With the first game starting Sunday, now is as good a time as any to look at how this time might look . With Madigan interested in not holding anything back in order to get his feet wet before the real games start next week. Originally, I would have suggested you’d be likely to see a lot of guys who won’t play a lot of ice time because it’s an exhibition game and you don’t want to get your players injured early on (as what happened to us the last 2 years), not to mention the fact that exhibition games tend to get really chippy (just look at this boxscore from last year). Again, bear in mind this is just my own thoughts, I have no insight:
1st Line: Alex Tuckerman-Mike McLaughlin-Steve Quailer
This is a line that has tons of chemistry. Tuckerman and Quailer played together since their days in the USHL, and this was the exact line used during the late part of the 2008-2009 season (this line was responsible for the goal that clinched the playoff series against UMass). This line has a lot of potential offense on it and could put up big numbers, especially is Tuckerman is fully healthy and Quailer can explode this year.
2nd Line: Cody Ferriero-Braden Pimm-Vinny Saponari
Another offensively potent line. Saponari is a known offensive person at this level already. Pimm is a big guy, and was supposed to be a solid contributor at this level. If he can continue to improve he could put up some solid numbers. Ferriero has a cannon shot, and really hit his stride the end of last year. If they click, it could be a potent line.
3rd Line: Rob Dongara-Justin Daniels-Robby Vrolyk
This is the question mark line. Can Dongara build off a solid freshman year? Can Vrolyk recover from his injury and put up meaningful points? Can Daniels rebound and improve his game? If Daniels plays up to his skill, he could easily move up in the lineup (he did center the 1st line his freshman year), but for now I think he deserves this spot.
4th Line: Ludwig Karlsson-Adam Reid-Garrett Vermeersch
This is the grinder line. Adam Reid played that role well playing for the US National Team, and Karlsson is a big power forward. Vermeersch isn’t a perfect fit here, but he doesn’t mesh well elsewhere. He has the scoring touch for this line, and if he moves the puck around more this line could cause problems
Now onto defense:
1st Pairing: Anthony Bitetto-Luke Eibler
The best defensive pairing for most of last year and will be the best this year. These two played terrific together last year, combining shutdown defense with plenty of puck-moving skills and offensive flair. Looking forward to seeing these two in action together again.
2nd Pairing: Drew Daniels-Drew Ellement
These two provided solid defensive skills last year and were a good pairing, so I see no need to break them up (unless there’s a need to pair the freshmen up with more experienced veterans). Daniels provided some good offensive skills and Ellement was the more stay at home defensemen of the two.
3rd Pairing: Josh Manson-Ben Oskroba
The freshmen will likely not see a ton of time to start, but will likely have increasing ice time as the season progresses. Manson is another converted forward and provided excellent offensive skills last year in the BCHL, and Oskroba is a massive 6’6” defenseman who played in the USHL, and will likely be the more stay at home type of the two.
Goalies: Chris Rawlings-Clay Witt-Bryan Mountain
Rawlings was good last year, albeit a bit inconsistent still. Hopefully he continues to iprove. Clay Witt played well in a limited showing last year, and I hope he sees some more ice time. I doubt we’ll see much of Mountain.
So there were are. A brief overview on what I think we might see in the lineup. Again, this is purely my thoughts. I think Madigan will replace someone like Quailer for Joe Manno, a freshman for the exhibition game to give the freshmen the chance to prove themselves, and the 4th line will likely be very fluid at first.