“I love the team leaders. They have done a magnificent job getting us to this point in a very positive and productive way,” Gendron said.
UMaine has not advanced to the Hockey East semifinals in seven years, and it would be a stretch to expect this team to do so. But there is more parity in the league due to the large numbers of players who leave early to turn pro.
Gendron will be hard-pressed to effectively replace graduated defensemen Rob Michel, Keith Muehlbauer and Sam Becker, along with Keeper and sophomore Alexis Binner, who returned to Sweden to play professionally. Three of them appeared in all 36 games last season, and the other played 33.
The blue line corps should receive a big lift from 6-foot-5, 212-pound J.D. Greenway, a third-round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He played two seasons at the University of Wisconsin before skating in the United States Junior Hockey League last season for Dubuque (9 goals, 24 assists).
“He is obviously pretty good. He has played at a high level,” Gendron said.