Thursday, July 2, 2015

Staying and going: NHL free agency begins

Minnesota Wild photo
Wednesday was the first day of free agency in the NHL, and a couple of Mavericks were in on the action.

Ryan Carter signed a one-year, $650,000 deal to stay with the Minnesota Wild, according to the Star Tribune's Michael Russo,. The 31-year-old had a solid season last year until an injury set him back. With Kyle Brodziak leaving to sign with the St. Louis Blues, Carter's penalty-killing skills likely will be relied on heavily.

Kael Mouillierat, who made his NHL debut last season, playing six game for the New York Islanders, signed a deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins. It's a one-year (two-way), $575,000 deal, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Will he spend the season in the AHL in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton or will he get some time with Sidney Crosby and the gang?

Eriah Hayes was not tendered a qualifying offer by the San Jose Sharks before Wednesday, so he is a free agent looking for a deal. Hayes played in four NHL games this season and 15 the year before that. He has been skating and working out some in Mankato this summer.

Several MSU players are/will be attending NHL development camps. According to information received before the draft, the following were invited to summer camp:

Teddy Blueger (Pittsburgh Penguins)*
Jimmy Mullin (Tampa Bay Lightning)*
Zach Stepan (Nashville Predators)*
C.J. Franklin (Winnipeg Jets)*
Bryce Gervais (Detroit Red Wings)
Jon Jutzi (Calgary Flames)
Dylan Margonari (New York Rangers)
Carter Foguth (Calgary Flames)
Casey Nelson (Philadelphia Flyers)
Brad McClure (Minnesota Wild)

* = draft pick

There was some thought that freshman defenseman Daniel Brickley was going to get drafted last week. That didn't happen, but he's getting a chance to show his stuff to the New York Rangers, according to that team's camp roster. Margonari, however, is not listed. He was not skating with the Mavericks last week, but was shooting by himself in the dryland area due to an injury. Perhaps that's keeping him away from New York right now.

As for former Mavericks, Stephon Williams will be attending the New York Islanders' camp, and I'd assume Zach Palmquist will be with the Wild.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mavericks' 2015-16 roster set

It's July 1, and, taking a peek at Minnesota State's website, the roster is set for the upcoming season. So for those of you who enjoy uniforms and numbers (yeah, I'm one of those nerds), here are what the Mavericks' newbies will be wearing starting this fall:

4-Clint Lewis, sophomore D (started career at Cornell)
7-Steen Cooper, freshman F
8-Daniel Brickley, freshman D
12-Max Coatta, freshman F
13-Chandler Madry, freshman F
14-Jimmy Mullin, senior F (graduate transfer from Miami)
21-Alex Vanko, freshman D
27-Ryan Schwalbe, freshman F
39-Jason Pawloski, freshman G

A couple other notes from the roster:

• None of the returning players changed numbers, which is always a good thing for the beat writer, especially at the beginning of the season.

• The Mavericks have 27 players this season, including 15 forwards, 9 defensemen and 3 goaltenders.

• The roster confirms that defenseman Nick Buchanan is not returning to the team. I understand he is staying in school but is done with hockey. Well-liked and a good kid who practiced hard, he did not get in a game last season and only played 31 games in three years (24 as a freshman).

• Here's a breakdown of the roster by class: Seniors (7) —Thompson, Gervais, Mullin, Blueger, Knowles, Margonari, Jutzi. Juniors (7) — Foguth, C. Nelson, Flanagan, J. Nelson, Huntebrinker, Stepan Huggins. Sophomore (6) — Lewis, Knutson, Franklin, McClure, Schmeisser, A. Nelson. Freshmen (7) —Cooper, Brickley, Coatta, Madry, Vanko, Schwalbe, Pawloski.

• Where are they from? Again, Minnesota State continues to be a melting pot of players from all over the place — 19 from the United States, 7 from Canada, 1 from Latvia. The 13 U.S. states represented include: Minnesota (5), Wisconsin (2), North Dakota (2), Michigan (1), Utah (1), South Dakota (1), California (1), Ohio (1), Missouri (1), Pennsylvania (1), Alaska, (1), Colorado (1), Nebraska (1). The three provinces represented include British Columbia (3), Saskatchewan (2), Ontario (2).

• As always, it will be strange to see different players in some very familiar numbers next season, especially 7 (formerly Zach Palmquist), 8 (Max Gaede), 12 (J.P. LaFontaine), 21 (Chase Grant) and 27 (Brett Stern). No number 18 (Matt Leitner) this season, though.

Monday, June 29, 2015

2015-16 captains named

In case you missed it, I wrote about some of Minnesota State's offseason program beginning last week, with most of the team already in town. Read about that here.

