The NCHC's top 20 freshmen for 2022-23

UND's Jackson Blake, Owen McLaughlin, Dylan James and Ben Strinden figure to be among the league's best rookies.

UND commit Ben Strinden of the Muskegon Lumberjacks fights for the puck in a game against the Dubuque Fighting Saints this season.
Pardon Photography/Muskegon Lumberjacks
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GRAND FORKS — Here are the Herald's top 20 freshmen in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference for the 2022-23 season:

1. Isaac Howard, F, Minnesota Duluth

The first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning will immediately add offense for the Bulldogs with his quickness and skill level.

2. Jackson Blake, F, North Dakota

Blake has the ability to pull fans out of their seats with his creativity, much like his father, Jason, did. He’s an unpredictable passer and an underrated finisher.


3. Aidan Thompson, F, Denver

Thompson, a third-round Blackhawks pick, finished third in points per game in the USHL last season.

4. Owen McLaughlin, F, North Dakota

McLaughlin is a pass-first center who loves to slow the game down and find the trailer on the rush. UND will look to put goal-scorers around the Flyers pick. [ See story here ]

5. Adam Ingram, F, St. Cloud State

The Manitoba product and third-round Nashville pick is coming off of a tremendous year with Youngstown in the USHL.

6. Jacob Guevin, D, Omaha

Guevin skates well and can be shifty at the blue line, where he put up nearly a point per game in the USHL last season.


7. Ben Steeves, F, Minn. Duluth

Steeves has a rocket for a shot and should be able to produce on the power play as a rookie.

8. Rieger Lorenz, F, Denver

Lorenz is a prototypical NHL-style player. He has the size and plays a complete game. It may take a little bit of time for him to become a big-time point producer, but it will come.

9. Simon Latkoczy, G, Omaha

The Slovakian netminder led Madison to the Clark Cup Finals, has excelled at the World Juniors and could be the starter for Omaha this season.

10. Dylan James, F, North Dakota

James is a versatile winger who can play up and down the lineup, but will probably start on the bottom six and earn penalty kill duties.


11. Ryan Beck, F, Colorado College

The sub-6 foot, skilled superstar was an old hallmark of great CC teams (Brian Swanson, Peter Sejna, Marty Sertich, Brett Sterling). Beck is in the same mold.

12. Ryan McAllister, F, Western Michigan

McAllister is an elite goal-scorer, who put up 139 points in 60 games last season for Brooks in the AJHL.

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13. Joquim Lemay, D, Omaha

Lemay is an excellent skater and uses it to jump up in the play. He also can distribute the puck from the back end.

14. Noah Laba, F, Colorado College

The 6-foot-2 forward, who was previously committed to Colgate, is a strong all-around player and could wind up in CC’s top six.

15. Cole Spicer, F, Minn. Duluth

The Grand Forks native switched his commitment from UND to Minnesota Duluth in the offseason in order to come to college hockey this season.

16. Ben Strinden, F, North Dakota

Strinden will start on the lower lines for UND, but can chip in offensively. He’s excellent at tipping pucks and around the net.

17. John Waldron, F, Miami

Waldron isn’t flashy and won’t light up the scoresheet as a freshman, but he will chip in and be a good all-around player for the RedHawks.

18. Samuel Sjolund, D, Western Michigan

Sjolund, a Dallas Stars draft pick, would be higher on this list if he were eligible right away. He will not be, though, and might not play this season at all because he played in a league deemed professional in Sweden.

19. Jared Wright, F, Denver

The Los Angeles Kings sixth-round draft pick has good size at 6-foot-2 and can skate.

20. Kaiden Mbereko, G, Colorado College

Mbereko will come to college hockey with World Junior Championship experience after playing for the U.S. this summer, but he will likely start the season behind veteran netminder Matt Vernon.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at
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