While most people are familiar with some of the big name returning players that have already proven excellent at the college level like a Justin Fontaine or Matt Read, every year, there are also a number of players that take that next step and go from a low point total one season, to being one of their team's key contributors the following season. The classic example is UMD's Rob Bordson, who scored 0 points as a sophomore, before erupting for 40 points as a junior. It's unlikely we'll see that kind of jump again this year, but here's one player from every WCHA team that could see a big increase in production this season.
Mitch Bruijsten, So, F, Alaska-Anchorage 6 points in 33 games last season. Two points already this year.
Matt Hartman, So, F, Bemidji State-Scoreless in 11 games last year. Should make more of an impact this year.
Andrew Hamburg, So, F, Colorado College-Fourteen points in 26 games as a freshman. One assist so far this year, but should get lots of opportunities if he keeps playing on a line with the Schwartz's.
Drew Shore, So, F, Denver-5 goals and 14 assists as a secondary player behind some of Denver's big names last year. This year, he's already got three goals in two games, and should be one of Denver's bigger scoring threats.
Anybody, Michigan Tech-Granted, it's early and they haven't played a WCHA team yet, but Tech is on pace to score more goals by December 17 of this year than they did all of last season.
Nico Sacchetti, Jr, F, Minnesota-22 career points through his first two seasons is well below his initial expectations. He picked up an assist last week and could start to turn things around now that he's an upperclassmen.
Kyle Schmidt, Sr, F, Minnesota Duluth-This is a stretch since he scored 11 goals last year, but at least through one weekend, nobody seems to be emerging like a Rob Bordson. Schmidt is on the Bulldogs second line and getting second unit PP time. Also, if they ever split up UMD's top line, whoever wins the lottery and gets to play with two of those guys is a solid pick.
Justin Jokinen, Jr, F, Minnesota State-Just three goals and one assist last year. Already 2 goals and one assist this year.
Alex Hudson, Jr, F, Nebraska-Omaha-Another stretch since he was already pretty good last year (14-11-25), but he scored five points in the opening weekend, and is the type of tough, physical player that could make the jump to being a great player in the WCHA.
Corban Knight, So, F, North Dakota-He finished last season very strong, and picked up where he left off last year, with three points in his team's first two games this season.
Ben Hanowski, So, F, St. Cloud- 9-10-19 last year, which is very respectable, but he's already scored two goals this year, and has the potential to put up huge numbers this season.
Derek Lee, So, F, Wisconsin-He was hampered by a slow start season due to some Clearinghouse issues, but is off to a flying start this year with four points in his first two games.