The final installment of our annual look at the newcomers to the program, we look at the six forwards that Northeastern brings into the fold for the 2023-24 season. Comprised of four freshmen and two transfers, including an NHL Draft pick and two elite players at the junior level, we expect many of these players to contribute immediately.
Dylan Hryckowian, #13– Hryckowian follows in his brother’s footsteps as he arrives from Cedar Rapids in the USHL, where he scored 65 points in 61 games in his lone season in Iowa. A 5-foot-10 right shot right winger, Hryckowian was second on his team and tied for tenth in the whole USHL in scoring. Hryckowian has a combination of speed, hands, and finishing skill that Huskies fans will come to love for years. We expect him to get a good look in the middle six to start his career, possibly as high as the second line behind incumbent wingers Cam Lund and Gunnarwolfe Fontaine, as well as time on the powerplay.
Coach Keefe on Hryckowian: “Dylan has high-end speed with great vision. He’s a dynamic player that we are expecting big things from. He has the skating, the skill, and the smarts to be a difference maker for our program.”
Eli Sebastian, #23– Sharing the same birth date as Dylan Hryckowian to be the two youngest players on the roster this season, Eli Sebastian comes in from Green Bay in the USHL which is rapidly becoming a college hockey production factory. The Ontario native is a left shot, 6-foot center who scored 48 points in 62 games in his lone USHL season after coming down from St. Andrews College, an elite prep school in Canada. Second on his team in scoring, Sebastian’s NHL Draft comparison was William Karlsson of the Vegas Golden Knights, lauded for his excellent three zone game, speed to burn, and tenacity on the ice. He played on Green Bay’s powerplay and penalty kill and we expect him to do the same at Northeastern coupled with a role in either the second or third center spot.
Coach Keefe on Sebastian: “We are expecting Eli to develop into one of the top two-way centers in college hockey. He plays a real honest, mature game that can produce offensively. He’s an powerful skater with an elite mind for the game and brings physicality.”
Andy Moore, #18– Captain of Cedar Rapids last year and teammates with Hryckowian, Moore is a big-bodied right shot centerman who can also play right wing, giving the coaches some lineup flexibility. He put up 21 points in 46 games last year, his second in the USHL, and will likely be counted on to bring some stability to the fourth line when he gets his chances this season.
Coach Keefe on Moore: “Andy is a leader and has a high compete level. He’s physical and hard to play against. He’s strong on the puck and scores in the hard areas.”
Billy Norcross, #19– Lynn native and Cushing Academy product Billy Norcross rounds out the freshman class of four forwards, and comes to Northeastern fresh off winning a BCHL title with the Penticton Vees. Norcross predominately played right wing, and scored 25 points in 46 games. A high compete level player with a 200 foot game, he thrives on the walls and in the dirty areas of the ice, and similar to Moore could be seen as an important depth and role player from the start of his career.
Coach Keefe on Norcross: “He’s got a great motor, shoots the puck really well, and will be one of our faster players. Billy can play a physical game and be a great fit on the forecheck. We are looking for him to be a strong power forward for our team.”
Alex Campbell, #27– Arguably the biggest transfer to happen in college hockey this season, Campbell comes to Northeastern from Clarkson University where he was one of the top goal scorers of the last two years, totaling 30 goals with the Golden Knights. A third round draft pick of Nashville in the 2019 NHL Draft, Campbell is a 5-foot-10 left shot winger who also can play center, and will be counted on as a premiere offensive threat this season and is sure to be locked into top six and powerplay minutes from the time he starts at Northeastern.
Coach Keefe on Campbell: “Alex will be counter on to be an offensive leader for our team. He’s a natural goal scorer and point producer with experience at our level. A dynamic player with a goal scorer’s shot and knows where to find good ice. He’s an elite player in college hockey.”
Brett Edwards, #20– The final member of our preview has inarguably reached the highest heights in college hockey, as Edwards comes to Northeastern after 4 years at Denver during which he won a national championship in 2022. Edwards, a longtime fan favorite at Denver, is the oldest player on the roster this season at 25 years old. Described as someone with an insane compete level who hates to lose, Edwards will be a critical piece of a Huskies’ bottom six that looks to be reshaped into a forechecking machine.
Coach Keefe on Edwards: “A heavy forward that plays in the hard areas of the rink. Brett’s physical on the forecheck and a guy we can trust. He’s a power forward with great details. He brings leadership and national championship experience.”
A common theme in all of these players, both transfers as well as freshmen, is that Northeastern was seeking to bring in players with sky-high compete levels who have high hockey IQs and who are tough to play against. An argument could be made that the team was not hardy enough in the last couple years, with the word “fragile” being used previously, and this whole incoming class looks to be a huge swing by the coaching staff to correct that and set a new standard of what playing for Northeastern both means and looks like on the ice. We expect this team to be one comprised of four lines and three pairings of players who truly compete for sixty minutes every night, every shift, and these six forwards will be huge pieces to ensuring that happens.
Hockey is just a couple weeks away. Northeastern opens October 7th against Stonehill. We’ll have one more season preview piece before puck drop, and then, after long last, the 2023-24 season will be upon us.
As always, go Huskies!