With the arrival of Greg Pateryn and walk-on Luke Glendening, the Wolverines have an overloaded roster and there was some speculation as to who might be leaving. The Ann Arbor News asked assistant coach Billy Powers, who said, “Unless something dramatic happens, we’ll have 27 instead of 26 on our roster. What that does is afford us a depth opportunity.”
The only likely departure at this point is Max Pacioretty. According to Michael Spath at The Wolverine, Patch would like sign with Montreal but his family wants him to return. We’ll see who wins the tug of war if that’s the case.
Spath also had a tidbit that a potential top line being thrown around is Summers-Patch-Palushaj. Now you see the “depth opportunity” coach Powers speaks of. We’re so used to having a small, skilled center on our lines, but I think this past season’s success of Porter moving from wing to center showed that doesn’t need to be the case. A Summers-Patch-Palushaj line brings a lot of size, speed, skill, scoring, and physical play that might be hard for opponents to match up against. I think Patch might have played center in his year in the USHL, but I don’t recall for sure.
Also, if they are intent on moving Summers to forward, I’ve made my position clear in the past that it should be to one of the top two lines. Taking our #2 d-man (or some could argue #1) and moving him to a third line checking role and reducing his minutes would be a waste of his talent and development, especially when you consider he could easily be signing on the dotted line with Phoenix right now, so a move to the top forward pairing would be nice to see. Chris had a stint alongside Andrew Cogliano and Chad Kolarik his freshman year and did a great job. Not only did he score some big goals for us, but he also brought a physical edge that was lacking up front.
Of course, this would all be an experiment, too, as we have to see how the defense holds up without Summers back there. Theoretically they should be pretty solid as the Wolverines return five regulars on the blue line and Mark Mitera will only have to break in two freshmen—Pateryn and Brandon Burlon.