Tag Archives: where are they now

Active Former Hounds, 2018

3 Sep

As I do every year, here’s a check-in on the post-high school hockey careers of all active former Greyhounds. The numbers all come from HockeyDB. Asterisks denote players who left East early.

Zack Fitzgerald (’04 D)* Fitzgerald’s lengthy career, which has included long stints in the WHL and AHL, a single NHL game, and the past four seasons in England, continued much as it had before. The now 33-year-old defenseman continues to amass the penalty minutes, though his 181 this past season was his lowest total in a decade. Maybe he’s mellowing with age.

Cade Fairchild (’07 D)* The former Gopher defenseman, another early departure who had a cup of coffee in the NHL, completed a second season with Rogle BK in Sweden. This coming season he’ll be making his way back to the Russian KHL, where he spent two seasons earlier this decade back when he first came over to Europe.

Derek Forbort (’10 D)* Forbort’s second full season in the NHL was as very similar to his first, with the exact same point total (18) and comparable penalty minutes. Now 26, he’s established himself as an NHL regular top four defenseman, and made good on his much-hyped days as a Greyhound.

Andy Welinski (’11 D)* Welinski made his NHL debut this season, appearing in ten games for the Anaheim Ducks (including three in the playoffs) and collecting two assists in the process. The former UMD Bulldog spent the remainder of his season with the San Diego Gulls in the AHL, where he was highly productive, with 10 goals and 24 assists in 51 games, making him their fifth leading scorer. He should continue to get his chances to stick in the big show this coming season.

Dom Toninato (’12 F) Toninato was the second former Greyhound to make his NHL debut this past season, as he appeared in 37 games for the Colorado Avalanche. He played a lower-line depth role and had just two assists, but became a fixture in the Avalanche lineup, and perhaps the production will follow now that he’s established himself somewhat. He also had 12 points in 35 games for the San Antonio Rampage in the AHL.

Jake Randolph (’12 F) The ever-consistent Randolph rounded out his four-year career at Nebraska-Omaha with a 26-point season, equaling his production on a deeper team his freshman year, and finishing with 97 in his career. The former AP Player of the Year then signed on with the Worcester Railers of the ECHL, where he played in 11 games before the season wrapped up. We’ll see where his professional career goes from here.

Trevor Olson (’12 F) Olson once again was a lower-line fixture for North Dakota in his senior season, collecting 12 points as he wrapped up his Fighting Hawk career. Like his former linemate Randolph, he made the jump to the ECHL upon the conclusion of his college career, and appeared in eight games for the South Carolina Stingrays.

Meirs Moore (’13 D) Moore continues to be a semi-regular presence in the lineup at the D-I Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, where the defenseman had four points in 19 games. One of the highest-scoring Hounds defensemen of all time now heads into his senior season at RPI.

Conner Valesano (’13 F)* Valesano had a second steady season at UW-Stout, where he led the Blue Devils’ three-man Duluth East Class of 2013 contingent with 11 points and cut down drastically on his penalty minutes.

Jack Forbort (’13 F) Forbort also had a respectable sophomore campaign at Stout, where he had eight points in 25 games.

Alex Toscano (’13 F) Toscano matched his longtime teammate Forbort in production in his sophomore year, and also put together a healthy heap of minutes in the sin bin.

Hogan Davidson (’13 F) Davidson put together a strong sophomore campaign at D-III Nichols College in Massachusetts. He collected 20 points, good for sixth on his team, as it amassed an 18-9-3 record. While he never put up big points as a Hound due to their depth during his time there and an untimely injury his senior season, his productivity beyond high school is no surprise to anyone who remembers his work rate on the ice.

Phil Beaulieu (’14 D) While Beaulieu had a strong freshman year at Northern Michigan, his sophomore effort was a true breakout campaign, as he led the nation in scoring among college defensemen. He scored 11 goals and added 31 assists for 42 total points. Add this career to the pile that was entirely predictable based on the way he controlled games during high school.

Alex Trapp (’14 D) Trapp’s sophomore year at St. Thomas saw more limited playing time, with nine total games and no points to his name.

Nick Altmann (’15 F) Altmann had a strong third season in the NAHL, collecting 27 points in 58 games with the Minnesota Wilderness in Cloquet. The 2015 Greyhound captain parlayed that success into a D-III opportunity at Williams College in Massachusetts.

Ash Altmann (’16 F) Nick Altmann’s younger brother also played for the Wilderness this past season, and put up six goals and six assists in 38 games.

Luke Dow (’16 F) Dow, another member of the Greyhounds’ Wilderness club, had the most productive season of any Greyhound currently playing junior hockey, as he finished third on the team with 42 points. Another strong season should lead to a college opportunity of some sort, so we’ll see where he winds up.

