My #1 concern with this staff is that they lack experience in recruiting. Gabinet has spent one year in college; Peter Mannino has two years in the USHL. Noel-Bernier has the most; three years in the USHL, though he's four years removed from it.
That doesn't mean that these guys can't do it...but they are starting behind the competition. Other coaches have been scouting potential players for years; the only guy who's been doing any of it is Mannino.
And the results in poor recruiting (see Nebraska football) will not show up for a few years. We will have Dean's players (almost the entire team next year) for a couple years. While I hope the new staff can recruit at the high level we have had I don't have good feelings that will happen.
The problem with doing something right the first time is nobody understands how difficult it was.
Gabinet was on the bottom line today talking about recruiting. He said that there were 3 Freshmen coming in this season, but did not say who or what position. One thing that struck me as interesting was how he talked about the culture he wanted to establish by having things such as pictures and quotations put up in the locker room. Not saying these are or are not essential to success, but it will be interesting how the differences between Blais and Gabinet manifest in the team.
I think both arguments have some validity. I really think next year the team will compete. They have more seniors and juniors on the roster than any recent team and they are familiar with Gabinet. Hopefully they can ride this to at least a NCAA tournament appearance and gain some momentum.
However, recruiting is something that is a concern. The tone of Gabinet's interview with the World Herald suggests that the pool for USHL players in the 15-16 year old range is pretty thin. Hopefully Gabinet's connections in Canada can get us some good players that could help fill the gap in the next few years until things catch up
The team needs to avoid what has happened with Colorado College where they haven't had much on ice success and fail to retain their veterans. A recent article on USCHO said that they will have no returning seniors on their roster this upcoming year. If that happens to Omaha, we could be screwed.