By: Andrew Erickson / @CarvellMedia / KVSC Sports / PHOTO: SCSU Athletics
The mass exodus of players from this year men’s hockey team appears to be over, but it has left a giant hole in the roster going into next season.
Let us start with the few seniors who have yet to sign somewhere.
David Zevnik was the third string goalie for all four years of his Huskies career. He was a recruited walk-on for the Huskies. He never saw action in a regular season game.
Mika Ilvonen will head back to his home country of Finland to start his career in business. The best I can describe him is he is a hockey player. The man played all over the ice for the Huskies and was in and out of the lineup over 4 years here.
During his career he played in 74 games, netted three goals and 10 assists on 34 shots. Remarkably only had two penalties in his career. Ilvonen was a great locker room guy and always brought the energy up where ever he was.
Jeff Smith is still on the market and KVSC sports does not think he will go to a pro hockey team.
Smith leaves St. Cloud with .910 Save Percentage and 2.57 goals against average. Smith earned two assists in his career as well.
Robby Jackson has yet to pick a destination to play at in his post SCSU days. There are multiples teams inquiring about him but at this moment we don’t know if they are NHL teams.
Jackson is a little under sized but has a wicked wrister which will easily translate to the next level. His speed could be his Achilles Heel.
Jackson is one of the top scoring forwards in St. Cloud history. He played in 149 games in his career, scored 52 goals and had 69 assists for 121 points. In Huskies history his goals rank T-16, his assists rank T-23 and his points rank T-17.
Jackson is tied with current Washington Capitals forward Nick Dowd in all of those stats. Jackson will leave State known as the one Huskie who doesn’t like country music and one of our favorite interviews here at KVSC.
Smart forward with powerful wrister and good vision on the ice. Projects as a top 9 forward in the AHL.
Seniors Signed and Gone
Jimmy Schuldt kept the hockey world waiting five days after the Huskies were eliminated. Tuesday morning Schuldt agreed to a 1-year deal with the Vegas Golden Knights.
The two time Hobey Baker Award finalist patrolled the Huskies blue line for a full four seasons and placed himself atop the ranks at defenseman.
Schuldt was tops in St. Cloud State history for defensmen in goals with 38, 10 ahead of second place, and points with 118, 11 ahead of second. He was tied for first in assists with 80 and
total games played with 156 and these were consecutively played, the Huskies Captain never missed a game.
It was a storied career for the Minnetonka native and he will be remembered as one of, if not the, best defensman to ever throw on a Huskies sweater.
A two-way defensman with a big shot on the back end. Projects as a 2-3 paring player in the NHL.
Patrick Newell signed a 2-year contract with the New York Rangers starting next season but also signed an Amateur Tryout Contract and has reported to the Hartford Wolf Pack in the AHL. He debuts Wednesday and will wear number 29.
SCSU’s second Hobey Baker finalist broke out this year and ends his career with 145 games played to go with 38 goals, 21 of which came this season, and 82 assists for 120 points. Newell lead the NCHC in goals and points this season
Newell was always happy to talk to KVSC and was a soft spoken individual.
A quick winger with good hands and good vision. Projects as a top line AHL forward or a 3 scoring line at the NHL level.
Jon Lizotte signed an ATO with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the remainder of this year.
Lizotte finished career as a solid defensive anchor next to the dynamic Schuldt. He netted 10 goals and 36 assists for 46 points in his career.
A stay at home defensive defenseman. Projects as a third pairing defensman in the AHL or anywhere in the ECHL.
Jacob Benson signed with the Jacksonville Icemen, a team in the system of the Winnipeg Jets. Benson is listed as number 15 and as a defensman on the Icemen’s website. He debuted April, 2.
Benson played in 138 games, scored 27 points and had 29 assists. He is a strong forward with leadership skills but doesn’t have a scoring touch. He will play over-seas or in ECHL.
Greener Pastures Ahead
Ryan Poehling and Blake Lizotte have both decided to forgo their senior years and sign pro contracts.
Poehling has signed with the team that drafted him 25th overall in the 2017 NHL Draft the Montreal Canadians.
Poehling has already skated with the team and will surely debut in one of the last games of the season. The Canadians are in the thick of the playoff race and will benefit from the forward two-way ability.
Poehling is a big, strong center with a 200-foot game. His hockey IQ is through the roof and he uses his body well. Will he be an elite offensive player? Probably not. He will be a good player in the NHL however. He projects as a 1-3 line center in the NHL.
Lizotte was only a sophomore but he signs a 3-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings. He will finish the season with the big club wearing number 46.
Lizotte leaves as almost a point per game player. he played in 76 games and had 22 goals and 47 assists for 69 points.
Lizotte is only 5’9 but that will only come into play if you can catch him. The forward is elite when it comes to stick handling and skating. He was known for his ability to skate circles around the other team while the Huskies were on the PP.
Lizotte should play top line minutes for the LA Reign next season along side former Huskies Mikey Eyssimont and Jonny Brodzinski. He projects as a scoring forward in the top 6 at either the NHL or AHL level.
Make sure to keep an eye out for Men’s Hockey coverage on the incoming class for next season. The freshman class will likely be heavily leaned on next year.