St. Cloud, MN – With 23 returning players on the St. Cloud State University hockey roster, the odds of a newcomer impacting the lineup would typically not be great. However, this is not a typical group of first-year players and several of these players may find a regular home in the starting lineup during the 2021-22 season.
This year’s list of first-year players includes two defensemen and three forwards including a true freshman, three junior hockey league veterans, and a senior transfer from Robert Morris University.
Here’s a rundown of the players in alphabetical order with comments.
Graphics are courtesy of St. Cloud State University.
Luedtke is a two-year veteran of the United States Hockey League and a former high school teammate of current SCSU sophomore Joe Molenaar. Originally, committed to Denver University, Luedtke changed course and decided to play for the Huskies. Luedtke, a right-shooting defenseman, will turn 21 just prior to the start of the 2021-22 season and brings extensive experience and leadership skills to the Huskies. Luedtke is a former captain of both his Minnetonka High School and Des Moines Buccaneer USHL team.
With an ability to generate offense from the blue line, Luedtke posted 78 points in 74 games for Minnetonka high school, 28 points in 20 games in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League, and 45 points in 102 USHL games. With great edges, Luedtke is an excellent skater and loves to jump into the offense. He has outstanding instincts, makes excellent tape-to-tape outlet passes, and is very mobile. His speed allows him to recover quickly on the backcheck.
Although I’m not predicting he’ll have the collegiate success of former UMD standout Scott Perunovich, there are similarities in their size, skating ability, and puck handling skills. Luedtke is very effective on the power play and will eventually work his way onto a special teams unit for the Huskies. He’ll initially battle for ice time on a very deep defensive corps but will earn his way as a regular and will log lots of ice time for SCSU in his career.
A true freshman directly out of high school, Peart has always excelled at levels beyond his age group in his hockey development. It’ll be no different at St.Cloud State as the 18-year-old will be one of the youngest players in college hockey this season.
The second round (54th overall pick) by the Minnesota Wild in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft has been extremely impressive in early practices for the Huskies. After finishing the 2019-20 season skating in five games for the Fargo Force, Peart returned to his Grand Rapids (MN) high school team to lead them to the section championship game while posting 11 goals and 24 assists for 35 points in just 18 games. Named as the 2020-21 Minnesota high school “Mr. Hockey” recipient following the season, he returned to the Fargo Force compiling 15 points in 24 games as the Force advanced to the USHL championship series.
One of the top college hockey freshmen in 2021-22, the talented Peart has a very high ceiling in his hockey development and is likely a future NHLer. Nearly every aspect of his game is impressive including his skating, puck handling, and on-ice vision. Still growing, Peart will benefit greatly from SCSU’s weight room and strength and conditioning program.
A highly talented player, Peart reminds me of former SCSU standout Ethan Prow who was named NCHC Player of the Year, All-American, and Hobey Baker Finalist. Expect to see Peart as a strong candidate for the NCHC Rookie team. This is a lot of build-up for a first-year player however he is that talented. Expect him to crack the already deep SCSU defensive lineup immediately.
A late recruit, Rosborough committed to the Huskies slightly over a month ago in August. 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.
The Huskies are looking for a player to add depth and size to the forward position and they are hoping Rosborough can fill a role previously occupied by Will Hammer that included winning key faceoffs, providing respite for the top offensive lines, and being a good defensive matchup against their opponents.
Considering the number of returning forwards, Rosborough will have his work cut out for him in attempting to earn a regular position in the Huskies lineup.
The Huskies have added another undersized but gritty forward in 21-year-old and three-year junior hockey veteran Mason Salquist. The left-shooting Salquist has shown an ability to put up points posting 150 points in 80 high school games for Grand Forks Red River, 24 points in 36 games in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League, and 54 points in 101 United States Hockey League contests. As a high schooler, Salquist was named MVP of the North Dakota State High School Tournament as his team won the state title.
Nothing came easy for Salquist who was cut several times by the Fargo Force before eventually earning a spot on their roster in 2018 and eventually becoming an assistant captain last season. During the 2020-21 season, Salquist had to battle through a fractured tibia after 14 games eventually returning to the lineup to play in 29 games including the USHL championship series with the Chicago Steel. Despite the adversity, he still finished with 23 points including 10 goals.
Salquist who was 7th on Neutral Zone’s ranking of their “Top Sixty” players nationally with a 2000 birth date is effective as a result of his pure determination. Despite his size, he is perfectly content to play in those dirty areas and take a beating in the crease that I’ve already noticed in SCSU practices. He’s strong on his skates, doesn’t back down, and plays well in traffic. Players like this are a true coach’s dream.
Salquist reminds me of another undersized SCSU forward, Jimmy Murray who was a 95 point career scorer for the Huskies from 2012 to 2016. Salquist is a likely candidate to fill a role initially occupied by Jared Cockrell on last year’s squad. This is another player who will log a lot of games by the time his SCSU career is over and will become a fan favorite.
SCSU has added another experienced player in 23-year-old Robert Morris University transfer Aidan Spellacy. 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.
The Huskies are hoping they can duplicate the success in the transfer of Spellacy that they found in Colgate transfer Jared Cockrell last season and to fill the role of former Husky Will Hammer. The Huskies have added an experienced centerman who was consistently the most effective in the faceoff circle for the RMU Colonials. Also, a good leader, Spellacy was an assistant captain on the team in 2020-21.
Spellacy will battle for ice time with a deep group of returning SCSU forwards.