Thursday, May 23, 2024

What Michigan State hockey's recent roster changes could mean for the program

May 23, 2022
<p>Spartan wing Griffin Loughran (18) and Bronco Michael Joyaux (3) chase the puck in MSU&#x27;s match against Western at Munn Ice Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021.  </p>

Spartan wing Griffin Loughran (18) and Bronco Michael Joyaux (3) chase the puck in MSU's match against Western at Munn Ice Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021.

Hockey Head Coach Adam Nightingale is already making some needed changes to MSU hockey's roster.

Last week, the Spartans recently added graduate student forward Miroslav Mucha and junior forward Zach Dubinsky to the roster while losing junior, and fellow forward, Griffin Loughran to the transfer portal.

Mucha, from Bytca, Serbia, and a transfer from Lake Superior State, appeared in all 37 of their games, and was second on their team in points last season, averaging nearly one per game. He also had a plus-minus of +5 last season, tied for third on the team. He will have one season of eligibility, as he is joining the team as a graduate transfer.

Mucha can be a very important addition to a Spartan roster that has lacked players who could create scoring chances. This is exactly what he specializes in, recording 25 assists to go with his 10 goals last season. 

He also has a history with Nightingale, as he played for the Shattuck St. Mary’s under-18 team, while Nightingale was a coach for the powerhouse Minnesota high school’s under-14 squad. 

The addition of Dubinksy has been known by the public for about a month and a half now, but it was not officially announced until yesterday. 

Dubinsky, from Highland Park, Illinois, originally committed to the program when former Head Coach Danton Cole was still at the helm. He has played two collegiate seasons at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he appeared in 66 games in total. Last season, he tallied 20 points for the Engineers, 10 of those points coming from goals and the other 10 coming from assists. 

Like Mucha, Dubinsky is an experienced forward and his addition gives the Spartans greater forward depth and goal-scoring ability at that position. These additions will improve a very weak area of the team, as the offense for the Spartans only managed to muster 2.11 goals per game last season, which was good for the eighth-worst average among Division One NCAA hockey.

Even though it was, generally speaking, a very underwhelming unit, the Spartans will return its three top scorers last season from that corps to next season’s roster—freshman forward Jesse Tucker with 24, sophomore forward Jeremy Davidson with 22 and junior forward Erik Middendorf with 20.

“We’re happy to add these two players to our roster – they have collegiate experience under their belts and will have some time to play with our returning guys once they arrive on campus this summer,” Nightingale said in a press release, per the Lansing State Journal.

On the other hand, Loughran, who transferred in from Northern Michigan last season, is officially no longer with the team. He was suspended for the second half of last season for not meeting academic standards. Despite the suspension, he recorded three goals and nine assists in 22 games played, good for eighth on the team. 

The losses of Loughran, and junior forward Josh Nodler to the transfer portal almost two months ago now, have been mitigated by the additions of Mucha and Dubinsky as well as the addition of Brown graduate transfer Justin Jallen and the signing of Gavin Best. All of these players are expected to make an immediate impact when it comes time to drop the puck for the 2022-2023 season. 

Whenever a program hires a new head coach, roster change is expected. Nightingale has certainly met that expectation and it is safe to say that Michigan State hockey will look much different on the ice next season. 

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