While the Michigan State men’s hockey team grows “organically” in order to improve for what will likely be a defining year, they will not have to do it alone. In addition to their two previous National Letter of Intent signees (defenseman Josh Jacobs and goaltender Edwin Minny) MSU head coach Tom Anastos recently announced the official addition of defenseman Carson Gatt (brother of current Spartan senior Nickolas Gatt) and forward Dylan Pavelek.
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Carson recently finished his year with the USHL Muskegon Lumberjacks with five goals and eight assists (two goals coming on the power play). He is a strong, fast and talented defenseman who can move the puck up ice and be a go-to guy on the powerplay. Overall, Gatt is very much what the Spartans need in terms of their defensive corps if they want to have success this season. The fact that Gatt, along with Jacobs, will be playing with experienced defenseman at the outset will certainly help their development.
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Dylan is so far the only forward to sign a NLI for MSU next season. However, Pavelek is certainly a catch. He recorded eleven goals and six assists with the US National Team Development Program this year, and has considerable international tournament experience (the USNTDP won the tournament this year for the sixth consecutive time last season). Pavelek is described as a strong, fast skater who can play well at both ends of the ice. Couple that with his experience with the USNTDP, and you have a very valuable asset for Anastos and his team.
In what was perhaps a preview of things to come, Pavelek scored a goal against the Michigan Wolverines last December when the USNTDP beat the Wolverines for the second year in a row. Let us hope scoring against the hockey team from Ann Arbor becomes a habit with him.
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Still on the Lookout
Only one major commit remains undecided, forward Marcel Godbout of the Des Moines Buccaneers. Godbout had a big year with fourteen goals (eight on the power play) and eleven assists. This would be a huge get by Anastos if he can reel him in late, but he will have to outmaneuver the Kingston Frontenacs who own Godbout’s OHL rights. The final decision may come down to which team picks up Godbout in the NHL draft this June. The final deadline for turning in an NLI is August 1.
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Even without Godbout, the Spartans still have a stellar class coming in next year. Anastos has recruited top players with skills that the Spartans desperately need. Add in bringing a stellar goaltender to back up an already outstanding goaltender in soon-to-be junior Jake Hildebrand, and you have the makings of an exceptional class. Make no mistake though, these new recruits will not solve the Spartans’ offensive woes overnight, but they will provide a strong auxiliary for an “organically” grown and experienced hockey team.
Jason Ruff is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo: Jonathan Yales/Impact Sports