Spartan fans know, it was a rough year for MSU last season. A grim 14-26-3 overall record and a well below .500 conference finish, sorry to say I don't see things getting much better for Michigan State in the Big Ten conference this year.
They just don't have the players this season, or even that one extremely strong leader that Torey Krug was to help aid struggles on both offense and defense.
And then there's the question of will they be able to regroup from last year?
To be honest they do have some solid players coming in, including some Michigan natives which always has its own homer appeal. Head Coach Tom Anastos told MSUSpartans.comwww.msuspartans.com earlier this May:
"We are very excited about this class," said Anastos. "They possess a nice blend of scoring ability, size, speed, toughness and tenacity that will help us continue our evolution into a championship-caliber team."
One I am interested to see step up is Johnny Draeger. Draeger was the top point-producing defenseman at Shattuck-St. Mary's but struggled in green, putting up just six points on the season. Now entering his sophomore season I'd expect to see him more comfortable and put again in that role this year.
Of course the Chelios' brothers are both in their senior season this year and guessing family blood holds plenty of competitiveness and will to win that the duo won't want to go out on bottom (or as in my prediction, second to bottom of the conference).
On top of the limited roster depth, the schedule puts the Spartans in a tough spot with playing its rival Wolverine team each time before heading into equally big competition with Minnesota and Wisconsin. That could bode well for MSU though if they top Michigan in either of those series' that momentum could help them against Big Ten's big dog teams.
I guess we will see.
Preseason Prediction: Finish 5th of 6 in the Big Ten Conference with a 16-22 regular season record.