CBSSports.com College Hockey Power 10, Week 1

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer
Boston College won the national championship last year. Can the Eagles repeat? (US Presswires)

Every week here at Eye on Hockey, we'll provide the CBSSports.com College Hockey Power 10, highlighting the top teams across college hockey. And with the NHL locked out, what else are you going to watch to get your hockey fix?

The CBSSports.com College Hockey Power 10 is a collaboration between Eye on Hockey blogger Chris Peters and CBS Sports Network Hockey analyst Dave Starman.

The 2012-13 season appears fairly wide open with many teams looking to rebuild and reload after the increasing frequency of players leaving for the pros before they've exhausted their eligibility. With that, there are plenty of teams lacking in experience. But few are lacking in skill, which should make for an exciting year.

The top four teams in this power ranking mirror the top four in the national polls. Minnesota, Boston College, North Dakota and Michigan are traditional powers, but they should be challenged by some of the up-and-coming programs like Western Michigan, Union and UMass-Lowell.

With a high volume of NHL draftees across the country and no NHL to watch, perhaps now is the time for you to get into college hockey. With a plethora of games on TV, including a fantastic schedule on CBS Sports Network, it shouldn't be too hard to keep up. In fact, you can get started Friday night.

This week's College Hockey TV Schedule (all times ET)

Friday, Oct. 12

Notre Dame vs. Maine – 7 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)
St. Cloud State vs. New Hampshire – 7:30 p.m. (Fox College Sports)
Nebraska Omaha vs. Army – 10 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)

Saturday, Oct. 13

Notre Dame or Maine vs. Nebraska Omaha or Army – 7:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)

And now, Week 1's Power 10:

CBSSports.com College Hockey Power 10
1. University of Minnesota (0-0-0)
Though lacking experience in goal, the Gophers have immense depth and skill at every other position. Minnesota's high-octane offense led by Florida Panthers prospects Nick Bjugstad and Kyle Rau should score goals by the bucket load. There's good experience on the back end with a pair of impact freshmen in Mike Reilly and New York Rangers first-rounder Brady Skjei.
2. Boston College (0-0-0)
The defending champs might have lost several high-end players from last year's squad but still boast one of the best goaltenders in the country in senior Parker Milner. BC has great speed and skill up front, led by sophomore puck magician Johnny Gaudreau. The Eagles are young on D but can rely on senior Patrick Wey.
3. University of North Dakota (0-0-0)
Like many teams in the country, North Dakota doesn't possess an experienced goaltender. But the supporting cast is more than ample. With veteran forwards Danny Kristo and Corban Knight, a healthy Rocco Grimaldi and good grit throughout the lineup, North Dakota should give Minnesota a run for its money in each team's final season in the WCHA.
4. University of Michigan (0-0-0)
Another team with inexperience in net, Michigan has depth on the blue line and some offensive pop up front. The addition of Winnipeg Jets first-rounder Jacob Trouba might give the Wolverines the best D corps in the country, including Lee Moffie, Mac Bennett and the currently injured Jon Merrill. Alex Guptill and A.J. Treais are key returnees up front.
5. Western Michigan University (0-0-0)
Despite overtures from numerous NHL teams, free-agent Dan DeKeyser stayed in school and is one of the top defensemen in the country. Also, the defending CCHA champions return top goalie Frank Slubowski, the team's MVP down the stretch. Leading scorers from 2011-12, juniors Chase Balisy and Shane Berschbach and senior Dane Walters all return as well.
6. UMass-Lowell (0-0-0)
Unlike last year, the River Hawks won't be sneaking up on anybody. UML is for real and will be given the respect they earned. Goalie Doug Carr is as good as anyone in the country. Riley Wetmore, Scott Wilson and Derek Arnold accounted for 32 percent of UML's production last year. All are back.
7. Cornell University (0-0-0)
After a run to the regional finals in the NCAA tournament last year, Cornell returns several key players from that squad. Goalie Andy Iles played every minute for the Big Red last season. On defense, Nick D'Agostino and Joakim Ryan lead a highly-mobile group. Up front, top returning scorer Greg Miller and Brian Ferlin should pace a gritty attack.
8. University of Notre Dame (0-0-0)
A veteran-laden team with a pair of the best forwards in the country in Anders Lee and T.J. Tynan, Notre Dame is poised for a bounce-back season. Adding some impact recruits to already-solid depth at forward and a good mix of size and skill on defense make the Irish one of the more complete teams.
9. Union College (0-1-0)
Highlighted by goaltender Troy Grosenick, Union still has several key pieces from its Frozen Four team of a season ago. With 20-goal man Daniel Carr and Wayne Simpson back, there's plenty of experienced point-producers at forward. Additionally, Union has a group of highly-skilled defensemen led by Kyle and Mat Bodie and Shayne Gostisbehere.
10. University of Denver (0-0-0)
Having lost a good chunk of its scoring from last season, the Pioneers are going to need a lot of veterans to step up. Lucky for Denver, they have the best netminder in the WCHA in Sam Brittain. DU also boasts a rather exciting defense corps led by offensive dynamo Joey Laleggia and heavy-hitter Scott Mayfield.

On the cusp: Miami University (0-0-0); Harvard (0-0-0); Boston University (0-0-0); University of Minnesota Duluth (0-0-0); Wisconsin (0-0-0).

 
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