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UMD hockey: Bulldogs men and women will be well represented this week at NHL development camps

Minnesota Duluth assistant women's coach Laura Schuler will be a guest coach at the Washington Capitals camp this week, while at least 15 current, future and former Bulldogs men's players are taking part in development camps across the NHL.

hockey player and coach laugh
Minnesota Duluth assistant coach Laura Schuler, right, shares a laugh with senior forward Gabbie Hughes, left, inside Malosky Stadium on the campus of UMD after the 2022 Patty Kazmaier Award announcement on Saturday, March 26, 2022. Schuler will be a guest coach this week at the Washington Capitals development camp.
Dan Williamson / File / Duluth News Tribune

NHL franchises are holding their summer development camps this week for draft picks and other potential future prospects, though it’s not just players from the Minnesota Duluth men’s program who are taking part.

UMD assistant women’s coach Laura Schuler will be a guest coach this week at the Washington Capitals development camp in Arlington, Virginia. Much of the camp will be conducted at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex, where the Bulldogs took part in the D1 in DC tournament last November.

Schuler is a member of the NHL Coaches’ Association Female Coaches Development Program. She’ll work with the Capitals’ NHL and American Hockey League coaching staffs this week. She’ll also join and assist the staffs of the Capitals and AHL Hersey Bears periodically during the 2022-23 season.

"We are excited to provide Laura an opportunity to gain experience from our NHL and AHL coaching staffs and help her take the next step in her career," said Capitals senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan. "We feel her playing experience and coaching abilities will greatly benefit our young players in the organization."

Schuler — who coached Canada to a silver medal at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea — is entering the second season of her second stint with the Bulldogs. She was an assistant coach under Shannon Miller for seven seasons from 2008-2015, helping UMD win an NCAA title in 2010. The Bulldogs returned to the NCAA championship game in 2021-22, Schuler’s first season back with the program, now led by Maura Crowell.


Current, future and former Bulldogs attending development camps

Minnesota Duluth goaltender Zach Stejskal (35) during a practice day on April 7, 2021, at the NCAA Frozen Four at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Contributed / File / Justin K. Aller / NCAA Photos via Getty Images

As of Monday afternoon, the UMD men’s program has 12 current players, one recruit and two former players attending NHL development camps this week.

Three of attendees out of UMD received invites to camps after going undrafted, most notably UMD junior goaltender Zach Stejskal. The 22-year-old, Cohasset native played in just nine games a year ago for the Bulldogs, having missed much of the season due to a battle with testicular cancer. Still, he received an invite to the Buffalo Sabres’ camp this week.

The other two undrafted invitees include a pair of incoming UMD freshmen who just wrapped up careers in the United States Hockey League. Defenseman Aiden Dubinsky of the Tri-City Storm will attend the Calgary Flames camp, while forward Ben Steeves of the Sioux City Musketeers is heading to the Florida Panthers camp.

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Former Bulldogs goaltender Ryan Fanti is at the Edmonton Oilers camp after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent this spring following his junior year. Former Bulldogs defenseman Connor Kelley, who has transferred to Providence for his junior season, is at the Chicago Blackhawks camp along with fellow draft picks and former teammates Dominic James and Wyatt Kaiser.

Not every team has released its development camp roster this week.

Not all draft picks attend camps, as is the case with Bulldogs senior goaltender Matthew Thiessen, a transfer from Maine and 2018 seventh round pick of the Vancouver Canucks.

List of Bulldogs attending 2022 NHL development camps

Isaac Howard, Tampa Bay Lightning (2022, 1st round)
Cole Spicer, Boston Bruins (2022, 4th)
Quinn Olson, Boston Bruins (2019, 3rd)
Dominic James, Chicago Blackhawks (2022, 6th)
Wyatt Kaiser, Chicago Blackhawks (2020, 3rd)
Blake Biondi, Montreal Canadiens (2022, 4th)
Jack Smith, Montreal Canadiens (2020, 4th)
Will Francis, Anaheim Ducks (2019, 6th)
Luke Loheit, Ottawa Senators (2018, 7th)
Ben Steeves, Florida Panthers (undrafted)
Aiden Dubinsky, Calgary Flames (undrafted)
Zach Stejskal, Buffalo Sabres (undrafted)

Ryan Fanti, Edmonton Oilers (free agent signee)
Connor Kelley, Chicago Blackhawks (2021, 7th)


Zam Plante, Pittsburgh Penguins (2022, 5th)

A database of Minnesota Duluth men's hockey recruits for the 2022-23 season and beyond

Other non-Bulldogs with local ties

Wyatt Aamodt, Hermantown, Colorado Avalanche (free agent signee)
Ryan Sandelin, Hermantown, Dallas Stars (undrafted)
Ryder Donovan, Duluth East, Vegas Golden Knights (2019, 4th)

This story was updated at 7:15 p.m. on Monday, July 11, 2022, after the announcement of the Anaheim Ducks development camp roster. It was originally published at 3:20 p.m. on July 11, 2022.

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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