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Hockey Season Preview: Right Wing

MaizenBrew's hockey season preview kicks off with a look at the right wing position.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The CCM era is over at Michigan. It was short lived but the three departures of Kyle Connor, Tyler Motte and JT Compher have left the Wolverines with major question marks at left wing and center.

Right wing, however, is the position that the Wolverines have the most depth at and they will be counted on to lead the way in scoring this season.

Departed

Tyler Motte

Motte spent two years at Michigan as a forechecker and a secondary scorer before exploding in 2015 to the tune of 32 goals and 24 assists. Motte was Mr. Everything for the Wolverines and finished the season second in every scoring category while also leading the team in shorthanded goals and blocked shots.

Think of the last time Michigan had a player who scored 30 goals and still sold out to block shots, killed penalties and forechecked like a demon. We're really going to miss Tyler Motte.

Returning

Alex Kile

2015-2016 Team: Michigan

Stats: 38 GP 16-18--34 scoring line, 37 penalty minutes

Height, Weight, Age: 6'0, 190lbs, Senior

The team's most underrated player from a year ago, Alex Kile quietly finished the season tied with JT Compher for 3rd in goals scored with 16 and posted an impressive .167 shooting percentage, third on the team only behind Tyler Motte and Kyle Connor.

What impressed me the most about Kile's 2015-16 campaign was that he found different ways to score goals. In 2014 Kile scored 13 goals but did most of his goal scoring in transition with skill moves. It was pretty exciting to see him pull the puck on a string and spin defenders like a turn-style but it was a one-dimensional way to score and didn't do too much for his linemates.

In 2015 Kile rarely showcased his hands. Instead he developed more of a balanced game in the offensive end by getting involved in the cycle game and attacking areas around the net. Skating with Boo Nieves and Justin Selman the three played off of each other well and formed Michigan's hard work line that combined for 39 goals and 96 total points

Heading into the 2016-17 season Kile is the top scorer to return from last season and will be counted on as a top line player to carry the scoring load. Kile has seen an increase in goals, assists, points and shooting percentage in each of his three seasons at Michigan and if that trend continues upward Kile has the potential to be a 20-20 scorer and lead the team in scoring.

Kile is my pick to wear the "C" this season.

Tony Calderone

2015-2016 Team: Michigan

Stats: 35 GP, 11-9--20, 14 penalty minutes

Height, Weight, Age: 6'0, 200lbs, Junior

The most improved player on the Michigan roster from a year ago undoubtedly was Tony Calderone. As a freshman Calderone registered 3 goals and 6 assists as a bottom six player who didn't show any flash whatsoever with the puck on his stick and wasn't quick enough as a skater to get involved on the rush. You're never going to put up points on a Red Berenson team if you can't get out in transition and Calderone looked like a career 4th liner with a 5 goal ceiling.

As a sophomore Calderone took a quantum leap forward. With Cooper Marody as his center the two formed a solid duo and Calderone's passing and puck skills improved exponentially. His skating was noticeably stronger and he moved better without the puck in the open ice. Berenson even gave him power play time as the low slot presence in their revamped 1-3-1 power play and he scored four power play goals.

As a junior Calderone is the second leading goal scorer returning from last season and will be expected to carry a primary scoring role. He should slot into a 2nd line role, possibly with incoming freshman Jake Slaker as his center and either Dexter Dancs or Nick Pastujov on the other wing.

Calderone is my pick to be one of two alternate captains this season.

Evan Allen

2015-2016 Team: Michigan

Stats: 24 GP, 2-2--4 scoring line, 4 penalty minutes

Height, Weight, Age: 5'11, 195lbs, Senior

Evan Allen came to Michigan with a reputation as a slick goal scorer but has toiled away as a 4th liner while other forwards have passed him on the linechart. As a result Allen has spent the entirety of his career as a rotational forward.

Allen has good puck skills and a wicked shot but he hasn't been able to move up the depth chart to a position where he could showcase those skills. Instead he has served as a 4th line winger where his skill set doesn't fit.

With one spot open and the highly touted Will Lockwood coming in, Allen finishing his career on the 4th line would seem to be the most likely outcome.

Alex Talcott

2015-2016 Team: Michigan

Stats: 2 GP, No Recorded Stats

Height, Weight, Class: 5'11, 195lbs, Junior

Alex Talcott appeared in two games last season, once as a forward and once as an emergency defenseman and was a healthy scratch for the remained of a the season. As a junior with eight career games played and a large group of freshman right and left wings coming in, if there's a window for Talcott to get into the lineup I don't see it.

Talcott will most likely spend the year coming off the bench as the extra skater at either wing position and serve as a mentor for the younger guys.

Incoming

Will Lockwood

2015-2016 Team: US National Development Program

Stats: 59 GP, 13-20--33 scoring line, 35 penalty minutes

Height, Weight, Age: 5'11, 170lbs, 18 years old

NHL: 3rd rd, 64th overall pick by Vancouver

Joining the team from the United States Development Program in nearby Plymouth, Will Lockwood is a spark plug player. A smaller forward who plays much bigger than his size, Lockwood is a relentless competitor at both ends of the ice and is not afraid to go into the corners or fight for pucks along the boards against bigger players. In the offensive zone he's a quick skater with some moxie when the puck is on his stick but does most of his damage crashing and banging around the net.

Lockwood enters the lineup with two established wingers ahead of him and a spot open on the third line. That will give him the opportunity to cut his teeth as a forechecker and fine tune his offensive game before taking on an expanded role as a sophomore. Future captain if he stays for all four seasons.

Line Projection

1st Line: Alex Kile

2nd Line: Tony Calderone

3rd Line: Will Lockwood

4th Line: Evan Allen

Extra Skater: Alex Talcott