Despite losing a senior class that went to two Frozen Fours, won a CCHA regular season title, a Mason Cup tournament championship and a included last year’s Hobey Baker Award winner who led the nation in scoring, two preseason polls are out and the expectations for the 2011-12 Miami RedHawks are as high as ever.
For starters, in INCH’s initial poll that was released on July 26, Miami opened at number one. Of course that poll assumed former USNTDP hero and Miami commit
He Who Must Not Be Named Connor Murphy would honor his word and play college hockey for the RedHawks. But Murphy, and his family including former NHL’er Gord Murphy, reneged on a letter of intent and signed a pro contract with the Phoenix Coyotes signaling a preference to instead play for the Sarnia Sting of the OHL.
Of course, karma can be cruel.
Murphy would injure his knee just a week after signing his deal at the 2011 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. and is expected to be out until at least December. Sometimes a college degree is a handy thing to have.
But, back to the polls.
In naming Miami its preseason number one, INCH lauded the RedHawks for what they have returning as well its stable of highly regarded newcomers.
“Miami welcomes back an elite goal scorer in Smith, an underrated defensive corps, and two veteran goaltenders in Connor Knapp and Cody Reichard. Add in the nation’s best recruiting class, and you’ve got the recipe for a preseason No. 1.”
Today, The College Hockey Blog, unveiled the number three team in its preseason countdown of the top 16, the Miami RedHawks.
Similar to INCH, the Blog noted Miami’s returning strength and its elite recruiting class that has helped push expectations so high. However, TCHB was smart to note the incoming class should have another first round draft pick in it without specifically mentioning Murphy by name.
“Last year Miami featured the Hobey Baker winner and one of the best offenses in all of college hockey. They finished 3rd in the CCHA and were a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Though they were upset by UNH in the first round, they took another step towards establishing themselves as one of the best programs in the country. A solid group back, plus some very good recruits (though, not as many as there should be) make Miami a title threat once again.”
Over the coming weeks, we’ll post our preseason picks, polls and teams and players to watch as the season nears inception.