It has been a while since the University of Maine men’s hockey program has been ranked near the top of the national polls.
Thanks to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, the Black Bears are temporarily a Top 10 team again — sort of.
What Wyshynski decided to do was rank the ultimate all-time lineups for college hockey programs. The basis of his effort was that it be based on the NHL careers of each school’s players, taking into consideration not only what they accomplished as pros but their contributions for their college teams.
He formulated the teams by position, choosing a center, left and right wings, a goaltender and two defensemen.
UMaine was ranked eighth among Wyshynski’s all-time top 10 college lineups.
He chose a group headed by goaltender Ben Bishop, who played for the Black Bears from 2005 to 2008 and who has posted 174 victories in 323 NHL games with a .919 career save percentage.
The front line consists of Paul Kariya (1992-1994) at left wing, he of 989 points in 989 NHL games. Dustin Penner, who played at UMaine during the 2003-2004 season, is the center after 310 points in 589 NHL contests.
The right wing is Gustav Nyquist (2008-2011), who has registered 240 points (107) goals in 409 games with the Detroit Red Wings.
The defense duo chosen by Wyshynski is Maine native Eric Weinrich (1985-1988) whose NHL career spanned 1,157 games and included 388 points, and Keith Carney (1988-1991), who notched 228 points in 1,018 career NHL games.
Another element of the story included each school’s all-time great player, selected by Chris Peters. He gave the nod to center Jim Montgomery (1989-1993).
Montgomery racked up 301 points in 170 games, which still ranks fourth in NCAA history. Perhaps his most memorable accomplishment was posting a natural hat trick in the third period of UMaine’s 5-4 victory over Lake Superior State in the 1993 national championship game to cap the Black Bears 42-1-2 season.
Montgomery, who appeared in 122 NHL contests, is the head coach at the University of Denver, which he directed to the 2017 Division I national title.
Wyshynski chose Wisconsin — and a group including wingers Dany Heatley and Scott Mellanby, center Joe Pavelski, goalie Curtis Joseph and defensemen Chris Chelios and Ryan Suter — as the top NCAA hockey alumni lineup of all time.
North Dakota with Zach Parise Jonathan Toews, T.J. Oshie, James Patrick, Craig Ludwig and Ed Belfour was ranked second and Michigan (Max Pacioretty, Red Berenson, Michael Cammalleri, Jack Johnson, Aaron Ward and Marty Turco) was the No. 3 lineup.
Follow BDN Maine Sports on Facebook for the latest in Maine high school and college sports.