Is there a reason behind having a lack of healthy scratches this year? Seems like years past had at least two lines of backup forwards, between walk-ons and older players a la Cullen Hurley— Support Your Local Donut Shop Guy (@donutshopguy) December 8, 2020
The Badgers men's team has 25 players on the roster this season, which is tied for the smallest group in the last 10 years but isn't wildly off the average of the previous nine (26.7).
And while having a larger group of backups is helpful when you have players out because of injury, COVID-19 or the World Juniors, it can be a drag the rest of the season. It's not easy to keep everyone on a 29-player roster engaged when a handful of them know they'll rarely — or never — see the ice. So a college team that doesn't have the ability to call up players from the minors has to strike a balance between what it needs and what it'll be able to use.
This year specifically, the Badgers were a net minus-1 in offseason transfers (forwards Sean Dhooghe and Mick Messner out and goalie Robbie Beydoun in). There were some rumblings that athletics administration didn't let the coaches bring in a replacement forward from their list of committed recruits after those moves.