St. Cloud State Hockey Mid-Summer Update

(Photo Prout)

St. Cloud, MN – There’s been a lot happening related to St. Cloud State University hockey in the past month concerning former, current, and future SCSU Huskies. Let’s wade through some of the items of interest:

Seattle Kraken Select Borgen and Cholowski in the NHL Expansion Draft

The NHL’s newest team, the Seattle Kraken selected 30 players in the Expansion draft on July 21st. After selecting the Boston Bruins Jeremy Lauzon as their first pick, the Kraken then selected two former St. Cloud Stae University defensemen with their second and third choices.

Will Borgen (Photo Prout)

The Kraken’s second choice was defenseman Will Borgen, the 24-year-old from Moorhead, MN who was a 4th round draft choice of the Buffalo Sabres in 2015 and skated for the Huskies for three seasons from 2015 through 2018. With their third choice, the Kraken selected Dennis Cholowski, a Langley, BC native who spent a single season with the Huskies in 2016-17.

Despite playing a season together at St. Cloud State there couldn’t be a greater contrast in style and the route taken to professional hockey. The 6’3″ 190 pound Borgen, who racked up 164 penalty minutes over three seasons clearly played a pro-style game and by the end of his third season with the Huskies, his sometimes over-zealous physical play found his game more suited to pro hockey and he signed with the Sabres following his junior season. Relegated primarily to the American Hockey League the bulk of his entry-level contract, he was +14 in 140 games with 132 penalty minutes.  Now, 6-3 and 205-pounds Borgen played 10 games this past season for the Sabres and appeared to be gaining some footing as a regular prior to being injured and out for two months with a fractured forearm.

Borgen signed a two-year, one-way deal with the Kraken on August 5th.

Dennis Cholowski (Photo Prout)

Dennis Cholowski, on the other hand, committed to the Huskies prior to a growth spurt but grew to a lanky 6’1″ 170 pounds by the time he joined the Huskies for the 2016-17 season. The smooth-skating defenseman was touted for his skating, on-ice vision, and offensive abilities and was selected by the Detroit Red Wings as the 20th pick in the first round of the 2016 annual NHL Entry Draft.

He clearly struggled with the speed and strength of the highly physical NCHC in his only season finishing with 1 goal and 10 assists but -9 in Plus/Minus. He signed with Detroit following the season and was sent to the Western Hockey League splitting time between Prince George and Portland posting 66 points in 69 games.  He appeared in 104 games for Red Wings since being drafted and posted eight points in the first 11 games as an offensive-minded defender. Since then he has shuttled between the  NHL and AHL, again getting some traction in the Red Wings lineup this past season. The most glaring statistic is his -47 in Plus/Minus at the NHL level and -19 at the AHL level.

Both players bring a different skill set and type of game to Seattle and both will be battling for a season-opening roster position.

Wild Select SCSU Freshman Jack Peart in Second Round of NHL Draft

Incoming SCSU freshman defenseman Jack Peart has had quite a year. In addition to a successful high school and junior hockey season, the 18-year-old was named Minnesota Mr Hockey following the 2020-21 high school season. He’ll now add a second-round draft pick to his resume as he was selected 54th overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft on July 24th by the home state Minnesota Wild.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to play for the Minnesota Wild,” Peart said. “That’s the NHL team I watched growing up and for me to get drafted by them and to have a chance to play for them, it’s been really special for sure.” Peart joins current SCSU forward Sam Hentges who was drafted by the team in 2018  in the Wild’s system.

Wild scout Judd Brackett noted “He was a player that we targeted and we were really excited to see him there. “We thought there was a possibility, but certainly with the year that he had, it was a bit of a surprise.”


SCSU Freshman Jack Peart Readies for Another Challenge

Schuldt and Prow Reunited in Buffalo and Other NHL Transactions

There was a flurry of activity concerning former Huskies in July including the Buffalo Sabres signing former SCSU teammates and defensive partners Jimmy Schuldt ( 2015-19) and  Ethan Prow (2012-16) in late July.

