HARTFORD, June 9, 2017: Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Chris Drury announced [yesterday] that the Wolf Pack has signed defenseman Brenden Kotyk to an AHL contract.
Kotyk, who stands 6-6 and weighs 240 pounds, comes to the Wolf Pack after three seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (NCHC). The 25-year-old native of Regina, Saskatchewan helped lead the Bulldogs to an NCHC championship this past season, and all the way to the NCAA Frozen Four championship game, in which they fell 3-2 to Denver University.
Kotyk skated in 41 games with UMD in 2016-17, notching three goals and ten assists for 13 points and serving 57 minutes in penalties, the second-highest total on the squad. He also was a +20 on the season, which was second-best among Bulldog defensemen and fourth-best overall on the team.
In 97 career games in a UMD uniform, Kotyk totaled seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points, along with 85 PIM and a +25. Prior to transferring to UMD, he played one season with Division III St. Scholastica College.
Hartford Wolf Pack General Manager Chris Drury is off to a good start. With the signing of Kotyk, the New York Rangers organization is taking action to prepare for the future.
Good defenseman – solid shut-down defenders – are tough to come by. Right-handed shots from the point are also tough to find in a sport of the left-handed majority.
But a solid right-handed defender at a towering 6’6” and 240 pounds? A big potential diamond in the rough.
Brenden Kotyk led all Bulldogs in blocked shots this past season. He also focused on his skating in the offseason to become a more mobile defenseman, especially in the offensive zone. And his points totals certainly show for it, as he reached career highs in his senior year.
However, take this signing with a grain of salt. At 25, Kotyk was the oldest player in NCAA hockey this past season. By the time training camp rolls around in September, he will be 26. Thus, he was much older and physically more developed than the vast majority of students he was competing against. But, good on Drury to sign Kotyk to an AHL-contract to try him out with Hartford.
He played with Neal Pionk on the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. Pionk was recently inked by the Rangers organization, as well.
Pionk, along with the other players on the Bulldogs, voted for Brenden Kotyk as alternate captain in his final year in college. Kotyk was not expecting the role, but took it seriously, serving as a mentor to the younger players on the squad, setting the example of what it takes to achieve success not only on the rink, but off the ice as well.
Kotyk will serve a very similar role in Hartford, being a veteran presence on a roster full of young players and prospects. He may not ever make it to the NHL, but he will certainly help others for sure.