The Storm had a nice playoff run, but it came up a little short. Coach Littler will have them right back in the mix come next fall. I will be taking a look at their potential returnees.
Calle Ridderwall-Leading scorer with 64 points.
Jesse Martin-2nd on team in scoring.
Matt Ambroz-Big kid, came up big for the Storm.
Mario Lamoureux-Team captain.
Ian Keserich-Team's #1 goalie.
Aaron Rock (1987) - Came back from the OHL, could be a top goalie in this league again.
Rock has played at this level before, and he did pretty well. He didn't get a ton of games in after coming back to Kearney, but he was solid in goal come playoff time. Rock can lead this team in net with his stellar play, and he should be able to steal a few games when needed.
Kyle Ensign (1988) - Bothered by injuries, hopefully he can stay healthy next season.
Cameron Cooper (1988) - Appears to have improved defensively, as his +/- rating improved.
Tommy Mannino (1987) - Mannino came in and produced right away. Could go back to OHL.
Ryan Peltoma (1988) - Good size, hopefully he can rebound from the freak accident that happened in Des Moines.
This defense should be in good position if all of these guys do come back. It could hurt if Mannino leaves, but I'm sure Littler would be able to find a capable replacement. Though Ensign, Cooper, and Peltoma aren't as offensive, they contribute the best way they can, and that's by keeping the puck from entering their zone. Combined, they were +18 on the season.
Sean Wiles (1987) - Big kid, doubled his goal output from last season.
Alex Hudson (1987) - Could be a top scorer in the league next year.
Michael Pilot (1987) - Bothered by injuries, should be ready for next season.
Jordan VanGilder (1988) - I'd expect a breakout year for this kid.
Jordan Willert (1987) - Big, strong kid. Started putting the puck in more often.
Patrick White (1989) - There is a possibility that he will stick around and go to Minnesota in 08.
David Brownschidle (1989) - David has the option of going to Brown for 07 or 08.
Hudson will lead this team in offense next season. Wiles and Willert improved in their goal scoring abilities and will look to become more potent threats with the puck. Pilot and VanGilder are due for some big numbers next season, and I wouldn't be surprised if both of them accomplish that. White and Brownschidle could opt to return to Kearney for another year of juniors, but with White, it all depends on whether or not a few former USHLers decide to turn pro or not.
Tri-City boasts some excellent talent in their futures pool. Guys like Brandon Martell, Troy Power, and Chris Hickey lead the way. Martell has all the makings to be one of the best defenseman in the league and Power is young, but has a ton of potential. A couple downsides is that first pick, Bryan Brutlag, appears to be headed to RPI for next fall, and Scooter Vaughan appears to be headed to Michigan next fall as well.
Overall Evaluation: B