The Gophers now have eight defensemen for next season with the addition of Chris Rial, a 6-5, 205 D-man for the Kenai River Brown Bears.

The U of M lost three D-men -- seniors Cade Fairchild and Kevin Wehrs and junior Aaron Ness -- who averaged 5-10, 185.

They are bringing in two small D-men, Ben Marshall (5-10, 166), of Omaha of the USHL and Chris Student (5-9, 170), a transfer from Northweastern who practiced with team this season but couldn't play.

But Rial adds size, especially if he can put on a little muscle this offseason.

With him the Gophers could pair one small D-man with a big one which they did most of this past season.

Here are their big D-men:

Seth Helgeson, 6-5, 217

Chris Rial, 6-5, 205

Mark Alt, 6-3, 194

Justin Holl, 6-2, 180

The four small D-men

Nate Schmidt, 5-11, 199 ... actually heavier than Alt and Holl, a little feisty too

Jake Parenteau, 5-10, 188

Chris Student, 5-9, 170

Ben Marshall, 5-10, 166