AA Preseason Rankings 2014-2015

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karl(east)
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AA Preseason Rankings 2014-2015

Post by karl(east) » Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:03 pm

Have I really been doing this for seven years now? Afraid so. Not only that, my operation will be based out of Minneapolis this year, so I hope to get around the Metro some (while at the same time avoiding the dreaded Metro Bias). You can find me on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/KarlEastHockey

As usual, this is done in the spirit of fun, and in the interest of generating debate. Have at it.

1. Edina
-The Hornets have been the state’s dominant force in recent seasons, and while they lost some talent to junior hockey, they are #1 until someone else convinces me otherwise. Dylan Malmquist and Garrett Wait are the front-line talents, but their real strength is their unmatched depth, which will fill the holes with capable players. If there is a concern, it’s in goal, but they do have an experienced stay-at-home defense in front of the net. The real question here is how much value to put on inertia and mystique; in recent seasons, this team has just found a way to peak at the right time, year after year. The Turkey Trot will give us some idea of where they stand against some quality challengers, while their second week is somewhat easier.
Schedule: Wayzata Turkey Trot—11/21 vs. #11 Holy Family, 11/22 vs. Maple Grove/Wayzata; 11/25 vs. Champlin Park, 11/29 at Centennial

2. Lakeville North
-With 6 players already committed to D-I schools, the Panthers are the state’s most talented team: this is their year to peak and seize a state title. That talent is balanced across all positions, with the Poehlings up front and Sadek and McNeely on the blue line forming a lethal top unit. Their depth, while solid, may not quite match the west metro powers, and also they’ll have to handle the burden of the target on their backs and show more composure. They open against the closest thing they have to a serious competitor in 1AA.
Schedule: 11/25 at Farmington

3. Benilde-St. Margaret’s
-After a somewhat disappointing 13-14 campaign, the Red Knights reload with a big cast of returners; they may not quite have the star power of Edina or North, but they can match the depth. They also bring back a lot of experience on defense, which is key, because erratic defense has been this team’s Achilles Heel over the past two seasons. If they can finally lock things down, they could be right there with the top two; if not, they’ll be buried in a tough 6AA.
Schedule: 11/25 at East Ridge, 11/29 at #5 Elk River

4. St. Thomas Academy
-The Cadets may be the best team getting little hype out there; Tom Novak may be gone, but their next eight top scorers all return. They don’t quite have the number of elite players that the teams ahead of them do, but they have a few of them in Versich and Donohue, and with a lot of experience on the roster, they’re in good position for their first AA State berth. They don’t open until December, and the early schedule is on the easy side, too.
Schedule: Idle until 12/3

5. Elk River
-After a near-miss last season, the Elks are loaded to track down their first State Tournament berth in ten years. Jake Jaremko is a serious Mr. Hockey candidate up front, while Matt Kiersted leads from the blue line, and they have reasonably good depth across the board. They do need a goalie, and need to get over their Amsoil Arena hex. They begin the season on a tough 6AA circuit and have a chance to make a statement against two other top teams.
Schedule: 11/25 at #6 Wayzata, 11/29 vs. #3 Benilde-St. Margaret’s

6. Wayzata
-Like Elk River, the Trojans return a balanced cast and inject another round of quality bantam talent. As Pat O’Leary enters his fourth year of coaching, Wayzata has built a reputation for tough defense; now, can they take the next step and reach their potential offensively? No one has a tougher schedule than the Trojans, and as usual, it’s relentless at the front end, though all at home.
Schedule: Wayzata Turkey Trot—11/21 vs. #8 Maple Grove, 11/22 vs. Edina/Holy Family; 11/25 vs. #5 Elk River, 11/28 vs. Hermantown, 11/29 vs. #10 Duluth East

7. Hill-Murray
-Hill suffered heavy graduation losses at forward off a team that failed to make State last year. The good news, however, is that they do have a very strong defense, and when Hill teams have overachieved in recent years, it’s always been with defense-first squads. There are some talented young forwards in the pipeline, and their ability to adjust to the big stage and support Zach Mills will likely determine how far the Pioneers can go. Their lone November game is against a Burnsville that also has some questions.
Schedule: 11/22 vs. #15 Burnsville