The story stemmed from Mike Hastings unveiling his captains for next season, something he decided to do a few months earlier than he has in previous years.

Junior defenseman Carter Foguth was named captain, a promotion from his alternate/assistant position last season.

Seniors Teddy Blueger, Jon Jutzi and Brett Knowles will be this year's assistants.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Future Mavericks could get drafted (updated)

Two future Minnesota State players, including an incoming freshman already in Mankato, are on the radar for this weekend's NHL draft.

Round one took place on Friday night, so Saturday could be the day for Daniel Brickley and Jake Jaremko.

Brickley, a defenseman, will be on next season's team and is already working out and skating in Mankato with most of his teammates, while Jaremko, a forward and this past season's Mr. Hockey winner in Minnesota, will play in the USHL this upcoming season.

"I really don't know what will happen," Brickley said on Friday. "There's been some talk and some interest, but if it doesn't happen, so be it. I'll keep working to try to get better."

I ran into former Mav Eriah Hayes, who has been skating with his old team this summer, and he was impressed with what he saw in Brickley (and others).

Read more about the potential picks here.

Update: The seven-round draft has concluded, but Brickley and Jaremko went unpicked.

Two players with WCHA connections were taken, both in the second round: Michigan Tech defenseman Matt Roy (Los Angeles Kings, 194th overall) and Bowling Green commit and goaltender Ryan Bednard (Florida Panthers, 206th overall).

Info from College Hockey Inc.:

Fifty-six current or future NCAA players representing 27 schools were selected in the draft.

After a record-setting first round that saw three current NCAA players taken in the top 10 for the first time, 50 more players were selected Saturday in rounds two through seven. Nine of the 56 players played college hockey in 2014-15, with the rest planning to enroll in school this fall or in 2016.
Michigan led all schools with six players selected, followed by Boston College, Boston University, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin with four each.

To see a full list of college picks, go here.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Frentz, Mettler talk junior hockey

John Cross/The Free Press
With the selection of Mankato East grad Grayson Gavin earlier this week in the NAHL draft, I thought it would be a good time to check in with a couple of Mankato West grads who spent the last year in that league.

Derek Frentz (pictured above, right) and Max Mettler (left) played in that league following an outstanding senior season with the Scarlets and will be teammates at Minot, N.D., next season, likely along with Gavin, who was drafted by that team.

Mettler played at Minot last season, while Frentz played with the Flint, Mich., franchise, which folded following the season.

Read their story here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

East grad goes in NAHL draft

The Free Press
Mankato East/Loyola graduate Grayson Gavin was selected in the sixth round (122nd overall) in the North American Hockey League draft by the Minot Minotauros on Tuesday, so he'll have the chance to play junior hockey next season.

Gavin, a forward, led the Cougars, as well as the Big Nine Conference, in scoring with 43 goals and 29 assists for 72 points in 26 games this past season. He spent the previous season playing in Finland where he was a foreign exchange student.

It's the second year in a row that a Mankato player has been taken in the NAHL draft. A year ago, West grad Derek Frentz was taken in the first round. His high school teammate, Max Mettler, spent the season and Minot, and plans to play there again next season.

Frentz, a forward, had six goals and 18 assists for 24 points and was -1 with 22 PIM in 57 games, including playoffs, last season.

Mettler, a defenseman, had four goals and 10 assists for 14 points and was +7 with 16 PIM in 54 games, including playoffs, last season.

Friday, June 5, 2015

MSU gets graduate transfer from Miami (updated)

Minnesota State lost nearly 630 games of experience to graduation in its forward group after last season. It will attempt to fill some of that hole with a veteran college player.

Jimmy Mullin, who played three seasons at Miami, is transferring to Minnesota State for his final year of college hockey, he confirmed on Friday. He will be eligible to play immediately because of the NCAA's graduate transfer rule. Mullin is enrolled as a graduate student at MSU, having completed his bachelor's degree at Miami this spring.

Mullin, a fourth-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning, did not play last season due to complications from an injury suffered partway through is junior season with the Redhawks.

Before the injury, he accumulated 18 goals and 47 points in 94 games. His most productive year was his freshman season, 2011-12, when he had 11 goals and 26 points.

The Cincinnati, Ohio, native played prep hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Faribault before playing one season of junior hockey with the USHL's Fargo Force.

Mullin played in the 2013 NCAA tournament game against Minnesota State in Toledo, Ohio, a game Miami won 4-0. Mullin was injured in the first period after a knee-to-knee hit by defenseman Evan Mosey and did not return to the game. Mosey received a five-minute major and game misconduct for the hit.

For more on Mullin, including some quotes from him, read The Free Press story here.

On Tuesday, I focused my Free Press column on Mullin and MSU taking advantage of the heavily scrutinized graduate transfer rule.