Mack’s Mailbag for Sept. 17, 2013

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Who do you see as being some of the impact freshmen? Who should we expect to see in the lineup on a nightly basis?

On defense Jonathan Lashyn and Craig Wyszomirski will both be in the lineup right away, I’d expect. A person inside the MC program last year told me Wyszomirski would have been in Merrimack’s lineup last year had he been eligible. Lashyn is also a very smooth defenseman with plenty of experience. A lot of scouts have compared him to former Merrimack defenseman Karl Stollery.

Up front I’d expect you see Chris LeBlanc get a good look this season. He’s a tall, strong forward who really came into his own in the EJ last year, muscling guys off pucks and imposing his will. The Ottawa Senators noticed, drafting him in the sixth round of June’s NHL Draft. Hampus Gustafsson should be a very good addition as well. He’s a very good two-way center who is excellent on the faceoff dot.

If you had to pick one player who will really break out this year who would it be? Not a rookie, a returning player who is coming back. Someone who really takes the biggest step.

Vinny Scotti was terrific last year, and I think he’ll continue to improve and really see an increase in his offensive output this season. I like his game a lot.

What do you think the scouts saw in LeBlanc? Seems weird to me a kid gets drafted out of the EJHL.

Well it’s certainly not the first time a kid was drafted out of the EJ. Sure, it’s not viewed as much as the USHL, but kids get drafted from there. As for LeBlanc, he has something every scout salivates for: size. He’s big and he’s strong. I watched him a fair amount when he played at Winthrop and was interested to see if he would elevate his game in the EJ and he did by leaps and bounds. There are a lot of great players in Mass. high school hockey but there’s plenty of players who tend to get lost once they move up a level and Leblanc was not one of them. He got better. He really manhandled a lot of players in Ottawa’s prospect camp, from what I saw.

Is there any inside story to Holland leaving?

No. His family owns a few successful business in Woburn and I believe he’s going in that direction. I’ve never personally met the player but everyone I’ve ever spoken to about him has nothing but great things to say about him and his family. Seems like nothing more than a personal choice.

Have you seen Merrimack’s new renovations yet? Heard a rumor there’s a Dunks in there.

Yes I have – they look great – and yes there is a Dunkin Donuts which will, I believe, be open during games.

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