Michigan State hockey gains two transfers, loses five players to portal

Reed Lebster, shown carrying the puck in a game against Minnesota, announced on Twitter this week that he's transferring to Michigan State.
Reed Lebster, shown carrying the puck in a game against Minnesota, announced on Twitter this week that he's transferring to Michigan State.

It has been a busy week for Michigan State hockey's coaching staff as it looks to build off the momentum from a solid first season.

With the NCAA tournament starting, teams who missed out on the postseason are beginning to get active in the transfer portal. So far, two players have announced plans to transfer to MSU, while five Spartans from this past season have entered the portal with plans to leave.

The two incoming Spartans both have previous ties to the coaching staff.

UMass forward Reed Lebster, a Grand Rapids native, announced his plans on Tuesday to transfer to MSU next season. Lebster, who played four years at UMass and had eight goals and 14 assists as a top-six forward this past season, played for MSU assistant Jared DeMichiel, who was an assistant with the River Hawks before joining the Spartans. Lebster will have one year of eligibility remaining.

MSU then landed another prominent transfer the following day when Miami (Ohio) forward Red Savage announced his plans to become a Spartan. Savage, a fourth-round draft pick by the Detroit Red Wings, played two seasons for Miami and had seven goals and seven assists for the Redhawks this season.

Savage was previously coached by MSU head coach Adam Nightingale at the U.S. National Team Development program and had three goals and three assists in seven games for the U.S. at the World Junior tournament.

Savage and Lebster will both be expected to compete for top-six forward spots and add more offense to an MSU team that reached the 100-goal plateau for the first time since the 2011-2012 season.

While two are on the way in, so far five players from MSU's roster this season have entered the transfer portal. Forwards Jesse Tucker, Zach Dubinsky, Ryan Nolan and Kyle Haskins, as well as defenseman Powell Connor, all entered their names. Two of those players have found their next school, with Tucker planning to transfer to Clarkson and have two years of eligibility remaining, while Dubinsky is transferring to Vermont for a graduate season.

Nolan and Haskins each appeared in just three games this past season, while Connor played in the first six non-conference games for the Spartans.

MSU players turning pro

MSU forward Nico Muller is the lone senior exercising his extra year of eligibility and returning to the Spartans next season. Outside of goaltender Dylan St. Cyr and forward Justin Jallen, the rest of MSU's seniors from this past season have found new professional homes in either the American Hockey League or East Coast Hockey League.

Defenseman Michael Underwood was the first to find a pro team, signing an amateur tryout (ATO) with the Colorado Avalanche's AHL affiliate Colorado Eagles.

Defenseman Cole Krygier signed an ATO with the AHL's Ontario Reign after his draft rights were traded to the Los Angeles Kings from the Florida Panthers earlier this week. His brother, Christian, signed his ATO with the Bridgeport Islanders, the AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, who drafted Krygier five years ago.

Forward Jagger Joshua signed a two-year AHL contact with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins — the AHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Forward Erik Middendorf found a home in the ECHL with the Adirondack Thunder on Tuesday, while former captain Miroslav Mucha signed with the ECHL's Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Thursday.

Middendorf played his first game with the Thunder on Wednesday, scoring a goal in his debut.

Contact Nathaniel Bott at nbott@lsj.com and follow him on Twitter @Nathaniel_Bott

This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: Michigan State hockey gains two transfers, sees five players hit portal