Men's hockey 2021-22 recruiting class

Pictured are the six new players that are joining the Oswego State men’s hockey team for the 2021-22 season. From left to right are Jared Nash, Quinn Warmuth, Garrett Clegg, Ben Addison, Ryan Dickinson and Troy Robillard. Nash, Warmuth, Clegg, Dickinson and Robillard are all transfers from Division I programs, while Addison is the lone true freshman of the class.

OSWEGO — The Oswego State men’s hockey team essentially has 21 new players this season after the 2020-21 season was canceled.

But, the Lakers do have six players — five transfers and one true freshman — that are actually new this year. 

With the extended break, head coach Ed Gosek said bringing in the transfers was key to help with a sense of leadership since there is a majority of players who have never experienced a college hockey practice or game.

“However their coaches coached or whatever their systems were (at their old schools), there’s a common theme of preparing for the weekend of getting through the college grind,” he said. “They’re rookies here, but they bring in experience which with what we lost in a year off, I think they can be, in their own way, leaders or role models for the group that didn’t get to play at all even though they were here for a year.”

With the exception of true freshman Ben Addison, Gosek said none of the five transfers were original recruitment targets before they began their college careers. All five transfers come from Division I programs.

Troy Robillard and Jared Nash hail from the University of Alaska-Anchorage. Garrett Clegg and Quinn Warmuth transferred in from Robert Morris University. Ryan Dickinson comes by way of Ohio State University.

Alaska-Anchorage and Robert Morris’s programs were both dropped by their respective schools following the 2020-21 season. 

“Bottom line is that we felt bad for all four of them that they really had no control over their destiny with what happened at those schools,” Gosek said. “With them having a second chance, they’ve kind of united. … They share a common theme, obviously, all having their programs dropped and they’re excited about the opportunity that lies ahead.”

Addison, Robillard, Dickinson and Warmuth are all defenseman, while Nash and Clegg are forwards. However, all stand at least 5-foot-10.

“All along, we felt that the trend is going back toward getting bigger. Mobile, but bigger. Big guys that can skate,” Gosek said. “On the back end, we felt we wanted to get bigger along with keeping mobility.”

BEN ADDISON

Position: D

Previous Team: Wellington Dukes (Ontario Junior Hockey League)

Height: 5’10”

Hometown: Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada

The lone true freshman of this year’s recruiting class, it’s a little similar to when Alex DiCarlo — now a junior — was brought in during the 2019-20 season. But, when DiCarlo was brought in, he was truly the only freshman.

“It’s a lot easier on Addison than it was with DiCarlo because you have that whole class last year that never played, never practiced, never really worked out together. Along with the other five (new players) this year, they’re all in it together,” Gosek said. “DiCarlo can share come of the things he had to go through being the only true freshman.”

Addison comes from the Wellington Dukes, out of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. He follows the footsteps of Carter Allen (class of 2020) and Ryan Woodward (class of 2007) from the Dukes. Woodward was also the captain of the 2007 national championship team.

“Their values in that community with the coaching staff are very similar to here,” Gosek said. “There’s accountability. There’s structure. Not that all the junior programs don’t want that, but with some of the bigger programs in and around the city where players live at home, I don’t think you get the same amount of billet (families). So they’re doing more things together.”

The Dukes’ season was also canceled last year, and Addison was named captain of the program. But in three seasons at Wellington, he recorded 41 points in 95 games.

“He’s got a high hockey IQ, and he’s a bright kid. He sees the ice well. He knew who he was in junior hockey,” Gosek said. “He competes extremely hard. … Between practice, the weight room testing, watching him in a game, we’ll have a better idea of if he’s ready.”

TROY ROBILLARD

Position: D

Previous Team: University of Alaska-Anchorage (NCAA Division I)

Height: 6’3”

Hometown: Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada

A steady defenseman, Gosek said Robillard — while he doesn’t like to make comparisons to former players — could be similar to Devin Campbell (class of 2019). While Gosek mentioned that this year’s recruiting class is focused on being mobile, Robillard’s “priorities” are taking care of the defensive end of the ice.

“He’s very reliable defensively and makes good decisions with the puck,” Gosek said. “Jumping in the rush, or offensive production, would be secondary to a defenseman that you can count on in the important times in the game (like) the last minute of the period or protecting the lead.”

Even though Robillard spent two seasons at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, the team’s 2020-21 season was canceled. In 24 games, Robillard recorded two assists with the Seawolves. Prior to UAA, he spent four full seasons with the Coquitlam Express (British Columbia Hockey League), tallying 46 points in 163 games.

