Ahead of the kickoff of the 2023 men's ice hockey season in three weeks, here are Jordan Menard's preseason Power 5:
1. Boston University
As Menard's No. 1 selection, the Boston Terriers are coming off a Frozen Four run and are returning six of their 10 top-point producers from their last campaign, including the Hutson brothers. All-American defender Lane Hutson blocked 45 last season and led all NCAA defensemen in goals and points. Quinn Hutson earned a Hockey East Rookie of the Week accolade last season after putting up two shots and a score in must-win regional battles against Cornell and Western Michigan; on the season, he scored 15 on 109 shots and assisted 13. There is much anticipation surrounding recruit Mack Celebrini, who collected USHL Player, Forward and Rookie of the Year awards during his 2022-23 stint with the Chicago Steel.
Top Prospect for the 2024 NHL Draft Mack Celebrini goes coast-to-coast and then dipsy-doodles both defenders for an incredible goal 👀— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 19, 2023
The Vancouver native has 56 points in 35 games this year for the Chicago Steel of the USHL.
🎥: @ChicagoSteel pic.twitter.com/pP0sLDMEA4
For Hockey East, the Terriers were a preseason majority favorite to win the conference, taking nine of the 11 first-place votes. Second-year head coach Jay Pandolfo earned conference Coach of the Year honors during his initial year with the Terriers, as he commanded his alma mater to their 23rd Frozen Four. Questions surround the replacement of goaltender Drew Commesso, who posted a .750 win percentage last season (second behind Quinnipiac's Yaniv Perets), as transfers Nick Howard, Henry Graham and Mathieu Caron will vie for the starting spot.
The Wolverines were a force to be reckoned with last season, mainly at the stick of 2023 Rookie of the Year Adam Fantilli, who led the nation in striking, racking up 30 goals in 36 contests. But with Fantilli taken as the third overall NHL Draft pick in 2023, Michigan will utilize attackers Rutger McGroarty, Dylan Duke and T.J. Hughes to muster their offense. Second-year head coach Brandon Naurato tacked on goaltender graduate transfers Andrew Albano and Jacob Barczewski to bolster protection of the crease. The reigning Big Ten tournament champs are tied for the most national championships with nine, but last saw a national championship in 2011, and haven't won a title since 1998, in the Red Berenson era. With the sowing of new talent under Naurato's second year at the helm of the program, this could be the year that Michigan summits the college hockey world.
The reigning Frozen Four champions will fight to continue their dominance this season after making program history last season with their first title. Quinnipiac will no longer have Second-Team All-American netminder Yaniv Perets protecting the cage, but third-year Noah Altman and Slovakia native Matej Marinov will provide goalie depth. A team known to capitalize on faceoffs, the Bobcats won 57% one-on-one to rank second in the nation last season. Front men Collin Graf and Sam Lipkin combined for 35 goals last season, and will spearhead the Bobcat attack this year.
The 2023 men's Frozen Four runner-up has big shoes to fill with the loss of Matt Knies and Logan Cooley to the NHL draft — who contributed a combined 13 game-winning goals in 2022 — but return a staple in their offense in Jimmy Snuggerud, Big Ten Scoring Co-Champion last season. The Golden Gophers are coming off a stellar 2022-23 campaign, posting a 29-10-1 record and ranking first in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 4.2 goals per bout, and fourth nationally in power play efficiency at .268. The back-to-back Big Ten regular season title-holders have a chip on their shoulder after dropping the national title in a tight OT battle last season, and will make noise this season with new faces like Jimmy Clark, Max Rud and Oliver Moore.
5. Boston College
Jam-packed with a freshman class full of NHL draft picks, including top goalie Jacob Fowler, No. 1 NHL draft prospect Will Smith, forwards Ryan Leonard and Gabe Perreault, and defensemen Aram Minnetian and Drew Fortescue, Boston College is equipped with artillery to make a deep run this season. These new faces will assist the attack of Cutter Gauthier, the 2022-23 team leading scorer and Hockey East All-Rookie Team selection, as the team looks to return to the Frozen Four for the first time since 2016.
I’m proud and honored to announce my commitment and sign to officially play division 1 college hockey at Boston College . I would like to thank all of my friends, family, and coaches for their support to this point! #goeagles pic.twitter.com/XKjal0SFNL— Jacob Fowler (@jacobfowler24) November 17, 2022