8. Maple Grove
-The Crimson have been hovering in the top ten for several years now, but have only mustered one (very brief) Tourney appearance. With a deep group of forwards coming back, this could be the year they put things together. They don’t have the star power of many of the other top ten teams, but they’re in a good position to nab the 5AA crown. Their schedule is right up there among the toughest.
Schedule: Wayzata Turkey Trot—11/21 vs. #6 Wayzata, 11/22 vs. Edina/Holy Family; 11/25 vs. #9 Eden Prairie

9. Eden Prairie
-The Eagles will miss their two Mr. Hockey finalists from a year ago, but Michael Graham and Casey Mittelstadt should make for a dynamic duo up front, and they return three regular defensemen as well. Questions of depth and in goal keep them behind the top two in 6AA for now, but this program is big enough to fill those holes. Two early games against teams near them in the rankings will show us a bit more about them.
Schedule: 11/25 at #8 Maple Grove, 11/29 vs. #12 Prior Lake

10. Duluth East
-The beat goes on for the ever-contending Hounds, who boast a fairly deep forward corps and an experienced goalie. Unlike recent years there are some serious questions on defense, though Mike Randolph’s schemes can usually cover for such shortcomings; the question is how much of a cost that exacts on the offense. If a handful of young talents grow up quickly, they could be deep and dangerous; transfer Luke Dow’s status in limbo also holds them back for the time being. Their opener is a tough one against a Wayzata team that will already have three games in the books.
Schedule: 11/29 at #6 Wayzata

11. Holy Family
-Stars like John Peterson and Will Garin put the Fire in the picture, and they have also reloaded in goal despite losing a pair of quality tenders. Still, questions of depth mean they’ll stay behind the frontrunners in 6AA until they demonstrate that they can do otherwise. Their schedule is still among the weakest in top AA teams due to Wright County Conference play, but they have been doing what they can to strengthen the nonconference slate, and open with a serious test in the Turkey Trot.
Schedule: Wayzata Turkey Trot—11/21 vs. #1 Edina, 11/22 vs. Maple Grove/Wayzata; 11/29 vs. Stillwater

12. Prior Lake
-The Lakers’ steady rise hit a bump last season, but they bring back a deep group of forwards and have enough new talent coming in that they should be a top-15 team again. They are a bit thin on defense, which might make it tough for them to give Edina a run in 2AA, but a 2-seed is a realistic expectation; similarly, the South Suburban is pretty open beyond Lakeville North. It’s time for this program to take its place among the contenders. Eden Prairie will likely be their toughest game before Christmas.
Schedule: 11/25 vs. Lakeville South, 11/29 at #9 Eden Prairie

13. Grand Rapids
-The Thunderhawks have a rising young core that is cause for excitement, with three top-notch junior forwards and a state champion bantam class coming in. Depending on how quickly they develop, they may be able to overcome their depth disadvantage against the top 7AA teams in the past couple years. There are just a few too many questions in back to go any higher, though. Their early schedule is primarily northern teams that they should be favored against, though some, like Bemidji, could give them a game.
Schedule: 11/25 at Bemidji, 11/29 at Forest Lake

14. Blaine
-This season could go a couple different ways for the Bengals. They’ll miss the deep senior class that made them a top team last season, but there are still a couple of big, dangerous forwards left in the system that might yet carry them back to State. They also have a new coach, and will need some help on defense and in goal to bring down Maple Grove. They open against some visitors from the north, with the Moorhead game in particular having consequences for the 10-20 part of the rankings.
Schedule: 11/28 vs. Roseau, 11/29 vs. Moorhead

15. Burnsville
-This was a tough spot to fill. The Blaze suffered serious losses through graduation and early departure over the summer, leaving them with Jack Ahcan and a whole lot of inexperience. The pipeline is also a bit drier than it has been recently. Even so, there’s enough in this program to keep them toward the top of 2AA for the time being, and Dylan Lubbesmyer in goal could make them dangerous. They open against a couple of other teams in retooling mode.
Schedule: 11/22 at #7 Hill-Murray, 11/25 vs. Eagan

The Next Ten

Stillwater
-The Ponies overachieved in landing a State Tournament berth last season, but that was a big first step for a program on the rise. With an influx of quality bantam talent and a respectable returning cast, they’re now a real contender, and among the favorites in the Suburban East. Holy Family offers them their first test of any magnitude.

