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August 08, 2019 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily

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Thursday, August 8, 2019
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com

Michigan hockey roster preview: An overview of returning players

The Michigan hockey team’s
season ended earlier than expected
in the first round of the Big Ten
Tournament in Minneapolis. After
the Wolverines were unable to
collect themselves and make a deep
postseason run. Players and coaches
alike assert that it was not a season
up to par with normal program
standards. If this year is any different,
the returning players and coaches
will need to turn the sour taste
from last year into a sustained level
of motivation and urgency that, at
times, eluded last season’s team.
The Daily breaks down Michigan’s
returning players for this season.
Martin enters his senior season as
perhaps the most polished returning
defenseman. He injured his left arm
in February and missed the rest of the
year. Prior to the injury, he recorded
6 assists in 28 games, finishing with
a plus-one rating in plus-minus —
good for third-best among Wolverine
Senior defenseman Griffin Luce
Luce finished with the team lead
in blocked shots, 74, along with one
goal and three assists last season.
He was a mainstay on the left side
of the blue line for Michigan last
year, appearing in 35 games. Prior to
Martin’s injury in February, the two
were a strong defensive pairing. If the
two are paired together once again
for their senior seasons, expect solid
defense and physicality at the cost of
some offensive upside.
Sophomore defenseman Jack
Summers received inconsistent
playing time to begin his freshman
campaign. After the injury to Martin,
Summers was frequently slotted
alongside Nick Boka. The sophomore
is a solid skater with offensive
potential. He finished with one goal
and 10 assists over 29 games last year.
It would not come as a surprise to see
him take on a more consistent role
next season as an extra defenseman
or starter, in light of the departures of
Joseph Cecconi and Quinn Hughes.
Sophomore defenseman Jake
Gingell appeared in only one
game last season after spending
two seasons in the USHL with the
Youngstown Phantoms. The physical
lefty may be an option for Michigan
coach Mel Pearson as an extra skater
after a season of getting accustomed

with the program.
Senior defenseman Christian
Meike played in two games
last season, recording a goal in an
exhibition match against Waterloo.
The senior adds depth to the defense
— whether he will receive extended
playing time remains to be seen.
forward Nick Blankenburg
Blankenburg was arguably the
most impressive freshman on the
team last season. He is a fast skater
and good shot creator — dynamic
enough to receive time at both
forward and defenseman. Pearson
referred to Blankenburg as a “Quinn
Hughes lite.”
The sophomore did struggle at
times as an off-puck defender but
showed the ability to make up for it
with his aggressiveness and speed. If
he cuts down on his defensive gambles
and becomes more comfortable as a
defender, he will continue to make an
impact on both ends of the ice.
Junior forward Jack Becker
At six-foot-four and 205 pounds,
Becker has the potential to be a
dominant forward on the ice. After
a promising freshman season in
which he recorded 15 points and two
game-winning goals, he turned in
similar numbers in his sophomore
campaign — 15 points on six goals and
nine assists. Becker can be one of the
driving forces on offense if he sees an
uptick in production.
Senior forward Will Lockwood
Lockwood faced the decision
of whether to leave for the NHL
or return for his senior season this
summer. He chose the latter and
became the 100th captain in program
led the Wolverines with 16 goals
and will spearhead the offense
once again. His combination of
speed and stick handling makes
him a difficult matchup for most
collegiate defenders. The second-
round selection by the Canucks is
Michigan’s most polished scorer and
became one of the main sources of
offense after Josh Norris’s season-
ending injury in January. Lockwood
will be featured on the top line, likely
alongside some combination of senior
forwards Jake Slaker, Nick Pastujov
and junior Jack Becker.
Junior forward Dakota Raabe
Last season, Raabe was a part
of two units that impressed and
improved as the season progressed.
His line with Garrett Van Wyhe
and Nolan Moyle drew praise from
Pearson for their yeoman-like effort.

For that reason, Van Wyhe and
Raabe were often called upon to kill
Raabe is among the fastest skaters
on the team, and despite his relatively
small stature, was also among the
team leaders in blocked shots for
a forward. After an impressive
sophomore season, expect Raabe
to continue to make strides on the
penalty kill as well as improving his
offensive repertoire.
Senior forward Jake Slaker
Slaker enters his senior season
as a potential top-line forward and
figures to be a big part of the offense
once again. He excelled on the top
line at the beginning of the year
alongside Norris and Lockwood,
but eventually switched lines after
Norris’s injury. Slaker was streaky
last year, accumulating the majority
of his points at the beginning of the
season before going into a midseason
slump. The lefty has a strong shot,
good vision and often played around
the net.
Senior forward Adam Winborg
Winborg struggled to crack the
rotation early on in his junior season.
But by the time November came
around, he was receiving consistent
playing time. First it was his faceoff
success the impressed. Over his first
three games last season, he went
18-26 in the faceoff circle. Then,
he showed enough consistency for
Pearson to decide to keep Winborg
in the lineup — he went on to play
in 27 games, recording five points.
Entering his senior season, he brings
a solid faceoff presence and stability
up the middle of the ice.
Olmstead appeared in seven games

last season, scoring his only goal in
a 3-1 victory against St. Lawrence.
Perhaps after a year of building
familiarity with the program, he will
receive an extended opportunity for
ice time.
Pastujov is a skilled skater and
inconsistency throughout last season.
After recording three points over
the first four games of the season
and being featured on the top line,
he hit a dry spell. From Oct. 7 to
Dec. 1, Pastujov recorded just one
point and missed three games due
to injury. After being a healthy
scratch at Ohio State in January,
he rebounded and reemerged as a
contributor — including five goals
over the course of two series against
Penn State and Michigan State. If he
can piece together a consistent year,
Pastujov can help address some of the
Wolverines’ offensive woes from last
Senior forward Nick Pastujov
Pastujov has improved upon his
season totals in each of his three
seasons thus far. Last season, he
finished with 11 goals and 13 assists —
often slotted in alongside Lockwood
after the injury to Norris. Pastujov
told the Daily earlier this summer
that though the confidence in his
game is high, he is still looking to
make strides and continue his trend.
Pastujov, along with Lockwood and
Slaker will lead Michigan’s offensive
attack this winter.
Sophomore forward Garrett
Van Wyhe
Van Wyhe is often one of the larger
players on the ice, but what makes
his skillset unique is his combination

of size and speed. It made him an
effective penalty killer alongside
Raabe and contributed towards
his four goals and six assists over
36 games. Van Wyhe continued to
improve as the season progressed. If
that trend continues, he will play an
even larger role next season.
The sophomore forward played
in 31 games, tallying four goals and
nine assists for thirteen points. In the
latter half of the year, he broke out
of his slump and started producing,
scoring and assisting on two big goals
against Wisconsin late in the seasons.
Redshirt-junior forward Luke
Morgan played in all 36 games last
season, finishing with six goals and
seven assists. He is a physical forward
who became a solid contributor after
getting off to a slow start on the
stats sheet. Expect Morgan to play
an equally big role this season in his
second season on the ice.
Moyle appeared in 30 games last
season, putting up seven goals and
three assists. He offered a consistent
physical presence on the fourth line
alongside Raabe and Van Wyhe.
Once the line founds its chemistry,
Moyle found his groove. If he makes
the jump with the rest of the fourth
line, Moyle could become a 20-point
Lavigne earned the starting job
over the offseason between his

Summer Managing Sports Editors

Michigan hockey coach Mel Pearson will enter his third season as head coach of the Wolverines with plenty of talent.


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