by Ari Baum - October 28, 2005
Season Preview Part I: Player-By-Player Analysis

29 - Byron Bitz, Jr
After starting out his college career as a right-winger, Bitz has been converted to a center. His strong vision and above-average playmaking ability combined with his large frame make him an ideal fit as the top line center. He sees the ice well and is capable of getting the puck to Matt Moulson on a regular basis. Bitz still needs to work on his faceoffs and as a result will be moved to the wing on defensive zone draws in favor of Daniel Pegoraro or Chris Abbott who are both stronger in this area. Still, he is solid in the defensive zone and always works hard. This is a very big year for Bitz who has yet to fully establish himself as an offensive force at this level. He most certainly has the ability and has shown flashes of it. He will get every opportunity centering the top line and the top powerplay unit, likely playing exclusively with Moulson.

15 - Daniel Pegoraro, Sr
Pegoraro has undergone a major makeover during his time at Cornell. He has gone from a one-dimensional, poorly conditioned center to one of the Big Red's most consistent performers at both ends of the ice. Pegoraro works hard every night and is a regular offensive contributor. He skates well, is strong on faceoffs, strong off the rush, creative offensively, and reliable in the defensive zone. Pegoraro will center the second line, play the point on the second powerplay unit and will also see time on the penalty kill. He will be a very important player for this team as he plays in every situation. Additionally, he will be relied upon to be an offensive catalyst on a regular basis as he was last year and be a key secondary producer for the attack. Being one of Cornell's top two most reliable forwards in all areas (Chris Abbott being the other), Pegoraro will get a ton of ice time every night and will be relied upon more than any other forward in all aspects of the game.

19 - Chris Abbott, Sr
Another tremendous two-way threat, Chris Abbott is the kind of player a team must have to be successful. He is not the flashiest guy out there, but he gets the job done like no other player can. Abbott is the ideal third line center in that he does all the little things very well. He is very consistent both defensively and offensively and works hard every night. Abbott will take a lot of defensive zone faceoffs and will be relied upon heavily in killing penalties, especially with the losses of Mike Iggulden and Mike Knoepfli. Abbott will see most of his ice time against opposing team's top lines but will also generate his fair share of offense. He is deceivingly quick and always finishes his checks. Although he would not be at all out of place on a scoring line, Abbott has really sunk into his two-way center role and has become one of the better defensive forwards in the ECACHL. Do not be at all surprised to see Abbott put up some good offensive numbers playing with savvy freshman Evan Barlow. Regardless, Abbott's qualities as a player will extend far past the score sheet. Abbott may just have more upside than Iggulden, the player who he will have to replace.

18 - Mike Kennedy, Fr
Kennedy will remind most of the last Big Red player to wear #18, Mike Iggulden. They have similar skating styles and are both strong two-way players. Kennedy has good size, but will need to fill out his frame. He is adept at both ends of the ice and is very aware of what is happening in all three zones. Kennedy will also provide an additional option on faceoffs should something happen to Abbott or Pegoraro. As is the case with any freshman, Kennedy has a lot of maturing to do, but he has the potential to be a very good two-way player at the college level just as Iggulden was. He does not have game-breaking offensive potential, but he will be the type of solid contributor that Iggulden was, and Iggulden was arguably Cornell's best overall forward in the 2004-2005 season. Kennedy will definitely play in the fourth line center role with little chance of surpassing any of the top three centers unless there are injuries. Still, Kennedy will never be a liability on the ice with his well-rounded game. Pegoraro and Abbott will tutor Kennedy in all the little things that strong two-way centers need to do in order to succeed at this level, particularly on a Mike Schafer-coached team, so that he is ready to take over in that role next season when they are gone.

