UND to turn over its entire defensive unit
Fighting Hawks junior defenseman Cooper Moore has entered the transfer portal, leaving no returning blue liners.
GRAND FORKS — UND will be turning over its entire defensive core.
Junior defender Cooper Moore, the last one remaining, entered the NCAA transfer portal on Wednesday.
All eight blue liners from the 2022-23 team are now gone.
Three were fifth-year seniors with expiring eligibility — Chris Jandric, Ryan Sidorski and Ty Farmer. They've all signed pro deals. Jandric is with the American Hockey League's Rochester Americans, Sidorski with AHL Milwaukee and Farmer with ECHL Allen (Texas).
Two signed pro deals — junior Tyler Kleven, who will make his NHL debut with the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, and senior Ethan Frisch, who is playing for the San Jose Barracuda in the American Hockey League.
The other three entered the transfer portal — Moore, Luke Bast and Brent Johnson.
Moore, a fifth-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings, played in 31 of 39 games this season for the Fighting Hawks. He tallied three goals and 13 points.
Moore was a consistent presence on the back end for most of the season, but was scratched in three of UND's final six games. He often ran the second power-play unit from the top.
The Riverside, Conn., product played 87 career games at UND, tallying seven goals and 27 points. He helped the Fighting Hawks to Penrose Cups in 2021 and 2022 as National Collegiate Hockey Conference regular-season champions.
Moore will have two years of college eligibility remaining — his senior season and his COVID year.
While UND figures to have a loaded forward group with the returns of Riese Gaber and Judd Caulfield, it will have to completely remake its back end.
The Fighting Hawks have five recruited defensemen who could potentially come to campus in the fall.
Vegas Golden Knights draft pick Abram Wiebe, who plays for the Chilliwack Chiefs in the British Columbia Hockey League, is expected to top the group. The 6-foot-3 left-hander finished as the No. 2 defenseman scorer in the BCHL with 53 points in 54 games.
Two UND defensive commits age out of junior hockey and are guaranteed to come — Minnesota Wild draft pick Nate Benoit of the Waterloo Black Hawks and right-shot defender Tanner Komzak of the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Whitecourt Wolverines.
The other potential incoming freshmen are Jake Livanavage of the United States Hockey League's Chicago Steel and Andrew Strathmann of the Youngstown Phantoms. Livanavage and Strathmann are both NHL draft eligible this summer.
The Fighting Hawks have been recruiting defensemen in the NCAA transfer portal, but have yet to get any commitments. They'll need to grab at least three in order to give the group experience.
UND also will be grabbing a goaltender and a forward out of the transfer portal. It's possible UND could grab two forwards if UND senior forward Carson Albrecht does not return.