Gopher Hockey Update: Blake McLaughlin draws ELC with Anaheim Ducks

April 11, 2022: Gophers Blake McLaughlin signs contract with Anaheim Ducks plus updates on Ben Meyers, Matthew Knies, transfer portal news and more.

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MINNEAPOLIS, MINN – On Sunday night, Blake McLaughlin became the first Gopher player this offseason to sign a contract with an NHL team. Since Gophers lost to Minnesota State in the NCAA Frozen Four semifinals on Thursday, many have been preparing for some of the players to follow their dreams and sign with NHL teams.

Since the University of Michigan lost Thursday to Denver University, which later went on to defeat Minnesota State in the NCAA Championship game, Owen Power signed an entry-level contract with the Buffalo Sabers, Kent Johnson signed an ELC with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Matty Beniers signed an ELC with the Seattle Kraken, and Nick Blankenburg signed a contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Many thought Gophers would soon follow suit with guys like Brock Faber, Ryan Johnson, Matthew Knies, Jackson LaCombe, Sammy Walker, Blake McLaughlin and of course the best free agent in college, Ben Meyers.

It was Blake McLaughlin who was the first Gopher to sign with an NHL team. He signed with the Anaheim Ducks on a two-year entry-level contract beginning in the 2022-2023 season with an Amateur Test (ATO) with the San Diego Gulls for the remainder of the 2021-2022 season.

McLaughlin scored 38 goals and 67 assists for 105 points in 142 games for Gophers. In his senior season, McLaughlin had career highs in goals with 13, assists with 20 and points with 33. The native of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, finished second on the team in scoring chances behind Matthew Knies and first on the team in penalty kick drawing and zone entries. McLaughlin also ranked first among Gopher strikers in expected goals per game. shots, won puck fights and taken penalties.

Other news:

As reported by Michael Russo in his article ‘top college free agent Ben Meyers open for business’ from Athletic, Meyers was officially expected to interview the NHL teams on Sunday and Monday. According to Russo and The Athletic, the Minnesota Wild is going hard on trying to pick him up.

Meyers finished with 17 goals and 24 assists for 41 points in 34 games for Gophers. In his career, Meyers scored 39 goals and 56 assists for 95 points in 102 games with Gophers. Meyers was also second to the Hobey Baker Award, given to Minnesota State goalkeeper Dryden McKay.

Matthew Knies
Matthew Knies celebrates a goal after scoring against Ohio State on December 13, 2021 Photo by Bjorn Franke

When the season ended, many thought Matthew Knies would leave after his freshman season to help the Toronto Maple Leafs in the playoffs. Many sources have said that Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas wants Knies to sign. But Knies, on the other hand, seems inclined to return to the University of Minnesota for his Sophomore season.

The selection in the second round of the Leafs in the 2021 draft ended his freshman season with 15 goals and 18 assists for 33 points in 33 games. Knies also appeared at the 2022 Olympics as a member of the U.S. men’s hockey team. The Arizona native caught everyone’s attention as he scored five goals in five playoff games for the Gophers this year.

Knees will meet with Kyle Dubas Tuesday or Wednesday to fix things.

As for Brock Faber, John Hoven reported that Faber met with Los Angeles Kings General Manager Rob Blake about what’s next for Faber and the Kings. The native of Maple Grove, Minnesota, has just finished his second season, winning Big Ten Defenseman of the Year. Faber scored two goals and 12 assists for 14 points in 32 games with Gophers and also competed in the 2022 Olympics with Knies and Meyers for the USA team.

According to a source near me, Faber also participated in the Kings VS Minnesota Wild match yesterday, April 10, to take a look at his future team.

UPDATE: at 17.00 – Brock Faber returns for his junior season.

Since Buffalo Sabers prospect Owen Power signed with the Sabers after his season at Michigan University, some thought Ryan Johnson would follow suit. John Vogl from Atheltic has reported Sabers general manager Kevyn Adams met with Gopher’s defender Ryan Johnson after the loss to Minnesota State. Johnson ended his junior season with the Gophers, scoring three goals and 16 assists for 19 points in 39 games.

It’s going to be an interesting week for Gopher’s men’s hockey team. Stay up to date with all the Gopher hockey news here at

Download Portal Update:

Senior defender Ben Brinkman, junior striker Jonny Sorenson and senior striker Grant Cruikshank all join the NCAA D1 hockey transfer portal.

Brinkman had one goal and seven assists in 37 games for Gophers. He was also number three on the team in hits and fourth in penalty minutes. The Dallas Stars’ prospect has two goals and 21 assists for 23 points in 141 games for the Gophers.

Cruikshank spent three seasons with Colorado College before moving to Minnesota. In 34 games for Gophers, Cruikshank scored seven goals and eight assists for 15 points. Cruikshank ranked 11th on the team in scoring chances and has 60 points in 123 games in the NCAA.

Sorenson spent a lot of time this year as the team’s extra forward. With an average of just eight minutes and 47 seconds a night, Jonny scored four goals in 36 games. Sorenson adds great momentum to the lineup and is looking for a chance to be a D1 regular in a lineup.

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