So. | D | Buffalo, N.Y.
Ratchuk's four goals all came before the New Year
in 2006-07, but his offensive numbers should increase
as a sophomore.
Key Statistics: Ratchuk
finished tied for third among MSU defensemen in scoring
with 12 points as a freshman, appearing in 40 games.
Three of his four goals came on the power play.
What He Does: Ratchuk
has the skating ability, skill level and creativity
that coaches look for in pure offensive defensemen.
He has a high-energy style – and a high-energy
personality – and plays the game with a flair.
The Bigger Picture: Few
positions, if any, require a bigger adjustment for freshmen
than offensive defenseman. That showed as Ratchuk learned
his defensive responsibilities, but head coach Rick
Comley wants to ensure that he doesn't sacrifice offense.
Ratchuk's experience at the U.S. junior camp this summer
should help as he enters his sophomore season, and the
graduation of Tyler Howells and Ethan Graham will open
up minutes on the blueline. Ratchuk should be the go-to
offensive defenseman for the defending national champions.
Michigan State head coach Rick
Comley on Ratchuk: “He always has a smile
on his face when he's at the rink. He loves the game,
he loves the history of the game, the future of the
game. He's one of those kids who probably goes to bed
every night thinking about his future in the game.”