When Jaden Schwartz temporarily left Colorado College to play for Canada in the World Junior Championship last December, his absence was supposed to be only as long as the tournament.
Then he suffered a fractured ankle in a preliminary-round game, sidelining him until mid-February. The Tigers went 8-7 in the stretch without Schwartz but when he returned CC’s power play got a huge lift, as did the team overall. He finished the season with 17 goals and 30 assists despite missing 15 games.
“We had success during that time because of guys like Rylan Schwartz and Stephen Schultz,” said CC coach Scott Owens. “[Jaden] is an offensive threat and a power play threat and he makes everyone else better. He’s a natural go-to guy and he does it as a very humble and team-oriented guy.”
Schwartz will return to Team Canada again this December, so the Tigers expect scoring output from players like Jaden’s brother and linemate, Rylan (10-28–38) and from the blue line with assistant captain Gabe Guentzel (6-22–28).
Joe Howe enters his third season as CC’s goalie and the Tigers are good at defense, but a good chunk of the scoring is gone, even with the Schwartz brothers back. Schultz (17-28–45) and Tyler Johnson (20-17–37) both graduated and leave a void that needs to be filled.
“We’re looking for secondary scoring in addition to Rylan and Jaden,” Owens said. “We’re going to use a lot of different guys right away. It’ll be tough because Stephen Schultz did such a good job for us last year.”
About the Tigers
2010-11 overall record: 23-19-3
2010-11 WCHA record: 13-13-2 (sixth)
2011-12 predicted finish (coaches poll): Third
Key losses: F Stephen Schultz, F Tyler Johnson
Players to watch: F Jaden Schwartz, F Rylan Schwartz, F Gabe Guentzel, F Nick Dineen, F William Rapuzzi
Impact rookie: D Aaron Harstad
Why the Tigers will finish higher than the coaches poll: Jaden Schwartz will stay healthy and insert himself into the Hobey Baker Award conversation by the end of the year. Joe Howe will stay consistent and have a breakout year.
Why the Tigers will finish lower than the coaches poll: The Tigers will have a tough time filling the void left behind by Schultz and Johnson.