It's actually a dreadful schedule if we are looking at it from an RPI standpoint. UAA, Canisius, Niagara, Arizona State and Princeton are all bottom 10 teams (last year's final pairwise). Mercyhurst is middle of the pack. St. Lawrence and Notre Dame are top 20 teams. So 9 of 14 are horrible, one is okay and 4 are the type of games we should expect.
That said, I don't mind it. This year is a little bit of a transition year in my opinion. We lost a LOT of senior leadership. A LOT of man games are gone. Counting James Robinson as a sophomore, and assuming the roster looks like what has been announced so far (the final roster has not been announced), I expect we'll have 19 freshmen and sophomores and only 7 juniors and seniors. One of the juniors will be in his first year with the program (transfer Trevor Hamilton). Throw in the fact that our only returning goalie has about 70 minutes of NCAA experience, and I see the need to start out with an easier non conference schedule. We probably aren't a tournament team anyway.
Now, before anyone tries to compare this schedule to basketball, let's not forget that hockey only has 54 non conference opponents it can possibly schedule. Basketball has 6 times that many. And hockey is typically scheduled in two game weekends, not single games on any day of the week. Finding matchups that fit the calendar probably isn't the easiest thing to do. We don't have the history or the non conference rivalries yet to make it easier.
Finally, before I drop this, I appreciate that we are playing Arizona State. I hope we are going to Tempe next year as the back half of a home and home. We were able to get some schools like UMass Lowell and Union to schedule home and homes with us when we first started out. So I hope we are paying those favors back by helping out the next new kid on the block. Besides that, I expect ASU to be much improved and think they will play us a lot tougher than their 59 out of 60 ranking from last year would suggest. I expect UAA, Princeton and Niagara to also be much improved.