Eleven former Huskies at NHL training camps
HOUGHTON — Eleven former Michigan Tech hockey players are at NHL Training Camps that began this week. The NHL regular season starts on October 7.
Trenton Bliss – Detroit Red Wings
Bliss signed an AHL contract with the Grand Rapids Griffins in March and begins his first full pro team. He appeared in three games for the Griffins at the end of the 2021-22 season after Tech’s season ended.
Bliss skated in 138 games from Michigan Tech from 2018-22 and tallied 107 career points with 42 goals and 65 assists. He ranks 56th in career points. Bliss was named to the All-CCHA Second Team as a senior and All-WCHA Third Team as a junior. He was a captain as a senior and a two-time alternate captain.
Pheonix Copley – LA Kings
Pheonix Copley enters his ninth professional season. He signed a one-year contract with the LA Kings in July after spending six years in the Washington Capitals organization and two with the St. Louis Blues. In 31 career NHL games for St. Louis and Washington, Copley is 16-9-3 with a 2.98 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage. He raised the Stanley Cup with the Capitals in 2018. Copley has also appeared in 226 AHL games.
Copley played two seasons for Michigan Tech from 2012-14, winning 18 games with four shutouts. He was twice named the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week in 2013-14 and in 2012-13 was named the WCHA Rookie of the Week twice, the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week once, and the MVP of the Great Lakes Invitational after a pair of shutouts to lift the Huskies to their first GLI title in 32 years.
Brian Halonen – New Jersey Devils
Halonen begins his first full season of professional hockey after he signed a two-year, two-way entry-level NHL contract with the New Jersey Devils in March as an undrafted free agent. He played 12 games for the Utica Comets in the AHL at the end of the 2021-22 season after Tech’s season ended.
Halonen played 139 games for the Huskies from 2018-22 and is 59th in career points with 105. He was named a Hobey Baker Top 10 Finalist, a Second Team All-American, and to the All-CCHA First Team after he tallied a career-high 44 points in 37 games during the 2021-22 season. He was on the All-WCHA Rookie Team in 2018-19.
Michael Karow – Dallas Stars
Karow signed a one-year AHL contract with the Texas Stars in August. He began his pro career with 13 games for the Stars at the end of the 2021-22 season after Tech’s season ended.
Karow transferred to Michigan Tech to play a fifth season and skated in all 37 games for the Huskies in 2021-22. He tallied a career-high 10 points with two goals and eight assists and was +13. Karow helped anchor a Tech defense that ranked third in the nation in penalty-killing percentage and fourth in scoring defense. He played four seasons at Boston College before coming to Houghton.
Tanner Kero – Dallas Stars
Tanner Kero enters the second year of a two-year extension with the Dallas Stars. He enters his eighth season of pro hockey and has played in 134 NHL games for the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars. He’s tallied 11 goals and 24 assists as an NHLer and appeared in 23 games for the Stars last season.
While at Tech, Kero was an All-American, the 2014-15 WCHA Player of the Year, the WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year, an All-WCHA First Team selection, and won the WCHA scoring title. In 153 career games in a Tech uniform, he racked up 111 points on 55 goals and 56 assists.
Jujhar Khaira – Chicago Blackhawks
Jujhar Khaira is in the second year of a two-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. He enters his 10th season of pro hockey and has appeared in 285 NHL games for the Edmonton Oilers and Blackhawks. Khaira has tallied 27 goals and 39 assists at the NHL level and had three goals in 27 games last season for Chicago before a season-ending injury.
Khaira tallied six goals and 19 assists for 25 points in his only season with the Huskies in 2012-13. He finished tied for fourth on the team in scoring and played in all 37 games. He was named the WCHA Rookie of the Week on November 20 after leading Tech to a pair of overtime wins at Bemidji State with two goals and an assist.
Joel L’Esperance – Detroit Red Wings
Joel L’Esperance enters his fifth season of pro hockey and signed a two-year contract with the Grand Rapids Griffins in July. He has appeared in 33 NHL games over his career and has tallied five goals–all with the Dallas Stars. In 183 games in the AHL, L’Esperance has tallied 80 goals and 56 assists.
L’Esperance played four seasons for the Huskies, appearing in 152 career games from 2014-18. He was an alternate captain as a senior and finished with 98 career points, racking up over 25 points in each of his final three seasons. In 20 career playoff games, he had 23 points on 10 goals and 13 assists while finding the scoresheet in all three NCAA games with two assists and a goal.
Jake Lucchini – Ottawa Senators
Jake Lucchini signed a one-year NHL contract with the Ottawa Senators in July and will play his fourth pro season. He has appeared in 176 AHL games and had a breakout season for the Belleville Senators in 2021-22 with 51 points (20 goals, 31 assists) in 72 games. For his pro career, Lucchini has 84 points with 40 goals and 44 assists.
Lucchini never missed a game in his Tech career, skating in 164 contests. He led all active college players in the category and finished one game short of tying a Tech record. Lucchini was the 66th player in Tech history to reach 100 career points, finishing with 104 points on 45 goals and 59 assists. As a senior, he co-captained the Huskies and led the team in points with 26 on 11 goals and 15 assists. Lucchini was named to the WCHA All-Rookie Team as a freshman.
Mitch Reinke – Pittsburgh Penguins
Mitch Reinke enters his fifth season of professional hockey. He re-signed with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in July. Reinke has appeared in two career NHL games for the St. Louis Blues and 203 AHL games. Reinke was a Black Ace for the Blues during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff run and was on the ice for the celebration after the Game 7 win. He was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team in 2018-19.
Reinke played two seasons for the Huskies, appearing in 76 games. He was named to the All-WCHA Third Team as a sophomore and to the WCHA All-Rookie Team as a freshman, tallying 44 career points on nine goals and 35 assists.
Matt Roy – LA Kings
Matt Roy enters his sixth season of pro hockey and has appeared in 206 games for the Los Angeles Kings. Roy has tallied 55 NHL points with 10 goals and 45 assists. Last season he skated in 67 games and tallied two goals and 19 assists. He was drafted by the Kings in the 2015 NHL Draft and has spent his whole career with the organization, making his first appearance in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.
Roy played 115 games over three seasons (2014-17) with the Huskies, recording 55 points on 12 goals and 43 assists before signing after his junior season on March 27, 2017. Roy was Tech’s team leader in assists with 21 as a junior and had the assist on the game-winning goal six times. He was a two-time All-WCHA selection.
Colin Swoyer – Pittsburgh Penguins
Swoyer signed a one-year, entry-level NHL contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins in March as an undrafted free agent. He began his professional career with five AHL games for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the end of the 2021-22 season after Tech’s season ended.
Swoyer appeared in 141 games for the Huskies and tallied 72 career points with 14 goals and 58 assists from 2018-22. He ranks 18th in scoring all-time amongst Michigan Tech defensemen. He was a two-time alternate captain and was named to the All-CCHA Second Team as a senior and the All-WCHA Second Team as a junior.