Transfer portal season is in full swing. With every collegiate athlete being granted an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many players have taken to the transfer portal to seek new destinations this spring, searching for more playing time, a better college fit, a change of scenery, or even the best graduate program. At last report, over 200 players had entered the portal (combining both graduate transfers and undergraduate transfers).
Northeastern picked up their first transfer yesterday when former Bentley forward Jakov Novak announced he will be transferring to play for the Huskies next season. Novak played three seasons at Bentley (Atlantic Hockey), and is a 1998 birth year from Ontario, Canada. He was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the 7th round (188th overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft, and was the first NHL Draft pick in Bentley history. He was nominated for the 2021 Hobey Baker Award.
A left-shot winger who also took over 100 faceoffs last season for the Falcons, Novak stands 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 216 pounds. He’s slated to be the second-tallest player on the team next year, just an inch shorter than Jeremie Bucheler and an inch taller than Aidan McDonough, Riley Hughes, and Sam Colangelo.
Novak had a prolific three years of scoring at Bentley, putting up 62 points in 87 games (0.71 points/game), however he really took off as a sophomore, popping for 30 points (16 goals) in 35 games, before playing at a point-per-game pace last season where he scored 17 points (7 goals) in 15 games. He also plays with an edge, averaging almost 2 penalty minutes/game over three years. Before Bentley, he played two seasons with the Janesville Jets in the North American Hockey League. In his second season, he was an assistant captain as he scored 73 points (32 goals) en route to being named league MVP and Forward of the Year.
In Novak, the Huskies are clearly getting a talented, large-bodied winger who has a scoring touch. The Huskies historically have a smaller team, last season registering in the bottom third of the country in both height and weight. Added size on the wings with the ability to score is something all teams clamor for, and the Huskies are getting someone with a proven track record at scoring at the NCAA level. He brings the pedigree of a former assistant captain as well, adding expected leadership to a squad that was the 6th-youngest in the country last season. If Novak can stay out of the box and maintain his scoring touch in Hockey East, the Huskies may have found a gem.
A draft pick of the Ottawa Senators, Novak has been followed by numerous Senators fan blogs and prospect sites. Senshot on FanSided wrote that “Novak is a shoot-first player collecting 100 shots on the season, good for nearly 3 shots/game. One of the more surprising developments from Novak was his emergence on special teams, he became a threat on both the powerplay and the penalty kill.”
As a rising senior with his COVID year in his back pocket, the Huskies could be looking at two years of play from Novak if he does not sign an entry-level contract with Ottawa after this season. At the very least, Huskies fans can be excited about their new addition on the wings, especially with the center depth the team looks to have next year feeding him the puck.
Welcome, Jakov to Husky Nation! We look forward to watching you next season!