Friday, May 4, 2007

Omaha Lancers 2007-08 Preview

Omaha is coming off a disappointing first round series loss to sixth seeded Des Moines. The Lancers were the West division champs, but were unable to solve Des Moines. Omaha will send a lot of kids off to college, so they won't have a whole lot of holdovers for next season.

Key Departures:
Mark Olver-Led team in points with 64.
Nick Petrecki-One of the better defenseman.
Chris Hepp-Team leader.
Jarmo Jokila-Excellent player, sniper.
Barry Almeida-Near point per game player.
Corey Toy-Great defenseman.

Goalies (1):
Drew Palmisano (1988) - Excellent goalie, should be atop the league next season.

Goalie Evaluation:
Palmisano is an outstanding goalie and should see his stats improve with a full season in Omaha. The Lancers will need to bring in a reliable backup, since they won't be able to keep Michal Valent.

Defense (3):
Keir Ross (1989) - Solid and reliable. Should lead defense.
Adam Comrie (1990) - Rumors say he may jump to the OHL.
Will O'Neill (1988) - Good size, might be a bit too streaky.

Defense Evaluation:
Their returning defense is really depleted. They lose guys like Petrecki, Hepp, and Toy that were all leaders on defense and were good at their jobs. The Lancers will hope Comrie stays, as he is an excellent talent and could be a top defenseman next season. Ross and O'Neill got some experience and should be ready to go next season.

Forwards (8):
Matt Thurber (1989) - Small and feisty. Leader material.
Brett Bruneteau (1989) - Could end up going to North Dakota next fall.
Justin Johnson (1988) - Not too productive in his short stint, but was a top player in Wisconsin.
Ben Arnt (1989) - I have a feeling this kid is going to be a stud next season.
Nick Larson (1989) - Could head to Minnesota next fall.
Justin Kirchevel (1989) - Most talented kid in South Dakota.
Joe Beaudette (1988) - Has excellent skill and could be a top forward.
Andrew Conboy (1988) - Breakout year last year, should be leader.

Forward Evaluation:
They return a good core in Thurber, Bruneteau, and Conboy. The biggest question marks right now are whether or not Larson and Bruneteau will be around come next fall, or if their college will come calling. Omaha has a lot of young talent up front, led by Larson and Beaudette. Johnson and Arnt could be in for big years.

Futures Evaluation:
They have some excellent Minnesota talent, including Danny Kristo, Ben Hanowski, Joey Gleason, and Drew Olson. Kristo is currently playing with the NTDP and will most likely be there next season as well. Omaha's first pick, David Warsofsky, appears to be headed to the NTDP as well. Matt White should be able to come in right away and produce.

Overall Evaluation: C+


Anonymous said...

Hepp may be back next season. He has to sit a year as per NCAA rules. Which would make him eligeable mid season since that's when he left Air force. He may want to get a full 3 years of college hockey and give the Lancers another year. Bruneteau should be back and may have a better opportunity to contribute offensively unless he tries a different league to strut his stuff. Conboy may be off to UNO a year earlier than anticipated, but with the late season injury is doubtful. Hopes are that Conboy and Bruneteau are back. With Thurber in the mix, this could make one heck of a top line up front with the size and physical play of Conboy, quickness and agility of Bruneteau, and heart and speed of Thurber. The question will be who backs them up, and as you mentioned, can the retuning defense step up to the likes of Toy and Petrecki. If Hepp is there to lead them, it will be fun to watch them grow.

Anonymous said...

There's also the Hastings factor. He is good at getting talent outside of the drafts....i.e. Jokila, Olver, Hanzel, Valent, and Bradford.