Left Wing

24 - Matt Moulson, Sr
Moulson is possibly the purest goal scorer in all of college hockey. He is one of the best offensive weapons Cornell has had in a long time and will be challenged a great deal in his senior year. Every team Cornell plays will know about Moulson's tremendous shot and will pressure him at every opportunity, particularly on the powerplay. This was the case for the majority of last season and Moulson still found a way to get open and get his shot off on a regular basis, becoming the first Cornell player to break the 20-goal barrier in several years. Moulson's skating has improved and he has filled out during his time at Cornell. The fact that he goes to the net every chance he gets means that Moulson's goal totals will not decrease no matter how much opposing teams shut him down in the high slot. Moulson will captain the Big Red this year and will be looked at for more than just goals, as he will be replacing the outstanding leaders who graduated last year.

14 - Cam Abbott, Sr
After Moulson, Abbott is Cornell's most dangerous offensive player. Abbott is extremely quick and is always physical making him a big time threat off both the cycle and the rush. There is no denying Abbott's upside, but he has yet to establish himself as a true offensive force in his first three years at Cornell. Due to the kamikaze-like style Abbott plays, he has been prone to a lot of injuries during his career. Abbott consistently is able to raise fans from their seats with his dazzling moves and creativity with the puck. His aggressive style also forces a ton of turnovers, particularly off the forecheck. Still, he only scored three goals in 25 games last season. Abbott will get every opportunity to ascend as a top offensive player playing on the second line and second powerplay unit. He is also a strong penalty killer and a short-handed offensive threat with his instincts and quickness. He played with Pegoraro and Topher Scott in the exhibition against the U-18 team and the three were buzzing the entire night. Whether Scott stays there the whole season remains to be seen, but Pegoraro and Abbott will likely stay together as they did for a large part of last season. Abbott will be one of the key players in providing the Big Red with secondary scoring, filling the offensive void left by the departed Iggulden, Knoepfli, and Shane Hynes.

20 - Evan Barlow, Fr
Barlow would normally be a top two-line player, even as a freshman, but with Moulson and Abbott in the fold, he will unquestionably be the third left winger on the team's depth chart. That is not to say that Barlow will not be looked upon to shoulder some of the offensive load. Barlow was a big scorer in juniors and has all the makings of a big time offensive producer at the college level. He is very skilled, sees the ice well, and has an exceptional shot that he can get off quickly. Barlow will likely play most of the season with Chris Abbott as his center and the two are both creative offensively and quick in tight areas. Playing on the third line with Abbott against the opposition's top offensive players will allow Barlow to round out his exceptional package of skills. The coaching staff has acknowledged Barlow's offensive ability by putting him on the point on the second powerplay unit. He may be a bit undersized at 5'9, but Barlow has demonstrated a willingness to get involved physically on a regular basis. He appears to have some of the attributes of Ryan Vesce, but is more of a shooter and more of a physical presence. Expect Barlow to bloom into one of the top offensive players in the ECACHL during his time at Cornell, especially next year after Moulson and Cam Abbott have graduated and there is an infusion of extraordinary talent (in next year's recruiting class).

21 - Tyler Mugford, Fr
An intriguing prospect, Mugford really impressed in the exhibition versus the U-18 team. He is not a talented player by any stretch of the imagination and his skating is not at all pretty, but Mugford is another one of those guys a team needs in order to be successful. He is very gritty and always appears to be in the middle of things. He works incredibly hard to compensate for his skating deficiencies and is always looking to get involved physically. He will never be mistaken as an offensive player, but Mugford will likely be able to crack the lineup as a 4th line energy player who can draw penalties with his hard work and aggressive style. He does have good touch around the net and that could eventually lead to a spot in front of the net on one of the powerplay units. Mugford's work ethic and willingness to constantly drive to the net and play physically will become a fixture for the Big Red. He also killed penalties in the U-18 game and his style of play would be well-suited for those situations. Mugford was praised for his leadership abilities, work ethic, and grit in juniors and will quickly become a fan favorite at Cornell, personifying what the teams of recent years have thrived on.

