University of Wisconsin sophomore defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk was a unanimous selection by Big Ten Conference coaches to the league’s men’s hockey preseason watch list.
The Badgers, meanwhile, were picked to finish sixth in the seven-team league in the 2018-19 season, the same place they occupied at the end of last season.
Kalynuk was one of 15 players picked for the preseason watch list, and the only one from UW.
That came on the heels of a debut season in which he was named to the Big Ten’s all-freshman team and was picked as an honorable mention all-league performer.
A seventh-round NHL draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2017, Kalynuk ranked fifth among freshman defensemen nationally with 25 points, 14 of which were gained on the power play that he quarterbacked.
Kalynuk was one of six unanimous selections to the watch list. The others were Notre Dame goalie Cale Morris, Michigan defenseman Quinn Hughes, Michigan State forward Taro Hirose and Ohio State forwards Mason Jobst and Tanner Laczynski.
The rest of the preseason selections were forwards: Michigan’s Josh Norris and Jake Slaker; Michigan State’s Patrick Khodorenko and Mitch Lewandowski; Minnesota’s Rem Pitlick and Tyler Sheehy; Ohio State’s Dakota Joshua; and Penn State’s Denis Smirnov and Nate Sucese.
Big Ten coaches picked Ohio State to win the league in 2018-19, with Michigan second and Notre Dame third. All three teams at the top of the projection played in the Frozen Four last season.
Minnesota was picked for fourth, ahead of Penn State, UW and Michigan State.
The Badgers were 8-13-3-1 in Big Ten play last season and 14-19-4 overall after being picked for third by coaches before the season.
They have only 57 percent of their goal-scoring back from last season and start the season unsettled in goal. A defensive corps that features five NHL draft picks stands out as the highlight entering the season, which begins Oct. 7 with an exhibition game against Victoria at the Kohl Center.