EAST LANSING - Michigan State hockey head coach Danton Cole has announced the addition of five players for the upcoming season. Forwards Tommy Apap, Gianluca Esteves, Austin Kamer, Jake Smith and Brody Stevens have all signed National Letters of Intent to join the Spartans for 2017-18.
The addition of Apap, Esteves, Kamer, Smith and Stevens brings the number of incoming freshmen to eight as Tommy Miller, Mitch Lewandowski and David Keefer previously signed NLIs in November 2016.
"We are very happy with the quality of young men joining Spartan hockey this upcoming season," Cole said. "It is a solid group that has enjoyed success both individually and with their teams at the junior level, and they will bring that spirit and competitiveness to MSU. Winning is a very good habit and this group collectively brings a U-18 World Championship Gold Medal, a USHL Clark Cup championship and a NAHL Robertson Cup title. Those experiences will help us as we move forward to winning championships here at MSU."
Bloomfield Hills, Mich. | Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) | F | 6-2, 195 | DOB: 2/27/96
Scouting Report: Mature and physical player who brings outstanding leadership ... Served as a captain in Youngstown and did an outstanding job leading the team into the playoffs and to a near upset of the eventual USHL champions ... Brings size and strength to the lineup and will be a huge asset in the faceoff circle.
Played his second USHL season with the Youngstown Phantoms in 2016-17, recording 20 points (4g, 16a) in 58 regular-season games, while adding a goal in five playoff contests ... Made his USHL debut with the Fargo Force in 2015-16 and played 14 games with the club before being dealt to Youngstown where he had 15 points (4g, 11a) in 38 games ... Put up 39 points (13g, 26a) in 57 regular-season games with the Wichita Falls Wildcats of the NAHL in 2014-15 and then added three goals and three assists in six playoff games ... Played three seasons for University of Detroit Jesuit High School, his best year coming in 2013-14 where he had 63 points (14g, 49a) in 29 games.
Winnipeg, Manitoba | Aston Rebels (NAHL) | F | 5-11, 168 | DOB: 1/29/97
Scouting Report: Has excellent speed, allowing him the ability to make plays offensively and defensively ... Excelled in the 2017 NAHL playoffs, getting points at big times in games to help Aston get to the Robertson Cup ... Leadership and experience will help the lineup immediately.
Put up 45 points (17g, 28a) in 60 regular-season games for the Aston Rebels in his first season in the NAHL ... Helped lead the Rebels to the NAHL Robertson Cup Finals, recording 9 points (5g, 4a) in 12 playoff games ... Played two seasons for the Winnipeg Blues of the MJHL, registering 26 points (14g, 12a) in 52 games in 2014-15 and then 39 points (12g, 27a) in 56 games the following year ... Played AAA hockey for the Winnipeg Wild in 2013-14 where he had 52 points (21g, 31a) in 44 contests.
Grand Rapids, Mich. | Lone Star Brahmas (NAHL) | F | 6-0, 185 | DOB: 5/23/96
Scouting Report: Very smart player that has the ability to make plays and make others around him better ... Part of the NAHL Roberstson Cup champions and scored the game-winning goal in the final game ... Has a high hockey IQ and will increase competition in the lineup.
Recorded 43 points (17g, 26a) in 57 games for the Lone Star Brahmas in the NAHL ... Represented the South Division at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, where he registered a goal and an assist in two games ... Had 8 points (2g, 6a) in 11 playoff games in helping lead the Brahmas to the NAHL's Robertson Cup ... Served as an alternate captain in 2016-17 ... Played two seasons with the Powell River Kings of the BCHL, recording 11 points (3g, 8a) in 40 regular-season games in 2014-15, and then 34 points (18g, 16a) in 55 games in 2015-16 ... Played for the Belle Tire organization from 2009-12 before being a part of the Cleveland Barons U18 team for two seasons from 2012-14 ... Registered 39 points (19g, 20a) in 37 games for the Barons in 2013-14.
East Amherst, N.Y. | Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) | F | 5-11, 180 | DOB: 10/28/96
Scouting Report: Had two great years in Chilliwack, including helping lead the team deep into the playoffs this past season ... Very smart player and very physically fit, which has translated into success on the ice ... Extremely versatile with the ability to help in many ways ... Outstanding leader who brings maturity and excellent work ethic.
