Compared with the class of 11 freshmen who joined the Gophers in 2019-20, this season’s incoming group is small, with only four newcomers. Still, coach Bob Motzko believes the class will make an impact. Here are the new Gophers:
Height, weight: 6-1, 195 pounds
Hometown: Maple Grove
The skinny: Faber, a second-round pick (No. 45 overall) in the 2020 NHL draft by the Los Angeles Kings, spent the past two seasons with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in Plymouth, Mich. He had three goals and nine assists in 46 games with the U.S. Under-18 team in 2019-20 and three goals and 12 assists for the U.S. Under-17 team the season before.
Coach Motzko’s comments: “He’s an elite defenseman. … He’s all that’s been billed in our short time. He’s got great feet for defending. It’s about him developing an offensive side to his game. He’s going to be an impact player for us immediately.’’
Height, weight: 6-3, 215
Hometown: St. Paul
The skinny: A St. Paul Johnson product, Fish spent the past two seasons with the Bismarck Bobcats of the North American Hockey League. He had six goals and 37 assists in 94 games with the Bobcats. He was a two-year captain for Johnson, collecting 19 goals and 40 assists in 101 games.
Coach’s comments: “He’s 6-2, 6-3, and he’s truly nasty. It may be a little bit [of time] for him to break into our lineup, but he’s going to be a great Gopher. … He takes command of the weight room when he’s in there. He’s just an athlete, and he’s going to turn some heads in time.’’
Height, weight: 5-9, 170
The skinny: A fifth-round draft pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2019, Koster spent parts of three seasons with the Tri-City Storm of the USHL, finishing with three goals and 15 assists in 37 games in 2019-20. He was the Reed Larson Award winner as top senior defenseman in Minnesota in 2019. Koster also is Chaska’s career leading scorer (189 points on 69 goals and 120 assists).
Coach’s comments: “What a great developmental year it was because he’s really surprised us. He’s going to be a heck of a college defenseman, an elite offensive defenseman at this level.’’
Height, weight: 5-9, 180
The skinny: Spent the 2019-20 season with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL, collecting 19 goals and 21 assists in 40 games. Played the previous three seasons for Edina, amassing 146 points (55 goals, 91 assists) in 89 games and leading the Hornets to the 2019 Class 2A championship.
Coach’s comment: “He’s just a hockey player. I love having guys like that around. He’s going to score a lot of points in his Gophers career. Like a lot of freshmen, his body’s got to catch up a bit.’’