Shay Donovan (’16 D) After appearing for the Wilderness in four games, Donovan spent most of the season lending his steady defensive presence to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the NAHL, where he had eight points.

Alex Spencer (’16 D) Spencer divided his NAHL time between Shreveport and the Wilderness, where the defensive defenseman finished with 10 points across 54 games. He’ll join D-III Wisconsin-Superior this coming winter.

Reid Hill (’17 D) The only addition to the list this season from the Class of 2017, Hill spent his season in the NAHL, where he got in four games with the Wilderness (if you’re counting, that’s six ex-Greyhounds who played at least one game there last season), but spent most of his time with the Janesville Jets, and put up seven points.

That does it for the 2018 edition of this feature. We’ll check in again next summer.

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Active Former Hounds, 2017

9 Sep

As has become an annual tradition, here’s my check-in on the post-high school hockey careers of all active former Greyhounds. The numbers all come from HockeyDB. Asterisks denote players who left East early.

Zack Fitzgerald (’04 D)* There’s no quit for Fitzgerald, who just wrapped up his third season playing in England, the past two coming with the Sheffield Steelers. He continues to pile up respectable point totals, and, after a second consecutive season with 197 of them, has now amassed 3,421 penalty minutes over a 16-year professional career. It’s pretty safe to say that one’s a record for an East alum.

Cade Fairchild (’07 D)* After two years in the Russian KHL, Fairchild took his services to the Swedish Hockey League, where he was the third highest-scoring player on the team as a defenseman—two points ahead of a teammate who is another 1989-born Duluthian, former Hobey Baker winner Jack Connolly. It continues a long career of productive play from the blue line for the former Gopher and momentary NHLer. His Rogle BK team had a rough year, finishing second from the bottom in the Swdish table.

Derek Forbort (’10 D)* After making his NHL debut in 2015-2016, Forbort took a big step forward this past season, as he stuck in the big leagues for a full 82 games. He was third among their defensemen in scoring, and tied for the team lead in penalty minutes and plus-minus. And when that guy you’re tied with in plus-minus is Drew Doughty, that’s a pretty good sign. Forbort has arrived, and doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere anytime soon.

Andy Welinski (’11 D)* Welinski had a solid first full year of his pro career, and joins the ranks of productive Greyhound defensemen in that level. He was the second highest-scoring defenseman on the San Diego Gulls, the Ducks’ AHL affiliate, and one figures it’s only a matter of time before he gets the call.

Dom Toninato (’12 F) Toninato concluded a strong NCAA career by captaining UMD to a runner-up finish, and was named NCHC Defensive Player of the Year in the process. He was used in a more and more defensive manner as his college career went on, often matched against opponents’ top lines; this depressed his offense somewhat, though he was still one of the more imposing net-front presences in college hockey. He was drafted by the Maple Leafs, whose recent signing spree made spots hard to find. Once he reached free agency, though, the Avalanche snapped him up immediately, and he has himself a two-way contract to begin his professional career. We’ll see if and when he joins the ranks of ex-Hound NHLers.

Jake Randolph (’12 F) An injury slowed Randolph’s junior year at Nebraska-Omaha, but his 23 points were still among the higher totals for Maverick forwards amid a middling season. Next up, he’ll get a chance to wrap up his college career in style.

Trevor Olson (’12 F) Olson stepped into a bigger role as a junior at North Dakota, where his 16 points more than doubled his combined total from the previous two. He should continue to be a regular contributor in the lineup in his final season in Grand Forks, as his team looks to rebound from what was (by their standards) a bit of a down year.

Meirs Moore (’13 D) Moore’s sophomore season at RPI saw him shuffled in and out of the lineup some, as he had just two points after a more productive freshman year. If he can hold up defensively, he’ll stay in the lineup with his offensive skills.

Conner Valesano (’13 F)* Valesano was part of the great Greyhound movement to UW-Stout, where he was one of three freshmen from the Class of 2013 to come in this season. With 13 points and 44 penalty minutes, he had the most eventful year of his three teammates.

Jack Forbort (’13 F) Forbort was the second of the three East grads at Stout, and finished one point behind Valesano for a total of 12.

Alex Toscano (’13 F) Toscano rounds out the Greyhound threesome at Stout, where he had ten points as a freshman.

Hogan Davidson (’13 F) A fourth D-III player from the Class of 2013 took a more adventurous route than his ex-teammates, as he went to Nichols College in southern Massachusetts. (Yeah, I had to look that one up, and it’s pretty rare that I don’t know where a college is.) He appeared to be his usual scrappy self there, with a respectable point total and a pile of penalties to his name.

Phil Beaulieu (’14 D) After a somewhat unusual junior career, Beaulieu’s D-I debut was exactly what anyone who watched him in high school would have expected. He put up 19 points from the blue line for Northern Michigan, and one would expect that total to go up further as he settles in.