16 - Ryan Kindret, Fr
Kindret is a power forward project. He skates well, has good size, and offensive upside but needs to put them all together. Kindret will not be relied upon to produce this season and he will have trouble finding a lineup spot but his strength in physical play and offensive ability will make it tough for the coaching staff to keep him off the ice. Kindret will win his fair share of battles for the puck with his size and will be a good player to have against some of the smaller, less physical teams. With Moulson and Cam Abbott graduating after this season, Kindret's role will increase substantially next season but expect him to contribute here and there offensively this year if he can get into the lineup.

Right Wing

26 - Topher Scott, So
In just one year, Scott has become one of the most popular players in Cornell history. His fanfare is well deserved as Scott wears his heart on his sleeve every time he is on the ice. His work ethic and willingness to go into high traffic areas more than compensates for his lack of size. Scott started last year at center but was moved to the right side about mid-way through the season. One would think that his lack of size would make him a liability in the corners and the boards but Scott somehow manages to win the majority of the battles he is in. He will find himself on one of the top two lines and will again be a mainstay on the top powerplay unit. He has played a lot with Moulson and Bitz but has also played with Pegoraro and Cam Abbott as he did in the game versus the U-18 team. In addition to being a force on the boards, Scott is very quick and creative with the puck. He is much more of a playmaker than a shooter, but because he always goes to the net, Scott will score his fair share of goals. Scott's value cannot be understated. The team feeds off of the constant energy he brings to games and he quickly became the Big Red's emotional leader during his freshman campaign. Scott is also capable of playing any of the three forward positions allowing the coaching staff some flexibility in case of injuries.

12 - Raymond Sawada, So
The largest beneficiary of Shane Hynes's early departure is Sawada. Sawada will have a big opportunity this season to establish himself as an elite power forward who will play on one of the top two lines. In his freshman season, Sawada played in more of a checking role but did play on the second powerplay unit as a presence in the corners and in front of the net. Sawada is very likely the hardest hitting forward in the ECACHL and among the hardest hitters in college hockey. He plays his angles extremely well and runs players through the boards on a regular basis. Referees seemed unsure as to what to do when he wrecks opposing players with clean checks, so he would frequently get penalties. In the game against the U-18 team, Sawada found himself skating on the top line beside Moulson and Bitz. Sawada will be able to clear space for Bitz and Moulson but also has the ability to produce offensively. Sawada will be a major factor in how this team performs this season, as he is the primary player who will need to supplement the loss of Hynes.

11 - Mitch Carefoot, Jr
Carefoot is a hardhat type of player who will work for everything he gets. He gets around the ice efficiently and is an ideal player to check opposing teams' top lines because of his work ethic and attention to detail. Carefoot will play on the checking unit with Chris Abbott and will be a regular on the penalty kill as well. In the wake of Hynes's early departure, Carefoot will be called upon to produce more offensively. He is a capable offensive player and can even fill in as a front-of-the-net presence on the powerplay. Carefoot is also a short-handed threat as he demonstrated with his man-down goal against Minnesota in the NCAA Quarterfinals last season. Although he will primarily be in a defensive role, look for Carefoot's offensive numbers to climb a bit this year with the increased ice time and responsibility.

10 - Mark McCutcheon, Jr
McCutcheon brings a good work ethic and attitude as well as very good offensive skills. He has seen time on offensive lines and the powerplay during his first two years but has been unable to score a goal. This team has its goal scorers, however, and McCutcheon will be looked at more for his work ethic and energy on the fourth line. McCutcheon's biggest detractor is his size. Although over six feet tall, he is slender and gets knocked around a lot. Late last season when the team finally got fully healthy, McCutcheon lost his spot in the lineup. With Connors likely pushing hard for a lineup spot, McCutcheon's spot in the lineup is not guaranteed. McCutcheon's experience and ability on the penalty kill do make him a solid fourth liner.

