Miami has struggled with depth issues for several years, and especially coming off an 11-win season and with a new coach, all of the newcomers should get long looks this fall.
The RedHawks welcome seven new players to their 2019-20 roster, with six freshmen and one transfer sophomore set to make their Miami debuts this season.
The incoming class consists of four forwards, two defensemen and a goalie. That’s the same combination of players that graduated or turned pro this off-season.
VFTG takes a look at the newest RedHawks and how they might impact the team.
26 Matt Barry
From: Naperville, Ill.
2018-19 team/stats: Holy Cross (NCAA), 13 GP, 4-7-11.
Notes: Barry was leading Holy Cross in points last season when he decided to transfer to Miami.
He was coming off a huge first and only season in the USHL, during which he scored 17 goals and picked up 37 assists. His 14 playoff points that year helped Youngstown earn a trip to the Clark Cup final.
He’s been a points machine everywhere he’s gone.
Where he fits in this season: Because Barry transferred midway through 2018-19, he will have to sit out the first half of this season. This will be his sophomore season, and he will have two more years of eligibility remaining.
But in January, Miami is hoping he provides a significant offensive punch like he has at every other level.
33 Ben Kraws
From: Cranbury, N.J.
2018-19 team/stats: Sioux City (USHL), 49 GP, 24-22, 2.92 GAA, .895 Sv %, 1 SHO.
Notes: Kraws put up stupid good numbers several seasons ago with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres of the OJHL, putting him on the draft map for North American goalies, but his USHL stats have been rather pedestrian.
Kraws has posted save percentages of .895 each of his two seasons with Sioux City and a goals-against average well north of 3.00.
He was exceptional in his playoff starts for the Musketeers this spring, and hopefully he rides that confidence into this season.
Where he fits in this season: Ryan Larkin has been The Man in net for the past three seasons, and he appears poised to resume that role for his senior campaign.
But Larkin has not been the most durable goalie in his three years at Miami, and Kraws has plenty of talent. With Kraws potentially in line to take over starting duties in 2020-21, he may see his share of starts this season.
5 Jack Clement
From: Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
2018-19 team/stats: Des Moines (USHL), 60 GP, 2-12-14, 45 PIM.
Notes: Clement was solid in his first USHL season after going 11-21-32 in the NAHL a year prior.
Originally a Nebraska-Omaha commit, the Detroit-area product was a Michigan high school stud, captaining Brother Rice where he won a pair of state titles and earned MLive Detroit player of the year honors as a senior.
In juniors, he has established himself as a quality tough-to-play-against defenseman who can also dish the puck, evidenced by his 12 assists in 2018-19.
Where he fits in this season: With Grant Hutton and River Rymsha gone, Clement should be a favorite to take over one of the starting jobs on D.
Blueliner height shouldn’t be an issue this season with Clement coming in at 6-feet-4 and joining Brayden Crowder and Andrew Sinard, who are both even taller.
12 John Sladic
From: Novi, Mich.
2018-19 team/stats: Aberdeen (NAHL), 55 GP, 22-40-62.
Notes: Sladic has recorded 101 points in two seasons with Aberdeen and went 6-4-10 in 12 playoff games as the Wings won the Robertson Cup this spring.
He notched 39 points in his first season with Aberdeen and vaulted to 62 in 2018-19, which is very encouraging, but the NCHC is a major jump from the NAHL, and big numbers in the latter haven’t always translated in the best conference in D-1.
Where he fits in this season: Miami has struggled to find production beyond its top line for the past several seasons, so the door should be open for Sladic to earn ice time right away.
He’s definitely a playmaker and has good speed, so hopefully his game will play at this level.
21 Ryan Savage
From: Montréal, Que.
2018-19 team/stats: Omaha/Muskegon (USHL), 52 GP, 17-19-36, 24 PIM.
Notes: The son of former Miami stud and NHLer Brian Savage, Ryan Savage took a step back in 2017-18 but posted a respectable 17-19-36 line in 52 games with Omaha and Muskegon of the USHL last season.
In eight playoff games with Muskegon, he scored twice and picked up six assists.
His younger brother, Red, is also a highly-touted Miami commit, and he could join the RedHawks in a couple of seasons.
Where he fits in this season: Having established himself as a reliable forward last season, Savage should work his way into the starting lineup right away.
Savage earned NHL draft consideration in 2018, so the talent is there, and hopefully 2017-18 was an aberration.
28 Chase Pletzke
From: Bay City, Mich.
2018-19 team/stats: Langley (BCHL), 43 GP, 13-9-22, 20 PIM.
Notes: It’s funny that he struggled to find the net in the NAHL, scoring just twice in 42 games while picking up seven assists, but he potted 13 goals vs. just nine helpers in 43 BCHL games last year.
Pletzke, a kinesiology major, is still just 19, so he could be a late bloomer.
Where he fits in this season: It’s tough to translate BCHL stats, but Curtis McKenzie came from that league and obviously had tons of success at Miami and beyond.
A jump to 13 goals is encouraging, and Pletzke has earned ample playoff experience the past two seasons, so he definitely comes to Oxford on an upswing.
34 Alec Capstick
From: Langley, B.C.
2018-19 team/stats: Langley (BCHL), 56 GP, 5-26-31, 53 PIM.
Notes: Capstick has spent the past five seasons in Langley, which is where Pletzke played last campaign.
In 97 previous games over four years, Capstick had scored just two and racked up just 19 assists, but in 2018-19 he went 5-26-31 and added a 1-7-8 line in seven playoff games.
Where he fits in this season: With two key D-men gone from 2018-19 and just Capstick and Clement coming in, Capstick should be given a long look at one of the starting six spots.