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WCHA Bloggers Preseason Poll and Awards

The North Dakota blog A Tradition of Excellence has been doing a preseason poll and some awards for a couple of years now, and for some reason I was entrusted with a ballot this year.

You can see the full results here, but my picks are below:

Standings Prediction

1. Minnesota

2. North Dakota

3. Wisconsin

4. Denver

5. St. Cloud

6. Omaha

7. Colorado College

8. Duluth

9. Michigan Tech

10. Bemidji State

11. Alaska Anchorage

12. Minnesota State

Awards

Player of the year: Mark Zengerle, F, Wisconsin

Rookie of the year: Rocco Grimaldi, F, North Dakota

Defenseman of the year: Joey LaLeggia,...

Preseason Top 16: #11 Wisconsin


Last Season

Despite having the best player in college hockey last year the Badgers struggled all season. Sure they were young, and have virtually everyone back, but they also weren't very good and when they were it wasn't for very long, with only two winning streaks longer than two games. They didn't have many extended losing streaks either but a five gamer combined with an inability to play well for long periods of time doomed them to a 10th place finish in the WCHA.

It was the best of times….

The Badgers put together a four game winning streak late in the season with two wins over Bemidji State ...

Preseason Top 16: #12 Denver


Last Season

The Pioneers had to do without stalwart goalie Sam Brittain for much of the year, but it did not hinder them too much as they mounted a late charge, winning 6 of their final 8 WCHA games to finish third in the league. Denver then advanced to their second straight WCHA championship game before losing to North Dakota in a rematch of the 2011 game. They then lost their first NCAA tournament game to Ferris State

It was the best of times….

During that aforementioned stretch when the Pioneers needed to make up points in a hurry to improve their WCHA position and they did just that, sweeping Minnesota an...

Is Brock Nelson the Next Play-Making Center for the Islanders?

After signing an Entry Level Contract with the New York Islanders back in May, fans must be wondering when Brock Nelson might make his debut in the NHL. Nelson only improved in his two years of playing WCHA hockey as he tallied 68 points in 84 games played. In his first season at the University of North Dakota, Nelson might not have put up numbers that would have made him a standout with the Fighting Sioux, but the freshman managed to hold his own after transitioning from playing high school hockey in Minnesota. (Robert Kowal/Flickr)

Before Nelson arrived at the University of North Dakota, the pivot was highly productive in 31 games played for Warroad High School as he averaged more than three points a game and had a +55 rating. Some may have expected the center to be an offensive dynamo in his first year of WCHA hockey, but Nelson was also placed on a team that had significant talent at the forward position. While the forward only recorded 21 points (8 Goals, 13 Assists) in 42 games played, half of his goals came on the man-advantage, an indicator that better production would come as the center grew more accustomed to WCHA play.