Moorhead
-The Spuds are an interesting case somewhat in the Hill-Murray vein; they have one of the best defensive squads in the state and a veteran goaltender, but return very little scoring. If they can generate any offense at all, they could be very tough to crack and a potentially nasty first-round draw at State. The kick things off with a tough road trip to the Metro to face Minnetonka and Blaine.

Minnetonka
-After something of a lost season last year, the Skippers will look to rebound on the strength of their strong goaltending, defense, and a handful of quality forwards. Serious contention in 6AA will be a big leap given the depth of the section, but they could be the sort of team no one wants to face in the playoffs is they stick to their strengths. They open against the team immediately above them here, followed by Anoka.

Centennial
-The Cougars lose a lot off of last season’s squad. That was the story last season, though, and they still wound up back at the Xcel Center in March. Mix together a couple of great forwards, a few returning defensemen, and a very consistent youth program, and they’ll likely be right there in 5AA once again. They open with a serious test against Edina.

Cretin-Derham Hall
-Lest we forget, a feisty Cretin squad was the top seed in 3AA last season, and a number of their top scorers are back for another run. There are some questions on defense and they can’t boast St. Thomas’s front-end talent, but they’ll certainly be a tough out, and will battle Stillwater and White Bear Lake for the SEC crown. They open against Holy Angels and Mahtomedi.

White Bear Lake
-Jake Wahlin is gone, but the Bears do return a solid core of capable players and are very much in the 4AA picture. While not blessed with tons of front-end talent, the balance here is good; the key will be finding the consistently that has often eluded them. Their early schedule is pretty light.

Farmington
-The Tigers return most of a team that made the 1AA final last season, and their move to the South Suburban should test this team much more and help them continue their ascent. Taking out Lakeville North will be a tall order, but if they can fly under the radar and show some growth, it isn’t out of the question. They open against a bunch of 1AA teams, most notably North.

Lakeville South
-The Cougars boast one of the state’s best juniors in Nick Swaney, and they return a few quality forwards to support him, too. If they can get a green defense up to speed, they could climb into contention. A road trip to Prior Lake is their only November action.

Andover
-The Huskies don’t overwhelm in any single area, but they have a couple of quality players and decent depth. That should be enough to stay relevant, and puts them at the head of a busy second tier in 7AA.

Bemidji
-This might be a reach, but there’s some good young talent coming up through the ranks in Bemidji, and the Lumberjacks return a pretty decent core from last season, too. In this year’s 8AA they’re certainly deep enough to contend, and if they can get some quality minutes from the lower lines, they’ll have a very real shot at the top 20. Early games against Grand Rapids and Moorhead will be big.

The sections:

1AA
2 Lakeville North
22 Farmington
23 Lakeville South
-This isn’t the same old 1AA. With North now entrenched as a title contender and two other teams inching their way upward, hockey on the far south end of the Metro can’t be taken lightly. Given their array of talent, though, denying North a sixth Tourney in seven years won’t be easy. North and Farmington collide right away, which should be instructive.

2AA
1 Edina
12 Prior Lake
15 Burnsville
-Burnsville’s drop-off gives Edina one of its clearest paths during this run of eight straight section championships. This opens the door for Prior Lake to impose itself toward the top of the section, and there’s room for some rare intrigue beyond, with Jefferson losing substantial talent, Holy Angels hovering in there, and Chanhassen perhaps on the upswing. Edina and Prior Lake don’t meet during the regular season; Burnsville does play the Hornets in late December.

3AA
4 St. Thomas Academy
20 Cretin-Derham Hall
Eastview
-St. Thomas should be the favorite in 3AA, but this section isn’t quite as rigid as the rankings make it look. Cretin is poised to make a run, and the second tier, as usual, is interesting: Eastview still has some talent (they were the first team to miss the top 25 cut), Rosemount should continue to improve, East Ridge might get a new jolt of life under Wes Walz, and Eagan, despite heavy losses, has had a knack for putting everything together. It should be an entertaining race. As usual, the variety of conferences here will make seeding difficult.

4AA
7 Hill-Murray
16 Stillwater
21 White Bear Lake
-The suspects are familiar, but Stillwater’s breakthrough and rising youth program make things a bit more interesting here. Hill will look to rebound and avoid its first two-year State drought since the early 00s, while White Bear lurks as a team with something to prove post-Wahlin. Nothing in the second tier of this section really stands out. Stillwater and Hill don’t play, so the seeding will likely go through results with White Bear.

