Like his seven future teammates, incoming Colorado College freshman Jaccob Slavin cannot wait for next season.
“I am ready to start the next chapter of my life,” the Carolina fourth-round NHL draft pick said.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound defenseman leads a strong class of eight rookies, including three who call Colorado home.
The Erie native will be joined by defenseman Gustav Olofsson, a native of Sweden who moved to Broomfield three years ago to acclimate to the North American style of hockey.
Olofsson is projected as a second- or third-round pick in the NHL draft June 30. Craig Button of the The Sports Network (Canada's ESPN) predicts he will go 58th.
“Both Gustav and Jaccob had good years and both are expected to contribute right away to a strong defensive corps led by (senior) Eamonn McDermott,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said.
The other Centennial State rookie is forward Christian Heil of Westminster.
The other first-year forwards are Zack Aman, Matthew Hansen, Alex Roos and Sam Rothstein.
“Hansen really had a nice second half of the season in B.C.,” Owens said. "He is a right-handed forward with speed and skill. Aman has big-game experience while Rothstein is a skilled centerman. Heil is a big forward who can play center or left wing. Roos is a righty with good skills.”
Goalie Tyler Marble, who signed last week, is expected to contend for the starting job with Courtney Lockwood and Josh Thorimbert.
“Josh, Tyler and Courtney give us a formidable goaltending scenario,” Owens said.
All benefited from their final junior hockey seasons, especially Slavin.
“The game slowed down for me more and more as the season went on,” he said. “I could have played college last year, but a lot of minutes in all situations this USHL season really helped my confidence and my personal development.”
He will spend the summer bulking up for his first year in the challenging National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
“I am going to work hard, listen to the older guys and earn my ice time,” he said. “I am excited to get started.”