Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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Gophers picked No. 1 in one very early preseason hockey poll

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under College hockey, Gophers awards and honors Updated: May 25, 2012 - 1:52 AM

What does the calendar say? May 25.

No matter. College hockey web sites write about hockey year round.

INCH has come out with is preseason top 10 and at the top are the Gophers. Michigan is No. 2 and North Dakota No. 3.

Here is INCH's blurb on the Gophers:

Assuming Bjugstad returns for his junior season instead of turning pro, the Gophers’ lineup will boast seven players who scored 20 or more points last season. Good thing they’ll score a ton, because Minnesota must break in a pair of untested goaltenders—junior Mike Shibrowski (20 career minutes played) and rookie Adam Wilcox, a South St. Paul, Minn., native who spent the last two seasons in the USHL with Green Bay and Tri-City.

Comment: Not sure the defense will be a huge concern. Shibrowski or Wilcox just have to be average. They might not see a lot of shots. Top six defensemen return from last season, plus the Gophers add two potential stars on the blue line: freshmen Brady Skjei of the national development team in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Mike Reilly of Penticton of the BCHL.

Skjei is expected to be a lower first round pick in the NHL draft next month. Reilly said a Vees' team record for points in a single regular season. He had more than 80 points before the playoffs, which ended with the Vees winning the national Junior A title.

Bjugstad still has not said whether he will sign with the NHL's Florida Panthers, who have his rights, or return to the Gophers for his junior year. He had 25 goals last season.

To read the INCH top 10, click here.

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