Saturday, July 12, 2014

A look at the Lincoln Stars' protected roster

A few days ago, Chris Dilks of the SB-Nation College Hockey blog authored an article in which he posted the protected rosters of all USHL teams.

This came to a surprise to many, including myself.  I was told by the USHL's Hockey Ops Twitter account that teams had the option of releasing their 48 man protected roster (30-man main, 18-man affiliate).  If teams didn't want to release their rosters, they didn't have to.  So I expected most teams to not release their protected rosters, including the Stars.

I've been following the USHL for a long time now, and it seems like teams are becoming more and more tight-lipped about their protected rosters this time of year.  Why that is, I'm not exactly sure.  I would assume every USHL team in the league has the protected rosters of all the other teams.  So I would guess there are no secrets among USHL clubs.

Anyway, it was a nice surprise to see the rosters posted by Chris Dilks.  I'm sure some folks within the USHL circle probably weren't very happy that the protected rosters were released.  But considering the amount of people who originally had access to it, it was bound to find its way to the media and to the public who buy tickets.

I'm going to post Lincoln's 30-man main and 18-man affiliate roster below.  I'll post my thoughts afterwards, including a look back at my prediction article.  The players listed below are in no particular order.

30-player protected roster:
G - Hunter Shepard
G - Peyton Jones
D - Connor Frantti (Overager)
D - Luke Shiplo (Import)
D - Patrick Gazzillo
D - Tye Ausmus
D - Anthony Wyse
D - Dylan Woolf
D - Cameron Lee
D - Wyatt Kalynuk (Import)
D - Ryan Jones 
D - James LaDouce
D - Tony DeVito
F - Dominick Sacco
F - Max Humitz
F - Keegan Ward
F - Biagio Lerario
F - Blake Christensen
F - Ludvig Hoff (Import)
F - Jared Bethune
F - Angus Scott
F - Miguel Fidler
F - August Von Ungern-Sternberg
F - Chris Klack (Import)
F - Quin Foreman
F - Michael Gillespie
F - Colton Fletcher
F - Casey Dornbach
F - Dylan Malmquist
F - empty

18-player affiliate list:
D - Tristan Rostagno ('96)
F - Nathan Dingmann ('96)
D - Austin Cho ('97 - Import)
D - Luke Jaycox ('97)
D - Tyler Jutting ('97)
F - Josh Bell ('97)
F - Michael Floodstrand ('97)

F - Troy Terry ('97)
G - Tommy Nappier ('98)
D - AJ DiCesare ('98)
D - Liam Schioler ('98 - Import)
F - Jack Badini ('98)
F - Sam Field ('98)
F - Ethen Frank ('98)
F - Jacob Harris ('98 - Import)
F - Dominick Mersch ('98)
F - Ethan Stahlhuth ('98)
F - Kyle Weller ('98)

I noticed that the protected roster sent in by the Stars has James LaDouce listed as a forward, but he is a defenseman.

Looking back at my roster prediction article, of the 48 players listed, I got 44 correct.  Not too bad.  The three players listed I had listed in my prediction article that were not included above were Evan Johnson, Cade Gleekel, and Grant Loven.  

The two surprise additions in my opinion were (D) Patrick Gazzillo, and (F) Michael Floodstrand.  Gazzillo was at Lincoln's tryout camp this past fall, but did not make the camp all-star game.  I heard later that he was attending the Madison Capitols' tryout camp, and had made their 30-man protected roster.  That obviously wasn't the case as he is listed here.  My guess is that the Stars have him protected in case any other USHL teams would like to trade for him.

As far as I'm aware, Michael Floodstrand will be playing for the NTDP U-18 team this fall, and will be attending Harvard the following year.  Floodstrand is a former futures draft pick of Lincoln, so I assume they are protecting him here in case one of two things happen:  1) Floodstrand doesn't play for the U-18's this year, or 2) Harvard pushes him back to 2016. 

You'll notice that the Stars only protected 29 players on their 30-man roster, leaving an open spot that I assume will be filled by (F) Ryan Lomberg.  Click here to read more about how the Stars acquired Lomberg.

On paper, this will be a very young, talented, yet inexperienced team.  There are some good veteran forwards coming back, and a few defensemen, but neither goaltender has USHL experience.  You'll notice there are a lot of players born in 1996 and 1997 on the 30-man roster, and not too many players born in 1994 or 1995.  So it may take this team a little bit of time to get adjusted to the speed and skill of the USHL.

Is this a playoff team?  It's still too early for me to even guess.  A lot can happen to the roster above between now and September.  It would not surprise me at all if more trades are made during the summer.  I think it would be wise to add a little more experience to this team.

What I do know is that this will be a quick, disciplined, and skilled team.  Unlike in years past, I very much doubt this team will lead the USHL in penalty minutes.  In fact, I'd be willing to bet big money with anyone that this team will not even lead the western conference in penalty minutes.  The new staff in place will stress puck possession and smart, physical hockey.  It will be a change for what most fans have witnessed at the IceBox over the years, but I think it will be a good change.

 If this club can play .500 hockey the first couple of months of the season, then I'll be very happy.  I anticipate this team getting better as the season progresses as the younger players get accustomed to the league.  What I like about the preseason and regular season schedule is that the Stars will hit the ice earlier (late August, early September) in preparation for the USHL Atlantic Challenge preseason tournament in New York.  No late starts like in past seasons.  Also, the Stars will start the 2014-15 regular season with five straight home games.  Good opportunity there for a young team to build some confidence early playing in from of the home crowd.

I'm already excited for the upcoming season, and wish we could fast forward to late September.  I haven't been this excited about Lincoln Stars hockey in a long time.  It is certainly a new era for this organization.  I'm looking forward to the positive changes ahead.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about this roster.  Please leave a comment below.

Go Stars.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd have to say I'm pretty excited about this line up as well, we have several returners with USHL experience plus alot of young new talent with (at least seems to me) tons of potential.
As far as how we'll do in the regular season, who knows? Right now I'm guessing Omaha will be tough to beat (if I counted right, 15 returning players including Hayden Hawkey) and probably Waterloo as well, but after that its hard to say who has the best chance at making the playoffs. If , like you say we can win half our games in the first half of the season we may have a good chance. I wouldn't be surprised if we made at least 2 trades for more experienced players before the pre season starts to improve our chances. Regardless, this should be an exciting team to watch and I can't wait for the season to start.
Love your articles/blogs.....they're whats getting me through the off season. Keep up the great work!