Minnesota State's Stephon Williams - Larry Radloff/Inchwriters.com
Nebraska-Omaha's Ryan Walters leads the way as Player of the Year.
I don't have an actual vote when it comes to WCHA award voting, but if I did, here's how I would have voted. There were some pretty tough choices to be made here, especially at forward, where somebody ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring wasn't going to make one of the two All-WCHA teams. On defense, it felt like a pretty thin year after the top two guys. Also, it was a weird year for goal tending. Some years, I just leave the all-rookie goalie blank. This year, the freshman on my second team all-WCHA doesn't make the rookie team.
For comparison's sake, here's how Andy Johnson of Bucky's 5th Quarter voted.
Without further ado. Here's the ballot:
First team All-WCHA
F-Ryan Walters, Nebraska-Omaha
F-Danny Kristo, North Dakota
F-Erik Haula, Minnesota
D-Nate Schmidt, Minnesota
D-Nick Jensen, St. Cloud
G-Stephon Williams, Minnesota State
Second team All-WCHA
F-Drew Leblanc, St. Cloud
F-Rylan Schwartz, Colorado College
F-Corban Knight, North Dakota
D-Mike Boivin, Colorado College
D-Joey LaLeggia, Denver
G-Adam Wilcox, Minnesota
F-Jonny Brodzinski, St. Cloud
F-Austin Farley, Minnesota-Duluth
F-Alex Petan, Michigan Tech
D-Andy Welinski, Minnesota-Duluth
D-Mike Reilly, Minnesota
G- Stephon Williams, Minnesota State
For all my research and analysis, I ended up picking almost entirely based on how the final stats ended up. There's a lot of forwards I would have loved to try and cram on this list: Nick Bjugstad, Alex Krushelnyski, Eriah Hayes, Matt Leitner. But it's hard to bump anyone when they're that high nationally in scoring. Defense, on the other hand, was harder to just come up with four names that seemed deserving. Maybe I'm missing someone, but it really felt like there wasn't a real shutdown defensive defenseman in the league this year.
Player of the Year: Ryan Walters, Nebraska-Omaha
Rookie of the Year: Stephon Williams, Minnesota State
Coach of the Year: Bob Motzko, St. Cloud
Choosing Motzko over Mike Hastings is probably the only place I differ from the conventional wisdom. Hastings had a great year, and is more than deserving if he wins it. Two factors made me lean Motzko, though. First, I saw quite a few people predict Minnesota State to finish somewhere in the middle of the pack this year; literally nobody picked St. Cloud to win the WCHA. Second, though coach of the year voting doesn't always reflect this, I feel like there's a lot more potential for upward mobility going from the bottom of the league to the middle than there is going from the middle of the league to the very top.