospects dimmed from a potential first-rounder to a more likely second- or third-round selection; he is ranked the No. 22 draft-eligible skater among Noeth American-born players. The 6-1, 200-pound left winger even- tually returned to form offensively, but he and his family are in no rush to leave Michigan. "I love it here, to the rink, and off ice with the guys, it's just the most fun I've ever had, and I wouldn't want to leave this place for anything. "A couple weeks ago, I was talking to " he said. "When it comes Rising junior defenseman Jon Merrill is a good bet to return to U-M after compiling 11 points and a plus/minus of plus-12 in 18 games during the 2011-12 campaign. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL DEPARTURES SINCE 2000 Year Wolverine 2000 Mike Comrie 2001 Jeff Jillson 2001 Andy Hilbert MICHIGAN'S EARLY one of my buddies that had a chance to play at Michigan but he was a first-round OHL pick and he decided to play major juniors, and he just told me he regrets his decision. "I made a great decision to come here, and I wouldn't change it." can-born defenseman — and the No. 9 overall prospect — eligible for this sum- mer's NHL Entry Draft June 22-23, Trouba is a 6-2, 194-pound two-way defender who will likely be among the top 20 picks. "The first-rounders get a lot of pressure to sign," Berenson noted. Chances He'll Return: 70 percent. Jacob Trouba: Ranked the top Ameri- 2002 Mike Cammalleri 2002 Mike Komisarek 2003 Danny Richmond 2004 Dwight Helminen 2005 Mike Brown 2005 Jeff Tambellini 2005 Al Montoya 2006 Trevor Lewis^ 2007 Andrew Cogliano 2007 Jack Johnson 2007 Jason Bailey* 2008 Max Pacioretty 2009 Aaron Palushaj 2010 Robbie Czarnik* 2011 Brandon Burlon 2011 John Gibson^ 2012 Chris Brown school early, with only forward Eric Nystrom (2002 draft), de- fenseman Mark Mitera (2006 draft) and defender Chris Summers (2006 draft) staying all four years. However, only one (Trevor Lewis, 2006) never stepped foot on campus. Trouba is a Michigan native (Rochester), Of the nine U-M first-round picks since 2000, six of them left Elig. So. Jr. So. Jr. So. Fr. Jr. So. Jr. Jr. Fr. So. So. So. Fr. So. So. Jr. Fr. Jr. * Left during the season; ^ left before ar- riving as a freshman and he understands the growth opportu- nity both on the ice and off he can have if he plays for the Wolverines, at least for a few years. And the chance to play, poten- tially, with Merrill is very appealing to him. Chances He'll Arrive: 70 percent. Lindsay Sparks: The 5-9, 176-pounder has been in and out of the lineup for three seasons. He sought to earn a spot consistently as a junior, and opened strong, with five goals and six assists in Michigan's first seven games. However, he had just two more assists the rest of the season (and did not score a goal), while finding himself a healthy scratch in 14 games, including all five postseason contests. Though frustrated, Sparks has made a commitment to return to U-M, finish strong and earn his degree. Chances He'll Return: 90 percent. — Michael Spath MAY 2012 THE WOLVERINE 63

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