June 24, 2024

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Michigan Ice Hockey Announces 13-Member Signing Class

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Michigan Ice Hockey Announces 13-Member Signing Class

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan ice hockey program announced Friday (Feb. 4) the 13 players who have signed National Letters of Intent to join the nine-time national champion Wolverines for the 2022-23 season.

The class includes forwards Gavin Brindley, Kienan Draper, Adam Fantilli, Jackson Hallum, Tyler Haskins, Rutger McGroarty, Frank Nazar III and Fin Williams along with defensemen Hunter Brzustewicz, Seamus Casey, John Druskinis, Luca Fantilli and Brendan Miles.

“We are extremely excited about next year’s recruiting class,” associate head coach Bill Muckalt said. “We are losing some key pieces to our team and feel confident that we have addressed our needs moving forward. This class checks all the boxes of what a student-athlete at the University of Michigan represents in the classroom and on the ice. These young men are proven winners who provide the leadership and character traits that fit perfectly with the identity and style of play we are working towards daily at Michigan.”

Gavin Brindley

F | 5-9/175 | Right | Estero, Fla. | Tri-City Storm (USHL)

• Played two seasons with Tri-City Storm of the USHL

• Has 25 points in 28 games this season, with 13 goals and 12 assists

• Invited to play on the U.S. National U18 Team on seven occasions, and has one goal and four assists

• In 51 games last season, had 22 points on nine goals and 13 assists, including three game-winners as Storm were Western Conference champions

• USHL second team All-Rookie Team in 2020-21

• Won gold with Team USA at the 2021 Five Nations

• Represented USA at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, winning a silver medal

• World Selects Invitational third-place finish in Spain

• Captain with Florida Alliance (AAA), tallied 56 goals and 55 assists in 53 games

• Florida Alliance was runner-up at the USA Hockey Nationals in 2018-19

• On track to graduate in 2022 from TPH

• Eligible for the 2023 NHL Entry Draft

Coach Brandon Naurato on Brindley … “An elite skater that creates his space with speed underneath the puck coming out of his own zone. He may have the biggest motor in the entire league this season, and fans at Yost will see it in his first shift next season. Gavin drives the play offensively with the puck and hunts to get it back when he doesn’t have possession. He can play in all situations and is another guy that brings leadership qualities to the dressing room. His compete and work ethic stand out every time he steps on the ice.

Hunter Brzustewicz

D | 5-11/180 | Right | Washington Township, Mich. | USNTDP

• Played the last two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program

• Has 11 points in 31 games with the USNTDP this season

• Won gold with Team USA at the 2021 Five Nations

• Represented U.S. at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, winning silver and netting three points in four games

• Competed in the 2021-22 Hlinka Gretzky Cup with three points in four games

• Won 2017 state championship with Honeybaked AAA

• Expected to graduate in 2022 from Michigan International Prep

• Eligible for the 2023 NHL Entry Draft

Naurato on Brzustewicz … “‘Brew’ is a natural born leader who is a very cerebral player that can put up offense as well as defend. He will come in as a 17-year-old freshman and play a major role for our team in all areas of the game. Due to some unlucky injuries over the past two seasons, the hockey world truly hasn’t seen what Hunter can do on the ice and we are really excited to watch him the second half of this season, along with having him join the Maize and Blue next fall. He is eligible for the 2023 NHL Draft and will bring a lot of buzz every night to Yost Ice Arena with all the NHL teams that will be in attendance to watch his progress.”

Seamus Casey

D | 5-10/178 | Right | Estero, Fla. | USNTDP

• Spent two seasons with USNTDP

• Has 21 points (five goals, 16 assists, 21 points) in 33 games with the USNTDP and eight in 11 games in the USHL

• 2022 Biosteel All-America Game selection

• Last year, had 36 goals in 46 games with USNTDP and added 20 points in 30 USHL games

• Won silver at the 2020 World Junior Olympics

• Gold medal at the 2021 Five Nations Tournament

• Expected to graduate in 2022 from Michigan International Prep

• Ranked No. 12 by EliteProspects.com and is earns a B rating in the NHL Central Scouting, indicating a second or third round selection

Naurato on Casey … “Seamus is a modern-day puck-moving defenseman that is great in transition and thrives when the puck is on his stick. His offensive instincts and elite skating movements allow him to shake defenders and create something out of nothing every time he touches the puck. Plan on watching Seamus quarterback the power play for Michigan in the future. Most players with the skill set of Seamus don’t have the desire to defend as hard as he does away from the puck, and that’s what excites me most about him. He is equally as dangerous while defending the rush and killing plays in the defensive zone because his skating is so elite.””

