NCAA championships are typically won with older teams. Wisconsin's last two trips to the Frozen Four, in 2006 and 2010, relied on veteran-laden clubs with deep lineups, especially up front.
The Badgers' 2013-14 lineup received a huge boost when top-line center Mark Zengerle confirmed to Bucky's 5th Quarter that he plans to return to Madison for his senior season.
"I plan on being (at Wisconsin) for my senior year," Zengerle told B5Q on Saturday. "I can't wait."
Zengerle has been a stabilizing presence for the Badgers, registering over 30 points in each of his first three seasons in Madison. The Rochester, N.Y., native notched 50 points as a sophomore two seasons ago, but a hand injury suffered against Colorado College early in the year held the junior to 32 points this past season.
In February, Zengerle became the 71st Badger to reach 100 career points with an assist at North Dakota, hitting that mark in 97 games. Zengerle is the seventh Badger during the Mike Eaves' coaching era to score at least 100 points (Michael Davies, Robbie Earl, Blake Geoffrion, Justin Schultz, Ryan MacMurchy, Joe Pavelski) and the second to do so in 100 games or less (Pavelski).
Zengerle is expected to lead a group of forwards next season that will lose just two seniors in Derek Lee and Ryan Little. NHL prospects Michael Mersch, Nic Kerdiles and Tyler Barnes are other potential flight risks, but all are expected to return.
For more Wisconsin hockey coverage, follow Andy on Twitter (@AndyJohnsonB5Q)
You can also reach Andy via e-mail (AndyJohnsonB5Q@gmail.com)