Up next is the University of Maine. From spots 7 to 5, the predictions get more hazy, and a few point here or there could drastically change the settings.
To start with losses, Maine has lost a number of key players. They lose Gustav Nyquist, Hobey Baker finalist and offensive catalyst for the team. They also lose Robby Dee and Tanner House, and 3 of their 6 defensemen.
Defensively, Maine is pretty thin. Will O’Neill is their top returning defenseman, and Matt Cornell and Ryan Hegarty will have to step up and take more ice time. The other 3 defensemen from the past season will have to play a consistent game and get into the lineup regularly (2 of the 3 only played a few of the games this past season). The two defensive recruits coming in aren’t coming from the top leagues, one is coming from the prep league and one from the EJHL. From initial appearances, Maine will have a very solid top defensive pairing, an average 2nd pair, and a weaker 3rd pairing.
Goalie wise, Maine is looking at trouble to start. They split time between 3 goalies, all of whom had a sub-.900 save percentage. They need a goalie to step up to have a chance.
For offense, Maine had a great season last year, ranking 3rd in scoring offense, averaging 3.39 Goals Per Game. The loss of Nyquist, House, and Dee will put hinder some offensive production, but they’re bringing in two USHL’ers who put up some decent points, and will look to Spencer Abbott and Brian Flynn to lead the offense.
In the past few seasons,. despite high expectations, Maine (like UMass) failed to live up to them. Maine will likely be viewed lower this year, and maybe the lack of expectations will help them in a way.