Daily Skate: Questions and answers about college hockey's transfer portal
The Fighting Hawks have added two players so far. They will be looking to add more.
GRAND FORKS — More than 200 players have entered the transfer portal this season and commitments are starting to roll in.
There have been many questions asked about the transfer portal (see the list of players on this page). Here are some of them along with answers.
1. When can players enter the portal?
Graduating students can enter during the season, but beginning this year, there's an opening and closing date for non-graduates. The portal opens for non-grads the day after the NCAA Selection Show. This year, that was March 20 for Division-I men. Players flooded in on opening day — 52 of them to be exact.
The portal remains open for 60 days. After that, players can only enter if their financial aid is cut or if there's a head coaching change.
2. When is the deadline for players in the portal to commit?
There is none. Players can commit until school starts. However, by July 1, most teams have their rosters set and there is very little movement.
3. Can players go back to their school if they go in the portal?
Yes, if both the player and the school agree.
Once a player enters the transfer portal, the school does not have to take him back. But there have been about five instances in each of the last two seasons of players who entered the portal, then withdrew and stayed at their current school.
It has happened once in the last 10 days. Colorado College defenseman Connor Mayer briefly entered the portal, then decided to return to the Tigers.
4. When a player commits, does their name disappear in the portal?
No, it stays in there.
There's a spot where it lists the player's status. Once the player arrives on the new campus, the school can change the player's status to "matriculated." But most players in the portal — even ones who have made verbal commitments — are listed as "active."
5. Why are so many players going in the portal?
There are a lot of reasons.
Some are seniors who want to use their free COVID year to play a fifth season, but cannot go back to their current school, because their current school needs to make way for the freshman class.
Some institutions don't have graduate schools for fifth-year players, and others (like the Ivy League) only allow fifth-year players in extremely rare cases. So, those players are all going in after Year 4.
Some players are getting cut and others are taking advantage of the new rule where you can transfer once without sitting out for a season.
6. When will the portal be done?
It won't. It's here to stay.
However, the number of players entering could drop quite a bit in two years when the players with the free COVID year are all gone. So far, 46 percent of players who entered the transfer portal only have their COVID year left.
That indicates once the COVID-year players are gone, the number of portal entrants could drop by almost half.
7. Why are some players committing so fast out of the portal?
Sometimes, there's work going on behind the scenes.
Teams can't contact players on other teams, but work can be done through agents and family advisors.
Sometimes, a player will tell his agent he's thinking about entering the transfer portal. An agent will inquire with a bunch of teams, then go back to his player and tell him what schools may be interested. The player then decides whether he wants to jump in or not.
Most players do not know where they're going when they enter the portal, but some have a pretty good idea.
8. Can Frozen Four teams still go after players in the portal?
Yes, and they are.
Quinnipiac just received a commitment from Omaha defenseman Davis Pennington.
Michigan has been active in recruiting the portal, too, but it hasn't received any commitments yet.
What's left for UND to recruit?
The Fighting Hawks landed two big pieces Thursday.
Alaska captain Garrett Pyke committed and will be an anchor of UND's defense in 2023-24, while Miami goaltender Ludvig Persson committed and will be UND's No. 1 in net.
UND will likely grab one center out of the portal to replace Matteo Costantini, who entered last week.
Then, there are still two dominoes left to fall.
On Friday, the Anaheim Ducks traded for the rights to Judd Caulfield. The Ducks are currently trying to close a deal with the Grand Forks native. Assuming it gets finalized, UND likely will look to the portal to fill that spot.
Don't be surprised if it's a bigger, stronger player. The Fighting Hawks are already losing some strength and tenacity with fifth-year seniors Gavin Hain and Mark Senden graduating. They'll lose more if Caulfield gets his deal.
UND also is waiting to hear if senior Carson Albrecht will spend a fifth year with the Fighting Hawks.
UND will need to grab one or two more defensemen out of the portal to balance the roster with the four or five incoming freshmen.
Wiebe a finalist for Campbell Blair Trophy
UND incoming freshman defenseman Abram Wiebe, a Vegas Golden Knights draft pick, is a finalist for the Campbell Blair Trophy as the best defenseman in the British Columbia Hockey League.
Wiebe is the second-leading defenseman scorer in the BCHL with 53 points in 54 games for the Chilliwack Chiefs.
Senden's goal, Scheel's save
Former UND captain Mark Senden scored a goal in his pro debut for the American Hockey League's Charlotte Checkers.
Senden, wearing No. 18, scored from the top of the paint Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, in the ECHL, former UND goalie Adam Scheel made one of the saves of the year during his 6-0 shutout win Wednesday.
Check out the overhead view on the replay.
Adam 👀 Scheel 🔩— XY - Idaho Steelheads (@Steelheads) March 30, 2023
📲 @espn @spittinchiclets @TSNHockey answer the call pic.twitter.com/t4ZD8Iz6fA
Changes for 2023-24 opponents
Some of UND's 2023-24 nonconference opponents are undergoing major changes.
The Wisconsin Badgers, who open the season at the Ice Breaker Tournament in Grand Forks and Bemidji, hired Minnesota State-Mankato's Mike Hastings of Crookston as their next head coach.
UND also is set to host the Mavericks in a two-game October series.
Not only will the Mavericks have a new head coach, their roster will look quite a bit different.
This week, forward Ondrej Pavel signed with the Colorado Avalanche, defenseman Jake Livingstone signed with the Nashville Predators, defenseman Akito Hirose signed with the Vancouver Canucks, forward Ryan Sandelin signed an AHL deal and forward Cade Borchardt signed an ECHL contract.
- Former UND head women's hockey coach Brian Idalski was named USCHO's national coach of the year after leading St. Cloud State to 18 wins in his first season at the helm.
- St. Cloud State defenseman Brendan Bushy of Thief River Falls signed a pro deal with the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL.
- Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin said forward Luke Loheit, forward Quinn Olson and goalie Matthew Thiessen will return to the Bulldogs for a fifth season, according to Matt Wellens of the Duluth News Tribune.
- Miami goalie Logan Neaton plans to return to the RedHawks and will presumably be their No. 1 goalie next season, according to Jack Schmelzinger of the Miami Student. Neaton is a Winnipeg Jets draft pick. Miami also will get a fifth year from defenseman and captain Jack Clement.