Wisconsin, the preseason co-No. 1 with USCHO.com poll voters, is also the co-favorite of league coaches, according to the 36th annual Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald‘s preseason poll, released Tuesday.
The Badgers shared that honor with rival Minnesota; the Golden Gophers received five of 10 first-place votes from league bench bosses and a total of 74 points, while the Badgers got three first-place votes and the same 74 points. Minnesota’s preseason No. 1 status was its second straight.
North Dakota received the other two first-place votes and finished third in the balloting with 66 points, followed by Denver (55), St. Cloud State (48), Minnesota Duluth (45), Colorado College (37), Michigan Tech (19), Minnesota State (18) and Alaska Anchorage (14).
UW netminder Brian Elliott was named the WCHA Preseason Player of the Year with six votes, followed by UND forwards Jonathan Toews (two) and T.J. Oshie (two). Minnesota defenseman Erik Johnson was voted the WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Year with four votes, trailed by teammate Kyle Okposo with three votes, Minnesota-Duluth goaltender Alex Stalock with two and DU forward Brock Trotter with one.
The top three finishers in the preseason poll were the WCHA’s three team honorees in last season’s action. Minnesota won the MacNaughton Cup as regular-season champion, while North Dakota took the Broadmoor Trophy as tournament titleist and Wisconsin went on to win the NCAA championship.
WCHA Preseason Coaches Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses)
1. Minnesota, 74 (5)
1. Wisconsin, 74 (3)
3. North Dakota, 66 (2)
4. Denver, 55
5. St. Cloud State, 48
6. Minnesota-Duluth, 45
7. Colorado College, 37
8. Michigan Tech, 19
9. Minnesota State, 18
10. Alaska Anchorage, 14