With the announcements of F Michael Di Puma and D Dan Senkbeil it seems the final shape of the 2011 UND mens hockey roster is fairly well set.
I know some are fretful that F Jason Gregoire may still choose the professional option over a senior year, but I know two things on that front: 1) with the addition of Di Puma I still only see 15 forwards on the roster and that's the minimum UND normally carries, and 2) no amount of worry by me will alter what is ultimately Jason's decision.
I see 15 forwards. That's traditionally the roster size as it makes five complete lines for practice. And 3 goaltenders is traditional also. I see no surprises there.
What is unusual is 9 defensemen. Traditionally that number is 8 (four pairs). But thinking more about that number I think I understand why 9 going into this fall.
In the spring of 2012 UND will lose senior Ben Blood; but, it may also face losing Andrew MacWilliam and Derek Forbort to the professional ranks. That scenario would leave UND with Gleason, Hill, Simpson, the 2011 freshmen, and 2012 recruit Jordan Schmaltz. (That's just seven, so expect to hear at least one more 2012 defenseman recruit.)
Adding defensemen with potential to develop (Panzarella, Senkbeil) now, fall 2011, should smooth out a spring 2012 bump if UND were to see Blood, MacWilliam, and Forbort all depart.
Those are my thoughts given what I see right now. But what I also see is that Hakstol and his staff are playing both checkers (immediate impacts and tactics) and chess (long-term strategic roster planning). That's a lot strategy and tactic to manage off the ice.