Former Bulldog Isaac Howard reuniting with former coach at Michigan State

Isaac Howard is leaving UMD after one season to go play for Michigan State and his former coach at the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.

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Minnesota Duluth forward Isaac Howard (3) skates against Miami defenseman Michael Feenstra (4) at Amsoil Arena on Saturday, Feb. 25 in Duluth.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — Two days after entering the NCAA’s transfer portal, Tampa Bay Lightning 2022 first-round draft pick Isaac Howard has found a new home, with a familiar face as his coach.

Howard, who hit the portal after just one season with Minnesota Duluth, announced Saturday he is transferring to Michigan State to reunite with his former coach at the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, Adam Nightingale.

The 2022 first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning scored six goals as a freshman at UMD.

The 31st overall pick of the 2022 NHL Draft from Husdon, Wisconsin, Howard played for Nightingale at the USNTDP for two seasons from 2020-22. Howard posted 50 goals and 130 points a year ago for the Under-18 squad, but that offensive success didn’t carry over to his first college season.

Howard, who turns 19 later this month, recorded six goals and 11 assists in 35 games as a freshmen at UMD to finish seventh on the team in scoring. He went 18 games without a goal during the first half of the season after scoring against Arizona State in the opener on Oct. 1 at Amsoil Arena. Five of his six goals and six of his 11 assists came in the second half.

Nightingale, who played two seasons at Lake Superior State from 2000-02 before finishing his career at Michigan State from 2003-05, was named head coach of the Spartans in May. His program has been active in the portal this season.


In addition to acquiring Howard, who will be a sophomore, Michigan State has also added Miami sophomore forward Red Savage — a 2021 fourth-round draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings — and Massachusetts senior Reed Lebster.

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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