Isaac Howard leaving Bulldogs after single season, enters transfer portal
The 2022 first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning scored six goals as a freshman at UMD.
DULUTH — Isaac Howard, the 2022 first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is one and done with Minnesota Duluth, but not college.
Howard has entered the NCAA’s transfer portal after just a single season with the Bulldogs, Forum Communications confirmed via a source with access to the NCAA’s transfer portal. Howard posted six goals and 11 assists in 35 games as a freshman at UMD to finish seventh on the team in scoring.
The 31st overall pick of the 2022 NHL Draft from Husdon, Wisconsin, Howard came to the Bulldogs from the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. He put up 50 goals and 130 points a year ago for the Under-18 squad, but that offensive success didn’t carry over to his first college season.
Howard, who turns 19 later this month, went 18 games without a goal during the first half of the season after scoring against Arizona State in the opener on Oct. 1 at Amsoil Arena. Five of his six goals and six of his 11 assists came in the second half as he was paired with freshman teammates Cole Spicer, Jack Smith and Luke Johnson.
While listed fourth on the line chart, UMD’s freshman line was recognized by opponents as its top line, with St. Cloud State pitting its top line against Howard, Smith and Spicer in the three-game NCHC quarterfinal series the Huskies won in St. Cloud to end UMD’s 2022-23 season.
Howard averaged 14:25 of ice time this season, putting him ninth among Bulldogs forwards. He was one of two freshmen the Bulldogs used on the power play throughout the entire season along with leading scorer Ben Steeves, a 20-year-old rookie whose 21 goals put him among the top 15 goalscorers in the nation this season.
Howard finished with a minus-13 rating — lowest among UMD forwards, with Steeves being second-lowest — during his rookie year while racking up seven penalties for 25 minutes. He took a cross checking major penalty and game misconduct on Oct. 22 against Wisconsin that got him suspended by the NCHC for two games against Cornell.
Howard is the second early departure for UMD this season, with the first being junior defenseman Wyatt Kaiser, who signed an NHL contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.