Saturday, June 3, 2023

Michigan State makes transfer portal splash in NHL first-rounder Isaac Howard

March 25, 2023
<p>The MSU men's hockey team high-five each other after scoring during a game against Notre Dame at Munn Ice Arena on Feb. 3, 2023. The Spartans defeated the Fighting Irish 3-0.</p>

The MSU men's hockey team high-five each other after scoring during a game against Notre Dame at Munn Ice Arena on Feb. 3, 2023. The Spartans defeated the Fighting Irish 3-0.

Photo by Sonya Barlow | The State News

Michigan State has received another commitment via the transfer portal, this one being perhaps the biggest addition available. 

Forward Isaac Howard, the 31st overall pick in last summer’s NHL Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning, announced his verbal commitment to MSU Saturday via social media. 

A Hudson, Wisconsin native, Howard was a freshman last year at Minnesota-Duluth where he recorded six goals and 11 assists in 35 games. 

As of Saturday, Michigan State now has received three verbal commitments from the transfer portal, all of which have previous ties to the Spartan coaching staff. Howard played two years with the U.S. National Team Development Program, scoring 50 goals and posting 130 points in 2021-22. There, he was coached by MSU head coach Adam Nightingale – the same place where Nightingale also crossed paths with Miami (Ohio) transfer Red Savage. Reed Lebster, a UMass transfer, has ties to MSU associate head coach Jared DeMichiel, who was on the UMass staff from 2016 to 2022.

If Howard does sign with MSU (there aren't any indications that he won't), he'd be the first NHL first-rounder on the Michigan State roster since Daultan Leveillë – a 2008 pick by the Atlanta Thrashers who played with the Spartans from 2008 to 2012 but never played an NHL game. 

Cole Krygier signs entry-level deal with Los Angeles Kings

Former Michigan State defenseman Cole Krygier cashed in Saturday afternoon, signing a two-year entry-level contract with the Los Angeles Kings. The deal won’t begin until the 2023-24 season, though it holds an average annual value (AAV) of $837,500. 

Krygier was a seventh-round pick by the Florida Panthers in the 2018 NHL Draft, but had his rights traded to the Kings at the beginning of the week. Then on Tuesday, Krygier signed an amateur tryout agreement with the Ontario Reign, the Kings’ AHL affiliate, but is now inked long term with the organization. 

Krygier, along with his twin brother Christian, returned to Michigan State for a fifth season last year and turned it into a breakout season. As an alternate captain, he scored 10 goals to match his total through his first four seasons with the Spartans. He was part of Michigan State’s top defensive pairing, also cleaning up on his propensity of costly mistakes that plagued his first four seasons in East Lansing.

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