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College men's hockey: Hermantown's Samberg coming to UMD earlier than expected

Hermantown senior defenseman Dylan Samberg (12) controls the puck near Taylor Lantz (11) of Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin during the Section 7A final at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Samberg announced he signed a National Letter of Intent to play at Amsoil Arena in the fall for Minnesota Duluth. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

Minnesota Duluth will be replacing one Hermantown native with another on the blue line in 2017-18.

Hawks senior defenseman Dylan Samberg has cut his junior hockey career short and signed a national letter of intent to join the Bulldogs in the fall. He’s joining the college ranks a year earlier than expected after UMD lost sophomore defenseman and Hermantown native Neal Pionk to the New York Rangers this spring.

“Proud to officially become a Bulldog! Can’t wait to wear the maroon and gold,” Samberg posted to his Instagram account.

He was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Samberg and fellow incoming UMD freshman defenseman Mikey Anderson — younger brother of Joey Anderson — of Roseville, Minn., are in Buffalo, N.Y., this week taking part in the 2017 NHL Scouting Combine. They and the other 102 top prospects for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft are participating in medical examinations, team interviews, fitness testing and drills. The combine wraps up Saturday.

The 2017 NHL Draft is June 23-24 in Chicago and the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Samberg could go in the top three rounds according to some prognosticators. Samberg was ranked No. 67 among North American skaters in the final 2017 draft rankings by NHL Central Scouting after being No. 43 in the mid-term rankings.

Mikey Anderson, who played for the Waterloo Blackhawks in the United States Hockey League this year, was ranked 51st in the final rankings. He and Samberg are two of four true freshmen defensemen the Bulldogs are bringing in next season along with Scott Perunovich of Hibbing and Matt Anderson of Holy Family Catholic High School.

Mikey Anderson and Perunovich (Cedar Rapids) spent all of 2016-17 in the USHL while Samberg and Matt Anderson (Green Bay) split their time between high school and the USHL. Only Perunovich will be 19 when the season begins on Sept. 30 with a home exhibition against Alberta. The other three defensemen will be 18.

After leading the Hawks to their second consecutive Minnesota Class A state championship this season, Samberg joined Mikey Anderson and the Blackhawks for the USHL’s Clark Cup playoffs. Samberg finished with a goal, two assists and a plus-3 rating in eight postseason games.

Samberg was a finalist for Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey Award this season at Hermantown and winner of the Reed Larson Award, given to the state’s top senior defenseman. He posted 11 goals and 23 assists in 31 games for the Hawks.

Samberg’s biggest goal came in his final high school game. He sent a wrister through traffic with 20 seconds remaining in double overtime to give Hermantown a 4-3 win over Monticello-Annandale-Maple Lake in the Class A championship game.

Samberg celebrated his goal at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul with a snow angel in tribute to Hermantown native Kyle Schmidt, who famously celebrated in similar fashion in 2011 when the Bulldogs beat Michigan in overtime at Xcel for the program’s one and only NCAA title.

Read more: UMD's defensive corps will be youthful next season

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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