Thursday, April 9, 2020

A Look Ahead

With it now almost a month since the 2020 University Cup was cancelled, it is time to start looking towards the 2020-2021 season. 

Daily Gleaner (subscription required) sports editor and columnist Bruce Hallihan caught up with head coach Gardiner MacDougall earlier this week and the seven-time University Cup champion stated the team will be losing "five or six players - impact players at both forward and D." 

Of course, we all knew defenceman, and captain, Marcus McIvor, along with forwards Stephen Anderson and Patrick Watling, would not be returning as all three have exhausted their five years of eligibility. However, MacDougall also confirmed that neither centre Mark Simpson nor defenceman Matt Murphy will be back for a fifth season after graduating this year. The status of Oliver Cooper is still up in the air, but MacDougall hopes the forward will return for a fifth season.

These are significant departures for the Reds as Watling and Anderson were both first line/point per game players this past season while Simpson was one of the top two way centres in the league thanks to his exceptional penalty killing and face-off prowess. Meanwhile, McIvor and Murphy were both rocks on the back-end, chewing up a ton of minutes and playing in all situations. All five players graduate with at least one national championship ring, with Anderson and McIvor earning three during their careers. 

This means MacDougall and his coaching staff will have some work to do this summer as they try to replace the talent and experience each of the graduating players brought to the program. 

While the Reds haven't officially announced any recruits yet, the head coach did say that things are "progressing favourably."