UND forward Ashton Calder enters the transfer portal
The Fighting Hawk winger finished second on the team with 11 goals last season.
GRAND FORKS — UND senior forward Ashton Calder has entered the NCAA transfer portal.
Calder, who graduated with a degree from UND, will be eligible to play immediately at another school and will have one year of college eligibility remaining.
Calder also still could sign a pro contract.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound forward was a key player this season for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference regular-season champion Fighting Hawks.
After transferring in from Lake Superior State, Calder tied for second on UND in goals with 11. He finished fifth in points with 21 in 34 games. His goals seemed to come in bunches at UND. He had more two-goal games (four) than one-goal games (three).
Calder joined college hockey's Century Club by tallying his 100th-career point on March 4 at Omaha — the same night the Fighting Hawks won their third-straight Penrose Cup.
Calder is eligible for a fifth year because the NCAA ruled the pandemic-impacted 2020-21 season did not count against anyone's eligibility.
A logjam up front
The Fighting Hawks were beginning to deal with a logjam of forwards for next season.
They have likely lined up at least three to come in as freshmen — Jackson Blake of the Chicago Steel, Owen McLaughlin of the Sioux City Musketeers and Ben Strinden of the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
Yet prior to this week, they had only lost one forward — fifth-year senior Connor Ford — and it didn't appear any others were on their way out.
Senior captain Mark Senden and senior alternate captain Gavin Hain both announced this week that they will return for their fifth year of college eligibility. Head coach Brad Berry earlier had invited them back. And dynamic sophomore winger Riese Gaber opted to return to school rather than turning pro.
Something had to give.
UND is in the opposite situation as last summer, when it lost more than half of its roster and needed to bring in five transfers along with the NCHC's largest freshman class to fill the voids. Calder, who played three years at Lake Superior State, was one of those transfers.
The Fighting Hawks have had minimal losses this offseason.
Jake Sanderson, who signed with the Ottawa Senators, is the only defenseman to leave. The Fighting Hawks replaced him with UMass transfer Ty Farmer, a fifth-year senior.
Zach Driscoll, who signed with the Toledo Walleye in the ECHL after his college eligibility expired, is the only goalie to leave. UND replaced him with Michigan State transfer Drew DeRidder, a fifth-year senior.
UND didn't have any recruits on defense or goalie who were ready to come to college, so figuring out that situation was easy.
At forward, it's not so easy, because so many of UND's recruits have excelled and are ready to come to campus, while the pandemic year meant three seniors could come back again.