Thursday, January 14, 2010

Midseason All-WCHA Peek

One of the real perks of this job is getting a vote for the All-WCHA honors at the end of the season. In order to put a reasonable ballot together, I try to take notes on all the teams I see, both in person and on television.

I look through local coverage of the teams, seeking insights on who is playing well and who might be overrated if you only look at the statistics.

It's a job I take seriously, because I feel like the league deserves to have media people who take such a thing seriously.

Anyway, we've just passed the midway point of the season, and I thought we could take a quick peek around the league to see who is in line for the top honors at the end of the year. You might remember that we did this exercise before the year started, and it's safe to say that things look quite a bit different now.

First Team All-WCHA

Jack Connolly, UMD
Justin Fontaine, UMD
Rhett Rakhshani, Denver
Brendan Smith, Wisconsin
Patrick Wiercioch, Denver
Marc Cheverie, Denver

Second Team All-WCHA

Tyler Ruegsegger, Denver
Derek Stepan, Wisconsin
Rob Bordson, UMD
Gabe Guentzel, Colorado College
Mike Montgomery, UMD
Brad Eidsness, North Dakota

Third Team All-WCHA

Mike Connolly, UMD
Mike Testwuide, Colorado College
Joe Colborne, Denver
Ben Youds, Minnesota State
Ryan McDonagh, Wisconsin
Scott Gudmandson, Wisconsin

WCHA All-Rookie Team
Danny Kristo, North Dakota
Craig Smith, Wisconsin
Ben Hanowski, St. Cloud State
Steven Seigo, Michigan Tech
Matt Donovan, Denver
Joe Howe, Colorado College

Midseason Player of the Year: Jack Connolly, F, UMD
Midseason Defensive Player of the Year: Marc Cheverie, G, Denver
Midseason Coach of the Year: Scott Sandelin, UMD
Midseason Rookie of the Year: Danny Kristo, F, North Dakota
Midseason Breakthrough of the Year: Rob Bordson, F, UMD

To explain some of the decisions above:
  • Connolly (Jack) and Rakhshani are very, very close. Both have elevated their games on really good teams. Connolly's edge at this point is possibly more due to the fact I have seen him play every game than anything Rakhshani has done wrong. He's an amazing player, too.
  • I choose Sandelin based on the expectations/returns principle. CC's Scott Owens is a solid choice here, too.
  • Kristo is a really good player.
  • My preseason pick for Player of the Year was Jordan Schroeder. Yeah, I was wrong. Sue me.
  • The first-team defensive spots are wide open with the injury to Chay Genoway. The more I hear, the less I like his chances of playing anytime soon, which is sad. Hopefully, he makes a full recovery and does it quickly.

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