UND announced its incoming men's hockey class Wednesday morning without any surprises.
But sources tell the Herald there are three other big future roster developments: UND has released goaltender Cameron Rowe from his National Letter of Intent; former Western Hockey League player Murphy Stratton will no longer land at UND; and forward Jackson Keane will only have three total years of college eligibility.
Three sources confirmed to the Herald that Rowe, the highly touted goalie from the U.S. Under-18 Team who went undrafted last month, has been released from his National Letter of Intent after UND's coaching staff became concerned with Rowe's flirtations with going to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.
The sources say that UND's staff did not want to sit around and wait to see if Rowe would end up in college and potentially not land him at all.
One junior hockey source says Rowe is still on track to play this season for Des Moines of the United States Hockey League, though that became unclear in recent weeks leading up to the NHL Draft.
Although Rowe was the No. 4-ranked draft-eligible goalie by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau, he was not one of the 22 goalies picked in Vancouver's event.
Rowe, a 6-foot-2, 203-pounder from Wilmette, Ill., has had a winding path to college.
He originally committed to Omaha but re-opened his recruitment in the fall. He made a visit to UND and committed to the Fighting Hawks shortly thereafter.
Rowe was a seventh-round pick of the London Knights in the 2017 OHL Draft, but has opted to remain on the college track for now. Des Moines, coached by former Denver national title-winning goalie Peter Mannino, selected Rowe in the first round of the USHL's Phase II Draft this spring. Mannino previously served as an assistant coach at Omaha and recruited Rowe there originally.
UND has three goaltenders on the roster for the upcoming season and none of them are seniors: sophomore Adam Scheel, junior Peter Thome and walk-on freshman Harrison Feeney, who joined the team at semester time last season but did not play.
The Fighting Hawks also have one currently committed goalie in Grand Forks native Kaleb Johnson. His arrival at UND is yet to be determined.
Last month, UND hired Karl Goehring, known for his work in developing goalies, as a full-time assistant coach.
Goehring spent the last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. Prior to that, he spent seven years as a volunteer goalie coach at UND. During those seven years, he had four different starting goalies. Three of them dressed in the NHL this season.
Murphy Stratton out
One player notably absent from the incoming class announcement was Stratton, a 6-foot-4 winger from Los Angeles.
Stratton made an unconventional commitment to UND last summer considering he played 45 games in the Western Hockey League, which makes him temporarily ineligible for college hockey. The NCAA considers Canadian major junior leagues, the WHL, OHL and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, professional.
Two longtime college hockey observers told the Herald at the time that they've never seen someone who played as many WHL games as Stratton end up in college hockey.
Stratton, who has played in the British Columbia Hockey League the past two seasons, said he initially received word that his penalty would be a year and seven games, but that apparently changed. His penalty for playing major juniors was going to be much more significant, two sources told the Herald.
Because of that, he will not be at UND.
Stratton had 99 points in 110 games in the BCHL for the Wenatchee Wild over the last two seasons.
Keane with two years left
Winnipeg forward Jackson Keane just completed his rookie season with UND, but he will technically be considered a junior next season.
He will only have three total years of college eligibility.
Keane had to start taking full-time college classes when he was playing junior hockey in Sioux City of the USHL to clear up issues with the NCAA's Clearinghouse. By taking those classes, Keane started his NCAA clock.
In Division I sports, athletes have five years to complete their four years of eligibility once they begin full-time classes.
Keane's first year was spent in Sioux City, then he played one more year of junior hockey with the Penticton Vees in the BCHL. Last season, his first at UND, was his third after starting his college clock, so he will have two years left.
Keane was one of UND's most pleasant surprises last season. He had two goals, six points and a plus-7 rating in 28 games, playing an extremely versatile role for the Fighting Hawks. He played in both the top six and bottom six of the lineup, while spending time on both the power-play and penalty-kill units.