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VIP Mailbag: Questions on Grad Transfers, Goalies, HEA Fantasy Hockey

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To submit a question or comment for Mike McMahon’s VIP-exclusive mailbag, email mackreportvip@gmail.com. This feature will be sporadic in the offseason, but will run at least once per week during the men’s hockey regular season.

Q. What is the status of Matt McArdle, the transfer from Lake Superior? I saw online today (on Merrimack Athletics) that he can join right away even though he is transferring, but I thought you needed to sit out a year before playing at your new school. Thanks.

McMahon: He’s a graduate transfer, which is the same rule that Ludvig Larsson is going to utilize at Penn State to become eligible immediately. Essentially, if you graduate with an undergraduate degree prior to using your fourth year of eligibility, you can transfer to a new university and be eligible to play right away if you are pursuing a graduate degree. The catch is that the graduate degree cannot be in a program that is offered at your undergraduate university.

Q. What do you think the ceiling is on Mike Kesselring? Did he have a drop off because you were saying he would be a third round pick and he went in the sixth. Is he a big loss or not? I can’t seem to tell.

McMahon: It all remains to be seen, as I wrote in our VIP Insider post yesterday. Talking to a lot of scouts, he has a very high ceiling. But there are questions (as there are with any player) as to whether or not he hits that ceiling. I think that’s why you saw a drop on draft day. Some scouts, at least, question whether or not he’ll realize his full potential. If not, he would have gone in the third round, or thereabouts, as projected.

So it depends on who you talk to at this point. I’ve spoken to some scouts who absolutely love Kesselring’s game and say he’s a future pro. I’ve spoken to other scouts who think some of the hype prior to the draft was a little overblown, and use the fact that he dropped as evidence.

Q. I’m a huge nerd, but my friends and I are starting a Hockey East fantasy league. There are only four of us playing. Can you give me some positional rankings? Maybe top-5 at each position, or something? I have no idea how I am doing to draft players. Are only rule is that the player needs to be from Hockey East.

Here’s how i would rank players ahead of this season … I’m assuming you’re using a standard Forward, Defense, Goalie breakdown, and not breaking out forwards by position.

Forward:

  1. John Leonard
  2. Shane Bowers
  3. Bobo Carpenter
  4. Logan Hutsko
  5. Zach Solow

Defense:

  1. Jeremy Davies
  2. Chad Krys
  3. Max Gildon
  4. Dante Fabbro
  5. Jacob Bryson

Goalie:

  1. Jake Oettinger
  2. Hayden Hawkey
  3. Cayden Primeau
  4. Joe Woll
  5. Jeremy Swayman

Q. I know I have asked you this before, but do you think there have been any changes to who might win the starting job based on the summer workouts? 

McMahon: I don’t think there’s any change, yet. Coaches haven’t been on the ice with players so all of that will be a feeling out process. Right now, it’s up for grabs. There’s a new coach in town, so there are no preconceived notions. Logan Halladay has a very good pedigree, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he landed the job. We’ve seen the type of goaltender Drew Vogler can be when he’s “on” so I think he could win the job. And we saw how reliable and dependable Craig Pantano was last season. At this point in the offseason, any of them could win the starting job and it wouldn’t surprise me, which sounds unrealistic but it’s really the case at Merrimack, especially with a fresh set of eyeballs on the players.

Also … one thing to remember … Borek has added Jim McNiff to the coaching staff as a goalie coach. He was at Providence previously and worked with players like Jon Gillies and Nick Ellis, who both went on to play in the NHL. Sometimes a fresh approach from a coaching standpoint can be enough to catapult a goalie to another level.

About Mike McMahon

Mike McMahon is in his 13th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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