Raymond signs; Recruits ranked by NHL Central Scouting; Preseason poll released

Former UMD standout Mason Raymond has signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, it was announced this afternoon by the team.

Raymond, who was in Toronto on a training camp tryout, impressed the management and coaching staff enough to earn the deal. By all accounts, he fit in nicely with the Leafs, and effectively used his biggest asset — speed — to create plays and space for his teammates.raymond

“Based on Mason’s play in the preseason, we feel he fits in well with our group and will have a significant role on our team,” David Nonis, Toronto’s senior vice president and general manager, said in a statement from the team. “We agreed to terms over the weekend and look forward to him making a strong contribution this season.”

Raymond spent the early portion of his career with Vancouver and registered 178 points in 374 games with the Canucks.

Kuhlman, Pionk ranked in NHL Central Scouting’s Preliminary Players to Watch list

Two future UMD players — Karson Kuhlman and Neal Pionk — were ranked on the NHL Central Scouting’s Preliminary Players to Watch list, which came out this morning. The list is used to project possible picks in the NHL Entry Draft next June.

Both Kuhlman and Pionk were rated as ‘C’ skaters. Kuhlman, who made a name for himself while putting his stamp on the Cloquet/Esko/Carlton history books, is playing for Dubuque this season. Pionk helped lead Hermantown to incredible success over the past few years, but decided to make the transition to Sioux City this year.

According to an NHL scout, Kuhlman has “tremendous offensive upside” and possesses “great ability as a playmaker.” The same scout says Pionk should emerge into a “dangerous two-way threat” in the USHL and “can clearly skate with anyone at that level.”

Preseason edition of USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men’s College Hockey Poll released

USA Hockey released the 19th annual preseason USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men’s College Hockey Poll this afternoon, and, although UMD isn’t ranked, several NCHC foes and non-conference opponents are ranked.

Miami (No. 2), North Dakota (No. 6) and St. Cloud State (No. 9) were the NCHC teams ranked, while Denver and Western Michigan each received votes. Also, three other teams on UMD’s schedule — Minnesota (No. 5), Notre Dame (No. 7) and Minnesota State (No. 14) — made the list. The Bulldogs open the season against Michigan Tech, which received a single vote.

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