Kienan Draper

F | 6-0/183 | Right | Bloomfield Hills, Mich. | Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL)

• Playing this season with the Chilliwack Chiefs, and has 28 points (11-17–28) in 33 games

• Named the BCHL Three Stars of the Week on Nov. 29, 2021

• Spent the 2020-21 season with Omaha Lancers, collecting seven points

• A 2020 graduate of St. Andrews College

• Played two years of high school hockey with St. Andrews, winning the Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association (CISAA) and totaled 51 points (26-25–51) in 56 games played

• Previously played for Little Caesars AAA

• A 2020 NHL Draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings, selected in the seventh round with the 187th pick

Naurato on Draper … “A right-handed, big power forward that can skate and rip the puck off the pass. Takes pride in playing a 200-foot game and shutting down the opposing team’s top players at even strength and on the penalty kill. Another natural born leader who was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings.”

John Druskinis

D | 6-1/185 | Right | Plymouth, Mich. | Tri-City Storm (USHL)

• Playing for the Tri-City Storm (USHL) this season

• Split the 2019-20 season between the Chippewa Steel (NAHL) and the Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL), totaling 11 points

• Spent the 2020-21 season with Muskegon

• Won the 2018 and 2019 state championships at Hartland High School

• Named first team all-state and named to the state championship all-tournament team in 2019

• A 2020 graduate of Michigan International Prep

Muckalt on Druskinis … “John has a defense-first mentality. He moves the puck well and is a hard-nose defenseman. He has made tremendous strides over the past couple of seasons, and we’re excited to welcome his grit to our D corps.”

Adam Fantilli

F | 6-2/188 | Left | Nobleton, Ontario | Chicago Steel (USHL)

• Spent the last two seasons with Chicago in the USHL with 76 points in 80 games

• USHL Forward of the Week (Nov. 16, 2021)

• USHL MVP with eight goals, one assist, and +6 in the playoffs as Steel won the Clark Cup in 2020-21

• Scored 18 goals and 18 assists during the regular season, finishing a +17

• Won two Anderson and Clark Cups with Chicago

• Has 40 points in 41 games this season with the Steel

• Won silver at the 2020 World Junior Olympics

• Attended Kimball Union where he had 36 points in 26 games

• Top prospect for the 2023 NHL Draft

Muckalt on Fantilli … “Adam is a tremendous talent, and currently rated as one of the three top picks for the 2023 NHL Draft. We expect him to make huge contributions as a Wolverine. He’s a natural goal scorer and plays all three zones with an edge.”

Luca Fantilli

D | 6-0/183 | Left | Nobleton, Ontario | Chicago Steel (USHL)

• Captain of the Chicago Steel (USHL)

• Collected 12 points in 34 games this season

• Totaled three goals and nine assists as Chicago won both the Anderson and Clark Cups last season

• Attended Kimball Union Prep and had 42 points in 35 games

• Named second team All-New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC)

Muckalt on Fantilli … “Luca has really come into his own this season. As captain of Chicago, he has matured and learned to take on a leadership role. He skates well and fits our style as a mobile puck-moving defenseman with good edges.”

Jackson Hallum

F | 6-0/183 | Left | Eagan, Minn. | Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)

• Spent two seasons with Green Bay (USHL)

• Has 20 goals and 26 assists in 34 games this season, and had 12 points in 15 games a season ago

• USHL Forward of the Week (Oct. 12, 2021; Dec. 21, 2021)

• Pioneer Press 2021 East Metro Player of the Year

• Finalist for Minnesota’s 2021 Mr. Hockey Award

• Captain his senior year at St. Thomas Academy (Minn.)

• Totaled 104 points in 96 games played at St. Thomas, including a 41-point senior season

• Drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in the third round (91st overall) of the 2020 NHL Draft

Muckalt on Hallum … “Jackson is a world-class skater. His ability helps him to separate from his opponent and create chances off the rush. He has scored at every level he has played and will be a goal scorer here. Jackson should also play a key role on the penalty kill. His speed and style of play will excite the fans at Yost.”

