Chuck Schwartz All-WCHA Ballot

WCHA

The WCHA wrapped up it's regular season on Saturday which means it's time for your resident hockey writer to post his All-WCHA ballot. No, I don't get an official ballot that counts for anything. But I've seen some official ballots in the past, and I'm pretty sure I couldn't do any worse.

A couple of notes about how I approach this when I'm considering my ballot. I do take statistics into account, but they aren't the only thing I take into account. I've seen every team play this season at least twice, so first hand viewings account for part of the process.

When looking at statistics, it's not always fair to base it solely on the numbers. Who was a better player, a guy who had 40 points on a team that scored 100 goals, or a guy who scored 45 points on a team that scored 150 goals? Not all points are created equal.

That said...here goes.

WCHA First Team

F-Jaden Schwartz--Colorado College
F-Jason Zucker--University of Denver
F-Jack Connolly--University of Minnesota-Duluth
D-Justin Schultz--University of Wisconsin
D-Nate Schmidt--University of Minnesota
G-Kent Patterson--University of Minnesota

WCHA Second Team

F-J.T. Brown--University of Minnesota-Duluth
F-Mark Zengerle--University of Wisconsin
F-Drew Shore--University of Denver
D-Joey LaLeggia--University of Denver
D-Nick Jensen--St. Cloud State University
G-Josh Thorimbert--Colorado College

WCHA Third Team

F-Ben Hanowski--St. Cloud State University
F-Brock Nelson--University of North Dakota
F-Nick Bjugstad--University of Minnesota
D-Brad Hunt--Bemidji State University
D-Ben Blood--University of North Dakota
G-Dan Bakala--Bemidji State University

WCHA Rookie Team

F-Kyle Rau--University of Minnesota
F-J.P. Lafontaine--Minnesota State University
F-Caleb Herbert--University of Minnesota-Duluth
D-Andrew Prochno--St. Cloud State University
D-Joey LaLeggia--University of Denver
G-Ryan Massa--University of Nebraska-Omaha

WCHA Player of the Year: Justin Schultz--Wisconsin

To be honest, this is a two horse race this season. It's between Schultz and Jack Connolly. Neither choice would be wrong in my opinion as they both had fabulous seasons. I personally felt that Schultz had the most dominating impact in the league this season. He was on the ice for 67% of the goals his team scored (68 of 101), and 82% of the goals Wisconsin scored on the power-play (27 of 33). He did this all as the league's #1 defenseman. Impressive.

WCHA Defensive Player of the Year: Justin Schultz--Wisconsin

Really no question who deserves this award. Schultz was clearly the leagues top blue-liner and the voting for this award is simply a formality.

WCHA Rookie of the Year: Joey LaLeggia--Denver

There wasn't a freshman who had more of an impact this season than LaLeggia. The Denver freshman averaged a point per game in league play and led all freshmen in scoring in arguably the toughest league in the nation as a defenseman. Easy choice.

WCHA Coach of the Year: Dave Hakstol--North Dakota

Was there a coach who did more with as much adversity as Hakstol this season? Not in my opinion. North Dakota hasn't played with a healthy scratch since December 11th. And many of the games since then, they have played with less than the maximum allowed players because they don't have enough healthy bodies to fill out a lineup card.

They lost the overwhelming favorite for rookie of the year Rocco Grimaldi before his season even really ever started, and played without first round NHL draft pick J.T. Miller who ditched UND right before the season started to play in the OHL. Additionally, Colten St. Clair wasn't cleared by the NCAA to play this season.

Yet North Dakota is still right there, finishing fourth in the league this season. Don Lucia from Minnesota and Mel Pearson from Michigan Tech are all worthy candidates but my vote is for Hakstol.

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For more Wisconsin hockey coverage, follow Chuck on Twitter (@UWChuckSchwartz)

Chuck can also be reached via e-mail at chuckschwartz@live.com

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