The Gophers men's hockey team on Wednesday saw two members of its 2021-22 freshman class leave the program, with forward Chaz Lucius signing a three-year, entry-level contract with the Winnipeg Jets and forward Tristan Broz entering his name into the NCAA transfer portal.
Lucius, 18, was selected 18th overall in the first round by the Jets in the 2021 NHL draft and will receive a contract with an average annual value of $1.35 million beginning in the 2022-23 season. The 6-1, 185-pounder from Grant, Minn., played in 24 games for the Gophers in 2021-22, collecting nine goals and 10 assists. He missed the final four games of the regular seasons and the Gophers' run to the NCAA Frozen Four because of a lower body injury.
"Chaz is one of the most impressive offensive players I have coached in my career. His ability to create offense at any moment on the ice is as high level as I've seen,'' Gophers coach Bob Motzko said in a statement. "He has a tremendous future ahead of him with the Winnipeg Jets organization, and we look forward to following what is sure to be a long and impressive pro career. We wish him the best as he takes the next step in his hockey career.''
The deadline for fall and winter sports athletes to enter the portal is Sunday, and Broz became the latest Gopher to enter. The 19-year-old from Bloomington had six goals and five assists in 36 games with the Gophers. The 6-foot, 179-pounder was a second-round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2021 NHL draft.
The Gophers, who won the Big Ten regular-season title and reached their first Frozen Four since 2014, have a strong group of players who have verbally committed to the program and are expected to be freshmen in 2022-23, led by Logan Cooley, a center from Pittsburgh who had 26 goals and 44 assists in 70 games for the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 squad this year. Cooley, ranked as the No. 2 North American skater by NHL Central Scouting for the 2022 draft, has two goals and three assists through three games for unbeaten Team USA in the Under-18 World Championships.