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2022 transfer portal analysis: Which teams, players benefited the most and statistics breaking it down

Find out what schools utilized the transfer portal the most, and the least, in 2022, along with a full statistical analysis of all things portal-related.

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Colorado College goaltender Dominic Basse makes a save in a game against Miami on Dec. 15, 2020, in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Pod.
Photo by Mark Kuhlmann / NCHC

The NCAA college hockey transfer portal was one of the biggest topics in the sport from April until September.

Because players are now able to transfer without (usually) having to sit out a year, a wave of Division I players tried their luck and threw their names into the portal. Numbers were more so inflated in 2022 due to the fifth-year of eligibility granted to players who competed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reporters Brad Elliott Schlossman and Sydney Wolf kept tabs on the transfer portal for The Rink Live the entire offseason. The portal is not visible to the general public, making it a mysterious topic of interest to most college hockey fans, but once information was leaked out, The Rink Live compiled it onto its transfer board .

This article analyzes the entire 2022 transfer portal — from the most accurate information The Rink Live compiled — to find out what trends we can take out of the college hockey phenomenon.

Why do players enter the portal?

Well, that can be for many different reasons. Coaching changes can affect the number of players from a certain school entering into the portal. Another common reason is due to the fact that many programs may not have a spot for fifth-year seniors on their roster, or the ability to accommodate graduate students. Players may also just want a change of scenery in some circumstances.

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Is the transfer portal a good thing? Or is it ruining college hockey?

That depends on who you ask, but generally it can be both positive and negative. As seen in the 2022-23 season, programs that addressed desperate needs by recruiting through the transfer portal have generally done well, and there seems to be less of a gap between the top and the bottom programs in college hockey. This might be a reason as to why this season has been so hectic and chaotic with multiple upsets happening every weekend.

That being said, did some programs lose a lot of players to the portal? Absolutely. One of the biggest negatives to the transfer portal situation (and granting players an extra fifth year of eligibility due to COVID-19) was that many incoming players no longer had a spot on the team they were committed to, which caused a huge backlog of players in junior hockey and a large group of players who were forced to decommit. Some programs seem to favor picking up more transfers, which generally means bringing in less freshman — thus typically leading to more decommits and players stuck in a hard situation. But who can blame these programs? Some teams prefer a well-seasoned 24-year-old recruited through the portal compared to bringing in a 19-year-old freshman.

What trends can be seen in the 2022 transfer portal?

That is a huge question, but Sydney Wolf crunched the numbers and found out some of the underlying trends found in the portal.

Will there end up being a large number of players in the transfer portal again in 2023 and in the future in general?

Likely yes. Until the fifth-year of eligibility for the players who competed during the COVID-19 pandemic is exhausted, you can expect there to be an inflated numbers of names in the portal. Because the NCAA allows a one-time transfer without having to sit out a year, you can generally expect to see an inflated number of players in the portal from now on compared to in years prior.

MORE TRANSFER PORTAL COVERAGE:
The ability to add college-ready players has eliminated the usual gaps between teams.
This page tracks the movement of Division-I men's players in the NCAA transfer portal.

Who were the winners of the 2022 transfer portal?

St. Cloud State picked up three transfers in the offseason; Grant Cruikshank (Minnesota / Colorado College), Dylan Anhorn (Union), and Dominic Basse (Colorado College). Most people probably wouldn't have forseen how impactful those three transfers would be for the Huskies. Cruikshank is one of the top point-scorers for SCSU and is tied for the lead in goals on the team, Anhorn is the top point-scoring defenseman and leads all players in assists, while Basse has a .930 save percentage through nine starts in net.

Arizona State picked up loads of talent in the portal. They gained Bemidji State's leading scorer Lukas Sillinger , three players from Northeastern, and Detroit Red Wings draft pick Robert Matrosimone . Matrosimone lead the Sun Devils in goals, assists and total points while Sillinger is close behind. The Jackson brothers ( Dylan and Ty ) have a combined 13 points and TJ Semptimphelter is the starting goaltender with a .918 save percentage.

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Long Island has had a couple of big wins this year, which has been in part because of recruiting now leading scorers Anthony Vincent (Holy Cross) and Adam Goodsir (Michigan State).

Merrimack has had a hugely successful season so far in 2022-23. They picked up Otto Leppanen (RPI) in the portal, who is tied for second in total points on the team, alongside Will Calverly (RIT), Ryan Leibold (Holy Cross), and Tristan Crozier (Brown), who have all improved the team's offense. Experienced defender Slava Demin (Denver / UMass) has bolstered the blue line for the squad as well.

Northern Michigan had success in the portal, along with Bemidji State, Penn State, Michigan State, and Western Michigan, and many others.

Which teams weren't very successful with the 2022 transfer portal?

Ferris State, Alaska Fairbanks, Holy Cross, Lake Superior State, Maine, Mercyhurst, and RPI, all lost a significant amount — but you can't really say there are any losers of the transfer portal due to the chaotic season that college hockey has already had in 2022-23. Teams that generally weren't very successful are now competing with bigger and better schools and a lot of that is due to the transfer portal.

How many players that were in the portal were decent prospects?

Only 35% of players in the portal scored more than 10 points last season or were their teams starting goaltender. A majority of players in the portal did not play last season for their teams, had a very limited role, or simply lacked in production, which is a big reason as to why they are looking to go elsewhere.

What percentage of players in the portal are currently on track to do better than they did at their previous school?

About 60%. We calculated this by looking at player's current statistics. If a player is scoring at an equal or better pace than their previous seasons, we counted that as doing better. If a skater didn't play much at their previous school, we considered them to be doing better if they are now a regular in their new teams' lineup.

Where can we find out information about the 2023 transfer portal when it starts to begin again in the spring?

Right here on The Rink Live! We plan to compile an even bigger and better transfer board for everyone to view and sort through all of the latest information. You can expect portal news to start back up again around March 2023.

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Sydney Wolf is a reporter for The Rink Live, primarily covering youth hockey. She joined the team in November of 2021 and graduated from St. Cloud State University with a B.S. in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing and Rhetoric Studies and was a part of the University Honors Program.
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