Mack’s Mailbag: June 28, 2013

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Are there any Merrimack players that are heading to NHL rookie camps this summer? I don’t think Merrimack has any drafted guys, right?

There’s none that I’ve heard of yet. That doesn’t mean there won’t be, though. With the lockout, teams are more compact with their summer activities, especially teams that went deep into the playoffs. There are no drafted players on the Merrimack roster, but that doesn’t mean a team won’t invite someone to a development camp.

Who is the best player, forward and defenseman, coming in next year?

It’s really tough to project these things sometimes. Based upon what I’ve seen of guys — and admittedly, most of it has been on video — I think Hampus Gustafsson will make an immediate impact up front. He might not be a prolific scorer, and he was hurt for a chunk last season, but he’s a very good all-around player. He’s good in the face-off circle and does a lot of good things. It’s unfair to expect a 30-point rookie season, but I think he’ll develop into one of the team’s better players throughout his career. Defensively, Craig Wyszomirski was probably ready to be on the team last year, and he’ll step up and log big minutes on the blue line right away. Jonathan Lashyn has received rave reviews from scouts I’ve talked with as well.

Will the two Merrimack games at Notre Dame be televised on NBC Sports Network?

The league’s television schedule isn’t usually released until media day, but it’s possible.

Is Merrimack adding two more games to their schedule? Seems they’re two short. I’d like to see them bring more top teams into Lawler.

Not from what I’ve been hearing. With conference realignment and teams across the country needing more non-conference games, I think some teams are having trouble filling a full non-conference slate. Merrimack seems to be in that boat. A big challenge for Merrimack, in my opinion, is imbalance. Getting teams to want to play on the road is always tough and with just roughly 11 home games guaranteed through conference play, it becomes even tougher to get home games.

I’m sure Merrimack would love to bring more top-tier programs into their building, too. The problem isn’t that Merrimack doesn’t want to, it’s that those teams refuse to go there. A lot of teams, especially top-tier teams, would rather pay a team $25,000 to come into their building for two games than return the trip the following season.

Is the construction on campus complete yet?

If it isn’t, it will be soon, I believe. The Islanders’ rink is already open next door and I believe the lobby is pretty much done as well. From a time standpoint, the crew over there did a tremendous job. For such a large-scale project, to have it wrapped up in just about eight months is fantastic.

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