Sunday, June 3, 2012

B³ Preview: 2012 Lincoln Stars Tryout Camp

Ridder Arena - Minneapolis, MN
With the Lincoln Stars' 2012 tryout camp just a few days away, I thought it might be a good idea to do a quick preview for those interested.  At the 2011 tryout camp, more than 110 players were in attendance, all divided into six teams.  The 2012 camp will also have six teams, so I am assuming another group of 110+ players will be competing.  Let's first look briefly at the Lincoln players from last season who *could* be in attendance:

From 2011-12 season:
F - Zach Aston-Reese
F - Jonathan Grebosky
F - Brad Hawkinson
F - Luke Johnson
F - Bob Kinne ('92-overager)
F - Vinnie Lettieri
F - Markus McCrea ('92-overager)
F - Tommy Schutt
F - Dominik Shine 
F - Will Suter ('92-overager)
D - Brandon Carlson ('92-overager)
D - Zach Frye 
D - Paul LaDue ('92-overager)
D - Mike McKee (import)
D - Logan Smith ('92-overager)
G - Jackson Teichroeb ('92-overager/import)

From 2010-11 season:
F - Eric Scheid ('92-overager)

As you can see above, there is a possibility that eight players (all born in '92) could be battling it out for only four spots on the roster next season.  For those who don't understand the overager rule in the USHL, here's how it works.  Each season, USHL teams can roster only four overagers.  In the 2012-13 season, players born in 1992 are considered overagers.  Basically, at least four of the eight players born in 1992 listed above will not be with the Stars next season.

Also, each USHL team can roster only four "imports," which are players born outside of the United States of America.  Last year, the four imports on the Stars' roster were Jackson Teichroeb, Mike McKee, Ralfs Freibergs, and Kevin Roy.  Teichroeb and McKee could return to Lincoln next season, along with six other drafted players by the Stars who are from Canada:  Charles Guevremont, Brandon Morley, Michael Prapavessis, Brent Wold, Jake Wood, and Austin Yano.  Lots of competition here for only four import spots.

Just because a player spent last season with the Stars doesn't mean that they automatically have a spot on the roster for next season.  We have seen veteran players in the past get cut after the tryout camp, so nothing is guaranteed.  Everyone has to earn a spot.

The Stars will be able to protect 25 players at the July 1st deadline, along with a number of players that they drafted previously on their affiliate list.  Last summer after the 2011 tryout camp, the Stars protected 25 players and 14 affiliate players for a total of 39.  Players protected on the affiliate list, from my knowledge, had to have been previously drafted by the Stars, and not "free agents."   

Once the 2012-13 USHL regular season begins, the Stars and every other team in the league will have to cut down to 23 rostered players.   For the majority of the 2011-12 regular season, the Stars rostered a total of 13 forwards, 8 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders (23 total).  So when you consider the number of veteran players coming back, all of the former draft picks, and then all of the free agent invites, there will be a lot of competition for only a few spots on the roster.  It's like that every year, and at every USHL camp.  If a player shows up and has a bad couple of days, there's good reason to believe that they might not make it on the roster.  It doesn't mean that player is bad, or isn't deserving, but the camp can be a pressure cooker.  If you don't impress the coaches in those couple of days at camp, you can find yourself on the outside looking in.

I've heard a number of rumors regarding certain players listed above not being protected by the Stars, but I'm not going to post anything here until I get to Minneapolis and get a chance to look at the roster sheets.  

One of the things I enjoy most about the tryout camp every year is watching the invited non-drafted players who come out of nowhere and play really well.  Last year it was Will Suter and Charles Williams.  Both were undrafted by Lincoln coming into the camp and were considered "free agents," so to speak.  Suter was easily the best forward at camp while Williams was the best goaltender.  Both used their strong efforts at camp last June to make the team and eventually contribute a lot to the 2011-12 Lincoln Stars.  Two years ago it was an unknown defenseman by the name of Matt Prapavessis who impressed a lot of folks at the 2010 camp and made the team.  Each year it seems like a few players appear at camp as relative unknowns to make the team.  Can't wait to see those players in action.

I don't want to get too wordy with this, so I'll just end it here.  The above is just one fan's opinion.  I'll post a quick article Tuesday night before I leave for Minnesota on Thursday morning.  

No comments: