The Wolverine

March 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MARCH 2022 THE WOLVERINE 91 BY ANTHONY BROOME T he hockey program announced its 13-man signing class on Feb. 4. Michigan will lean on this class early with so many members of the current team moving on after this season. The signees include forwards Gavin Brindley, Kienan Draper, Adam Fantilli, Jackson Hallum, Tyler Haskins, Rutger McGroarty, Frank Nazar III and Fin Wil- liams, along with defensemen Hunter Brzustewicz, Seamus Casey, John Drus- kinis, Luca Fantilli and Brendan Miles. "We are extremely excited about next year's recruiting class," associate head coach Bill Muckalt said. "We are los- ing 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 win- ners who provide the leadership and character traits that fit perfectly with the identity and style of play we are working towards daily at Michigan." The class is headlined by another healthy batch of NHL prospects, with two players already selected in 2020 in Draper (seventh round, Detroit Red Wings) and Hallum (third round, Vegas Golden Knights). Draper is the son of former Red Wings forward Kris Draper and plays every inch of the ice, much like his fa- ther did. Hallum, an Eagan, Minn., na- tive, has spent the last two seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL and was a finalist for Minnesota's Mr. Hockey Award in 2021. In terms of the upcoming 2022 NHL Draft, Nazar is the name that could po- tentially bring the most star power to the class. The speedy Mount Clemons, Mich., native is rated No. 10 by Elite Prospects and has an "A" grade from NHL Central Scouting, which throws him squarely into first-round consid- eration. McGroarty, Nazar's teammate with the USA Hockey National Team De- velopment Program, brings a physical presence at defenseman and is expected to be a second- or third-round pick in 2022. The Wolverines are bringing in a n o t h e r h i g h - ca l i b e r d e fe n se m a n in Casey, who is ranked No. 12 by The 2022 BioSteel All-America Game selection has been praised for his ability to move the puck in transition and lead the power play. Haskins is the third of the signees projected to be drafted in 2022. NHL Central Scouting gives him a "C" rat- ing, which puts him in fifth- through seventh-round consideration. Three additional signees are eli- gible for the 2023 NHL Draft, includ- ing Brindley, Brzustewicz and Fantilli. Fantilli was recently tabbed as the No. 3 overall pick in a 2023 mock draft re- leased by Brzustewicz went No. 14 overall in the same mock draft. NHL scouts will be paying close at- tention to his progress in Ann Arbor. He has not been on the ice a ton due to injury but brings a well-balanced game to the defenseman spot. ❑ Head coach Mel Pearson is excited about his incoming group of freshmen, which includes a few players who are expected to be drafted, such as possible first-round picks Frank Nazar III (2022), Adam Fantilli (2023) and Hunter Brzustewicz (2023). PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL   MICHIGAN HOCKEY Hockey Signs 13-Man Class For 2022-23 Season MICHIGAN HOCKEY HEATING UP AT THE RIGHT TIME The regular season is winding down, and the No. 2 Wolverines are surging with the postseason right around the corner. The Wolverines have won five straight and nine of the last 10 games, with just two weekend series left (versus Ohio State, at Notre Dame) before the first weekend of the Big Ten Tournament, March 4-6. The lone loss in that stretch came at then-No. 11 Minnesota Jan. 21, but the Maize and Blue avenged the setback the following day by beating the Golden Gophers 4-1. Despite being short-handed — without sophomores Matty Beniers and Bren- dan Brisson (Team USA), and sophomores Kent Johnson and Owen Power (Team Canada), who are competing in the Olympic Games in China — U-M kept its win- ning ways going with two victories over rival Michigan State. Without the four standouts, all first-round picks who have combined for 124 points on the season, U-M blasted the Spartans in consecutive days Feb. 11-12 — 6-2 in Ann Arbor and 7-3 at the "Dual in the D" in Detroit. With the latter win, the Iron D trophy remained in Ann Arbor for the fifth consecutive time. U-M is seeking its first Big Ten title and is atop the standings with 45 points. Minnesota is second with 43 points and fellow contender Ohio State sits third with 42. The Wolverines are No. 1 nationally in the Pairwise rankings and are a projected No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, according to As of Feb. 14, the site gave U-M a 37 percent chance to earn one of the two No. 1-seeds, with those being the second-best odds behind Minnesota State (50 percent), and a 32 percent chance to be seeded No. 2. — Clayton Sayfie

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