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November 21, 2012

Wolverines aren't grading out so well entering tonight's game

The Michigan hockey team, which welcomes Bowling Green to Yost Ice Arena tonight at 7:35 p.m., recently completed its first 10-game segment of the season, and the Wolverines didn't grade out so well.

(Technically U-M has played 11 games)

Sr. A.J. Treais: The playmaking center has emerged a goal scorer this season, leading U-M with eight markers while contributing five assists. He's been the best player on the ice for the Wolverines, though he's likely smarting over the missed opportunity he had in a 3-1 loss to Notre Dame Nov. 15 that would have staked Michigan to a 2-1 third-period lead. Grade: A

Fr. Jacob Trouba: The highly-touted rookie defenseman has exceeded expectations this season, proving to be the Wolverines' most reliable defenseman. He's been physical, strong in his own zone and has four goals and five assists. Grade: A

So. Alex Guptill: The sophomore left winger ranks second on the team with four goals but hasn't scored in six games. Still, he brings effort and has created opportunities for himself and his linemates consistently this season. Grade: A-

Jr. Mac Bennett: The junior has blossomed into a complete defenseman this season, showing a tremendous hockey IQ on both ends of the ice. He's contributed three goals and seven assists, and has been consistent in the defensive zone. Grade: A-

Sr. Kevin Lynch: The newly-appointed alternate captain has brought energy to every shift, playing with an aggressiveness that has previously only been displayed in spurts. You can't question his effort, but with three goals and four assists, he needs to bury more of his chances. Grade: B+

Fr. Justin Selman: The rookie forward has been a healthy scratch in three of the 11 games, but he forced his way into the lineup a week ago against Notre Dame and was, arguably, Michigan's top forward during the weekend series. If he can build off that performance, he could emerge a solid two-way threat going forward. Grade: B

Jr. Derek DeBlois: The Wolverines were hoping that DeBlois could become a more consistent offensive performer after focusing primarily on his defensive duties at forward the past two years. It hasn't happened despite the fact that he occupies a role on either the first or second line. However, he's still getting it done defensively. Grade: B

Fr. Steve Racine: Racine has earned the bulk of the starts this season, outplaying classmate Jared Rutledge in practice, and outperforming him in his games. He's 3-3-1 with a 2.92 goals against average, but out of seven games, five have been good and two have been clunkers, so there's room for improvement. Grade: B

Fr. Cristoval Nieves: The 6-3, 200-pounder usually shows a few glimpses each game why he was considered such a high-level NHL prospect, displaying the speed and acceleration to win battles for unoccupied pucks in creating scoring chances. However, he hasn't made good on enough of those opportunities, scoring only twice, and he's inconsistent on the other end of the ice. Grade: B-

Sr. Lindsay Sparks: There is no one on this team, Treais included, that seems to have the God-given talent of Sparks, who is masterful with the puck on his stick and who has been tremendous in threading passes to linemates. Problem is he only has three goals and three assists, and as an offense-first forward, he needs to contribute more significantly. Grade: B-

So. Travis Lynch: The center fits much the same mold as DeBlois - there was some hope he would do more offensively, but as long as he kept producing as a defensive forward, that was more important. He's been good on that end of the ice, but hasn't been the difference-maker expected. Grade: B-

Fr. Andrew Copp: The first-year Wolverine has largely occupied a spot on the third or fourth line this season, and has excelled in that position, playing sound two-way hockey. Grade: B-

So. Phil Di Giuseppe: Di Giuseppe finds himself in a familiar, and unwanted, position - mired in a scoring slump. Last year's slump dogged him for much of the year, and he's now gone nine games without a goal. He's a sharp two-way forward, but Michigan is counting on him to put pucks in the net. Grade: C+

So. Mike Chiasson: Some nights it appears the second-year defenseman has really taken a step forward. Some nights, he looks a lot like last year in the second half, when the game just seemed to overwhelm him. With U-M's defensive corps hurting, it needs a more consistent effort. Grade: C+

So. Zach Hyman: Buried on the fourth line a year ago, designated a defensive forward, Hyman accepted his role and did the most he could with it. He wanted more, and Michigan wanted more from him this season, but so far that hasn't happened. Still, he's working hard on the third line and has shown the offensive flashes to believe he could work his way up to the second line. Grade: C+

Jr. Kevin Clare: Clare played really well down the stretch for the Wolverines in 2012, and was expected to pick up where he left off. He hasn't. He hasn't been bad, but he hasn't been very good either. He's been average, and average for a junior with three years experience is not good enough. Grade: C+

So. Brennan Serville: The sophomore is a lot like Chiasson - some good days, some bad days, some in between. He hasn't taken the step forward anticipated for the defenseman, and really must begin delivering a more consistent performance night after night. Grade: C

Sr. Lee Moffie: After a breakthrough junior season, this was supposed to be Moffie's year, instead it's been nightmarish as his offense has abandoned him (one goal and four points) and his defensive play has been disappointing. Grade: C-

Jr. Luke Moffatt: Give Moffatt credit for bringing energy every night, but coach Red Berenson cited the junior as a forward that really needed to step up offensively for the Maize and Blue. Yet, in 11 games, he hasn't scored, and looks lost. Grade: C-

Fr. Jared Rutledge: It's been a rough start for the rookie netminder. He looked horrible in his debut, and gave up seven goals in his most recent start (though most weren't his fault). All in all, he's 1-3-0 with a 4.46 goals against average, and it appears he's a definitive No. 2 on the depth chart. Grade: C-

Incomplete: So. Andrew Sinelli, Sr. Jeff Rohrkemper, So. Michael Szuma, Fr. Daniel Milne.





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