Minnesota Duluth has won the past two NCAA men’s hockey championships and returns a large chunk of its talent, so it’s no surprise the Bulldogs are the preseason pick to win the NCHC regular-season title.

The Bulldogs received 23 of a possible 28 first-place votes for 218 points in the NCHC preseason media poll released Wednesday. Denver was picked second with two first-place votes and 178 points, followed by Western Michigan (three first-place votes, 156 points). North Dakota was picked fourth, followed by defending champion St. Cloud State, Colorado College, Nebraska Omaha and Miami (Ohio).

This is the third time in the NCHC’s seven years that Minnesota Duluth was the preseason No. 1 pick, but the Bulldogs have yet to win the Penrose Cup as regular-season champions. They finished second last year.

UMD on Tuesday landed four players on the NCHC’s preseason all-conference team.

NCHC preseason poll

1. Minnesota Duluth (23) 218

2. Denver (2) 178

3. Western Michigan (3) 156

4. North Dakota 143

5. St. Cloud State 138

6. Colorado College 81

7. Nebraska Omaha 53

8. Miami (Ohio) 41

Note: First-place votes in parentheses

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