Well, it’s essentially all but official now.  Incoming freshman defenseman Connor Carrick will sign with the Plymouth Whalers and will forgo his Michigan commitment.

While it’s not a major blow to the blue line, it’s disappointing nevertheless.  Not just from the hockey perspective that he could have helped U-M, but from the fact that he prevented someone else from helping Michigan by waiting so long to choose the OHL route.

Carrick isn’t the first one to depart before his arrival.  He won’t be the last.  But it’s still disappointing, especially when it happens so close to the season because it’s too late to find a suitable replacement, and for the past two-plus years he’s been holding on to a scholarship that could have gone to someone else that wanted to go to Michigan.

That said, I know Connor’s got to do what’s in his best interests at the end of the day.  There’s a need for playing time.  Everyone wants it, and Carrick would be walking in to Michigan with nine guys battling for six spots.  Actually, more like five guys battling for two spots.   Jon Merrill, Mac Bennett, Lee Moffie, and Jacob Trouba are essentially locks for playing time.  At Plymouth, it’s already being said he’d step in as a top four defenseman

On top of that, I’d much rather keep Trouba and lose Carrick than vice verse (please keep your word, Jacob!).

If you look at the recruiting page, Michigan is loaded for 2013, and we’ve wondered how they were going to fit everyone in.  Well, this is part of the “how.”  It’s either going to be early departures of current players, incoming players, or a mix of both.  But it’s GOING to happen.

Situations change in hockey.  You can say he should have looked at the depth charts, etc… but remember he committed in 2010.  Two years later did we think Jon Merrill would still be in Ann Arbor?  If Merrill would have left early, perhaps that would have changed Connor’s mind.  I don’t know.  But that’s part of the dynamics—we can predict what’s going to happen, but it doesn’t always work out that way.  I don’t think any Michigan fans are going to complain about keeping Merrill around another season, either.

So best of luck to Connor in Plymouth.  At the end of the day, I’m still confident about our blue line.

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