(Photo Prout)

Schuldt signed a one-year two-way deal on July 28th with the Sabres after two seasons in the Las Vegas Golden Knights organization (Chicago Wolves/Henderson Silver Knights). Schuldt has logged one NHL game. Prow will join Schuldt in Buffalo after signing a one-year, two-way deal on July 29th. After four years in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton of the AHL, Prow logged a season for EHC Munich in the DEL (Germany) in 2020-21.

Charlie Lindgren (2013-16) signed a one-year, two-way deal with the St. Louis Blues on July 29th. Lindgren signed with the Montreal Canadiens in 2016 and was with the organization until the expiration of his contract in February. He has appeared in 24 NHL contests.

After three seasons in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization at Wilkes-Barre Scranton of the American Hockey League, Jon Lizotte (2015-19) inked a one-year, two-way deal with the Minnesota Wild on July 28th.
Story Here

Mikey Eyssimont (2015-18), who was drafted by the LA Kings in 2016 played out his contract with the organization after four seasons with the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League and signed with the Winnipeg Jets on July 28th. Eyssimont signed a two-year, two-way deal that will take him just north of the border in Winnipeg.

Former Husky defenseman, Kevin Gravel (2010-14) signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Calgary Flames on July 28th. Originally signed by the LA Kings in 2015, Gravel was with the organization for three seasons before signing one-year deals with the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs. He played 37 games for Bakersfield of the AHL in 2020-21.

Former SCSU forward, Patrick Russell (2014-16) has signed a two-year deal with Linkoping HC of the Swedish Hockey League on August 1st after four years with the Edmonton Oilers. He was signed by the Oilers in 2016 after two seasons with the Huskies and recently became an unrestricted free agent after his most recent one-year contract.  Russell has played in 59 NHL contests.

On the coaching front, former SCSU hockey forward, Nate Dicasmirro (1999-2002) who played 401 games in the American Hockey League and nearly as many all over Europe was named an assistant coach of the Minnesota Wild’s affiliate, the Iowa Wild on August 3rd.

Other Former Huskies Sign Deals

Blake Winiecki (Courtesy Florida Everblades)

The Florida Everblades announced they have re-signed former SCSU forward Blake Winiecki (2014-18) on August 2nd. Winiecki will return for his fourth season with the Everblades in 2021-22. Story Here

Former Husky forward Jacob Benson (2015-2019) will be heading overseas to Edinborough, Scotland inking a deal to play for the Fife Flyers of the Elite Ice Hockey League. The Flyers are the oldest professional ice hockey team in the United Kingdom having been established in 1938. Benson has spent the last two seasons splitting time in the East Coast Hockey League and Southern Professional Hockey League most recently with the Knoxville Bears of the SPHL.

Jake Wahlin (2016-20) has signed with the Rapid City Rush of the East Coast Hockey League for the 2021-22 season. He was named SPHL Rookie of the Year after leading the Pensacola Ice Flyers to the Presidents Cup Championship in 2020-21.

Robby Jackson (2015-2019) has signed with HC Nove Zamky of the Slovakian Professional League after two seasons splitting time in the East Coast Hockey League and the American Hockey League. Nove Zamky is in northern Slovakia.

Huskies Add a Transfer and Late Recruit for 2021-22

Aiden Spellacy (Courtesy Robert Morris University)

The Huskies’ small class of recruits for the 2021-22 season suddenly blossomed to five players with the addition of a transfer from Robert Morris University of the Atlantic Conference and a late recruit from the National Collegiate Development Conference and the Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Two players that will be late recruits for the Huskies are centermen, Aiden Spellacy, a 23-year-old transfer from Robert Morris University of the Atlantic Hockey Conference, and 21-year-old Ryan Rosborough who spent last season in the NCDC in Massachusetts and Florida. Both are good utility players that can play center, have experience on the power play and penalty kill, and were placed in the position to win key draws for their team. Both are expected to add depth and fill a role that Will Hammer and Jared Cockerell played for the Huskies in 2020-21.