Tyler Haskins

F | 6-1/185 | Left | Rochester, Minn. | Madison Capitols (USHL)

• Has spent last two seasons in the USHL, with the Madison Capitols and Sioux Fall Stampede

• Has 24 points in 27 games this season with the Capitols

• 2022 Biosteel All-America selection

• Finished the 2020-21 season with 27 points (nine goals, 18 assists) in 51 games with Stampede

• Member of the 2019 USA U17 that won silver at the Five Nations Tournament

• Tallied three goals and one assists in four games at Five Nations

• Played for the Chicago Mission (AAA)

• Eligible for the 2022 NHL Draft and earns a “C” rating in the NHL Central Scouting, projecting him a fourth-/fifth-/sixth-round selection

Muckalt on Haskins … “Tyler is having a good year in Madison and is a key contributor in his second USHL season. He is a good playmaker, is creative and has good hands around the net. He’s really going to add depth to our offense.”

Rutger McGroarty

F | 6-1/185 | Left | Northville, Mich. | USNTDP

• Two seasons with the USNTDP

• 2022 Biosteel All-America selection and named Player of the Game

• Totaled 66 points (31-35–66) in 70 games with the USNTDP and adds 23 points in USHL contests

• Competed for USA at the 2021 U18 Men’s World Championship

• Won a silver medal at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games with three points in four games

• Won gold as captain at the 2021 Five Nations and led the team in scoring

• USA Hockey U14 National Champion and three-time state champion

• Previously played for the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies (160 points in 63 games) and Honeybaked AAA

• A 2022 graduate of Michigan International Prep

• Top prospect for the 2022 NHL Draft; ranked No. 12 by TSN and has a “B” grade from the NHL Central Scouting, projecting his to be a second-/third-round selection

Naurato on McGroarty … “Recently named the MVP of the All American Biosteel Game, Rutger can impact a game in multiple ways. He is a skilled power forward who can play the physical game on the walls and score from anywhere on the ice. His high hockey IQ also allows him to play a fast-paced game on entries and exits due to his elite vision and playmaking. Currently the captain on the NTDP U18s, he is a proven winner that will add another leadership voice in the room.

Brendan Miles

D | 5-10/161 | Right | Farmington Hills, Mich. | Fairbanks (NAHL)

• Spent last two seasons with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs

• Accumulated 31 points (10 goals, 21 assists) in 90 games

• Played at Detroit Catholic Central, winning the 2019 Michigan state title

• Detroit Free Press High School Hockey Player of the the Year

• Named first team All-State in 2020

• Played four games with the Omaha Lancers (USHL) in 2019-20

• Previously played for the Michigan Development Hockey League (MDH) as well as Honeybaked and Compuware AAA

Muckalt on Miles … “Brendan is a smooth-skating defenseman and has good agility. He fits our style of play and will add depth to our blue line.”

Frank Nazar

F | 5-9/175 | Right | Mount Clemens, Mich. | USNTDP

• Spent last two seasons with the USNTDP

• Leads the team in scoring with 42 points in 35 games this season; adds 20 points in USHL games

• 2022 Biosteel All-America Game selection

• USHL Forward of the Week (Jan. 25, 2022)

• Led the USNTDP in scoring in 2020-21 with 57 points (28-27-57) in 45 games

• Won silver at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games, netting five points in four games

• Previously played for Honeybaked and Little Caesars, winning five state titles

• Attends L’Anse Creuse and intends to graduate in 2022

• Top prospect for the 2022 NHL Draft; ranked No. 10 by Elite Prospects and has an “A” grade from the NHL Central Scouting, indicating a projected first-round selection

Naurato on Nazar … “Frankie may be the fastest skater in the NHL Draft this season, which allows him to create offense through fast transition in all three zones of the ice. He has been a proven scorer at every level that he has played at growing up, and we expect the same when he puts on the maize and blue jersey.”

Fin Williams

F | 6-0/183 | Right | North Vancouver, British Columbia | Penticton Vees (BCHL)

• Two-time captain of Penticton Vees in the BCHL

• Totaled 37 points (12-25–37) in 27 games for the Vees this season

• Finished the 2020-21 season with 18 points (5-13–18) in 15 games

• Also played for the Prince George Spruce Kings, adding a 31-point season in 2019-20

• Averaged 1.03 points per game this past season with 13 goals and 24 assists in 36 games

• Won Fred Page Cup with Spruce Kings in 2019 and the Doyle Cup

Muckalt on Williams … “Fin is a 200-foot player that excels in all areas of the game. He is good on faceoffs and strong on puck battles. As the captain of Penticton he has great leadership qualities. He’s a consummate team player and is going to be very effective for us.”

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