It has been a discouraging offseason for the University of Minnesota. The program reached the Frozen Four this year, but somehow has been bleeding assets since the end of the season. Chaz Lucius (WPG) turned pro suddenly and unexpectedly, brother Cruz Lucius (2022) decommitted, and Tristan Broz (PIT), Ben Brinkman (DAL), and Grant Cruikshank all transferred out. The Gophers need reinforcements and have turned to a 2023 recruit for help. The Rink Live reports that New York Rangers prospect Brody Lamb has fast-forwarded his development plan to enroll at Minnesota this fall instead of next fall. The 18-year-old forward, who was drafted by the Rangers in the fourth round in 2021, had planned to return to the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers for another season, but was willing to help out his college team sooner than expected. Lamb’s second-half surge helped to convince Minnesota that he was ready for the NCAA; Lamb finished his first full junior season with 41 points in 62 games. While he could use another year of junior and likely would have been a top-line forward for Green Bay in 2022-23, he will instead slot into a bottom-six role with the Gophers. Minnesota and New York alike hope this change is only positive for the young forward’s development.
- After three years, former Montreal Canadiens prospect Kieran Ruscheisnki has finally found an NCAA home. The 2019 seventh-round pick announced that he has committed to none other than the newest addition to Division I hockey, Lindenwood University. The Habs took a shot on Ruscheinski as a raw defensive prospect due to size that you can’t teach; the 21-year-old stands 6’6″ and weighs in at 210 pounds, which will likely still go up under a collegiate strength and conditioning program. In three seasons with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Gorillas, Ruscheisnki has not made many strides offensively, but has continued to improve his defensive game as he develops into a stay-at-home style of blue liner. Though these defensive types are rarely stars, Ruscheinski being a former NHL pick will be massive news at Lindenwood. The Lions now have an NHL draft pick on their team in their inaugural season, something that many far more established teams in Division I cannot say in most years.
- 2022 NHL Draft-eligible defenseman Niklas Hubner is on the move. The German prospect’s current team, the DEL’s ERC Ingolstadt, has revealed that Hubner is not expected to be back next season as he plans to make the jump to North America. Hubner is not NCAA-eligible, having played professionally this season, but should be the target of CHL teams in the Import Draft. He made a strong case for himself to be selected in both drafts this season; Hubner recorded 27 points in 28 games for Ingolstadt’s U-20 team. He essentially forced the team’s hand, as Hubner was recalled to the top DEL squad due to that performance, playing in ten games and recording a point. Hubner also suited up for Germany at the U-18 World Juniors and his play this season could put him on the radar for the U-20 team at the rescheduled WJC this summer. Hubner may be a bit of a project pick with so little experience outside of Germany, but with good size and clear scoring ability the defenseman is at least an interesting project to undertake.