Alex Trapp (’14 D) Trapp moved to the college ranks this past season and played for D-III St. Thomas, where he offered his usual reliable services as a freshman.

Nick Altmann (’15 F) For a second straight season, Altmann had a mid-teens point total in the NAHL, was also quite productive in the playoffs, and for a second straight season had a cup of coffee in the USHL. We’ll see how things play out as he moves toward the next stage.

Ash Altmann (’16 F) After a slow start with Bismarck in the NAHL, Ash moved to the Wilderness to join his older brother and a couple of other ex-Hounds, where he was somewhat more productive. There’s still some potential here if things pan out.

Luke Dow (’16 F) As Greyhounds go, the Minnesota Wilderness is to the NAHL as UW-Stout is to D-III. The third of four East grads to play in Cloquet this past season was also the most productive, as Dow put up 32 points, one of the higher totals among the forwards on a strong team. (Probably worth noting: Alex Trapp’s father, Chris, is the owner of the Wilderness franchise.)

Ryan Peterson (’16 F) The last of the four East grads playing for the Wilderness, Peterson put up 14 points in his post-high school debut.

Shay Donovan (’16 D) Donovan landed with the Coulee Chill for his NAHL debut, where he was a productive and steady contributor from the blue line. He’ll be joining the Greyound Wilderness Club this coming fall.

Alex Spencer (’16 D) Spencer joined four fellow members of the Class of 2016 in the NAHL, though he went much further afield, as he wound up in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was his usual self there: big and physical defensively, no shortage of penalties, and the very occasional offensive contribution.

 

Dropping from the list this past season:

 

Matt Cooper (’09 G) The Hounds goalie who parlayed an impressive club hockey career into a minor league season in 15-16 has moved on, but it was a pretty impressive run

Hunter Bergerson (’11 D) Completed a steady D-III career with St. Scholastica and now has moved on.

Nate Repensky (’12 D) An injury-riddled career came to an unfortunate end for Repensky, as Yale announced he’d “retired from the sport.” He had a couple of quality seasons in New Haven, living up to his potential when he was on the ice, and his consolation prize is an Ivy League education, so things should work out just fine for the kid.

Andrew Kerr (’13 D) Sometimes hockey takes a back seat to life. Kerr, who was set to join the Greyhound party at Stout, suffered a brutal injury in a freak accident on a water trampoline last summer. His neck was broken, and there was serious question about his ability to lead a normal life. Now, just one year later, he is walking again, and getting to a point where approaches normalcy. In a different world he would’ve joined three of his fellow 2013 classmates at Stout, but instead, he’s starting in at UMD this fall. Whether in Menomonie, Cloquet, or right back in a supportive community on the east side of those Duluth, those ties seem to linger.

Active Former Hounds, 2014

19 Jul

Elite League rosters are out, and summer transfer intrigue and early departure watches are underway…it’s time to start writing about hockey again. I’ll start on a light note by dipping into my Duluth East archives. Here’s a list of every active former Duluth East player that I’m aware of who played at some post-high school level last season. Asterisks denote players who left East early.

Nick Anderson (’97 F) Anderson’s hockey career is a testament to persistence and hard work. He wasn’t a star at East, playing a regular shift only as a senior, and even that was mostly in a supporting role on the ’97 2nd-place team. But he stuck with it through 3 years of juniors, played 5 years at Minnesota-Duluth (there must have been a redshirt in there), and went on to spend time in the ECHL, Germany, Italy, and the UK. He didn’t finish out last season with his British team, so the run may finally be over, but no matter what, it’s been an admirable one.

Nick Angell  (’98 D) Angell, the star defenseman of the ’98 state champ Hounds, played 4 years at Minnesota, winning a national championship as a senior. He went to Europe one year after graduation and has primarily played in Sweden since, though he also had stints in Germany and in the elite Russian KHL. He had a productive season in Sweden’s second-tier league in 13-14.

Zack Fitzgerald (’04 D)* Fitzgerald left East for the WHL after his freshman year (00-01) and played there for 4 years. He got a single-game cameo in the NHL with the Canucks in 07-08, but has spent most of the past nine years as an AHL enforcer, racking up massive penalty minutes and the occasional point in the process. He’s the younger brother of ’91 East alum Rusty Fitzgerald, who played parts of 3 seasons in the NHL.

Cade Fairchild (’07 D)* An offensive defenseman, Fairchild left East after his sophomore year for the National Training and Development Team, and went on to play at Minnesota. Like Fitzgerald he’s had a cup of coffee in the NHL, but has spent most of the past 3 years in the AHL.