9 - Matt Connors, Fr
Connors was one of the hotter recruits in college hockey two years ago. In the 2003-2004 season playing at the Junior B level, Connors was a dominant force notching 78 goals in 70 games. Connors struggled to make the transition to Junior A last season, battling injuries and inconsistency. Connors has been praised both for his size and speed and was regarded as a potential NHL draft pick in the 2005 Entry Draft. His struggles last year pushed him off the radar a bit and he was the only forward who did not dress for the game versus the U-18 team. In the Red-White game, he was very difficult to notice and seemed a step slow and tentative. There is no question that Connors has potential and it will be interesting to see how he develops at Cornell. For now, do not expect to see him in the lineup, but his upside is difficult to ignore for long. Do not rule out Connors forcing his way into the lineup before season's end.


5 - Jon Gleed, Sr
Gleed has developed very nicely in his first three years at Cornell. He has become a solid defenseman who contributes in all areas of the game. Gleed possesses excellent skating ability and always seems to make the right decision with the puck. He makes few mistakes and is good at reading the play coming out of the zone. Gleed's skating ability and intelligence make him a threat to skate the puck out of the defensive zone. He did not appear on the second powerplay unit against the U-18 team but he would not be at all out of place quarterbacking a unit. All the same, Gleed is a player who will be counted on to play big minutes every night, many of which will be against opposing top lines. Gleed will have a great opportunity to emerge from the shadows of some of the great defensemen who have played ahead of him the last three years.

2 - Ryan O'Byrne, Jr
This is an enormous season for O'Byrne. The gargantuan blueliner has the potential to be one of the most dominant defensemen in college hockey. Although he has sporadically fulfilled that potential during his first two years, there is no question that he has improved substantially during that period. O'Byrne will be called upon to play a huge role for the Big Red this season, playing in all situations. In addition to seeing most of his ice time against opposing top forwards, O'Byrne has also been called to the top powerplay unit, manning the right point. He has a booming shot that will provide another option to the play to Moulson in the high slot. O'Byrne skates well for a player his size but is prone to making questionable decisions with and without the puck. He takes a good amount of penalties and turns over the puck more than the coaching staff would like. These are areas where he has improved in the last two years and is poised to really assert himself this season. Unfortunately for Cornell, the better O'Byrne plays this season, the more it is likely he will play professional hockey next season. Regardless, he will get every opportunity to fulfill his vast potential this season.

4 - Sasha Pokulok, So
Another huge defenseman, Pokulok plays a drastically different style than that of O'Byrne. The first first round pick in Cornell history this past July, Pokulok is one of the most skilled defenseman in college hockey. He will quarterback the powerplay and will be looked upon to fill the void left by Charlie Cook. Pokuluk has a huge shot and great offensive instincts. On the powerplay, he often sneaks into the slot, generating additional traffic. Pokulok is still learning how to effectively use his large frame, but has improved greatly in this area. He will need to continue to work on his footspeed and quickness in the defensive zone but again, he has improved in these areas. It will be interesting to see the numbers he puts up this season, but point-per-game numbers are not out of the question. As far as offense from the blueline is concerned, Pokuluk is the man. Add in the fact that he is capable of becoming a force defensively with his size and you could have an All-American defenseman as a sophomore. Like O'Byrne, the downside in Pokuluk's improvement and general accomplishments this season will be the likelihood of him turning pro next season.

17 - Doug Krantz, So
Krantz made huge strides during his freshman year. He started off the year tentative and almost scared. He finished the year as one of the team's more solid contributors at both ends of the ice. Krantz ultimately simplified his game and benefitted greatly from it. He does not look like he is moving that fast, but in actuality Krantz moves very well once he gets going. He is a good puck carrier and sees the ice very well. He learned when to skate the puck in and when not to. Coming out of the defensive zone, Krantz became more decisive and quicker to make decisions. Rather than hesitating, he grew to throw the puck high off the glass in tough situations. On the powerplay, Krantz has tremendous potential. He an ideal quarterback because he sees the ice so well and he also has a very hard shot and has a great ability to get the puck to the net. Krantz has a big frame and became more physical as his first year progressed. He is a good all-around defenseman who is poised to make a big step forward with the graduations of Cook and Downs. Krantz stepping up his game will be a must if Cornell is to remain college hockey's top defensive team.