5AA
8 Maple Grove
14 Blaine
19 Centennial
-With Blaine and Centennial losing lots to graduation, Maple Grove is the tentative favorite in the north metro. Still, with Blaine’s star power and Centennial’s recent success, it’ll be the usual three-team race. All three play each other once by mid-December. Anoka and Rogers should round out the top five. Whoever comes out of 5AA, the pressure is on to end the 5AA 5-year winless rut at the Tourney.

6AA
3 Benilde-St. Margaret’s
6 Wayzata
9 Eden Prairie
11 Holy Family
18 Minnetonka
-The state’s toughest section is its usual self. Benilde and Wayzta’s contrasting styles lead the way, though Eden Prairie and perhaps Holy Family could jump up and join them with enough big contributions from younger players. There’s depth beyond that; Minnetonka could be serious trouble if they can bounce back, and Hopkins, which has a good goalie and returns a respectable core, could also challenge some of the better teams. As usual, there are plenty of games between all the teams throughout

7AA
5 Elk River
10 Duluth East
13 Grand Rapids
24 Andover
-Elk River looks to be the strongest non-East 7AA squad in 8 years or so, setting up another heated race between the Elks and the six-time defending champions. Grand Rapids lurks not far behind, but needs to show some improvement to join the two at the top. There is a deep second tier in 7AA, with Cloquet and St. Michael-Albertville nipping at Andover’s heels among the upset threats. East plays all three of those teams in the first few weeks of the season.

8AA
17 Moorhead
25 Bemidji
-With Roseau suffering heavy losses, Moorhead becomes the default favorite in the northwest. Their most interesting competition this season will come from Bemidji, which has some rising young talent; if things can finally come together at the high school level, they could find their way to St. Paul for the first time in nearly 30 years. Those two collide for the first of two meetings on December 2nd. It’s pretty thin beyond that; a few talented players keep Roseau relevant, and the Dave Aus era is set to begin in Brainerd, but a southern team (Buffalo, perhaps?) or two could snag a rare top-4 seed with a strong season.

A handful of storylines:
-The obvious story in AA is the race between the big two on top of the rankings: is a final between those two destiny, or can someone spoil that enticing match-up? We’ll get a sneak preview in early December, too.
-The growth of the South and Northwest Suburban Conferences means that teams in those conferences have less schedule flexibility. That could make things harder to rank, and has also messed with some of the holiday tournaments.
-A year after an all-public Tourney, private schools are primed to do well in three different sections. Do we see a reversal this season?

Let the journey begin...

alcloseshaver
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Post by alcloseshaver » Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:26 pm

Great job Karl, appreciate your work. Is it to early to give East the 1 seed???

Sats81
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Post by Sats81 » Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:49 pm

Great work. Excited for the season to start, although I would debate that LN depth at forward is as good or better than some of the "west metro powers"

In fact, other than Edina, I have a hard time thinking of anyone with that depth. Their 2nd line will have Max Johnson and Henry Enebak, 2 players that should both score 20 goals a piece this year. Look for Max to have a D1 commitment by seasons end as well.

Lets Play Hockey!

almostashappy
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings 2014-2015

Post by almostashappy » Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:57 pm

karl(east) wrote: 2. Lakeville North
-With 6 players already committed to D-I schools, the Panthers are the state’s most talented team: this is their year to peak and seize a state title. That talent is balanced across all positions, with the Poehlings up front and Sadek and McNeely on the blue line forming a lethal top unit. Their depth, while solid, may not quite match the west metro powers, and also they’ll have to handle the burden of avoiding embellishment calls now that the word is out and show more maturity. They open against the closest thing they have to a serious competitor in 1AA.
Schedule: 11/25 at Farmington
There, I fixed that for you. :wink:
karl(east) wrote: A handful of storylines:
-The obvious story in AA is the race between the big two on top of the rankings: is a final between those two destiny, or can someone spoil that enticing match-up? We’ll get a sneak preview in early December, too.
-The growth of the South and Northwest Suburban Conferences means that teams in those conferences have less schedule flexibility. That could make things harder to rank, and has also messed with some of the holiday tournaments.
-A year after an all-public Tourney, private schools are primed to do well in three different sections. Do we see a reversal this season?