Josh ‘Podge’ Turnbull (’07 F)* Turnbull transferred to East from Hayward, Wisconsin as a sophomore and spent two years in red and grey before a year of junior hockey and a 4-year run at Wisconsin. He’s bounced around various minor leagues for the past 3 seasons, most recently landing in with the Pensacola Ice Flyers of the Southern Professional Hockey League.

Keegan Flaherty (’08 F)* The much-hyped Flaherty played 3 years of Hounds hockey but left for juniors after flat-lining some as a junior. In the USHL he reinvented himself as a hard-working depth player and had 4 serviceable years at UMD. He was Turnbull’s teammate in Pensacola last winter.

Max Tardy (’09 F) Tardy just wrapped up his 4 years at UMD, and will be best remembered there for his goal in the 2011 national championship game. His overall UMD career was a mild disappointment as he sometimes struggled to crack the lineup in his upperclassman years, but he played with good energy when he did, and could likely catch on somewhere if he so desires.

Alex McLean (’09 D) McLean, one of the more defensive defensemen on the ’09 squad with 4 D-I D-men, played two years of juniors before catching on at Ohio State, where he’ll be a senior this coming year.

Jake Williams (’09 D) You’ve probably never heard of American International College, but it’s based in Springfield, Massachusetts and is a D-I program in the Atlantic Hockey Association. Williams has been a regular there for the past 3 years and will be a senior this coming year.

Julius Tamasy (’09 F) Tamasy transferred to East as a senior and, after a stint in juniors, went to D-III Nazareth College in New York, and was its 2nd-highest scorer in its inaugural season. He’ll be a junior there this fall.

Derek Forbort (’10 D)*  The most hyped of all the Hounds on this list and the school’s only ever 1st-rounder, Forbort played for the NTDP and spent 3 years at North Dakota before making the jump to the AHL this past season. There have been occasional questions along the way, and his NHL debut has probably been delayed somewhat by being stuck in the Kings’ organization, but it should come in due course.

Andy Welinski (’11 D)* Welinski, another highly touted defenseman and a 3rd-rounder, played 2 years in the USHL and will be a junior at UMD this coming fall. His development has been fairly steady.

Phil Johnson (’11 F) Johnson, a stalwart on the 2011 runners-up, has had 3 productive seasons a D-III St. John’s in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Hunter Bergerson (’11 D) Bergerson played one year in the NAHL and has spent the past two seasons playing some for D-III St. Scholastica in Duluth.

Nolan Meyer (’11 F)* Meyer transferred to Cloquet for his senior year, but had two seasons of modest production as a Hound. He is now at D-III Augsburg, where he has played sporadically over the past two seasons.

Dom Toninato (’12 F) A Maple Leafs draft pick, Toninato had a very strong year in the USHL before coming to UMD. He didn’t have huge points in his freshman year, but was often matched against others’ best lines and more than held his own.

Jake Randolph (’12 F) Mike Randolph’s son followed up a quality first year in the USHL with a monster one, breaking the league’s assist record and being named forward of the year. He’ll make his debut at Nebraska-Omaha this winter.

Trevor Olson (’12 F) The third member of the phenomenal Class of 2012 top line, Olson’s progress has been slowed somewhat by injuries, but he looked sharp when healthy at the end of the past USHL season and will start at North Dakota this fall, a school that should fit his edgy style well.

Nate Repensky (’12 D) Like Olson, Repensky’s had his injuries, but was very productive in the NAHL, and was named its defenseman of the year. He’s headed to Yale this coming school year.

Paige Skoog (’12 G) The first goalie on this list, the Forest Lake transfer was primarily a backup in his season in red and grey, but has had two reasonably good seasons in the NAHL.

Conner Valesano (’13 F)* Valesano has had two reasonably productive USHL seasons, but has yet to grab a D-I offer, meaning he’ll likely be back in the USHL this coming year.

Meirs Moore (’13 D) The shifty defenseman had a slow start to his USHL career, but came on toward the end of the season. He’ll spend a second season there before heading to D-I Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

Alex Toscano (’13 F) Toscano spent his first year of junior hockey shuttling between the USHL and NAHL.

Jack Forbort (’13 F) Derek Forbort’s younger brother put up decent numbers in the NAHL this past year.

Andrew Kerr (’13 D) Kerr had a strong NAHL rookie season, scoring more than he did in high school, mixing things up, and was picked in this spring’s USHL draft.

Hogan Davidson (’13 F) Like Kerr, Davidson picked up his share of penalty minutes as he bounced between a couple of NAHL teams.

Ryan Lundgren (’13 F) Lundgren had been set to play in the NAHL before suffering a season-ending injury. Depending on his recovery, he has some shot at playing at a higher level.

Dylan Parker (’13 G) Parker spent most of the past season in the NA3HL and was briefly rostered in the NAHL, but did not play.