The season is not over for Michigan Tech and Western Michigan, as the two will continue their respective postseason runs this weekend when the NCAA Men’s Hockey Tournament begins.
The other five Michigan-based teams unfortunately could not put themselves in the same position as the Huskies or Broncos. Now it is the off-season, which means players will be entertaining the thought of going pro. As of Monday, a total of nine players from programs in the Mitten have agreed to terms with professional teams.
5. FERRIS STATE
The Bulldogs finished 13-19-5 this season after piling up 20 wins a year ago. The team was led almost all season long by a trio of seniors, defenseman Ryan Lowney, and forwards Gerald Mayhew and Jared VanWormer. All three have signed pro contracts.
— Ferris State Hockey (@FerrisHockey) March 8, 2017
— Ferris State Hockey (@FerrisHockey) March 20, 2017
The Wyandotte, MI native Mayhew led Ferris in points (35) and goals (17), and also tied for the team lead in assists (18) this season. Over his four years, he potted 52 goals and totaled 119 points. Mayhew is a Hobey Baker Award (top player) candidate and led all of WCHA in scoring. He is signing an ATO (amateur tryout agreement) with the Iowa Wild, AHL affiliate for the Minnesota Wild.
Meanwhile, both VanWormer (Traverse City) and Lowney (Redford) have inked deals with ECHL clubs. VanWormer is with the Missouri Mavericks (Islanders) and Lowney is playing for the Fort Wayne Komets (independent). VanWormer totaled 60 points over his 137 career games with Ferris, while Lowney racked up 58 points in nearly 160 games played.
All three have gotten their professional careers underway, already playing in a handful of games with their new clubs.
4. LAKE SUPERIOR STATE
The Lakers finished at a disappointing 11-18-7 record overall after starting off the season winning six of their first seven.
It was a very young Lakers team and they will surely be looking to improve on this season. But they will be moving forward without the services of sophomore forward Mitch Hults and freshman defenseman Kris Bindulis.
— Laker Hockey (@HockeyLSSU) March 7, 2017
— Laker Hockey (@HockeyLSSU) March 21, 2017
Hults’ reported deal is a two-year entry-level contract with the Anaheim Ducks, where he will report to their AHL affiliate in San Diego. Hults finishes his collegiate career with 54 points over 76 games played, including 34 this year which was good for third in the WCHA. His 23 assists led the conference and he earned second-team All-WCHA honors.
The freshman Bindulis is reportedly on a three-year entry-level deal with the Washington Capitals, where he will report to their AHL club in Hershey, PA for an amateur tryout. His lone season in Sault Ste. Marie, Bindulis in 28 games lit the lamp just once and his 12 points ranked third among Laker defensemen.
After losing a boatload of talent a year ago, the Wolverines were only able to muster a 13-19-3 overall, in what could be legendary head coach Red Berenson’s final season at the helm.
That remains uncertain. What is a done deal is senior Alex Kile’s career at Michigan. He has reportedly signed an ATO with the Rochester Americans, AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres.
Kile Signs Pro Contract with AHL's Rochester Americans
— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) March 20, 2017
The Troy-native Kile totaled just 14 points this year, seven goals and seven helpers. Over his four seasons in Ann Arbor, he played in 130 games and racked up 40 goals and 40 assists.
“Playing at Michigan has meant everything to me,” said Kile. “I’ve been emotionally invested the past four years, and it’s tough to leave, but I’m excited for this new chapter.”
“Playing at Michigan has been the best four years of my life,” Kile remarked. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
“I’m obviously very happy and looking forward to this opportunity,” Kile said. “I’m extremely grateful, and this is something I’ve wanted for a long time.”
2. MICHIGAN STATE
The 7 wins and .254 win percentage for Michigan State is the lowest mark for the program since 1977-78. The hottest topic this off-season will be whether or not head coach Tom Anastos keeps his position for next year.
The team is graduating eight seniors, among them being defenseman Rhett Holland, who has reportedly agreed to terms with the Dallas Stars and will immediately report to their ECHL affiliate.
— Idaho Steelheads (@Steelheads) March 20, 2017
The Calgary-native Holland played in 139 career games for Michigan State, recording 15 assists and 19 points, along with nearly 200 penalty minutes. This season, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Canadian set career-highs in both goals (3) and assists (5).
Prior to his time in East Lansing, Holland spent three seasons in the Alberta Junior Hockey League from 2009-12. He was also previously selected by the Coyotes in the fourth round of the 2012 NHL Draft.
1. NORTHERN MICHIGAN
The overall record of 13-22-5 for Northern Michigan is not pretty by any means, but a lot of people in Marquette have to be pleased with the way they finished the season, going 9-5-2, which featured a string of five consecutive shutout victories.
Two senior forwards in Dominik Shine and Shane Sooth were vital to the team’s late-season success. And both will now be moving on from NMU to the professional ranks.
— NMU Hockey (@NMUHockey) March 14, 2017
— NMU Hockey (@NMUHockey) March 17, 2017
Shine (Pinckney, MI) finished this season as the team’s leading goal-scorer (20) and point-getter (30), also tallying six power play goals. He closes the book on a fine career at Northern Michigan, tabbing 97 points (48 G, 49 A) over 131 games played.
Shine has signed an ATO deal with the Detroit Red Wings and has reported to their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, having already gotten a game under his belt. He joins current Wings/Griffins goalie Jared Coreau as fellow NMU alumni in the organization,
His now former Northern Michigan teammate Shane Sooth will begin his professional career with the Quad City Mallards, ECHL club for the Wild based in Moline, IL. Sooth was a two-year captain for the Wildcats. He unfortunately was limited to just 19 games this season, tallying five goals and 10 assists. He logged 130 games with Northern, scoring 21 goals and tallying 61 points.
Like Shine, Sooth has also gotten his professional career underway.