ECAC 2009-10 preview

By pbadmin

The ECAC put two teams into the NCAA tournament last year. The Princeton Tigers lost a heartbreaking overtime game to Minnesota-Duluth and the Yale Bulldogs, the ECAC tournament champions, lost convincingly to eventual Frozen Four participants Vermont. With a host of solid NHL prospects in its ranks for 2009-10, including Montreal first-round pick Louis Leblanc, the ECAC should be a conference to watch this year. 

Brown Bears

NHL prosopects: 0
Last Year: Finished last in the ECAC

Brown finished at the bottom in the ECAC last season and their lineup is devoid of any true NHL prospects. Last year’s leading scorer Matt Vokes has graduated and their next highest scoring forward, Ryan Garbutt has moved on as well so this young team will have to grow up quickly if it is to improve on last season’s finishing position. 

Clarkson Golden Knights
NHL prospects: 5
Last Year: Lost in First Round of ECAC Tournament

Clarkson will look to improve on what was a promising outing for them last season. In the forward ranks, a player who will be expected to improve on his impressive freshman season is Boston draft pick Nick Tremblay (173rd, ’08) who was the Golden Knights leading rookie last year. Julien Cayer, another second-year player, who is property of Detroit (151st, ’08), had a slower start to his college career and will look to step up this season. 

Bryan Rufenach, the team’s top defenseman and a Red Wings prospect (208th, ’07) returns for his junior season and will be expected to contribute on the power play. Additionally, Ottawa prospect Mark Borowiecki, a true defensive defenseman returns for his sophomore campaign and will provide help for goaltender Paul Karpowich, a St. Louis Blues pick (185th, ’08), who established himself as the team’s No. 1 netminder as a freshman. 

Colgate Raiders

NHL prospects: 6
Last Year: Lost in First Round of ECAC Tournament 

Despite last season’s disappointing outing, Colgate has a number of NHL prospects in their lineup for the 2009-10 season. Center David McIntyre returns after leading the team in scoring with 43 points last year. McIntyre, while originally a 2006 draft choice of the Dallas Stars, had his rights traded to Anaheim and then again to New Jersey last season. Junior forward Brian Day (NYI) also returns. Day had 27 points in 34 games last year.

Corbin McPherson, a defenseman and the highest Colgate player ever drafted when he was taken by the Devils (87th, ’07), returns for his sophomore season. Austin Smith also returns for his sophomore campaign after finishing last year second in points with 31. The Dallas, TX native is a prospect of his hometown Stars (128th, ’07). 

Colgate also welcomes two newly-drafted freshmen. Defenseman Jeremy Price joins the team from the CJHL’s Nepean Raiders where his 41 points convinced the Vancouver Canucks to draft him (113th, ’09). Thomas Larkin is another new addition to the blue line. The Columbus draft pick (137th, ’09) scored 52 points in 35 games for prep school Phillips Exeter Academy last year. 

Cornell Big Red

NHL prospects: 6
Last Year: Lost in Championship Game of ECAC Tournament 

After finishing runners-up in the ECAC last year, Cornell welcomes back its strongest performers as well as a talented crop of freshmen. Goaltender and early Hobey Baker candidate Ben Scrivens returns for the team after participating in the New York Rangers prospect camp this past summer. Scrivens went 22-10-4 with a GAA of 1.81 and a .931 save percentage last year. A free agent, Scrivens should get a considerable look from the NHL should he continue his fine play in net. 

Riley Nash, an Edmonton first-round selection (21st, ’07), also returns to Cornell. Nash, a junior, posted a team-best 35 points last season. Captain Colin Greening, an Ottawa prospect (204th, ’05) returns for his senior year after scoring 31 points in 2008-09. 

Cornell also has a trio of 2008 draft picks. Returnee Sean Collins, a Columbus pick (178th, 08), had a disappointing season last year only scoring six points, but will be joined by defensive duo Nick D’Agostino, taken by Pittsburgh (211th, ’08), and Braden Birch, a Blackhawks prospect (178th, ’08). 

Senior Justin Krueger (CAR) also returns. The 6’3 defender plays a stay at home style.

Dartmouth Big Green

NHL prospects: 4
Last Year: Lost in First Round of ECAC Tournament 

Canadiens draft pick Dustin Walsh (169th, ’09) arrives at Dartmouth this year expected to make an impact after impressing in the Canadian junior ranks. Walsh, a center, scored 90 points in 68 games playing for the Kingston Voyageurs last season and was chosen to play in the CJHL Top Prospects game. 

Another newcomer is Mark Goggin, a seventh-round pick of the Bruins in 2008. Goggin played last season with the Chicago Steel of the USHL, scoring 43 points. It is expected that the forward will figure into the Dartmouth power play this season. 

The Dartmouth blue line corps will include junior Joe Stejskal, another Montreal draft pick (133rd, ’07). Stejskal finished last season with 12 points and was the team’s second highest scoring defenseman. Another returnee is sophomore Troy Mattila. An Islanders prospect (190th, ’06); Mattila registered five points last season.

Harvard Crimson

NHL prospects: 6
Last Year: Lost in First Round of ECAC Tournament 

Harvard welcomes Montreal first-round draft pick Louis Leblanc to the fold this season.  Leblanc, a centerman, who scored 59 points in 60 games for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL last year, will be expected to contribute immediately. However, if Montreal’s handling of former NCAA prospect and first-round pick Max Pacioretty is anything to go by, Harvard may not have long to enjoy Leblanc’s talents.

