Monday, October 26, 2009

Harvard Men's Hockey Season Preview Part III: Positional Breakdown

With the Crimson's lone exhibition game under their belt, it's time to take a look at the Crimson across the roster and break down the team by position. We'll tackle every positional group for the Crimson - and tell you what each skater could bring to the Harvard Crimson in 2009-10. After the jump, you'll find a breakdown of the Crimson's forward corps. Tomorrow will bring a look at defense, goaltending, and special teams.



The Crimson's top center will be senior Doug Rogers, who has been the Crimson's first pivot option since his sophomore season. Rogers had an up-and-down 2008-09 campaign, and didn't find his scoring touch until late in the season. Regardless, he's still an All-American caliber player when he's on his game and in sync with his wingers, and his ability to see the ice and distribute the puck can be game changing. The second centerman, at least to start the season, will be Quebec native (and 2009 first-round draft choice of the Montreal Canadiens) Louis Leblanc. The freshman is, in one word, intense. Leblanc's speed and skill are well-documented, but the most impressive part of his game is his physical tenacity and mental intensity. He pursues loose pucks with a vengeance, charges into the slot and the corners without hesitation, and goes hard at the net whenever he has space. His skill and intensity will be a lethal combination, and if he can stay out of the penalty box, he could be a dominant force against lesser teams. Fellow Quebec native P.O. Michaud will most likely begin as the third-line center, and the junior has been a reliable and responsible forward for the Crimson over the last two seasons. Michaud is a capable two-way skater who can finish in front of the net and has a nice passing touch. The Crimson have a couple options for their fourth line face-off man - freshman Conor Morrison was effective against McGill, and although he's undersized, the rookie is a skilled skater who can distribute the puck well, and he may see time on the power play as well. Sophomore Colin Moore served as the fourth-line pivot for much of last season, and he brings a solid checking game if Ted Donato decides to emphasize a defensive approach with his fourth line.


The Crimson are a team heavy on young left wingers. Freshman Marshall Everson saw time on the top line with Doug Rogers against McGill, and Everson is a big (6-2, 204 lbs.) and strong skater who is difficult to push off the puck. He was a prolific goal-scorer in Minnesota high school hockey, and has added over 20 pounds of muscle since wrapping up his prep career last spring. Everson will be be a solid presence around the net and can also create space for his linemates. Junior Michael Biega is another scoring option at left wing. The middle of the three Biega brothers has a hard and accurate wrist shot and sets up in the right spots. He's at his best when he's asked to get down ice with the rush and set up for a one timer or quick shot between the faceoff dots, rather than try and do too much with the puck. If he's paired with a couple of players who can set him up, such as fellow Quebecois Alex Killorn and Louis Leblanc, Biega will be a consistent scoring threat. Luke Greiner may not have some of the hype and press of his fellow freshman, but against McGill he showed that he was a speedy winger who will contribute offensively and will be especially dangerous on the rush. Sophomore Rence Coassin is a reliable fourth-line option who plays a solid physical game. Junior Sam Bozoian is also a possibility for the fourth line, but he has seen limited game action through two seasons. It should be noted that Alex Killorn skated on the left wing most of last season, but since all indications are that he will start the season on the right side, he'll be discussed in the next section.


On the right side of the ice, there will be fierce competition for the available slots. First, speedy Swede Alex Fallstrom, although a self-described power forward, has the speed and skill to contribute all over the ice. His style of play reflects his roots - he has classic Swedish skill and aggression, but his time at Shattuck-St. Mary's gave him a physical edge. Fallstrom's well-rounded game should produce significant points for him and his linemates. Also skating on the right side of the ice, although a lefty, is sophomore Alex Killorn. The tall and smooth-skating winger impressed his rights-holders, the Tampa Bay Lightning, over the summer with his play, so Killorn may be ready to make the jump into the ECAC elite. His strong hockey IQ and deft puckhandling mean that he can create scoring opportunities for himself and others, and the fact that he's known current linemates Michael Biega and Louis Leblanc since their youth is only a bonus. Daniel Moriarty captured the George Percy award last season as the Crimson's top rookie. The sophomore is a tough skater who can pester opposing forwards and is a handful down low for opposing defensemen, and he'll be a key presence on the power play around the net. Junior Matt McCollem skated through injury issues last season and didn't match the output of his freshman season, but he is a blindingly fast skater who is most dangerous when he finds some space on the rush to skate in on net. McCollem will most likely skate as an energy guy on the third or fourth lines to start the season, but if he gets hot in the early going, he'll push the wingers ahead of him. Nearly as fast is fellow junior Michael Del Mauro, who is an aggressive and effective forechecker thanks to his skating and hitting. Eric Kroshus had a relatively quiet freshman year, going without a goal, but he showed that he could set up teammates for quality opportunities, and if he can add a physical component to his game, Kroshus could surprise opposing teams. David Valek joins the crowd on the right side after two productive seasons with the USNTDP, and will earn his ice time as a power forward who can work effectively around the crease - a type of player the Crimson have not had enough of in recent seasons.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a look at defense, goaltending, and special teams. After that, look for ECAC predictions from WHRB Sports, as well as a preview of the highlights of the Crimson's 2009-10 schedule.


  1. What about David Valek?

  2. Greiner can flat out play!

  3. Our fault for leaving David Valek out in the original post... you'll find him in the right winger section.

  4. Can you please stop referring to centers as "pivots"? You used this word 4 times in one paragraph.