- Paul Sherman/Daily
By Erin Lennon, Daily Sports Writer
Published November 20, 2013
The No. 5 Michigan hockey team announced the commitment of four players for the 2014-15 season Wednesday.
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Michigan assistant coach Brian Wiseman has been working on this recruiting class since his return to the Michigan hockey program as an assistant coach in 2011.
“We have a little bit of everything,” he said Wednesday. “We have some good balance and definitely some guys that are going to make an impact.”
As it stands, this four-man class includes two forwards, a defenseman and a goaltender, each of whom are expected to fill key voids after this season.
Currently a captain of the Vernon Vipers of the British Columbia Hockey League, forward Dexter Dancs is one of three players from the BCHL listed on the 2013 NHL Central scouting midterm rankings.
A second forward, Dylan Larkin, has been on the Wolverines’ radar since his days in midget minor hockey. The Waterford (Mich.) native has recorded six goals and five assists in nine games in his second year with the U-18 US National Team Development Program team this season. Larkin grew up a Michigan hockey fan and is expected to contribute early on.
“He’s a tremendous team player, and he comes from a championship team,” Wiseman said. “He’s a captain and a leader and he’s a prolific skater. Our fans are going to enjoy seeing him skate around Yost (Ice Arena).”
Larkin is joined by another Michigan man, this time from Spartan country, in defenseman Cutler Martin. Out of East Lansing, Martin has twelve assists and four goals from the blue line in just nine games this season with the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League. With an ability to produce in both zones, Larkin will be a good fit with the departures of senior defensemen Mac Bennett and Kevin Clare.
There are currently 11 Michigan natives on the Wolverines’ roster.
“We’re excited about the four student-athletes in this class and what they'll bring to the program,” said associate head coach Billy Powers.
Though this class is not expected to grow into double digits like this season’s freshman class, Powers expects up to three more verbal commitments over the next few months. Ideally, the Wolverines want another defenseman and forward to add both balance and depth.
“You can take a look at our lineup this year, and we have pretty good depth on the forward side and on the defense,” Wiseman said. “We want to continue that trend of depth for injuries and for internal competition. We have that in the goalie position with Hayden Lavigne.”
Lavigne, a teammate of Martin’s on Tri-City Storm, boasted a .922 save percentage with the Wellington Dukes of the OJHL before moving to USHL after the 2012-13 season. Like freshman goaltender Zach Nagelvoort, the 6-foot-2 Lavigne will provide both competition and size to an already solid goalie depth chart.
“I don’t know if there’s such a thing as too much depth,” Wiseman said. “That’s something that we’ll figure out as we go. Depth is always good.”
As it is in football, Wiseman and his staff begin making scholarship offers two and three years prior to players’ signing dates.
As of Wednesday at midnight, signing is closed until the next signing period in April. Until then, the Wolverines may be accepting verbal commitments to fill out the 2014-15 roster.