It’s been a season where there have been a lot of very good players, and no definitive obvious Hobey picks. It’s going to be interesting to see who wins that award, and we still have our own Player of the Year pick coming up.
Our 2008-09 All-CHN Teams reflect the difficulty in coming up with a decisive group. Our staff placed their votes, and we came up with a consensus. Here are my personal thoughts — feel free to chime in, argue away, and call me a dope. Y’all have never actually needed that invitation to do so in the past, however.
Ryan Stoa — He was not named a Hobey finalist, but should’ve been. I felt he was the forward who most impacted the game every time he was out there. Minnesota had its problems this year, but no moreso than Wisconsin, and Jamie McBain was a Hobey finalist despite having one of the worst plus-minus ratings on the team, minus-8.
Ian Cole was the other non-Hobey finalist to make our First Team. You almost have to pick a Notre Dame player somewhere. Goalie Jordan Pearce has great numbers, but isn’t necessarily spectacular. This is not a knock on him — he doesn’t need to be. The forwards are all-around solid everywhere, but they spread it around. Teammate, Nathan Lawson, was named CCHA Defensive Defenseman of the Year. But Cole seems to be the most complete package of any defenseman I’ve seen.
David McIntyre stood out to me because he was one of the nation’s leaders in plus-minus despite playing on a sub-.500 team. That’s hard to do. Matt Gilroy is, of course, a Hobey finalist, and needs no defense — but his numbers aren’t great. I think his play goes beyond the numbers. He’s had the numbers in the past. He came to BU as a walk-on forward and took years to learn the defensive side. BU has plenty of scorers, but they are now also one of the best defensive teams in the country. That’s why the Terriers are scary.
Our staff ultimately put BU’s Colin Wilson on the Second Team. I must say, I struggled whether to include him. He led BU in scoring, but on the strength of 35 assists. I tend to value goals much more than points. He’s nowhere near the goal-scoring leaders. Tough to leave a Hobey winner entirely off the list, but as dominant goal scorers, BC’s Brock Bradford, Michigan’s Louie Caporusso, and Minnesota-Duluth’s MacGregor Sharp are tough to top. Of course, Wilson doesn’t have to carry the load, so that hurts him in a sense, with BU’s scoring so spread out. So it’s no knock on him, really. But these are individual awards.
Absent from the list, Hobey finalist Jacques Lamoureux of Air Force, the nation’s leading goal scorer with 32. Tough one, but this the age old debate on what it means to score that many goals in a lower-level league.
Forwards that were hard to pass up included: Corey Elkins (Ohio State) , Jason Lawrence (BU) and Brock McBride (St. Lawrence).
Defensively, it was hard to pass up Michigan’s Chad Langlais and his plus-27.
The goaltending spot was really tough. We mentioned Pearce. Hobey finalist Zane Kalemba of Princeton also was not on the list. But the toughest was what to do with Alex Stalock. Like Stoa, he may be the most physically talented of any goaltender in the country, and I realize his numbers are hurt by playing in a more open system and with a defense that isn’t as strong. And, obviously, his last five games have been ridiculously good, and it led UMD to a historical Final Five win. But Chad Johnson was CCHA Player of the Year, and led the nation in save percentage. That’s very impressive in its own right. Stalock may yet deserve it, with a few more wins here this season. But it has to be picked on a whole season.