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.
Pöck, D, Massachusetts
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.
Stuart, D, Colorado College
Reasoning: The Purple Eagles can score, so the jump
at the chance to add a nasty, physical defenseman who can
log big minutes.
Conner, F, Michigan Tech
Reasoning: Imagine the dynamic Conner surrounded
by Harvard's talent. With defensemen going 1-2, the Crimson
grab the best available forward.
Joseph, F, MSU-Mankato
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
Whitney, D, Boston University
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
Vesce, F, Cornell
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.
Ford, D, Brown
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.
Basiuk, D, Rensselaer
Reasoning: The RedHawks win when their power play
is clicking, so they grab Basiuk, a defenseman with good size
and eight power play goals.
Sterling, F, Colorado College
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.
Danis, G, Brown
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.
Wood, D, Providence
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.
F, UMass Lowell
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.
Sigalet, G, Bowling Green
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.
Cook, F, Bemidji State
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.
King, G, Alaska Anchorage
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.
Silverthorn, G, Colgate
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.