With all six defenseman and their starting goaltender returning, the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs are the resounding preseason No. 1 team in polls released by USA Hockey and USCHO.com.
Four other teams earned first-place votes between the two polls: Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan and St. Cloud State.
The top three in each poll featured UMD, Notre Dame and Ohio State, though the second and third positions were flip-flopped in the two polls. Michigan, which was the fourth team in the Frozen Four a year ago, is fourth in the USCHO.com poll, while St. Cloud State is fourth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.
Minnesota Duluth collected 74 of a possible 84 first-place votes between the two polls. First-team All-American Scott Perunovich leads the group of returning defensemen, as the Bulldogs bring back 72% of their point production from 2017-18.
The USCHO.com top 10 consists entirely of teams that made the NCAA Tournament a year ago. North Dakota, at No. 11, is the top non-tournament team in that poll, while Boston College, at No. 8, is the top team in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll that did not make the tournament last year.
In all, 24 teams received top 15 votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, while the USCHO.com top 20 had votes cast for 36 of the 60 Division I programs.
|USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Preseason Poll|
|1.||Minnesota Duluth (30)||25-16-3||505|
|2.||Ohio State (3)||26-10-5||456|
|4.||St. Cloud State (1)||25-9-6||379|
|Others receiving votes: Northeastern 44, Western Michigan 25, Clarkson 22, Michigan Tech 7, Massachusetts 6, Northern Michigan 3, Harvard 2, Air Force 2, Union 1.|
|USCHO.com Preseason Poll|
|1.||Minnesota Duluth (44)||25-16-3||982|
|2.||Notre Dame (2)||28-10-2||857|
|3.||Ohio State (2)||26-10-5||835|
|6.||St. Cloud State||25-9-6||697|
|Others receiving votes: Air Force 94, Union 90, Bowling Green 62, Harvard 58, Massachusetts 35, Wisconsin 27, Colorado College 23, UMass Lowell 20, Maine 18, Omaha 17, Canisius 14, Mercyhurst 11, Quinnipiac 8, Miami 2, Brown 1, Connecticut 1.|