“He’s not going to wow you, but he’s always in position nine times out of 10, making the right plays with the puck and away from the puck,” Gosek said. “Many times, when you just get a player under those circumstances, you’re very lucky.”

JARED NASH

Position: F

Previous Team: University of Alaska-Anchorage (NCAA Division I)

Height: 5’11”

Hometown: Stratford, Ontario, Canada 

Aside from the specifics of Nash’s playing style, Gosek said that he and fellow UAA transfer Robillard have a big sense of mental toughness, coming from the Seawolves’ program. Due to the travel schedule from Alaska, players are on long road trips, practicing on the road and doing classwork in hotel rooms.

“Playing there in that league with the amount of travel that was necessary, it’s not an easy place to play mentally or physically,” Gosek said. “All those things enter into their mental maturity, which I think will pay dividends.”

Gosek mentioned that Nash is more of a power forward-type player, who won’t try to “stickhandle” around a defenseman. Nash had two seasons of games with UAA, recording 11 points in 51 games. Prior to the Seawolves, the Stratford, Ontario, native spent a couple years with the Penticton Vees (BCHL), tallying 41 points in 113 games.

“He’s not going to be a perimeter player that’s going to stickhandle and try to go around you with finesse. I’m not saying he can’t do that,” Gosek said. “But (he’s) more of a go to the net (type of player). (He) take pucks to the net, is a presence around the net, wins a lot of battles in the corners, and is very good down low below the goal line.”

GARRETT CLEGG

Position: F

Previous Team: Robert Morris University (NCAA Division I)

Height: 5’11”

Hometown: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada

Gosek said Clegg has a lot of commitment to the weight room and his character. He could be considered similar to a former player like Allen, who was always known for being one of the more physically fit players on the Lakers.

“For us, to have players coming in that understand what it takes, shift in and shift out, the grind of a college hockey season, I think it’s a huge benefit,” Gosek said. “He seems extremely physically fit. … He takes that part of the game, his body, very seriously. Usually those guys are the ones that are less injury prone and can stand up to the mental and physical grind of the long season.”

RMU did have a partial season last year, and in two seasons with the Colonials, Clegg had seven points in 37 games. In junior hockey, where he played with the Sherwood Park Crusaders in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Clegg recorded 103 points in 115 contests.

“We’re hoping that Garrett can chip in offensively. Where will he fit in? That remains to be seen,” Gosek said. “Similar to Nash, he’s in that power forward role. From what we can gather, he thinks a little bit more offensively.”

QUINN WARMUTH

Position: D

Previous Team: Robert Morris University (NCAA Division I)

Height: 6’4”

Hometown: Olmstead Falls, Ohio

Adding another big piece to the Oswego State blue line, Warmuth is a little bit more of an “offensively minded” defenseman, according to Gosek. Though, as is with all the recruits, time will tell what these new players will bring to the Lakers.

“The way in which we play will be different,” Gosek said. “We want to play a fast-paced game but I think it’ll be moving pucks quickly and advancing pucks up the ice as opposed to carrying it up the ice.”

After joining the Colonials halfway through the 2019-20 season, Warmuth had one assist in 21 games at RMU. He spent three and a half seasons in the North American Hockey League before college hockey, playing for five different teams. He recorded 63 points in 194 NAHL games.

“He’s got a big body and long reach with a good build. He keeps the game simple and takes what comes,” Gosek said. “(It’s about) defending, distributing the puck, and letting the offense comes when it comes and not taking unnecessary chances.”

RYAN DICKINSON

Position: D

Previous Team: Ohio State University (NCAA Division I)

Height: 6’3”

Hometown: Brighton, Michigan

While the repeated identity of this class has been size and physicality, there’s a possibility Dickinson could be the next Carter Allen when it comes to his play style — Gosek said Dickinson has an edge to him and “has no problem being physical and taking the body.” But, he also brings in that stability as a defenseman.

“When you’re trying to hold a lead or it’s a tie game or whatever scenario is, just those consistent minutes, you’re being very productive in getting us up the ice,” Gosek said. “It’s more than just eating minutes. You’re defending and allowing us to be on offense and having zone time in the offensive (end) as opposed to our own end.”

Dickinson recorded an assist in 14 games during his lone season with the Buckeyes. In his four years of junior hockey in the NAHL with a few different teams, he had 60 points in 192 games. He also had an astounding 547 penalty minutes. 

“Coaches aren’t going to play a guy that’s a liability that’s putting himself in front of the team,” Gosek said. “Will he take an occasional hard-hit penalty like Carter Allen? I’m sure. For him, just to go out of his way to try to blow somebody up and take a penalty, I don’t see that out of him, at least at this point.”

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