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Bulldogs by the numbers: UMD men's hockey roster continues to undergo major changes

Joey Anderson (13) of Minnesota Duluth celebrates after scoring a second-period power play goal against Nebraska-Omaha goaltender Evan Weninger (35) on Feb. 4 at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Anderson will be one of seven teenagers on a drastically different UMD roster next season. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com) LEAD IMAGE

You can't blame Minnesota Duluth sports information director Bob Nygaard for taking his time posting the 2017-18 Bulldogs men's hockey roster to UMDBulldogs.com.

Based on this offseason, it's probably best to wait until that first exhibition on Oct. 1 against the University of Alberta.

UMD has watched three underclassmen leave school early following its run to the NCAA Frozen Four in Chicago with freshman goaltender Hunter Miska signing an NHL deal with the Arizona Coyotes, sophomore defenseman Neal Pionk of Hermantown signing with the New York Rangers and sophomore forward Adam Johnson of Hibbing signing late with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Those departures forced significant changes to next season's roster, starting with the signing of 21-year-old goaltender Benjamin Patt of Brampton, Ontario, and the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. He signed shortly after verbally committing in May.

Meanwhile, future commitments like 18-year-old Hermantown defenseman Dylan Samberg and 19-year-old center Justin Richards of Columbus, Ohio, were called up a year early.

Pending any more NHL signings by underclassmen, the Bulldogs roster is tentatively set for the fall. Here's a breakdown by the numbers of what's to come for the new-look 'Dogs.

9

That's how many freshmen the Bulldogs are bringing in this fall after bringing in eight a year ago. The difference is that just four of those eight — Joey Anderson, Riley Tufte, Nick Wolff and Miska — were being relied upon to play night in and night out in 2016-17. In 2017-18, UMD will likely rely on four freshmen on the blue line alone, with at least one — but probably more — being a regular up front.

The last time UMD brought in nine freshmen was in 2012-13, but just three were regulars. The Bulldogs brought in 11 freshmen in 2005-06 with 10 of those playing 27-plus games and eight appearing in 38 of 40 games that year. Neither year did UMD finish with a winning record.

In addition to nine freshmen, the Bulldogs will have a 10th newcomer in junior forward Peter Krieger, who transferred to UMD last fall from Alaska-Fairbanks. He was with the team all of last season but wasn't eligible to play.

21

That's the average age of the Bulldogs in 2017-18 despite the team featuring seven teenagers when the season starts Oct. 1. Of those, only Richards turns 20 before the season ends.

A year ago, UMD had three teenagers to start in Anderson (18), Tufte (18) and defenseman Jarod Hilderman (19). Hilderman turned 20 a few days after the Frozen Four.

Despite the influx of youth this season, UMD's average age is the same as last year. That's because UMD will have six players 23 and older on Oct. 1 compared to just four a year ago.

The oldest Bulldog this season will be senior center Sammy Spurrell, who turns 25 in October.

67

That's how many games combined the five Bulldogs who didn't play in the Frozen Four saw a year ago.

Spurrell played 29 games and rising sophomore forward Jade Miller played in 22 games. Neither forward saw much time late in the season, however, with Spurrell playing in just two of the final 14 games. Miller didn't play in the final 15 games.

Hilderman played the most of the reserves late in the season, filling in for injured senior defenseman Carson Soucy. Hilderman saw 11 games total, including five of the six postseason games leading up to the Frozen Four.

61

That's the percentage of goal scoring UMD lost to graduation and early NHL signings this offseason. Had Johnson not signed with the Penguins, that number would have been 48 percent.

Johnson was supposed to be the Bulldogs' leading returning goal scorer after finishing second on the team a year ago with 18. Now that honor falls to Anderson, who had 12 as a freshman. Tufte is second with nine.

Of the 14 returning skaters to UMD this season, just three have more career goals than Anderson. Forward Karson Kuhlman of Esko, who will be a senior and captain, has 26 after scoring just six a year ago. Forward Avery Peterson, who will also be a senior, has 18 after scoring 11 as a freshman at Nebraska-Omaha. He had seven playing just the second half for UMD last season. Forward Parker Mackay, who will be a junior, has 10 with eight coming last year.

Of the nine incoming freshmen, Nick Swaney led the way in scoring in 2016-17 with 28 goals for the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL.

0

That's how many Duluth natives will be on the Bulldogs' roster in 2017-18. The last time Duluth was not represented at UMD was in 2006-07.

There is still plenty of local flavor on the 17-18 'Dogs with seven hailing from the Northland.

There are two former Hermantown Hawks in forward Jared Thomas and Samberg, two Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Lumberjacks in forward Koby Bender of Cloquet and Kuhlman of Esko and two Grand Rapids Thunderhawks in Peterson of Grand Rapids and goaltender Hunter Shepard of Cohasset. Incoming freshman defenseman Scott Perunovich keeps Hibbing on the roster despite the departure of Johnson.

Matt Wellens

College hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune covering the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs men's and women's teams, as well as the NCAA Division III programs at St. Scholastica and Wisconsin-Superior.

(218) 723-5317
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