Pro signing updates

A few pro signing updates:

1. Zane McIntyre will sign with the Boston Bruins, the team that drafted him. Boston confirmed as much in a tweet yesterday. However, McIntyre may opt to become a free agent before signing with Boston to alter contract terms.

As a 2010 draft pick, he could earn a max of $900,000 if in the NHL, $90,000 signing bonus and $67,500 if in the AHL. If he opts to become a free agent, then sign with Boston, he could earn $925,000 if in the NHL, $92,500 signing bonus and $70,000 if in the AHL. They aren’t huge differences, but if he has the option to do it, why not?

2. Jordan Schmaltz is still undecided on whether to sign with the St. Louis Blues or return to UND for his senior season.

Although Andy Strickland, a well-connected Blues reporter, tweeted earlier this week that the hire of Brad Berry has Schmaltz leaning toward returning, I still believe he is very likely to sign with St. Louis.

3. To my knowledge, UND sophomore defenseman Keaton Thompson has not made any decisions about next season. I’ve been told he has an offer from the Anaheim Ducks on the table.

Ice Breaker matchups announced

The Ice Breaker Invitational matchups were announced today, and UND will open the Brad Berry era against Lake Superior State in Portland, Maine. The next day, UND will take on the host Black Bears.

The rest of the schedule is as previously reported.

Oct. 3 — MANITOBA (exh)
Oct. 9 — vs. Lake Superior State (Portland, Maine)
Oct. 10 — vs. Maine (Portland, Maine)
Oct. 16 — at Bemidji State
Oct. 17 — BEMIDJI STATE
Oct. 23-24 — at Vermont
Oct. 30-31 — at Colorado College

Nov. 6-7 — WISCONSIN
Nov. 13-14 — MIAMI
Nov. 20-21 — at St. Cloud State
Nov. 27, 29 — at Michigan State

Dec. 4-5 — DENVER
Dec. 11-12 – at Duluth

Jan. 1-2 — ALABAMA HUNTSVILLE
Jan. 9 — U.S. UNDER-18 (exh)
Jan. 15-16 — OMAHA
Jan. 22-23 — COLORADO COLLEGE
Jan. 29-30 — at Western Michigan

Feb. 12-13 — at Denver
Feb. 19-20 — DULUTH
Feb. 26-27 — at Omaha

March 4-5 — WESTERN MICHIGAN
March 11-13 — First round NCHC playoffs
March 18-19 — NCHC Frozen Faceoff
March 25-27 — NCAA Regionals (St. Paul, Cincinnati, Worcester, Albany)

April 7-9 — Frozen Four (Tampa)

Hakstol off to Philly, Berry takes reins

It has been a stunning day in Grand Forks as UND head coach Dave Hakstol (strange that this is the last time I will be writing the phrase “UND coach Dave Hakstol”) has left the program to become the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Just as quickly, UND hired Brad Berry to become the program’s 16th coach and just the fourth since the late 1970s. Each of UND’s last three coaches — Gino Gasparini, Dean Blais and Hakstol — were at the helm for at least a decade.

As you would expect, we were busy writing up stories all day to cover this thing. Here you go….

Herald / Hextall reaches into the UND well once again to get Hakstol

Herald / Berry doesn’t expect much to change

Herald / Players react to the news

Herald / UND didn’t have to wait to make this hire

Herald / A whirlwind day at UND

Other stories that may be of interest…

NHL / Hakstol has history of developing players, success

Philadelphia Daily News / Hire may define Hextall’s tenure as GM

Star-Ledger / Travis Zajac hopes Hakstol has success with rival team

This afternoon, I’ll share some more thoughts on the move, we’ll have some videos, and I’ll be getting in touch with some committed recruits to get their thoughts.

For starters, UND will need to hire an assistant coach. Lots of names come to mind off the top of my head (and I’m probably forgetting many others). But UND likes to hire UND guys, so here are a few: Steve Johnson, Jason Herter (Duluth), Lee Goren (Bauer Emerson), Tyler Palmiscno (EGF), Nick Fuher (Penticton) and Dane Litke (Finlandia).

One non-UND name that I’ve heard thrown out there is former Austin (NAHL) coach Chris Tok.

Once the job is open, I’ll be open-record requesting all of the applicants and I’ll relay those as they come in.