Let the journey begin...


The SSC swapped out the Bloomington schools for Farmington and Shakopee, so the total number of conference teams remains the same. That said, SSC teams previously only had to schedule Kennedy 1x year, and the new teams are both playing home and homes. So there is one less non-conference slot available for scheduling high-quality opponents.

I'm curious if there are any opinions on how the switch affects SSC strength of schedules. Shakopee looks to be a slight upgrade from Kennedy, but is Farmington on par with Jefferson?

BTW Jefferson appears to have replaced Hermantown in the SSP Premier Tourney, so Eagan still has a good chance of playing the Jags this year. The Wildcats have also announced a Dec 6 game against Denfeld, to be played at Amsoil...does Denfeld play there on occasion? Or are they expecting the Cats to travel really, really well?
Two minutes for...embellishment (ding!)

kniven
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Post by kniven » Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:11 pm

Sats81 wrote:Great work. Excited for the season to start, although I would debate that LN depth at forward is as good or better than some of the "west metro powers"

In fact, other than Edina, I have a hard time thinking of anyone with that depth. Their 2nd line will have Max Johnson and Henry Enebak, 2 players that should both score 20 goals a piece this year. Look for Max to have a D1 commitment by seasons end as well.

Lets Play Hockey!
Nice read Karl; thank you. CEC looking forward to playing the top teams in the state.

northwoods oldtimer
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Post by northwoods oldtimer » Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:20 pm

Karl, How tough would it be to post all 7 years of your "preseason" AA rankings? It would be kind of cool to read the archived ranks from years past.

WestMetro
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Post by WestMetro » Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:29 pm

Cant disagree with any of these top 10 teams, matches very closely with my own thoughts. I grudgingly dropped my alma mater Duluth East out of my own top 10 list at the last minute last week, pending resolution of the Dow transfer, until Howg shows some better stuff than he did during Elite League, and until see how JV & Bantams might step up to the plate.

green4
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings 2014-2015

Post by green4 » Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:02 pm

karl(east) wrote:If there is a concern, it’s in goal,
Boe is at least on par with Rohkohl, if not a slight upgrade. They should manage in goal. The defense, like you mentioned, will help.

karl(east)
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Post by karl(east) » Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:59 pm

Thanks for the comments. Responding to a bunch of them:
Sats81 wrote:Great work. Excited for the season to start, although I would debate that LN depth at forward is as good or better than some of the "west metro powers"

In fact, other than Edina, I have a hard time thinking of anyone with that depth. Their 2nd line will have Max Johnson and Henry Enebak, 2 players that should both score 20 goals a piece this year. Look for Max to have a D1 commitment by seasons end as well.
I think North's second line with Enebak and Johnson can match up with just about anyone, and the 2nd D pair (with Altavila) will be perfectly fine, too. Where I think they fall short to a handful of teams is on the 3rd line--they don't have the same number of returning bodies as Benilde, and the program as a whole doesn't have Wayzata's depth. I see they have 1 F who made Advanced 15 nationals, but beyond that, their past few Bantam teams haven't been all that memorable. That's where I was going with that comment, anyway.
almostashappy wrote:The SSC swapped out the Bloomington schools for Farmington and Shakopee, so the total number of conference teams remains the same. That said, SSC teams previously only had to schedule Kennedy 1x year, and the new teams are both playing home and homes. So there is one less non-conference slot available for scheduling high-quality opponents.
Sounds about right. The biggest change I saw was in the Holiday tournaments, where there was a pretty big exodus from the St. Louis Park Tourney. It doesn't even have a full compliment of teams.

