Minnesota Hockey Magazine

Big Ten releases first preseason poll, Players to Watch

Big+Ten+LogoThe Big Ten announced its first-ever preseason poll this morning to kick off the inaugural Big Ten Hockey Media Day today at Xcel Energy Center. Wisconsin is the team to beat for the maiden voyage of Big Ten Hockey in the eyes of the voters while Minnesota’s Kyle Rau was the lone unanimous selection among the coach-selected Preseason Players to Watch list.

Winners of 22 games last season, the Badgers advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2013 before falling to 6-1 to eventual Frozen Four participant, Massachusetts-Lowell, in the first round. Minnesota, which won 26 games and a share of the WCHA regular-season title with St. Cloud State en route to a stunning season-ending overtime loss to reigning NCAA champion Yale in its NCAA opener, was chosen to finish second.

Michigan was selected to finish third, Michigan State and Ohio State were projected to tie for fourth, with Penn State rounding out the poll.

The Gophers are well represented among the Preseason Players to Watch list which features defenseman Mike Reilly and goaltender Adam Wilcox in addition to Rau among 13 student-athletes selected overall. Wisconsin led the way with four honorees while Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State each had two honorees.

The 2013-14 season begins on Oct. 10, while Big Ten play opens Nov. 29 with each team taking part in a 20-game slate.

2013-14 BIG TEN PRESEASON POLL 

1.             Wisconsin
2.             Minnesota
3.             Michigan
T4.           Michigan State
T4.           Ohio State
6.             Penn State

2013-14 BIG TEN PRESEASON PLAYERS TO WATCH

Mac   Bennett, D, MichiganRyan   Dzingel, F, Ohio State
Alex   Guptill, F, MichiganMax McCormick, F, Ohio State
Matt Berry, F, Michigan StateNic   Kerdiles, F, Wisconsin
Jake   Hildebrand, G, Michigan StateJake   McCabe, D, Wisconsin
Kyle Rau,   F, Minnesota*Michael   Mersch, F, Wisconsin
Mike   Reilly, D, MinnesotaMark   Zengerle, F, Wisconsin
Adam   Wilcox, G, Minnesota