Dec. 6, 2011
East Lansing, Mich. - Michigan State hockey coach Tom Anastos has announced that three players signed National Letters of Intent in the fall signing period and will join the Spartans in the fall of 2012. Forward Ryan Keller (Farmington Hills, Mich.), Defenseman John Draeger (Faribault, Minn.) and goaltender Jake Hildebrand (Butler, PA) will join three previous signees - forward Matt DeBlouw (Chesterfield, Mich.) and defensemen Rhett Holland (Calgary, Alberta) and Travis Walsh (Lansing, Mich.) on the Spartan roster for next season.
"When we assembled our staff, one of our main priorities right away was recruiting," said Anastos, who was hired in March. "We are very serious about making Michigan State a program that competes for the top recruits, brings in quality men and high-level players, and also developing those players to play at the next level. We're very happy with the players who have committed to our program as this class brings a nice blend of size, skill and toughness to our team. We are losing a very large senior class at the end of this year, so there will be plenty of opportunity for these players to compete right away. We are excited to welcome these men into the Spartan hockey family."
Defenseman; 6-2, 186; DOB: 12/2/93; Faribault, Minn/Shattuck St. Mary's
Scouting report: Plays a high level of hockey ... Possesses great hockey intellect ... Moves the puck well and is strong both offensively and defensively ... A hard-working player with strong leadership qualities.
Team owns an 18-1-1 mark through the Thanksgiving break ... Has played in all 20 games, with a 5-12-17 scoring line and 16 PIM ... Is the team's top scoring defenseman ... In 54 games as a junior, owned a 3-8-11 scoring line with 18 PIM ... Helped SSM to a Tier I National Championship in 2011 ... Was a teammate of current Spartan freshman Tanner Sorenson on the SSM National Championship team ... Current Director of Hockey Operations Adam Nightingale was his Midget AA coach at Shattuck before Nightingale returned to MSU, his alma mater ... Was named as a `B' player to watch by NHL Central Scouting for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft..
Tom Anastos:: "John has a very strong skill set and plays with a high hockey IQ. He skates and moves the puck really well and is a very responsible defensive player. More importantly, he has incredible work habits, is highly competitive, and has excellent leadership ability."
Goaltender; 6-0, 172; DOB: Butler, PA/Cedar Rapids Rough Riders (USHL)
Scouting report: Big goalie who is quick and moves well ... Very competitive.
Playing his first season in Cedar Rapids after two years in Sioux City ... Owns a 6-2-2 record (with two overtime losses) in 11 games, with a 2.96 GAA and .904 save percentage ... In 2010-11 in Cedar Rapids, owned a 2.69 GAA and .901 save percentage in 21 games, with a 8-9-1 regular-season record ... Played in just four games in 2009-10, owning a 1-1 record, .912 save percentage, and 2.52 GAA ... Overall in the USHL, has a career .906 save percentage, and 2.68 GAA in 34 games, with a 14-12 record to his credit... Joined the Cedar Rapids team in mid-season in 2009-10 (from the Cleveland Barons U-18 team) after an injury and the subsequent trade of current MSU sophomore Will Yanakeff opened up a goaltending spot ...
Tom Anastos: : "Jake is a big, fundamentally sound goaltender who loves to compete. He pays close attention to the smallest details of his game and has the ability to win games for his team.
Forward; 6-1, 185; DOB:5/17/93; Farmington Hills, Mich./Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
Scouting report: Strong skater with very good skills ... Power forward with good size ... Hard-working.
Has appeared in 12 of 15 games for the Sioux Falls Stampede this season, with a goal and an assist ... Graduate of Detroit Catholic Central High School ... Scored a game-tying goal with 5.6 seconds remaining in regulation in the regional semifinal against Novi, but fell to Novi in overtime ... Helped CC to back-to-back state championships in 2009 and 2010 ...
Tom Anastos: : "Ryan is a strong skating power forward who competes extremely hard and will provide a physical presence to our team. His passion to play is contagious and we expect that he will develop into an excellent two-way player.
Forward; 6-0, 178; DOB 9/17/93; Chesterfield, Mich./Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)
Scouting report: Has excellent puck skills ... Talented player and elite skater.
Is in his second season with Muskegon, has posted a 3-6-9 -scoring line (-1) in the first 16 games of the season ... Two of his tallies have been power--play markers ... Appeared in just 33 games in 2010-11, due to missing most of the first half of the year with a lacerated spleen ... Had a 2-4-6 scoring line in those regular-season games, with 51 PIM ... In the playoffs, had a 3-5-8 scoring line with six PIM ... Led the Lumberjacks in playoff points, assists, and plus/minus (+6) ... Previously played for the Little Caesar's organization, and in 2009-10 registered 44 points on 23 goals and 21 assists in 48 games.
Tom Anastos: : "Matt is an effortless skater who has good puck skills and vision on the ice. He has excellent offensive potential. He also has a strong understanding of the game and plays in all situations, including power play and penalty killing."
Defenseman; 6-1, 210; DOB: 9/25/93 ; Calgary, Alberta / Okotoks Oilers (AJHL)
Scouting report: Large, physically imposing defenseman ... Competes hard ... Has benefitted not only from play with Okotoks, but with Canada West teams ...
Now in his third season with the Okotoks organization ... Through 23 games, has a 1-5-6 scoring line with 111 penalty minutes ... Won a gold medal with Team Canada-West at the World Junior A Challenge in November 2011, in Langley, BC, downing Team Canada-East... Joined the Oilers as a 16-year old in the 2009-2010 season, playing in 57 games, scoring three goals and adding eight assists ... In 2010-11, was named to Team West for the World Junior A Challenge ... Played in only 31 games with the Oilers due to injury ... Recorded a pair of goals and nine assists in limited action.
Tom Anastos: : Rhett is a tough, physical player who plays with an edge and is difficult to play against. He uses his body really well and is a relentless competitor. Rhett will help us establish a more physical presence on the blue line.
Defenseman; 5-10, 175; DOB: 6/4/93 ; Lansing, Mich. /Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)
Scouting report: A fierce competitor ... Developing into a solid all-around player who will be able to play in all situations.
Competing in his third season in the USHL, and second in Muskegon ... Through his first 13 games, has put three assists on the board ... In 2010-11, appeared in 55 games, notching a goal and 17 assists and 49 PIM ... Played 20 games in 2009-10 in Sioux City ... A fierce competitor will continue to develop into a solid all-around player and able to play in all situations ...Grandson of former MSU coach and athletic director Ron Mason and the son of the late Shawn Walsh, a former Bowling Green and MSU assistant coach under Mason who guided the University of Maine to two National Championships and a 399-215-44 record from 1984-01.
Tom Anastos: Travis is a very smart, puck-moving defenseman. His ability to see the ice and make quick, smart outlet passes, make him a hard defenseman to contain. We expect that with his vision, hands and smarts, that he will be a valuable special teams player as well.