As for your comment on North...well, I was trying to be diplomatic with my comment on "composure." :-#
WestMetro wrote:Cant disagree with any of these top 10 teams, matches very closely with my own thoughts. I grudgingly dropped my alma mater Duluth East out of my own top 10 list at the last minute last week, pending resolution of the Dow transfer, until Howg shows some better stuff than he did during Elite League, and until see how JV & Bantams might step up to the plate.
Yeah, the top 11 or so was not terribly difficult to decide on; it was a lot harder sorting out the 15-22 area this year. As for East, I think history has shown that there might be a few growing pains early, but they'll almost certainly have their young players (who are very talented) up to par by February. Program depth counts for a lot, too.

alcloseshaver: I will wait for them to win a few games before I give formally give them their birthright #1 seed in 7AA, though. :wink:
northwoods oldtimer wrote:Karl, How tough would it be to post all 7 years of your "preseason" AA rankings? It would be kind of cool to read the archived ranks from years past.
Should be doable. I'll have to dig a bit for the older years, but I'm pretty good about archiving all this stuff. I'll try to have it up in the next day or two.

grandmeadowhockeyfan
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Holiday tourney

Post by grandmeadowhockeyfan » Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:18 pm

Where are you guys finding the holiday tourney information. None of my favorite sites have info yet.

almostashappy
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Re: Holiday tourney

Post by almostashappy » Thu Nov 13, 2014 6:20 am

grandmeadowhockeyfan wrote:Where are you guys finding the holiday tourney information. None of my favorite sites have info yet.
SSP Premier Tourney participants listed on Eagan's schedule posted on the SSC website.
Two minutes for...embellishment (ding!)

BP
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Re: Holiday tourney

Post by BP » Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:02 am

grandmeadowhockeyfan wrote:Where are you guys finding the holiday tourney information. None of my favorite sites have info yet.

Which one are you looking for?

grandmeadowhockeyfan
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Post by grandmeadowhockeyfan » Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:04 am

Any of the 2014-2015 holiday tournaments. Any info would be great!

karl(east)
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Post by karl(east) » Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:24 am

grandmeadowhockeyfan wrote:Any of the 2014-2015 holiday tournaments. Any info would be great!
All the Schwan Cup brackets are available here:
http://www.nscsports.org/page/show/5057 ... d-results-

The St. Louis Park Tourney is now just a 6-team field, so there's no bracket; each team just plays 3 pre-assigned opponents. Lakeville North, Prior Lake, Holy Family, Benilde, Moorhead, and Wayzata are all in. Some of them have tournament schedules up on their own schedules, and I was able to figure out the rest from there.

karl(east)
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Post by karl(east) » Thu Nov 13, 2014 2:42 pm

As requested, here are my preseason rankings dating back to year one in 2009. (It was a bit easier to format in blog form.):

http://apatientcycle.com/2014/11/13/loo ... -rankings/

I also compared them to the end-of-regular season rankings and, for fun, ranked some of the biggest upsets in sections and at State over those six years.

almostashappy
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Post by almostashappy » Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:18 pm

karl(east) wrote:As requested, here are my preseason rankings dating back to year one in 2009. (It was a bit easier to format in blog form.):

http://apatientcycle.com/2014/11/13/loo ... -rankings/

I also compared them to the end-of-regular season rankings and, for fun, ranked some of the biggest upsets in sections and at State over those six years.
Thanks for all of the time that you put into this review (on such short notice). You young guys aren't supposed to have this much free time on your hands! :P

You've shown a tendency to underrate the Wildcats over the years (with the 2013 section lost to EV a notable exception). Not a big surprise, as I agree with your assessment that Taylor has a knack for putting together teams that punch above their weight. And it does make it easier for me to digest the fact that Eagan got hardly a whiff of a mention in this year's preseason rankings. Flying under everyone's radar worked out just fine last year, and I'd love to see that kind of flight plan filed for the upcoming season.

And before anyone starts to whine about my hometown focus, please recall that I have a title to defend. Go Cats!
Two minutes for...embellishment (ding!)

WestMetro
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Post by WestMetro » Thu Nov 13, 2014 4:26 pm

Regarding the St Louis Park Tournament, I don't know whether Blaine and MG were not invited back or whether they chose not to participate. After last years disgraceful brawl filled penalty laden game (I hate to even call that display a game), maybe the bad memories are just too much either for the tourney people or for the team's staff suiting up their boys against each other at that rink so soon.

But I'll be looking forward to seeing them compete elsewhere. Blaine is a bit of an underdog this year, but will likely be right there come Section playoffs.