Another newly-drafted addition to the Harvard lineup is Swede Alex Fallstrom, who was taken 116th overall by the Minnesota Wild. Fallstrom, a winger, is familiar with North America having played the last two seasons at Minnesota’s famed Shattuck-St Mary’s. His production there was stellar, scoring 87 points last year. 

Harvard welcomes back alternate captain and Sabres draft pick (147th, ’06) Alex Biega. Biega, a native of Montreal, led Harvard in assists and was second in points last year. Forward and leading power-play scorer Alex Killorn also returns this season. The Tampa Bay draftee (77th, ’07) was tied for fourth in total scoring last year. 

Other key returnees are last year’s leading point scorer Doug Rogers, an Islanders draft pick (119th, ’06) and Matt McCollem, drafted by the Blues (154th, ’06), who was tied for fourth in points last season. 

Princeton Tigers

NHL prospects: 1
Last Year: Lost in Consolation Game of ECAC Tournament, lost in First Round of NCAA Tournament.

Princeton were consistently the highest nationally ranked ECAC team last season and suffered a disappointing overtime loss to Minnesota-Duluth in the first round of the NCAA tournament.  However, the Tigers can look to pick up where they left off as they return the majority of their best performers from last year. Goaltender Zane Kalemba, a player expected to be in contention for the Hobey Baker, returns after participating in the San Jose Sharks prospect camp this summer. With a record of 22-10-1 last year with a GAA of 1.82 and a save percentage of .932, Kalemba is considered one of the top goalies in the NCAA. 

Defenseman Jody Peterson, another undrafted prospect, finished last season with 19 points and attended the Vancouver Canucks prospect camp. Princeton also welcome back Dan Barlett, last year’s leading scorer with 28 points.

New to Princeton is Ottawa draft pick Michael Sdao (191st, ’09). Sdao spent the past two years with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL and registered 10 points from the back line in each of those seasons. 

Quinnipiac Bobcats

NHL prospects: 1
Last Year: Lost in Quarterfinals of ECAC Tournament 

Quinnipiac graduated its top two scorers last year, Bryan Leitch and David Marshall, and it will be up to the remaining players to ensure that the Bobcats can contend for the top half finish in the ECAC. Senior forwards Jean-Marc Beaudoin and Eric Lampe, who scored 27 and 26 points last season respectively, will bear the brunt of the load but a lot will be expected of sophomore Scott Zurevinski who scored 18 points as a freshman. Junior Pat McGann, a Dallas draftee (233rd, ’05), returns in goal. 

RPI Engineers

NHL prospects: 6
Last Year: Finished second to last in conference 

RPI adds two highly-touted freshmen to their class this season. Jerry D’Amigo, taken by Toronto late in the 2009 draft, spent last season with the U.S. NTDP and was the leading scorer for the US team that won the U-18 World Championships this spring. He is joined by Brandon Pirri, a Blackhawks prospect (59th, ’09), who split his playing time last season between the Streetsville Derbys and the Georgetown Raiders of the OJHL. Pirri finished the season with 94 points, which was good enough for third overall in the OJHL. Both players are expected to adapt well to the NCAA game and should help the Engineers improve on their second to last finish in the ECAC last season. 

The incoming class will be assisted by the return of last season’s leading scorers, forwards Chase Polacek and Patrick Cullen. Other returnees include defensemen Christian Jensen (SJ), Jeff Foss (NAS) and Mike Bergin, a Dallas draftee (209th, 08), who only managed six games last season. Sophomore goaltender and Columbus prospect Allen York (158th, ’07) will be expected to take on full-time netminding duties after the team graduated senior Mathias Lange. 

St. Lawrence Saints

NHL prospects: 0
Last Year: Won Consolation Game in ECAC Tournament 

St. Lawrence enjoyed a strong finish to their season last year but graduated four of their top five scorers. Top scorer Mike McKenzie returns for his senior year after registering 34 points  last season. First-year player Kyle Flanagan, a homegrown talent, joins the fold after spending last year with Cedar Rapids of the USHL where he scored 57 points. Junior Jared Keller, who scored 20 points last season, will be expected to up his production in order to ensure the Saints maintain their position as ECAC contenders. 

Union Dutchmen

NHL prospects: 0
Last Year: Lost in Quarterfinals of ECAC Tournament. 

Highly-touted goaltending prospect Keith Kincaid arrives at Union intent on living up to the hype he generated last season while playing with the St. Louis Bandits of the NAHL. In St. Louis, Kincaid was named League MVP, Goaltender of the Year and First Team All Star and will be expected to contribute immediately for the Dutchmen. Kincaid, who went undrafted, participated in the Rangers prospect camp this summer.

Returning for Union is last year’s top scorer Adam Presizniuk who recorded 38 points. Also back is Mario Valery-Trabucco, now a senior, who scored 29 points last year.

In goal, junior Corey Milan is back after establishing himself as the team No. 1 last year. Milan went 19-17-3 in 39 games last year. 

Yale Bulldogs

NHL prospects: 0
Last Year: Won ECAC Championship, lost in First Round of NCAA Tournament 

Yale was consistently the best team in conference play last season and duly won both the regular season and tournament championships for the ECAC. Despite their strong play, however, they lost convincingly to UVM in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and will be looking to improve their non-conference play in order to ensure they can compete in the post-season.  Freshman Andrew Miller will be one of the key components to this goal. Miller, playing last year for the Chicago Steel, led the USHL in scoring and was the league’s player and forward of the year.

Big things are expected of returning forward Sean Backman who with a good season could see himself in contention for the Hobey Baker and All America honors. Last season, Backman was the Bulldogs third highest scorer with 33 points. He will lead the forward line along with last season’s leading scorers Mark Arcobello and Broc Little who both registered 35 points.