March 22, 2004
NCAA Tournament

INCH Wish List Draft | Round 1

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We often say that playoff hockey is the best time of the year. That said, even the greatest things in life have flaws. In the case of the NCAA Tournament, even with 16 teams participating, scores of fantastic players have played their last college games of the year – and perhaps their career. Second, no team is perfect – everybody has areas where they could improve.

Here at Inside College Hockey, we set out to solve both those problems. The result? Our own one-of-a-kind NCAA Tournament Wish List Draft. We took the tourney teams and split into 16 scouting staffs to select players from teams that didn’t make the field. The Wish List Draft will feature two rounds of picks, with the first pick of each round belonging to the 16th seed.

You can follow the picks as they are made – round one will take place Monday, round two on Tuesday. Click refresh to see the latest picks.

Now, we know, these players won’t be taking the ice this weekend. But it's fun to see how each team could improve – and fun to picture some of our favorite players back on the ice for at least one more weekend.

NCAA Team Who They Picked 
Holy Cross Thomas Pöck, D, Massachusetts
The Reasoning: To kick things off, the Crusaders grab the best player on the board. Pöck is a one-man breakout and very dangerous on the power play.
Niagara Mark Stuart, D, Colorado College
The Reasoning: The Purple Eagles can score, so the jump at the chance to add a nasty, physical defenseman who can log big minutes.
Harvard Chris Conner, F, Michigan Tech
The Reasoning: Imagine the dynamic Conner surrounded by Harvard's talent. With defensemen going 1-2, the Crimson grab the best available forward.
Notre Dame Shane Joseph, F, MSU-Mankato
The Reasoning: Dave Poulin would've loved to add the crafty Conner to his lineup, but getting Joseph, a proven senior scorer who can create his own opportunities, is a fine option.
Michigan State Ryan Whitney, D, Boston University
The Reasoning: The Spartans are awfully green (no pun intended) on defense. Adding the 6-4, 200-pound Whitney not only makes them stronger in their own end, but also gives them another terrific point man on the power play to go with A.J. Thelen.
Wisconsin Ryan Vesce, F, Cornell
The Reasoning: The Baby Badgers could use a playoff-tested veteran, and Vesce fits the bill coming from the nip-and-tuck ECAC. And since he'd be donning a red-and-white sweater, he won't have to break in new gloves.
New Hampshire Scott Ford, D, Brown
The Reasoning: The Wildcats could stay in-state and get Lee Stempniak, but a scorer doesn't fit their needs the way a big, bruising defensive defenseman does.
Miami Scott Basiuk, D, Rensselaer
The Reasoning: The RedHawks win when their power play is clicking, so they grab Basiuk, a defenseman with good size and eight power play goals.
Denver Brett Sterling, F, Colorado College
The Reasoning: He's not as silky as the injured Connor James, but the pesky Sterling has a nose for the net and would move hometown fans to back the hated Pioneers.
Ohio State Yann Danis, G, Brown
The Reasoning: Consistent goaltending has been an issue for the Buckeyes all season, so they're thrilled to add a Hobey Baker Award finalist who ranks among the top three in the country in goals against average and save percentage.
Michigan Stephen Wood, D, Providence
The Reasoning: The Wolverines are the tin men of the tournament – they lack heart. Wood, a senior co-captain, will help there, and can play good two-way defense as well.
Minnesota Duluth Ben Walter, F, UMass Lowell
The Reasoning: The Bulldogs are a little banged-up up front. Walter is a nice pick here. He's money on the power play and, as an added bonus, has already scored a GWG vs. Michigan State this season.
Minnesota Jordan Sigalet, G, Bowling Green
The Reasoning: Kellen Briggs was (somehow) the WCHA Final Five MVP, but Sigalet is a nice insurance policy if the rookie falters. He faces more rubber than any other goalie in the nation, so the Gophers shouldn't feel bad about taking chances on offense at the risk of minding their own end.
Maine Brendan Cook, F, Bemidji State
The Reasoning: The Black Bears can create offense, but a finisher like Cook could help put more pucks in the net. He scored 23 times this year, including three goals in four games vs. Minnesota and UMD.
Boston College Chris King, G, Alaska Anchorage
The Reasoning: Matti Kaltiainen proved all his doubters wrong – in the regular season. He struggled in the Hockey East quarterfinals. King had a .921 save percentage on the year and no goalie besides Jim Howard has been better over the last three weeks.
North Dakota Steve Silverthorn, G, Colgate
The Reasoning: Easy, Sioux fans. We're not picking on your goaltending duo of Jake Brandt and Jordan Parise. We just feel Silverthorn is a fantastic insurance policy in case your guys decide to go Dan Cloutier on you.

Check out Round Two, which begins Tuesday.

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