Looking for reasons the Gophers fell short this season?
I got a theory. Somebody blundered putting this roster together.
That's the only way to explain the Gophers playing 10 forwards and eight defenseman against Yale.
D-man Jake Parenteau and Justin Holl were the left and right wings on the Gophers' fourth line. That line had two shots on goal in the U's 3-2 overtime loss to Yale.
On a roster with 15 NHL draft picks, the coaches couldn't find 12 forwards to play.
Associate head coach Mike Guentzel was on the radio Saturday morning saying the Gophers were still trying to put lines together at the end of the season.
Four forwards on the Gophers roster barely saw the ice, if at all.
Freshman Connor Reilly was the big story. He came to the U after a great season at Penticton in the British Columbia Hockey League. Guentzel said he would have been a top nine forward. My guess, top six.
At any rate, he suffered an ACL knee injury at a team party before the season began. It turned out to be a humongous loss.
Because once the Gophers coaches saw what else they had at forward, they must have decided not much.
Ryan Reilly, Connor's twin brother, played eight games, Jared Larson four, Christian Horn none.
In effect, the Gophers' 27-man roster was really 20.
The Gophers had four forwards who didn't play and three goalies who didn't play: Mike Shibrowski and two practice goalies.
On that 20 man roster were goalie Adam Wilcox, 11 forwards and eight defensemen. That's it. Not much room to maneuver. Not much competition for playing spots. Nineteen of those players played almost every game. One sat.
Fortunately, this team avoided any major injuries, except fo Connor Reilly's.
That one hurt enough.
* Connor Reilly has been skating for a couple weeks now. He joins his teammates for part of practice, but is not having contact yet.