New to Northeastern- The Defensemen

Be sure to read the first part of our New to Northeastern series HERE, where we went over the new forwards for the 2021-22 season.

Northeastern returns nearly all defensemen who ate up major minutes last season, with the only spot vacated in the top six coming when sophomore Mike Kesselring turned pro with the Edmonton Oilers. The Huskies also lost assistant captain Collin Murphy and 4-year contributor Billy Carrabino. Taking their places will be a former captain in the Big Ten, and a familiar last name starting his own path on Huntington Avenue.

Tommy Miller (#12)- The second transfer coming to the Huskies this offseason, Miller is using his extra year of eligibility as a graduate transfer from Michigan State. A right-handed defenseman, he was Michigan State’s captain in 2020-21, won the Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award at MSU, and led the Big Ten in blocked shots last year. In fact, he’s second all-time at MSU in blocked shots. Miller won’t stuff the scoresheet, with a career line of 5-12-17 in 135 games as a Spartan, but his leadership abilities, defensive acumen and prowess in the defensive zone will be hugely beneficial to the Huskies’ blue line.

I would expect Miller to slide into the top four vacancy left by Mike Kesselring’s departure, and I believe that having Miller on the back end holding down the fort, that will allow whoever he is paired with to activate their offensive game more consistently and aggressively. We have seen what both Jordan Harris and Jayden Struble are capable of offensively, and having Miller beside them as a rock-solid, defensively-responsible partner will enable either player to thrive this upcoming season.

Keefe on Miller: “Led (Michigan State) in minutes (played) last year. Really gives us a veteran defenseman in our top pairing/top four. He can kill penalties, he can match up against other teams’ top lines. He’s played in all key situations in the past 4 years. Love his leadership, going to be a huge addition to our backend.

Cam Gaudette (#23)- A last name familiar to Huskies fans, Gaudette is the youngest of three brothers and will be the third to play college hockey (middle brother Brady is at Maine). Gaudette comes from the Maryland Black Bears in the North American Hockey League, where he tallied 3 goals and 12 assists in 54 games and was Defenseman of the Month in April. He’s shown offensive ability in his time playing in the NAHL, putting up 46 points (11 goals) in 106 games with the Northeast General the two seasons prior. Gaudette brings some size (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) to the left side of the defense. We expect that he will compete for the third pairing role on the left side this year.

Keefe on Gaudette: “Cam played big minutes for Maryland this year. He’s an athletic defenseman, a hard kid to play against. Brings a big shot from the back end. Very good in his own end, high upside, confidence to his game.”

The last part of our series will be looking at the two goaltenders joining the Huskies this year, in addition to a healthy Devon Levi coming back as a sophomore to give the Huskies three brand-new faces between the pipes. Keep an eye out for that in the coming days.

As always, Go Huskies!