Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Three Mavs in NHL (three more to come?)

The Associated Press
The National Hockey League season opens on Wednesday, and three former Minnesota State players are on opening-night rosters, according to the league’s website.

David Backes is beginning his 13th season in the league and his third with the Boston Bruins. The 34-year-old forward played in 57 games last season, compiling 33 points, including 14 goals. Going into the season, he’s played in 858 games with 531 points, including 237 goals. He played at Minnesota State from 2003 to 2006. In an article in the Boston Globe on Tuesday, Backes said he's in a good place right now.

Tyler Pitlick (pictured) is in his fifth NHL season. Last year was his first with the Dallas Stars — and his first fully healthy year. The forward had career highs in games played (80), goals (14), assists (13) and points (27). Pitlick played one season for the Mavericks, 2009-10.

Casey Nelson played a bit in two seasons with the Buffalo Sabres and then closed this third strong, playing in 37 games. The defenseman had eight points, including three goals in that span. Nelson, who played for MSU from 2013 to 2016, is doing in Buffalo what he did in Mankato: becoming a strong, steady presence for his team.

Three former MSU players with some NHL promise were sent to their teams’ American Hockey League affiliates prior to the start of the season.

Defenseman Daniel Brickley, who made his NHL debut with the Los Angeles Kings last season after leaving school, will begin the season with the Ontario Reign. On Sept. 23, Brickley played in a preseason game for the Kings in his home state of Utah.

Forward C.J. Suess, who graduated from MSU last spring will begin the season with the Manitoba Moose despite turning heads during training camp with the Winnipeg Jets. He finished last season with the Moose after signing with the Jets, the team that drafted him in the fifth round in 2014.

Teddy Blueger, a forward who played for the Mavericks from 2012 to 2016, reportedly had a strong training camp with the Pittsburgh Penguins but was assigned to the minors in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Blueger was called up to Pittsburgh last season but never got in a game.

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