POWAR!1ONE Rankings: WCHA preseason ballot

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The Minnesota Gophers find themselves atop Radio Free Omaha’s 2012-13 WCHA preseason poll. (Photo credit: Matthew Semisch)

(Note: I hate when sports websites call their polls ‘Power Rankings.’ I really do. However, having said that, in an effort to not take myself too seriously on this blog – and to convert into text my Jeremy Clarkson impression – I’ve decided to use the term from a slightly different angle for what will become a new weekly feature here at RFO during the season. So there.)

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve secretly been dreading writing this article.

Why, you ask? Well, have a look at my initial thought process for my preseason WCHA ballot:

1.) Minnesota
2-12.) Um…

The fact is that pretty much everybody who fills out a preseason poll for this league will have Minnesota at the top, and, until we see these teams on the ice and scoring, conceding and hitting against teams other than themselves, the other 11 spots are as wide-open as they’ve ever been.

The Gophers lose 2011-12 WCHA Goalie Champion Kent Patterson, but they boast the league’s best offense and a defense that finished first in the league last season in scoring defense. Patterson had a lot to do with that, but the talent Minnesota has coming back ought to keep head coach Don Lucia’s team at the top of the tree.

In the coming days, RFO will feature extensive previews on each of the WCHA’s 12 teams, in ascending order of where they are predicted to finish at the end of the regular season. In the meantime, here’s our preseason ballot in full:

1.) Minnesota
2.) North Dakota
3.) Denver
4.) Wisconsin
5.) Minnesota Duluth
6.) St. Cloud State
7.) Michigan Tech
8.) Nebraska Omaha
9.) Minnesota State
10.) Colorado College
11.) Bemidji State
12.) Alaska Anchorage

All-Conference Team:
F- Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota
F- Mark Zengerle, Wisconsin
F- Corban Knight, North Dakota
D- Joey LaLeggia, Denver
D- Nick Jensen, St. Cloud State
G- Sam Brittain, Denver

Player of the Year:
Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota

Rookie of the Year:
Zane Gothberg, North Dakota

Defenseman of the Year:
Joey LaLeggia, Denver

Breakout Player of the Year:
Andrej Sustr, Nebraska Omaha

Agree or disagree with anything you’ve seen here? Let us know in the comment section below this article.

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