With many of its top guns gone along with its starting goalie for more than three seasons, the St. Lawrence University mens hockey program faces a challenging transition.
The Saints lost seven seniors to graduation, led by Hobey Baker finalist Greg Carey and goalie Matt Weninger.
I feel were bringing in a nice mix of players, St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. Because weve got a goaltender and weve got forwards that are going to provide offense for us right away and weve got a good solid mix of defensemen coming in.
Incoming freshman goalie Kyle Hayton along with three forwards and three defensemen, have signed on to attend the school, all on scholarships, and represent the Saints latest recruiting class.
I know St. Lawrence is a program on the rise, incoming defenseman Nolan Gluchowski said. Who wouldnt want to play for coach Carvel, hes got a great resume. And with a lot of the guys that are coming in, we have some high-end players so were looking to step in make an immediate impact.
Carey, younger brother Matt Carey, who along with his older brother turned pro after his redshirt freshman season, and Jeremy Wick, one of the nations top point producers on the power play, are gone from the first line.
This group, which also included senior Justin Baker, one of the top scoring defensemen in the country, combined for more than half of the teams point (51 percent) and goal (53 percent) production in 2013-14.
The new incoming forwards include right wing Christian Horn, a transfer from the University of Minnesota, left wing Ryan Lough and center Michael Marnell.
Expectations for this group will be high, Carvel said. We feel were bringing in some very good forwards and well have Tommy Thompson returning, too. So well have four good forwards to add to our mix next season.
I hope Im a big contributor as well, Horn said. I want to come and do well and make a name for myself right away thats what Im most excited about. With the Carey brothers leaving, these new guys, including myself, want to help out and do what we can.
St. Lawrence will sport three new defensemen next season with Gluchowski, Mitch Eden and Matt Purmal.
Carvel hopes Hayton can step in for Weninger and be part of a strong netminder competition for starting time with returning sophomore Tyler Parks.
Hayton posted a 2.70 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage in 41 games this past season with the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL and appeared in the leagues All-Star game.
Hes very quick and hes a goalie that competes, Carvel said. Hes not a big goalie size wise, but hes (an) aggressive goalie, and hes the kind of goalie that (his teammates) like to play in front of and he gets very involved in the game.
After not playing for the Golden Gophers, Horn returned to the junior ranks and produced 47 points, including 23 goals, in a combined 50 games this past season with both the Tri-City Storm and Sioux City Stampede of the USHL.
Hes a very skilled offensive player who plays with great speed and great skill, Carvel said of the Plymouth, Minn., native. We see him as the guy that we expect to really help fill the offense.
Lough, a right wing who registered 42 points, including 19 goals, in 60 games with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL in 2013-14, is expected to help provide the Saints with depth.
Im really excited about coming in this year and helping the team go forward, said Lough, a native of Manotick, Ontario. ... This really felt like a good fit for me. With my hometown being an hour away from Canton and attending such a good school like St. Lawrence (this) was really a no brainer for me.
Michael Marnell, who hails from Huntington Station on Long Island, posted 22 points, in 47 games with the USHLs Des Moines Buccaneers.
Purmal, who stands at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, tallied two goals and two assists in 54 games with Green Bay of the USHL this past season and should provide St. Lawrence with more bulk on the blue line.
A native of Bracebridge, Ontario, Eden recorded 41 points, including nine goals, in 41 games with the Prince George Spruce Kings of the BCHL. Gluchowski, who brings the experience of playing in the USHL for the past two seasons, totaled 24 points, including 21 assists, in 46 games with the Tri-City Storm and Sioux Falls Stampede last campaign.