My apologies for the delay in the previews, unfortunately the real world has caught up with me. Nevertheless:
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Last Year's Finish - 8th
Last Year's CHF Predicted Finish - 8th
Key Losses - Kirk MacDonald Sr. F, Jake Luthi Sr. D, Oren Eizenman Sr. F
Keey Returnees - Jordan Alford Sr. G, Mathias Lange Jr. G, Seth Klerer Jr. F
When first year head coach Seth Appert looked back on the 2006-2007 season, there were undoubtedly some high points, and some things that needed fixing. Appert is looking to fix what ails the Engineers, however, it is not an overnight cure.
RPI loses 30% of its total offense with the graduation of their top three scorers from last year in MacDonald, Luthi and Eizenman. In the offseason Appert recruited six forwards to fill this gap. Combine this youth with a team that was outscored by their opponents by 42 goals during the regular season, and RPI could find themselves in hot water often this year. The big line of Morissette, Klerer, and Contini will be counted on to produce, while the second line of Ornelas, Lord and Polacek, will be looked to provide momentum when the first line is shut down.
Behind the top two lines the scoring for RPI will have to come from an opportunistic defense and special teams unit. The best thing going for RPI might be it's youth in the third and fourth lines. With the amount of new recruits coming in the third and fourth lines will be fighting for ice time with the new comers. With a little luck Appert will find a diamond in the rough and a spark for the third line. If this doesn't happen expect the top two lines to get plenty of ice time, especially late in games.
On defense RPI starts no upperclassmen. This will be RPI's biggest challenge of the year as taking on some of the better offenses in the league will give the young defense a real workout. Expect league opponents to try and exploit RPI's youth, and for RPI to falter in a few games, especially early on against Minnesota, and Michigan/BC. However as the season progresses the mistakes should start to fade, the question will remain how far in the season will this be?
Behind the defense is RPI's tandem of goaltenders. Expect senior Alford and junior Lange to split time throughout the year. Both have the ability to steal games, but neither has shown consistent ability to stop a team when faced with a barrage of shots. With a young defense in front of them expect both to see their fair share of shots early on.
As the last remnants of the old coaching staff leave the program and Appert's new recruits come into fruition RPI will be in the hunt for a playoff bye and the league championship. However as the adage goes, "It's always darkest before dawn," RPI will need to endure one more year towards the bottom of the league before they make their move. RPI will stay in the hunt for home ice in the first round, but will end up just short.
Best Case Scenario - 8th
Worst Case Scenario - 12th
Clarkson Hockey Fan's Prediction - 10th
EDIT - RPI looked good this weekend, yet our predictions were made a long time ago and we will not waiver! Although any team that treats RPI like a 10th place team will be in for a long night.