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.
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.
Carle, D, Denver
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.
Dingle, F, Denver
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).
Oystrick, D, Northern Michigan
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
Gauthier, F, Denver
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.
Stastny, F, Denver
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.
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.
Goepfert, G, St. Cloud State
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.
Madill, D, St. Lawrence
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.
Ouellette, F, Dartmouth
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.
Degon, D, Massachusetts
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.
Alex Foster, F, Bowling Green
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.
Lewis, D, Dartmouth
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.
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.
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.
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.
Backes, F, Minnesota State Mankato
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.