Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Three Questions For The Off-Season

With Union's season over, it will be a little slow here on UHB for awhile. But, this will be an interesting and exciting off-season. There are many important questions that will be answered over the next few months, which include:

Keith Kinkaid
 1. Will Keith Kinkaid leave early and sign with the NHL?
Personally, I don't think he's ready yet. He should try to work on his game more and play in more high situation games. In his short two year career, Kinkaid has only won two playoff games: the 2010 ECAC semifinal win over St. Lawrence and Game 1 against Colgate in the ECAC quarterfinals this season. He has lost important games like the 5OT game vs. Quinnipiac, the ECAC championship game against Cornell, the two games to Colgate this year, and the NCAA Tourney game against Minnesota-Duluth. I'm not saying that he played poorly in all of those losses (he was excellent against Cornell and good against UMD), but he needs to prove that he can possibly shutout an opponent in those type of games, like what Kenny Reiter did for UMD last Friday.

I hope he stays because he is an excellent goaltender and is the backbone of the team. But, deep down inside I don't think he'll stay, and will leave early like RPI goaltender Allen York did a few days ago. I still believe this even though Ken Schott and Mark McGuire reported that he will be staying.

Also, take a look how some of the latest players to leave school early to sign with the NHL turned out (College Hockey Inc.).

Rick Bennett
 2. Will the coaching staff stay?
There have been rumors circulating that Coach Leaman and Coach Bennett will leave to take other head coaching jobs. The little rumors I've heard about Leaman is that he might be up for the Harvard job. This makes sense because he was an assistant there before coming to Union, they have more finances to work with, and have recruited NHL prospects like Danny Biega. Personally, I'm more afraid that he'll take the new Penn State job. Leaman has done such a great job building a program here with very little resources, so just imagine what he could do with a new rink, new program, and new league at Penn State.That will be a very appetizing job. Right now, it's hard for me to see Coach Leaman any where else but Schenectady.

Coach Bennett on the other hand, I think will leave and deserves to have a head coaching job. There is currently a vacancy at Providence where Bennett was a great player and was just recently inducted into their athletics hall of fame this winter. He has done such a great job recruiting for Union, and I don't think fans really realize how much he has done for this program. If Bennett leaves, it also creates an opportunity for Coach Barr to be promoted, who has also done an excellent job while at Union.

Adam Presizniuk
 3. Where will the seniors sign?
If you look at the roster, there are only two seniors which really standout to me that will definitely play some sort of pro hockey next season: Adam Presizniuk and Brock Matheson. Prezie is one of the greatest players in Union's DI history and is definitely skilled enough to play in the pros somewhere. The big question with him is where that somewhere is. Will it be in the States or in Europe? Is he good enough for the AHL? Maybe he'll go the same route as Mario Valery-Trabucco and play in a high-level league in Europe.

I know that Brock is getting some looks, but I'm not sure where. If I had to guess it would be somewhere in Europe. I can see him playing in the same league as Mike Schreiber in Germany. Brock is undersized for defender, like Schreiber, but he will be valuable because of his defensive and leadership skills.

Of the other six seniors (Boileau, Cain, Pallos, J. Simpson, Milan, Buote), I'm not sure if they're getting any looks. There are very serviceable players like John Simpson and Andrew Buote who could play some pro hockey, but I don't see them lasting in the pros. You also got to remember that of these six seniors, five of them made the 2010 ECAC All-Academic team, so it is very likely that these guys might want to pursue their career outside of hockey after graduation. Actually, out of all six of this group I see Corey Milan as having the best shot of playing pro hockey. He might be overlooked because of his lack of playing time this season, but has put up some good numbers in his career. This might depend on how well he recovers from his injury.

Hopefully, all of these answers will prove beneficial for the Dutchmen.

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