Spellacy is a 5’11” 174-pound left-shooting forward from Lakewood, OH who committed to the Huskies after Robert Morris University pulled the plug on their program earlier this year. Spellacy visited the SCSU campus in July and committed thereafter. He spent two seasons with the Lone Star Brahmas of the NAHL prior to committing to RMU. He was an alternate captain and member of a Robertson Cup Championship team and posted 16 goals and 26 assists for 42 points in 114 games. A regular from his freshman season at Robert Morris, he was named Freshman of the Year and scored 16 goals, and added 17 assists for 33 points and 53 penalty minutes in 91 games. An outstanding student, he’ll be working on his MBA at SCSU.

Connections with SCSU associate head coach Dave Shyiak found Rosborough committing in August to the Huskies. A rangy 6’3″ 190-pound left-shooting center from Mount Brydes, Ontario he split time between the South Shore Kings and the Boston Junior Bruins of the NCDC in 2020-21. He compiled 14 goals and 15 assists for 29 points as a very versatile player for his teams. With a good reach, and an ability to win draws and block shots he reminds a great deal of former Husky Will Hammer. In 2019-20 he played for the Markham Royals of the Ontario Junior Hockey League posting 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points.

Spellacy and Rosborough will join a freshman class that includes defensemen Jack Peart and Josh Luedtke and forward Mason Salquist.

SCSU Adds Two More Commitments in Burnevik and Ingram

Two more commitments for the Huskies have surfaced in 17-year-old 5’11” 154-pound left-shooting forward Adam Ingram (West St. Paul, Manitoba)  and 16-year-old 6″3″ 190-pound forward Austin Burnevik (Ham Lake, MN).

Ingram will play for the Selkirk Steelers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in 2021-22 after a pandemic shortened season in 2020-21 where he posted 2 goals and 5 assists for 7 points in 8 games. A tenacious forechecker with a great work ethic, he has good hands and a quick stick, and a great deal of upside potential. With room to grow and mature physically, he’ll need to gain some strength and size before hitting the ice for the Huskies in the 2023-24 season at the earliest.

Austin Burnevik (Photo courtesy Totino Grace Hockey)

Austin Burnevik, a 16-year-old 6’3″ 190 left-shooting forward from Ham Lake, MN had a highly productive season in 2020-21 for Totino-Grace High School of the Northwest Suburban Conference leading the squad in goal scoring, points, and power-play goals with 19 goals, 22 assists for 41 points including 4 power-play goals. He completed the season with an outstanding  2.16 points per game. In 2019-20 as a 15-year-old, Burnevik posted 14 goals and 13 assists for 27 points at Totino -Grace.

For the 2021-22 season, Burnevik will become a member of the US National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, MI, and play for the US National U17 Team.

Neutral Zone, an amateur scouting service noted “Burnevik is a big, strong, power forward with soft hands and a quick powerful release. He does a nice job chipping pucks around defenders, knocks opponents off the puck, and uses his body in tight areas to create separation. He has good first touches, caught hard passes in stride, scored a nice deke breakaway as well as an absolute snipe in the final game coming off the wall, and sniped short side top corner. He is in rare company with his size and puck protection skill and that he can create offense in the zone, out of the corners, and off the wall. He absorbs contact well, is strong on his skates and on his stick making him tough to play against, and able to make plays in traffic. He zips passes off his tape like a junior player and is able to use his reach to shield it on wide rushes.”

Burnevik is a big shooter and most likely will develop his game over the next two seasons in the US National Team Development Program. Most likely, the earliest he could hit the ice in St. Cloud would be for the 2023-24 season.





One thought on “St. Cloud State Hockey Mid-Summer Update

  1. Pingback: St. Cloud State University Hockey Recruit List | VIEW FROM CENTER ICE

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