What is happening in Minneapolis? Fresh off of a Frozen Four appearance, the University of Minnesota is having a nightmare offseason – and the hits continue. Freshman Tristan Broz (PIT), and 2021 second-round pick, has entered the NCAA Transfer Portal after just one year, while incoming freshman Cruz Lucius, a promising 2022 draft-eligible prospect, has de-committed and will play elsewhere next season.
Lucius follows older brother Chaz Lucius out of town; after previously committing to return to the Gophers next season, the 2021 first-rounder reversed course last week and signed his entry-level contract with the Winnipeg Jets. Chaz joined Ben Meyers (COL)and Blake McLaughlin (ANA) in leaving Minnesota for the pros, but NHL departures are to be expected for such a talented team. The real shock comes in the transfer market, as Broz makes it seven players to enter the portal since the end of the season. That list includes Jack Perbix (ANA), Ben Brinkman (DAL), and Grant Cruikshank, who had just transferred to Minnesota for this past season. Add in the younger Lucius’ de-commitment and the Gophers are bleeding talent.
Fortunately for the program, there is still plenty of talent to go around. Ryan Johnson (BUF) is expected to return for his senior year to lead a roster that (for now) is set to return Matthew Knies (TOR), Jackson LaCombe (ANA), Sammy Walker (TBL), Bryce Brodzinski (PHI), Rhett Pitlick (MTL), Aaron Huglen (BUF), Mike Koster (TOR), and Brock Faber (LAK). They also add an impressive recruiting class that includes Cal Thomas (ARI) and 2022 first round hopefuls Logan Cooley, Jimmy Snuggerud, and Ryan Chesley.
The Gophers are also not the only programs falling victim to the transfer portal. The May 1st deadline to enter the portal and be eligible to play next season has now passed, but just beforehand two other NHL prospects hit the transfer market. Ryder Donovan (VGK) has decided to move on from Wisconsin, while John Fusco (TOR) has opted to leave Harvard.