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09-20-2012, 10:41 PM
  #407
blackmarketmob
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Laurier announces roster

Roster available - http://www.laurierathletics.com/vars...hp?sport=MHOCK

As well: http://www.eliteprospects.com/team.p...1790&metric=no

Altogether, Laurier has 14 new faces on the roster, replacing 13 players from last year who are not on the roster. However, of those 13 departures, only 3 (Zach Shepley -Plymouth OHL, Thomas Middup - Gatineau QMJHL, Alex Poulter - Prince George WHL) were players who I would have considered "regulars" and would have played if all members were healthy. Laurier had so many injuries and players leaving last year, that the remaining 10 were primarily walk on players.

When I saw 14 recruits announced, I figured many players quit, but instead, the team has replaced the excess walk-on players with recruited players, leading to a large roster size of 16 forwards, 10 defencemen and 2 goaltenders for 28 total. I was initially afraid 7 recruited defencemen would indicate the "core" was leaving, but it seems that the coaching staff has considered it prudent to carry a large number of players from the beginning to combat injuries/departures/suspensions etc, rather than scrambling to find already enrolled students with some hockey background like last year when 2 of their 6 defencemen were Jr.B walk-ons.

Of the announced recruiting class, 2 players did not report in defenceman Matt Sollows (Vaughan - OJHL) and goaltender Brandon Foote (Guelph - OHL). Foote was likely the highlight recruit, and one of the best overage goaltenders available not going pro. While he may not have started a ton this year due to current 4th year starter Ryan Daniels, he would have carried the team going forward for the next 3. Laurier must secure a major junior goaltender next summer as a result. His failure to report is quite dissapointing. Sollows is an offensive defenceman, but likely would have slotted in as between 7th and 9th on the depth chart.

I have been skeptical of Coach Puhalski during his second season due to the large number of players leaving the program, however, my hat is off to him for an effective offseason. Laurier returns 8 of their top 10 forwards, adds 2 more with OHL experience, and a collection of Junior A/B forwards who were captains/alternates and among the leading scorers on their respective teams to fill the remaining 2 spots and fill in for injuries. On defence, 3 of the top 4 core are returning, with 3 major junior defencemen added, for 5 of 6 in total having major junior experience. In my estimation, 2 former AJHL alternate captains are currently sitting as #7 and #8 on the depth chart. Last year Laurier carried 5 defencemen until after Christmas, 2 having only played Jr. B.

Laurier has not been able to address a lack of top end talent required to really compete with Western or Lakehead in my opinion, but has addressed their biggest problem - depth, at least at this point in the season, which should make all their games, win or lose, more exciting than last year.

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