While this offseason was less structured than a usual one, with players having to hold themselves accountable for their training in new environments, the team kept in constant contact to make sure everyone was staying involved.
But the rules weren’t passed down from the university, the athletic department or even a coach. They were developed over the summer during a group conversation between all players on the team. Together, they talked about their expectations for each other and how to best minimize risk of infection.
Mann started 35 games between the pipes and made 987 saves for a .939 save percentage in his sophomore campaign, earning him the title of Big Ten Goaltender of the Year. Now, he’ll be the Wolverines’ first non-senior captain in five years.
York’s game is representative of a bigger trend across all levels of hockey. Defensemen are no longer bruisers whose main purpose is to block shots and make checks. Instead, defenders are quick, elusive players who can operate as a fourth forward when their team is on the rush.
What makes Beecher so effective is his rare combination of size and speed. Standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 209 pounds, he is one of the biggest forwards on Michigan’s roster — and he uses that to his advantage.
Last year’s three top scorers — forwards Jake Slaker, Will Lockwood and Nick Pastujov — are all gone. While those holes won’t be easy to fill, the freshman class knows how to get the puck into the net.
Without Matthew Beniers, the Wolverines would have an elite class of scorers and playmakers coming in this season. With him it’s downright ludicrous. Beniers also projects as a top-10 pick in 2021, and it’s easy to see why. His quick feet and puck skills helped him notch a team-leading 18 goals in 44 games for the U.S. National Under-18 Team last season, but he’s more than just a pure goal scorer.