Weakside-Bardown
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Post by Weakside-Bardown » Thu Nov 13, 2014 4:43 pm

I think MG and Blaine no longer had room on their respective schedules as a result of expanded conference schedules combined with the 25 game limit.

coco2
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings 2014-2015

Post by coco2 » Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:47 pm

Looking back to last year didn't Hopkins beat Tonka twice and tie EP in 6AA? It's funny how Hopkins never comes in to play. I see real competition in 6AA and they're all strong teams but not adding a team to the mix doesn't make sense.

karl(east)
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Post by karl(east) » Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:09 am

almostashappy wrote:Thanks for all of the time that you put into this review (on such short notice). You young guys aren't supposed to have this much free time on your hands! :P

You've shown a tendency to underrate the Wildcats over the years (with the 2013 section lost to EV a notable exception). Not a big surprise, as I agree with your assessment that Taylor has a knack for putting together teams that punch above their weight. And it does make it easier for me to digest the fact that Eagan got hardly a whiff of a mention in this year's preseason rankings. Flying under everyone's radar worked out just fine last year, and I'd love to see that kind of flight plan filed for the upcoming season.

And before anyone starts to whine about my hometown focus, please recall that I have a title to defend. Go Cats!
Last year I think I had Eagan in the right spot most of the way on a strict wins/losses standpoint, but for whatever reason wasn't giving them the style points they deserved. That was a team built for playoff success. In 2013 I underrated them at the start, but then they didn't close the deal in sections. I'll stand by 2012 and 2011. In 2010 I missed them preseason but got them up to where they belonged before long. This year will be the ultimate test of how well they can reload. Is there much in the pipeline in the coming years?
coco2 wrote:Looking back to last year didn't Hopkins beat Tonka twice and tie EP in 6AA? It's funny how Hopkins never comes in to play. I see real competition in 6AA and they're all strong teams but not adding a team to the mix doesn't make sense.
I did add them to the mix in the 6AA write-up, and they were one of the teams that just missed the top 25. They could be dangerous, with a decent returning cast and a good goalie. Still, they won 8 games last year, and one tie with EP does not a season make. Minnetonka is higher because 1) I think they seriously underachieved last year, and are due for a rebound; 2) they have more front-end talent; 3) they are higher than Hopkins in the computerized rankings from last year despite the losses; and 4) they have a very strong group of bantams coming in.

TheHockeyDJ
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Post by TheHockeyDJ » Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:28 am

From overtheboards.net, their top 10: http://overtheboards.net/minnesota-hs-top-ten/

I thought maybe GR was a bit high on Karls list, but the teams below them don't stand out to me. #7 on OTB seems really high, but there is a bit of an assumption that Zach Stejskal, goalie, was going to move up which he is not from what I know. For me, the goaltending is such a huge question mark, and the defense was so bad last year that even with one of the best lines in the state in Mattson, Bischoff, and Adams, I'm hopeful things will be improved to be a top 10 team, but very cautious with what my hopes are. I absolutely think Elk River and Duluth East should be ahead of GR until the season begins to play out.
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Task Force 34
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Post by Task Force 34 » Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:14 am

Don't completely dismiss the Jags this year. It will be interesting to see how things go in the Metro West conference. They will play one time through the conference and play a heavily east metro schedule for their remaining games.

Plus, their jerseys kick a..

almostashappy
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Post by almostashappy » Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:17 am

karl(east) wrote:Is there much in the pipeline in the coming years?
Not really, so long as you are using conventional means of evaluation (e.g. won/loss records of top Bantam/PeeWee/Squirt teams, number of players in HP programs or Elite League). But then there's style points, great coaching at the high school level, the idea that success breeds success, and the chance that a successful program will draw in one or two key (legal) transfers in any given year.

Heck, we might even see a few prodigal skaters return home, after last year's team proved that you didn't have to go private to go to State. \:D/
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Wblhcky2424
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Post by Wblhcky2424 » Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:52 am

Sager decided to go with the BantamAA goalie from last year over the varsity backup from last year for White Bear. Which I said should happen all along. We'll see how he makes the jump to varsity. One of the jv goalies from last year will be the other goalie on varsity

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Post by green4 » Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:19 pm

A couple interesting things I noticed after seeing the Edina roster:

Giles went with two senior goaltenders for the first time in awhile.

I don't see Pugh, the freshman defenseman from lasts years team, on the roster. Instead, a heavy load of Senior D men plus Mickelson (not sure what year he is)

Physicality could be an issue with this team. They have Foley and Meyer on the back end who are both big, but besides that they have a lot of smaller players on the team.

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