Random updates

Former UND player and assistant coach Cary Eades led his Sioux Falls Stampede team to the Clark Cup and a USHL championship over the weekend, sweeping Muskegon in the finals.

As previously reported here, Eades will now be introduced as the head coach of the Fargo Force, a development that has been a done deal for a couple of weeks now.

Eades will replace John Marks, who retired at the end of last season.

Every coach in Fargo’s short history has had ties to UND.

*****

The Hockey News has published its top 100 prospects for the 2015 NHL Draft and a pair of incoming rookies are on it.

Forward Brock Boeser is at No. 14, while goalie Matej Tomek is at No. 61.

The report says Boeser needs to work on his skating, but his intensity is there.

“The most complete player among the ’97 birthdays int he USHL,” one scout told The Hockey News.

“He’s got a cannon for a shot. He’s quick, and he can find the soft spots in the offensive zone. Heavy kid, real powerful moves,” another scout told The Hockey News.

Tomek is a big goalie at 6-foot-3, who has a ton of potential.

Crookston’s Paul Bittner, who is playing in the WHL in Portland, is listed as the No. 17 prospect.

*****

UND recruits and former East Siders Colton Poolman and Dixon Bowen have committed to play in Penticton in the BCHL next season.

The Fargo Force had the rights to both players.

The duo decided to head to a place that has developed a bunch of UND players, including Troy Stecher, a candidate to wear a letter on next year’s team. Current commit Gabe Bast is a defender in Penticton and former UND defenseman Nick Fuher is an assistant coach.

*****

Graduation was held Saturday at UND. Six men’s players and three women’s players were among the graduates.

Big props go to Michelle Karvinen, who had this year of hockey taken away from her by the NCAA, but decided to stay in Grand Forks and finish her degree rather than play pro hockey in Europe.

Connor Gaarder wore his home white Sioux jersey from his freshman season underneath his graduation gown.

Nelson leads U.S. to bronze

Former UND standout Brock Nelson finished as Team USA’s leading scorer as he helped lead the Americans to a bronze medal at the IIHF World Championship.

The Americans beat the Czech Republic 3-0 in the bronze medal game Sunday. Previously, The U.S. lost to the Russians in the semifinals.

Nelson, who plays for the New York Islanders, led the Americans in goals (6), points (10), plus-minus (+7) and game-winning goals (3).

This is the second international medal for Nelson. He also won bronze at the World Junior Championship in 2011 in Buffalo, N.Y.

LaDue to return for junior season

UND got a huge lift Friday afternoon as Paul LaDue told UND that he would return for his junior season.

LaDue has potential to be one of the top all-around players in the NCHC and his ability to play a shutdown role could be huge for the inexperienced goaltenders.

With LaDue, Troy Stecher and Gage Ausmus in the fold, UND has three elite shutdown defenders. Tucker Poolman has potential to play that type of a role, too.

For more, see the Herald story here.

UND getting Stecher back

UND will have inexperienced goaltenders next season, but it will have some veterans in front of whoever is the starter.

Troy Stecher, a coveted NHL free agent, says he’ll return to North Dakota for his junior season.

Read more about that on the Herald site.

UND will have at least four experienced blue liners with Stecher, Gage Ausmus, Tucker Poolman and Keaton Thompson. It is still waiting for decisions from Jordan Schmaltz and Paul LaDue.

Another Poolman commits to UND

Colton Poolman, the younger brother of UND defenseman Tucker Poolman, has committed to UND.

Colton is a strong all-around defenseman, who helped East Grand Forks Senior High win a state championship two years ago. He spent last season with the Fargo Force in the USHL.

UND has had tremendous success with local players recently, especially on its defensive corps, which boasted Paul LaDue (GF), Gage Ausmus (EGF), Keaton Thompson (Devils Lake) and Tucker Poolman (EGF) last season.

Caggiula to return for senior year

UND will lost more than 50 percent of its forward scoring from last season, but it will return its leading scorer.

Drake Caggiula told the Herald on Tuesday that he will return for his senior season.

That’s a big development for UND, which will likely need to up the offense without Hobey Baker Award finalist and Mike Richter Award winner Zane McIntyre.

For the full story on Caggiula’s return, see the Herald here.