EDINA, Minn. – July 13, 2017 – Marking the next step in their potential professional journeys, 35 players with ties to men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) programs – including 25 slated to skate in the league this upcoming season – were invited to participate in 2017 National Hockey League (NHL) Development Camps. The group, which represents all 10 league institutions, is involved in camps for 20 NHL clubs.
The 25 players expected to be on 2017-18 WCHA rosters feature 14 underclassmen (seven incoming freshmen and seven sophomores), along with six juniors and five seniors. That group also includes seven NHL draft picks, along with 18 free-agent invitees.
The 2016-17 WCHA alumni to earn invitations, either as draftees or free-agent signings, included league Player of the Year Michael Bitzer (Bemidji State / Los Angeles Kings) and Rookie of the Year Marc Michaelis (Minnesota State / Minnesota Wild); All-WCHA First Team performers Gerald Mayhew (Ferris State / Minnesota) and Matt Roy (Michigan Tech / Los Angeles); All-WCHA Second Team selections C.J. Franklin (Minnesota State / Winnipeg Jets), Mitch Hults (Lake Superior State / Anaheim Ducks), Shane Hanna (Michigan Tech / Dallas Stars), Sean Walker (Bowling Green / Los Angeles) and Atte Tolvanen (Northern Michigan / Nashville Predators); All-WCHA Third Team honorees Dominik Shine (Northern Michigan / Detroit Red Wings) and Mark Friedman (Bowling Green / Philadelphia Flyers); and, WCHA All-Rookie Team members Alec Rauhauser (Bowling Green / Toronto Maple Leafs), Mitch Reinke (Michigan Tech / Calgary Flames), Zach Whitecloud (Bemidji State / Los Angeles) and Angus Redmond (Michigan Tech / Anaheim).
Each of the seven WCHA players who signed NHL contracts following the 2016-17 college season appeared in their respective club's Development Camp: Kris Bindulis (Lake Superior State / Washington Capitals), Friedman, Hults, Mason Mitchell (Alaska Anchorage / Washington), Chris Nell (Bowling Green / New York Rangers), Redmond and Roy. Also invited to camps were Alabama Huntsville's Brennan Saulnier (Montréal Canadiens), along with Alaska blue-liners Zach Frye (San Jose Sharks) and Nikolas Koberstein (Montréal).
Calgary, Los Angeles and Washington all brought three WCHA-affiliated players to Development Camp. The Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins brought 2013 draftee Dane Birks, a Michigan Tech junior-to-be, to camp. Tolvanen, who set a WCHA Men's League record (second in NCAA Division I men's history) with a 339:05 scoreless streak during his sophomore season with Northern Michigan, joined 2016 draftee Adam Smith (Bowling Green) with the Western Conference champ Nashville Predators. The expansion Vegas Golden Knights invited incoming freshmen Brendan Harris (Bemidji State) and Justin Wells (Bowling Green).
Defending Broadmoor Trophy champion Michigan Tech (eight players) and its WCHA title game opponent, Bowling Green (seven) led the league, followed by Minnesota State with five and Lake Superior State with four. MacNaughton Cup champion Bemidji State had three players in NHL Development Camps, all of whom are expected to wear a Beavers sweater in 2017-18.
|WCHA-affiliated players at 2017 NHL Development Camps|
|Player, Pos.||School||NHL Development Camp||Status (2017-18 Class)|
|Brennan Saulnier, F||Alabama Huntsville||Montréal Canadiens||Free Agent (Sr.)|
|Mason Mitchell, F||Alaska Anchorage||Washington Capitals||Signed (Alumnus)|
|Zach Frye, D||Alaska||San Jose Sharks||Free Agent (Sr.)|
|Nikolas Koberstein, D||Alaska||Montréal Canadiens||Draft (Jr.)|
|Michael Bitzer, G||Bemidji State||Los Angeles Kings||Free Agent (Sr.)|
|Brendan Harris, F||Bemidji State||Vegas Golden Knights||Free Agent (Fr.)|
|Zach Whitecloud, D||Bemidji State||Los Angeles Kings||Free Agent (So.)|
|Ryan Bednard, G||Bowling Green||Florida Panthers||Draft (So.)|
|Mark Friedman, D||Bowling Green||Philadelphia Flyers||Signed (Alumnus)|
|Chris Nell, G||Bowling Green||New York Rangers||Signed (Alumnus)|
|Alec Rauhauser, D||Bowling Green||Toronto Maple Leafs||Free Agent (So.)|
|Adam Smith, D||Bowling Green||Nashville Predators||Draft (Jr.)|
|Sean Walker, D||Bowling Green||Los Angeles Kings||Signed (Alumnus)|
|Justin Wells, D||Bowling Green||Vegas Golden Knights||Free Agent (Fr.)|
|Cameron Clarke, D||Ferris State||Boston Bruins||Draft (So.)|
|Gerald Mayhew, F||Ferris State||Minnesota Wild||Signed (Alumnus)|
|Tyler Anderson, D||Lake Superior State||Washington Capitals||Free Agent (Fr.)|
|Kris Bindulis, D||Lake Superior State||Washington Capitals||Signed (Alumnus)|
|Mitch Hults, F||Lake Superior State||Anaheim Ducks||Signed (Alumnus)|
|Mareks Mitens, G||Lake Superior State||New York Islanders||Free Agent (Fr.)|
|Mark Auk, D||Michigan Tech||Edmonton Oilers||Free Agent (Sr.)|
|Dane Birks, D||Michigan Tech||Pittsburgh Penguins||Draft (Jr.)|
|Shane Hanna, D||Michigan Tech||Dallas Stars||Signed (Alumnus)|
|Jake Jackson, F||Michigan Tech||San Jose Sharks||Draft (Jr.)|
|Jake Lucchini, F||Michigan Tech||Edmonton Oilers||Free Agent (Jr.)|
|Angus Redmond, G||Michigan Tech||Anaheim Ducks||Signed (Alumnus)|
|Mitch Reinke, D||Michigan Tech||Calgary Flames||Free Agent (So.)|
|Alex Smith, F||Michigan Tech||Calgary Flames||Free Agent (So.)|
|Walker Duehr, F||Minnesota State||New York Rangers||Free Agent (Fr.)|
|C.J. Franklin, F||Minnesota State||Winnipeg Jets||Draft (Sr.)|
|Connor Mackey, D||Minnesota State||Calgary Flames||Free Agent (Fr.)|
|Marc Michaelis, F||Minnesota State||Minnesota Wild||Free Agent (So.)|
|Jared Spooner, F||Minnesota State||Winnipeg Jets||Free Agent (Fr.)|
|Dominik Shine, F||Northern Michigan||Detroit Red Wings||Signed (Alumnus)|
|Atte Tolvanen, G||Northern Michigan||Nashville Predators||Free Agent (Jr.)|