Alumni Update: Midseason Check-in

In a slow week at THG and for the Huskies as we all emerge from the holidays prepare for the GLI, it's a good time to give a quick update on how MTU alumni performed in the first half of their seasons.

AHL

Blake Pietila, as we discussed in our previous alumni update, was called up by the New Jersey Devils in late November. He was up for two games before being sent back down to their AHL affiliate in Albany, but Pietila did not see much ice time and didn't find the scoresheet in either game. In Albany, he has mostly kept up with his potent early season pace, standing third on the team with 18 points through 25 games. Last Wednesday, Pietila tallied a pair of goals including the overtime winner in a victory over Utica.

Chris Conner, who celebrates his 33rd birthday on Dec. 23, has impressed so far with the Flyers’ AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. His 22 points in 28 games has him in the top five for points on the Phantoms. He has had a strong December, putting together a five-game point streak through Dec. 17. 

Three other former Huskies have been seeing consistent ice time at the AHL level in Jujhar Khaira, Tanner Kero and Pheonix Copley. Kero especially has been a factor offensively for the Rockford IceHogs (Blackhawks), picking up 18 points in 27 games, including a goal in Wednesday’s victory against Copley and the Chicago Wolves (Blues). 

Kero has been doing so well over the last couple of weeks that with Artem Anisimov going on injured reserve, Kero has been recalled to the Chicago Blackhawks and looks poised to stay there despite Anisimov's return as Marian Hossa remains out for at least a few more games:

Pheonix Copley has played well this year in Chicago (even while laying an egg on Wednesday in the aforementioned tilt against the Rockford IceHogs), which should keep him in line to be the first goaltender called up in case of injury with either of the St. Louis Blues’ current netminders. Copley is in the top 17 in the AHL in both goals against average and save percentage, suggesting he is more than capable of playing at this level.

ECHL

A number of MTU alumni are playing in the ECHL, with Alex Petan leading the way for former Huskie skaters. Petan has 10 goals and 20 points for the Quad City Mallards (Wild) this season, including a goal in Wednesday’s loss and two goals last in last Sunday's victory. As Tim Braun noted in this space last month, we could see Petan move to the AHL soon, and this sustained success only gives further weight to that rumor.

Jamie Phillips is the other Husky who has had success in the ECHL this season. In his first year of professional hockey, Phillips has put up elite numbers for the Tulsa Oilers (Jets). He is seventh in the league in both goals against average and save percentage, and is leading the league in save percentage for rookie netminders. He also leads the entire league in minutes and wins, showing how much faith his team has in him as their workhorse. Considering his youth and early success, it would not be surprising to see Phillips move up to the AHL as early as this season. Keep an eye out—Phillips very well could be the next Husky to make the NHL.

Elsewhere, Eric Kattelus has 13 points on the year for the Kalamazoo Wings (Lightning), where he plays with fellow Tech grad Blake Hietala. C.J. Eick has appeared in nearly 30 games for the Utah Grizzlies (Ducks), but has yet to find much success this season with only five points.

Europe

Half a dozen former Huskies have ventured overseas to play professionally in Europe, including recent graduate Malcolm Gould. Two players in particular have had strong a strong fall: Brett Olson and Bryce Reddick. Olson is in his first season in Europe, playing in Germany for EC Salzburg where he is averaging over a point a night. He has had success right from the onset of the season and has kept up a strong pace. It remains to be seen whether the 29-year old will attempt to return to the states next season after spending the last four years with various clubs in the AHL. Reddick is with Aalborg in Denmark, where his 16 assists have paced him to 19 points and has brought him quite a bit of playing time.

We at THG would also like to note that John Scott’s book, A Guy Like Me: Fighting to Make the Cut, was released this morning. If you’re looking for a last-minute Christmas present for your favorite Tech hockey fan or are just looking for a book to read during winter break, we highly recommend it. You can buy it by clicking this link or by clicking the link in the sidebar.

Alumni 2016-17 Skater Statistics

Name Team (League) Games Goals Assists Points
Blake Pietila Albany (AHL) 25 10 8 18
Chris Conner Lehigh Valley (AHL) 28 7 15 22
Jujhar Khaira Bakersfield (AHL) 17 6 6 12
Tanner Kero Rockford (AHL) 27 6 12 18
Alex Petan Quad City (ECHL) 26 10 10 20
C.J. Eick Utah (ECHL) 27 4 1 5
Eric Kattelus Kalamazoo (ECHL) 28 5 8 13
Blake Hietala Kalamazoo (ECHL) 10 1 1 2
Carl Nielsen Peoria (SPHL) 2 0 1 1
Geoff Kinrade Nizhnekamsk (KHL) 18 5 8 13
Clay Wilson Severstal (KHL) 32 1 4 5
Brett Olson Salzburg (Germany) 32 9 26 35
Steven Siego Lukko (Finland) 30 3 5 8
Malcolm Gould Strasbourg (France) 9 3 2 5
Bryce Reddick Aalborg (Denmark) 25 3 16 19

Alumni 2016-17 Goaltender Statistics

Name Team (League) W-L-OT GAA SV% SO
Phoenix Copley Chicago (AHL) 5-4-2 2.32 0.915 1
Josh Robinson Missouri (ECHL) 5-5-0 3.04 0.902 0
Jamie Phillips Tulsa (ECHL) 16-6-0 2.41 0.921 1

Cover photo of Tanner Kero playing for the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 23, 2016 courtesy of Henry Brewer.