22 - Dan Glover, Jr
Another player who will need to step up in a big way for the Big Red this season, Glover is the type of very solid defenseman who can play against the opposition's top forwards. He has really beefed up since he came to Cornell and is very responsible in his own end. This stay-at-home defenseman has good mobility and always makes the safe play. Again, Glover will be relied upon to shut down the top offensive players of Cornell's opponents, thus making his responsibility tremendous. He will also be relied upon on the penalty kill. He is not a flashy player or someone you will notice much and he definitely will not show up in the boxscore that much, but he is a player who will need to perform for the Big Red to be successful. He is yet another player for Cornell who will must raise his game to the next level for the team to eclipse its success from last season.

3 - Jared Seminoff, Fr
Seminoff has looked really solid and poised in his two auditions for the Big Red this season. Although he is small for a defenseman, he has a great deal of composure, particularly for a freshman. His decision-making and ability to think quickly are very impressive for a first year defenseman. With the puck, Seminoff has a good deal of potential and will likely find himself on the powerplay later in his career. For now, he will need to focus on becoming a consistent defensive presence that can play a regular shift. Seminoff played a lot with Pokuluk during the exhibition games and he would be a good complement for him as a solid, responsible defenseman.

7 - Taylor Davenport, Fr
Davenport dressed for the U-18 game, so he is definitely in the mix to crack the lineup. That being said, he did not see nearly as much ice time as Seminoff did and with the top five defensemen pretty much set in stone, Davenport will need to surpass him to get into the lineup. Davenport is also undersized but skates well and is noted for his character. He may not immediately crack the Cornell lineup, but there will eventually be a spot for him down the line. Injuries are inevitable and Davenport will likely dress for a good amount of games as a result.

6 - Evan Salmela, Jr
Salmela is a solid depth defensemen but will not be a regular on the Cornell blueline. He is small and struggles with physical play but he skates well, can make the first pass, and has good offensive upside. Salmela drew into five games last year and did not look at all out of place. Look for something similar this season as far as games played for the junior defenseman.


31 - David McKee, Jr
There is not much that can be said about McKee that has not already been said. He is the best goaltender in college hockey and maybe even the best goaltender in Cornell history. His statistics put him amongst the elite of all-time. His detractors say that he is merely the product of a spectacular defensive system that has made a handful of goaltenders look better than they are. Well, these people should try watching him play for a game. Unfortunately for McKee, these same people who never see him play are the same people who vote for the Hobey Baker Award for best collegiate hockey player. Forget about the outstanding statistics. This guy makes enormous saves and makes them at the most important times. There is no statistic for big saves. Of course there are other goalies that also make big saves, but McKee does it almost every night at the pivotal points in the game. Add to all of that that McKee has played every single game in his first two years at Cornell and one starts to understand how extraordinary his value is to Cornell. Expect McKee to put up even better numbers than he did last season and not win the Hobey again.

1 - Louis Chabot, Sr
Chabot demonstrated in the Red-White game that he is not just a third goalie. He made several spectacular saves, many of which were point-blank on the Big Red's best offensive players. As long as McKee stays healthy, he will play every single game as he has in his first two seasons, but Chabot will likely be the next guy on the depth chart. He has proven his commitment to the team and has shaken the perception that he is not a capable goaltender. Chabot does know his role, however, and that is where he will stay unless the unspeakable should occur.

30 - Dan DiLeo, Fr
DiLeo has been injured during the first couple weeks of practice and did not dress in either exhibition game. There are not big expectations for him and his upside is probably as a solid backup. It is very likely that McKee's heir-apparent between the pipes will be a freshman next season. But you never know what is going to happen and DiLeo could certainly become a fixture off the ice as Chabot has in his three years with the team.