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Friday, September 24, 2010

Michigan State Spartans Season Preview

By Matt Mackinder/Michigan State Beat Writer


Head coach: Rick Comley (9th season)

Home arena: Munn Ice Arena (6,470)

Last season: 19-13-6 overall, 14-8-6-2 CCHA (2nd), swept in CCHA quarterfinals by Michigan

Returning for the Spartans:
Goaltenders: Juniors Drew Palmisano and Kyle McMahon
Forwards: Sophomores Dean Chelios, Chris Forfar, Zach Golembiewski, Derek Grant, Anthony Hayes and Kevin Walrod, juniors Daultan Leveille, Mike Merrifield, Trevor Nill (assistant captain) and Brett Perlini, and seniors Dustin Gazley (assistant captain) and Joey Shean
Defensemen: Sophomores Matt Grassi, Zach Josepher and Torey Krug (captain), and juniors Tim Buttery, Matt Crandell, Brock Shelgren and A.J. Sturges

No longer sporting Sparty:
Goaltender: Bobby Jarosz
Forwards: Andrew Rowe (left school, signed with Philadelphia), Jay Sprague, Nick Sucharski and Corey Tropp (left school, signed with Buffalo)
Defenseman: Jeff Petry (left school, signed with Edmonton)

New to the Spartans:
Goaltender: Will Yanakeff
Forwards: Lee Reimer, Chris Sandmeyer and Greg Wolfe
Defenseman: Jake Chelios

NHL draft picks: 4 (Grant, Leveille, Nill, Perlini)

Outlook: The Spartans are hoping the returning core can keep them in the upper half of the CCHA standings.

That being said, the losses of Nick Sucharski, Jeff Petry, Andrew Rowe and Corey Tropp definitely hurt, but with goaltender Drew Palmisano a year older and a year more experienced and a young captain on the back end in Torey Krug, MSU has the ability to not just surprise teams, but win games outright from buzzer to buzzer.

Up front, Brett Perlini had a breakout year last season and wound up getting drafted by Anaheim in June. Sophomore Derek Grant also had a solid year and could pop 20 goals this season after a 12-goal output a season ago.

This may also be a do-or-die year for Daultan Leveille as the speedy forward may have a decision to make next spring – sign an NHL deal with Atlanta, the team that took him in the first round back in 2008, or come back to the Spartans. His development may have peaked, so look for Leveille to be in East Lansing all four years.

Overall, Rick Comley always seems to get the best out of his players and this season should be no different, the key losses notwithstanding.

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