March 21, 2005
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 took place Monday, round two on Tuesday.

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 
Bemidji State  Matt Carle, D, Denver
The Reasoning: This draft being, by definition, wishful thinking, Carle retains his college eligiblity despite signing with San Jose yesterday. Far and away the best player not in the tournament, Carle would help the Beavers in every facet of the game.
Holy Cross  Ryan Dingle, F, Denver
The Reasoning: Our first inclination was to give the Crusaders a physical defenseman, but Dingle scores goals in every situation – on the power play (15), during the penalty kill (three SHGs) and in key moments of the game (seven GWGs).
Nebraska-Omaha  Nathan Oystrick, D, Northern Michigan
The Reasoning: The Mavericks could desperately use more experience on the blueline, and Oystrick, a senior and a first-team All-CCHA selection, provides both experience and ability. Plus, he's familiar to the Mavs, who lost the Northern Michigan in the conference quarterfinals.
New Hampshire  Gabe Gauthier, F, Denver
The Reasoning: You could do worse than grabbing a guy who loves playoff hockey and has been a leader on two national championship teams. Not only is he a talented forward, but he's a fiery, lead-by-example player – the perfect choice to whip the sometimes-disinterested Wildcats into shape.
Maine  Paul Stastny, F, Denver
The Reasoning: Our run on Pioneers continues. Mike Lundin's injured pinky tempted the Black Bears to take a defenseman here, but you can't pass up a talent like Stastny, who scored two goals in the national title game last April.
Boston College  Jaime Sifers, D, Vermont
The Reasoning: With the exception of captain Peter Harrold, the Eagles are awfully young on defense. Sifers, a three-year captain at Vermont, lends experience and leadership. He will give the Eagle coaches the same peace of mind that Harrold offers when he's out there.
Michigan  Bobby Goepfert, G, St. Cloud State
The Reasoning: Saying goaltening has been their Achilles' heel would be a gross understatement – perhaps Achilles' leg is a more fitting depiction of the Wolverines' vulnerability between the pipes. What better choice, then, than Goepfert, a workhorse who doesn't wear down when facing a lot of shots and doesn't need a ton of goal support to be successful.
Colorado College  Mike Madill, D, St. Lawrence
The Reasoning: The ECACHL Defensive Defenseman of the Year also led all Saints blueliners in points. CC needs a do-it-all backliner in the mold of Mark Stuart and Madill, a senior captain, helps them at both ends of the ice.
Cornell  Mike Ouellette, F, Dartmouth
The Reasoning: The Big Red could use the offense, and Ouellette makes everyone around him better. They'll pick a center instead of a wing since center Chris Abbott couldn't go in the ECACHL championship game.
North Dakota  Marvin Degon, D, Massachusetts
The Reasoning: The Sioux have plenty of punch up front and Jordan Parise is playing the best hockey of his college career. Degon, a solid two-way defenseman, would make the North Dakota power play even more dangerous.
Miami  Alex Foster, F, Bowling Green
The Reasoning: Cheers are heard in the RedHawks' war room as one of the nation's top playmakers falls to Miami late in the first round. Maybe he can center struggling wingers Matt Christie and Marty Guerin to give the team a legitimate second scoring line behind the Jones-Davis-Musitelli trio.
Harvard  Grant Lewis, D, Dartmouth
The Reasoning: The Crimson can use a stabilizing force on the back end which is relatively young, and Lewis would help them greatly. Plus, it presents the opportunity to form a dynamic pairing with childhood friend and fellow ECACHL Second Teamer Dylan Reese.
Michigan State  Casey Borer, D, St. Cloud State
The Reasoning: The Spartans have a pretty full lineup up front, but a little more size on the blueline could help. Borer, St. Cloud State's captain, has already been part of one postseason run and would be a good fit to join another.
Boston University  T.J. Trevelyan, F, St. Lawrence
The Reasoning: A balanced offense has carried the Terriers to a number one seed in the tournament but everyone can stand to add a player like Trevelyan. The Hobey Baker finalist makes goals happen. He entered the year with a reputation as a pure scorer and showed versatility by recording 28 assists this year.
Minnesota  Jason Smith, G, Sacred Heart
The Reasoning: He might play against small-time competition, but the New Jersey Devils' draft pick ranks 15th nationally in goals against average and seventh in save percentage. Better goaltending would help the Gophers, who allowed 12 goals in two games last weekend.
Wisconsin  David Backes, F, Minnesota State Mankato
The Reasoning: One of the Badgers' biggest problems is their lack of a consistent scoring threat outside of Robbie Earl and Joe Pavelski. While they'd probably prefer a playmaking center, Backes, who played mostly right wing with the Mavs, is just as good setting up teammates as he is scoring goals.

Round Two took place on Tuesday.