Played the last two seasons for the Chilliwack Chiefs in the BCHL ... Averaged a point-per-game in the 2016-17 regular season, registering 58 points (32g, 26a) in 58 games to rank third on the team ... Produced 17 points (6g, 11a) in 23 playoff games for the Chiefs, including a five-game point streak over which he recorded 8 points (3g, 5a) ... Compiled a 14-game point streak during the regular season, generating 27 points (13g, 14a) ... Had 25 points (8g, 17a) in 58 regular-season games in his first season with Chilliwack in 2015-16 ... Played 31 games for both Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut and the Connecticut Wolf Pack U-18s in 2014-15, producing 18 points (1g, 17a) and 19 points (12g, 7a), respectively ... Played three seasons for the Nichols School in Buffalo, N.Y., from 2011-14.
Ann Arbor, Mich. | Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) | F | 6-0, 202 | DOB: 4/26/97
Scouting Report: Had very good year with Green Bay last year and plays a very heavy game, while also possessing the ability to add offense .... Spent a lot of time with the NTDP two years ago and did an excellent job providing spark and leadership ... His energy and competitiveness is contagious and will be a large component of driving our enthusiasm.
Recorded 28 points (12g, 16a) for the Green Bay Gamblers in his third full season in the USHL in 2016-17 ... Led Green Bay with 134 penalty minutes ... Split the 2015-16 season with the Fargo Force and Madison Capitols, playing 25 games with Fargo (5g, 8a) and then 11 with Madison (4g, 3a) ... Put up 35 points (15g, 20a) in 58 games for Fargo in 2014-15 in his first full USHL season ... Was a reserve member of the USNTDP in 2013-14, recording 12 points (8g, 4a) in 49 games ... Also played 20 games for Victory Honda U18 and two games for the Fargo Force in 2013-14 ... Played for Compuware from 2010-13.
West Bloomfield, Mich. | USNTDP U-18 | D | 6-2, 177 | DOB: 3/6/99
Scouting Report: Big, strong-skating defenseman who is an excellent puck mover and has good offensive instincts ... Very intelligent player and a strong defender who has the ability to contribute at both ends of the ice.
Recorded 20 points (3g, 17a) in 65 games in his first full season with the US National Team Development Program in 2016-17 ... Helped lead the USA to gold at the 2017 IIHF U18 World Championship in Slovakia with two assists and a plus-4 rating in seven games ... Joined the USNTDP during the 2015-16 season, producing a 3-5--8 scoring line in 22 games for the U-17 team ... Part of the USA's 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup team that advanced to the tournament finals, scoring a goal and adding an assist in five games ... Also represented Team USA at the 2015 World Under 17 Challenge in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, British Columbia, scoring a goal and adding three assists in six games ... Played 30 games with Victory Honda in 2015-16 before joining the USNTDP where he had six assists ... Was a member of Victory Honda in 2014-15, producing two goals and six assists in 31 games.
Clarkston, Mich. | Chicago Steel (USHL) | F | 5-9, 175 | DOB: 4/17/98
Scouting Report: Possess a high hockey I.Q. ... Has excellent vision and passing ability with a very quick shot release ... Won a youth hockey national championship playing on the same line as current Spartan Patrick Khodorenko.
Helped lead the Chicago Steel to the 2017 Clark Cup championship with 12 points (3g, 9a) in 13 playoff games ... Ranked sixth on the team with 34 points (15g, 19a) in 55 regular-season games in his second season with the Steel ... Was third on the team with five game-winning goals ... Recorded 18 points (7g, 11a) in 49 games with Chicago in 2015-16 ... Played the 2014-15 season with Honeybaked U18 where he racked up 18 points (12g, 6a) in 23 games before making a jump to the USHL where he played two games with the Des Moines Buccaneers ... Picked up 29 points (13g, 16a) in 22 games with Honeybaked U16 in 2013-14 ... Played Bantam Minor and Midget for Honeybaked, having his best season in 2012-13 when he had 44 points (16g, 28a) in 22 games.
Brighton, Mich. | Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) | F | 5-10, 185 | DOB: 10/21/97
Scouting Report: Hard working and fast skating winger who has good puck skills and a nice scoring touch around the net ... Plays a strong 200-foot game and with a lot of tenacity.
Led the Des Moines Buccaneers in points (46) and goals (19) in 2016-17 ... Also led Des Moines in power-play goals (7) and total shots (185) in what was his third season in the USHL ... Recorded 33 points, including 21 assists, which ranked fourth on the team, for Des Moines in 2015-16 ... Played for the Muskegon Lumberjacks in his first USHL season in 2014-15, putting up 15 points (7g, 8a) in 59 games ... After registering 21 points (10g, 11a) in 18 games for Honeybaked U16 in 2013-14, he moved up to Honeybaked U18 where he had seven points (3g, 4a) in eight games ... Played his Bantam hockey for Compuware and played one season of U16 with Little Caesars.