F – Drew Shore, Denver
Shore had 23 goals and 46 points as a Sophomore for the Pioneers, and really took off in WCHA play, scoring 15 goals in conference. His 15 goals were the second most by a player who is back for another year of WCHA hockey, second only to a fellow teammate, whom we’ll see later.
F – Jason Zucker, Denver
It’s later! Zucker exploded onto the scene last year as a Freshman, posting
23 goals and 45 points. He saved his best for WCHA play, scoring 20 goals in conference play, which ranked 2nd in his league, and his .71 goals per game ranked 3rd. He is a legitimate WCHA player of the year and Hobey Baker candidate.
F – Brian Flynn, Maine
Question: who is the leading returning scorer in Hockey East. Answer: Brian Flynn. Flynn posted 20 goals and 36 points last year for the Black Bears, and now in his Senior season looks to lead Maine back to the NCAA Tournament. There is a question as to whether he can without a guy like Gustav Nyquist taking much of the attention from opposing defenses, but I think he’ll be able to put up numbers no problem.
D – Ben Blood, North Dakota
Blood’s offensive stats aren’t eye popping, but what he is is the best defensive defenseman in college hockey. Plus/minus obviously isn’t the most reliable stat, but Blood was your nation’s leader last year. Sure part of that was because the Sioux scored a lot of goals, but they also allowed over 400 fewer shots on goal than their opponents, an average of roughly 14 per game. Blood was a big reason why last year, and he’ll be a big key this year as well.
D – Danny Biega, Harvard
ECAC Hockey has a strong contingent of defensemen this year, all of whom could have made this list, but none does as much
as Biega, whose 11 goals led all ECAC Hockey defensemen and second on the Crimson. His 30 points led the team in scoring and was in the top 25 of the conference overall. But he’s not just an offensive wizard: the Junior has made huge strides defensively, turning himself into a smart defender (he slashed his penalty minutes from 47 to 34) and has become a very good skater and physical player as well.
G – Cal Heeter, Ohio State
Heeter had to face over 100 more shots than all but two goalies in the CCHA last year, and he stopped a lot of them. His .923 save percentage ranked 11th nationally, and his .922 mark in CCHA play was third among full time goalies, though it is worth mentioning he had to play behind a much worse defense than the two in front of him: he made 100 more saves than Kevin Kapalka and over 200 more than Shaun Hunwick.