The UND men's hockey team will look quite a bit different next season.

At least 12 of the 26 players from the 2020-21 team will be gone when the team takes the ice in the fall.

Although the NCAA ruled the pandemic-altered season doesn't count against anyone's eligibility and the seniors can come back for a fifth year, none of UND's eight will return.

Five of them have already signed pro deals: Matt Kiersted is playing for the Florida Panthers; Jordan Kawaguchi signed with the Dallas Stars; Grant Mismash signed with the Nashville Predators; Collin Adams signed with the New York Islanders; and Jackson Keane signed with the Wheeling (W.Va.) Nailers in the ECHL.

Goaltender Peter Thome will transfer to the University of St. Thomas, while Gabe Bast is pursuing pro opportunities and Josh Rieger is hoping to play his fifth and final season with a Canadian college program.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

Add in the early signings of junior defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker (Ottawa Senators) and sophomore forward Shane Pinto (Senators), and the move into the transfer portal for sophomore Harrison Blaisdell, and the Fighting Hawks will be turning over nearly half of their roster.

But less than a month after UND's season ended in a five-overtime NCAA regional final game, the puzzle pieces are starting to fit together for the 2021-22 roster.

The Fighting Hawks received commitments to return to school from Jasper Weatherby and Jake Sanderson -- both of whom had opportunities to turn pro. UND also has been active in the transfer portal, adding forward Connor Ford from Bowling Green, defenseman Chris Jandric from Alaska Fairbanks, defenseman Brady Ferner from RPI and goaltender Zach Driscoll from Bemidji State.

UND is in the process of finalizing which freshmen will come to campus this fall, too.

Here's a look at who is gone, who is back, who is coming in and what moves the Fighting Hawks still have to make in order to put together the 2021-22 roster.

Forwards

Remaining on roster (9): Jasper Weatherby, Judd Caulfield, Gavin Hain, Riese Gaber, Mark Senden, Brendan Budy, Louis Jamernik, Griffin Ness, Carson Albrecht.

Gone (6): Jordan Kawaguchi (Dallas Stars, NHL), Grant Mismash (Nashville Predators, NHL), Collin Adams (New York Islanders, NHL), Shane Pinto (Ottawa Senators, NHL), Jackson Keane (Wheeling Nailers, ECHL), Harrison Blaisdell (transfer portal)

Incoming (3): Connor Ford (Bowling Green transfer), Nick Portz, Jake Schmaltz (Bruins pick).

Commits eligible to come (5): Jackson Kunz (Canucks pick), Matteo Costantini (Sabres pick), Ethan Bowen (Ducks pick), Ben Strinden, Dane Montgomery.

Analysis: UND likely needs three more forwards. Strinden is certainly headed back to junior hockey. Montgomery likely is as well. Bowen hasn't played much this year (six points in five games for Chilliwack in the BCHL), which might make the staff hesitant to bring him in. Kunz and Costantini are probably first in line. There's also a very good chance the Fighting Hawks will add one more forward from the portal.

North Dakota forward Jasper Weatherby (14) scores on Denver goaltender Magnus Chrona (30) in the third period Friday, Dec. 4, at Baxter Arena in the NCHC Pod in Omaha. (Tyler Schank / tschank@duluthnews.com)
North Dakota forward Jasper Weatherby (14) scores on Denver goaltender Magnus Chrona (30) in the third period Friday, Dec. 4, at Baxter Arena in the NCHC Pod in Omaha. (Tyler Schank / tschank@duluthnews.com)

Defensemen

Remaining on roster (4): Jake Sanderson, Ethan Frisch, Tyler Kleven, Cooper Moore.

Gone (4): Matt Kiersted (Florida Panthers, NHL), Jacob Bernard-Docker (Ottawa Senators, NHL), Gabe Bast (likely pro), Josh Rieger (likely CIS).

Incoming (3): Chris Jandric (Fairbanks transfer), Brady Ferner (RPI transfer), Luke Bast.

Commits eligible to come (3): Brent Johnson, Scott Morrow, Nate Benoit.

Analysis: UND needs to add one more defenseman. Johnson appears to be the most college ready after a big year in the USHL and an invite to the BioSteel All-American Game. However, Johnson had season-ending shoulder surgery on Friday. His recovery timeline is three-to-five months, which would make him available by Game 1, but it may hamper his offseason training. Johnson, a right-hander, also would balance a D-core with left- and right-handed shots. Sanderson, Kleven, Jandric, Moore and Bast are lefties. Frisch and Ferner are right-handers. If Johnson cannot come, the coaching staff would have to bring Morrow or look at the transfer portal for one more defenseman. Benoit isn't ready to come yet.

North Dakota's Ethan Frisch (15) and American International's Michal Stinil (18) compete for the puck during the NCAA Men's Hockey Midwest Regional at Scheels Arena in Fargo, North Dakota Friday, March 26, 2021. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)
North Dakota's Ethan Frisch (15) and American International's Michal Stinil (18) compete for the puck during the NCAA Men's Hockey Midwest Regional at Scheels Arena in Fargo, North Dakota Friday, March 26, 2021. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

Goaltenders

Remaining on roster (1): Harrison Feeney.

Gone (2): Adam Scheel (Dallas Stars, NHL), Peter Thome (transfer to St. Thomas).

Incoming (1): Zach Driscoll (Bemidji State transfer).

Commits eligible to come (2): Hobie Hedquist, Kaleb Johnson.

Analysis: Driscoll will be penciled in as the Day 1 starter. UND needs to bring in another goaltender to compete with Feeney for the backup job. Hedquist is not ready to come and Johnson would likely be best served to play another year of junior hockey. The Fighting Hawks will need to recruit another goalie or pick one up from the transfer portal.

Bemidji State goalie Zach Driscoll (33) warms up before the start of the third period against the Minnesota Gophers in the Mariucci Classic in Minneapolis on Dec. 28, 2019. (John Autey / The Rink Live)
Bemidji State goalie Zach Driscoll (33) warms up before the start of the third period against the Minnesota Gophers in the Mariucci Classic in Minneapolis on Dec. 28, 2019. (John Autey / The Rink Live)