Minnesota State received a double dose of bad news after a pair of veteran defensemen, Matt Paluczak and Jon Dubel, appeared likely to miss the entire 2003-04 season due to injury, according to the Mankato Free Press.
Paluczak, a senior alternate captain for the Mavericks, had surgery in the spring for a shoulder injury that was a problem last season. But the shoulder has not healed and more surgery will probably be needed.
Dubel, a junior, also had a shoulder injury and will be redshirted this season after having already undergone surgery recently. He is expected to return next year with two years of eligibility remaining.
Only three experienced blueliners remain for Mavericks’ head coach Troy Jutting.
“We might have three freshmen defensemen out there every night,” Jutting told the Free Press.
To address the depth problem, Jutting expects to move junior forward Rick Kisskeys to defense and use sophomore forward Christian Toll as a swingman.
Paluczak has four goals and 24 points in 63 career games, while Dubel has two goals and nine points in 43 games.
The Mavericks had their best season ever in 2002-03, finishing in a tie for second in the WCHA with eventual postseason and NCAA champion Minnesota. Minnesota State finished 20-11-10 after falling to NCAA semifinalist Cornell in the East Regional Semifinal, 5-2.
WCHA coaches have picked the Mavericks for sixth this season, not far behind their fifth-place choice, Denver.