The Big Ten coaches have spoken: Michigan, not the Gophers, is the favorite to win the conference hockey title this coming season. This despite the Gophers having won both Big Ten crowns -- last spring and 2014 -- and the last two conference titles when they were in the WCHA. Never before have the Gophers won four conference titles in a row.
Michigan went 12-8 last season in the Big Ten, and the Wolverines lost to the Gophers in the tournament championship.
The Gophers were picked by the coaches to finish second, followed by Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State and Wisconsin in last.
The coaches also picked their preseason players to watch list, and that list included junior forwards Hudson Fasching and Justin Kloos from the Gophers. Three Wolverines made that list, and two were unanimous selections. The results of the coaches' poll:
2015-16 BIG TEN PRESEASON POLL
3. Michigan State
4. Penn State
5. Ohio State
2015-16 BIG TEN PRESEASON PLAYERS TO WATCH
JT Compher, F, Michigan*
Kyle Connor, F, Michigan
Zach Werenski, D, Michigan*
Jake Hildebrand, G, Michigan State*
Mackenzie MacEachern, F, Michigan State
Hudson Fasching, F, Minnesota*
Justin Kloos, F, Minnesota
Anthony Greco, F, Ohio State
Nick Schilkey, F, Ohio State
David Goodwin, F, Penn State
Eric Scheid, F, Penn State
Grant Besse, F, Wisconsin
* Unanimous selection
The Gophers begin their 95th hockey season on Oct. 10 with a home game against Vermont.