Team: Omaha Lancers
2015-16 Record: 26-29-5
Top Forward: Josh French (48 points, 16 goals)
Top Defenseman: Jacob Bryson (31 points, 3 goals)
Top Goaltender: Kris Oldham (12-15-4-0, 2.82 GAA, .905 SV%)
Power Play: 17.5% (8th in USHL)
Penalty Kill: 83.1% (9th in USHL)
Brannon McManus will look to take charge and lead the Lancers offense both at even strength and on the power play. The second year forward was extremely effective distributing the puck as a 16-year old rookie, and also displayed his dangerous breakaway ability while at even strength. Mitch Perrault is also expected to return and add to the veteran leadership up front to help balance the influx of youth acquired in the offseason. Norwegian newcomer Emilio Pettersen joins fellow tendered forward Jack Randl as incoming 16-year olds. Pettersen was a highly touted import from Selects Academy, while Randl was busy this offseason with Team USA at the Five Nations Tournament. Fans may recognize Randl from his highlight reel goal that was featured on SportsCenter earlier this month.
Cody Fleckenstein and Michael Joyaux are all expected to return and provide support on the back end for Omaha. In net, it appears that Peter Thome will lead the way after playing with the Aberdeen Wings of the NAHL last season. He also suited up in one game for the Lancers during the 2015-16 campaign prior to being selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2016 NHL Draft. The Minneapolis, MN native tied for the NAHL’s best save percentage (.929 SV%) to accompany an impressive 2.43 GAA. It should also be noted that Thome is capable of a heavy workload after playing 2,788 minutes (2nd in NAHL) and was credited with 1,477 saves (2nd in NAHL).
Brian Kaufman enters his fourth year as head coach and is aiming his sites on returning the Lancers back to the Clark Cup Playoffs.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 14th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2015-16. A record 37 players were chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft and more than 375 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.