Todd Burgess spent just one school year in Mankato, but the big, skilled forward left a lasting impact on the Minnesota State University men's hockey team.
The 6-foot-2, 179-pound winger played a top-line role on the most successful team in program history. Burgess scored five goals and added nine assists, for 14 points in 25 games to help the WCHA regular-season champion Mavericks finish 22-5-1 overall and reach the NCAA Division I Frozen Four for the first time in program history. He used his size and strength to his advantage, as well, scoring three power-play goals last season.
That successful season has helped Burgess reach his ultimate goal, to play professional hockey.
Burgess, 25, has signed a one-year contract with the Mantioba Moose of the American Hockey League. The Winnipeg-based Moose are the top minor-league affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets. Burgess, a Phoenix native who was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the fourth round (No. 103 overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft, signed with the Moose as a free agent.
Burgess came to Minnesota State last season as a grad transfer from Rensselaer, in Troy, N.Y., where he played three seasons. For his four-year college career, Burgess had 27 goals and 62 total points in 127 games played.
Joining fellow seniors Reggie Lutz and Jake Jaremko on MSU's top line, Burgess had a strong start to his senior season, recording two assists in the Mavericks' season opener on Nov. 22 in a 5-0 win at Bemidji State. He had four multi-point games, including a two-goal game against Alabama-Huntsville on Feb. 12.
“He’s just a skilled player,” Lutz said of Burgess early last season. “He’s a bigger guy who can get in on the forecheck. He’s great with the puck and makes smart plays. I was lucky enough to play with Todd in juniors, in Fairbanks, so I kind of knew coming into this year how he plays. We picked up where we left off in Fairbanks four years ago.”
MSU opens its 2021-22 regular season with back-to-back series against the teams that played in the NCAA Division I national championship game last season. The Mavericks open the season Oct. 2-3 at defending national champion University of Massachusetts. MSU then comes home for its home openers against in-state rival St. Cloud State, the team that beat MSU in the Frozen Four last spring before falling to UMass in the championship game.
The Moose finished 18-13-3-2 last season, good for second place in the AHL's Canadian Division. The 2021-22 AHL season is scheduled to begin on Oct. 15.