Denver hockey roster update: 2017-18 Pioneers poised to dominate once again

Photo credit: AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

If you thought that the University of Denver hockey team’s run to their eighth national title a few months ago was a wild ride, come this October, buckle up. The 2017-18 Pioneers might be even better than the 2017 National Champions. Crazy? Sure. Implausible? Absolutely not.

Earlier this week, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reported that star sophomore center Dylan Gambrell has decided to return to the Pioneers for his junior year. Until this announcement, there was some uncertainty whether he would sign an entry-level deal with the San Jose Sharks, the team that drafted him or return to school.

“When it came down to it, there was no wrong decision, I think,” Gambrell told Chambers in a phone interview. “Obviously, we’re at a great place in Denver. We have a phenomenal coaching staff. Our team is right up there with the best, obviously. But for me, it was a great opportunity in San Jose. It’s what you work for as a player your whole life. You want to make it to the NHL. I took a lot of advice, talked to a lot of people. I took my time with the decision because I didn’t want to rush it and have emotions taking over.”

With Gambrell’s decision now in the rearview mirror, the 2017-18 roster is beginning to take shape and it will be one that is now guaranteed to include three of the best players in all of college hockey in Henrik Borgström, Troy Terry, and Gambrell. In other words, DU fans are going to continue seeing the same incredible hockey from the top two lines they got used to in 2016 and 2017.

“For our team next year now, it will definitely be the most dynamic offensive team in my tenure here, and I’m excited to see how hard we can become to play against,” DU head coach Jim Montgomery told Chambers. “If we can combine those two things, it could really, really be an exciting year.”

Thanks to Gambrell’s decision, the full 2017-18 roster is coming into clearer focus with about two and a half months until the season starts. As it stands now, below is the very preliminary 2017-18 roster (“Fr” denotes incoming freshmen):

Forwards:

Borgström, Terry, Gambrell, Tyson McLellan, Liam Finlay, Colin Staub, Logan O’Connor, Jarid Lukosevicius, Rudy Junda, Jaakko Heikkinen (Fr), Jake Durflinger (Fr), Ryan Barrow (Fr), Jack Doremus (Fr), and Kohen Olischefski (Fr)

Defensemen:

Michael Davies, Erich Fear, Blake Hillman, Sean Mostrom, Tariq Hammond, Adam Plant, Ian Mitchell (Fr), and Griffin Mendel (Fr)

Goalies:

Tanner Jaillet and Dayton Rasmussen (Fr)

It’s fully expected that there will be some minor additions and potential subtractions to the roster between now and October, but at the moment this is the general shape the 2017-18 roster will take.

The long and short of it is this team is going to be incredibly good once again and on paper, they will likely enter the season as the favorite to win the national title.

It’s important to take accolades and signs like this with a very large grain of salt, though. After all, it is only July, so don’t start booking April trips to St Paul just yet. This team lost last year’s Hobey Baker Award winner and much of its heart and soul in players like Matt VanVoorhis, Emil Romig, Evan Ritt, and others to graduation. In short, at risk of stating what is completely obvious, national titles can’t be won in July.

That said, things are coming together quite nicely for the Pioneers’ quest to repeat and win their ninth national title, which would tie them with Michigan for most all-time. Denver will have all the right pieces in place come October. All they’ll have to do is get on the ice and execute the way Montgomery knows they can.

Can’t be too hard, can it?

12 thoughts on “Denver hockey roster update: 2017-18 Pioneers poised to dominate once again”

  1. One of the things that I have learned in my fandom, is that the appearance of a sure thing does not equate to a sure thing. Obviously, everything that could have gone right in the offseason for Denver, has gone right. The Pios return the best coach in the country for another year. Three of the best forwards in the country (maybe THE best three?) ALL decided to return. This is all on the heels of a pretty dominant season where the team proved that it can be a focused winner in crunch time.

    Question marks–like the article says,the loss of departing seniors is always a big deal. Two of the biggest losses are Janssen and Romig—these dude played with some attitude, had skill, and were the prototypical Montgomery kind of players. The other question mark is the desire and work ethic, of course. Gotta work extremely hard, and not fall into the trap of getting lazy thinking that Jailett, Terry, and Borgstrom will bail you out with a clutch save, or a fancy goal. I guess I’m not as worried about the motivation issue, because 1) Montgomery proved last year that he is capable of getting players to buy into a hardworking and disciplined system; and 2) Terry, Borgstrom, Gambrell, and Montgomery all came back for a reason–to win another national title. I doubt that any of them would just go through the motions with that kind of motivation leading to their return.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Going into the upcoming season, we have a better chance then anyone else of winning a NC. Let’s see, UND and the so called “expert prognosticators” have thought that about the Sioux almost every year since 2000.. A local friend who knows tons more about college hockey then I crowned BU National Champs before the 2016-2017 season began. (he obviously knows less in reality) It will be a fun year to see how things shake out. We will get every team’s best effort. Don’t be surprised or worried if we lose some games on the road early in South Bend and Boston. Come March, if healthy, we will be the team to beat.

    Like

  3. You forgot about Brad Hawkinson and Adam Goodsir at forward. Goodsir signed his LOI earlier this year and Patrick Munson who redshirted this season after transferring from Vermont.

    Like

      1. Is there a question about Munson? Granted he would be looking at a backup position with Jaillet returning.

        Like

  4. Having the most talent on the ice is only about half the story in terms of winning a title.

    You also need chemistry, leadership, sacrifice, team health and a fair bit of luck, timing and for your opponents to have some deficiencies, too.

    There is a reason few teams repeat.

    Like

    1. The 2009-10′ team with All Americans Cheverie, Rakhshani and Wiercioch come to mind as what should have been. Losing to RIT in the first game, SMH.

      Like

  5. That loss to RIT was the start of Gwoz’s departure. It hurt big time for everyone involved. D.U. had no business losing that game.

    Like

  6. The whole Munson thing confuses me. Presumably, DU knew it was accepting Munson as a transfer, and bringing in Rasmussen this year, with the strong possibility that Jaillet, who is undrafted, would stay until he graduates. That’s three good goalies – and someone would be bound to be upset as a third goalie with no playing time.

    DU can usually find a third goalie as a walk-on. Plenty of junior and prep-school goalies out there who don’t have a pro future that would like to be part of a National Championship program.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s