July 11, 2022

Buckeyes at NHL Development Camps


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Current and former members of the Ohio State men’s hockey program are taking part in NHL development camps across the league this summer.

Three Buckeyes are in Boston with the Bruins – defensemen Mason Lohrei and Grant Gabriele and forward Georgii Merkulov. Lohrei, a 2022 Honorable Mention All-Big Ten choice who will be sophomore in 2022-23, had a team-best 25 assists and was second in scoring with 29 points as a freshman. He ranked in the Top 8 in the NCAA in assists per game overall and in points per game among defensemen. Lohrei was selected by Boston in the second round of the 2020 draft. Gabriele, who finished a five-year career with the Buckeyes in 2021-22, signed an AHL contract with the Providence Bruins after the collegiate season ended. He skated in 124 games in the Scarlet and Gray and had 50 career points, including a career-best 20 points in 2021-22. Merkulov signed an entry-level contract with the Boston Bruins after a freshman season when he was a First Team All-Big Ten selection and led NCAA rookies with 20 goals and had an NCAA-best seven gamewinners. leading the Buckeyes with 34 points.

Goalie Jakub Dobeš, a 2020 fifth-round draft pick of Montreal, is in development camp with the Canadiens. He was the 2022 Big Ten co-Freshman of the Year and the league’s goalie of the year award winner. Dobeš ranked in the Top 7 in the NCAA in save percentage, saves and wins, with his .934 save percentage the second-best in school history.

Cole McWard, who will be a sophomore on the Buckeye blueline in 2022-23, is a free agent invitee to the New Jersey Devils development camp. He skated in 36 games as a freshman and had 16 points, including 12 assists, with a +13 mark and 40 shot blocks.

Cam Thiesing, a rising sophomore forward, is an invitee to the Washington Capitals development camp. He was fourth for the Buckeyes with 25 points in 2021-22, including eight goals and 17 assists, and had a team-best +21 rating.

Jake Wise, a forward and third-round pick in the 2018 draft by Chicago who will return for a fifth year of collegiate hockey in 2022-23, is in the Blackhawks’ camp this week. He was third for the Buckeyes with 28 points in 2021-22, tying for second with 10 goals and ranking second with 18 assists.

Stephen Halliday, an incoming freshman forward, was selected in the fourth round of the NHL draft last week by Ottawa and is at the Senators’ camp. He was a First Team All-USHL selection after recording 35 goals, 60 assists and 95 points in 2021-22, the third-most assist and point totals in USHL Tier I history. He played the last four years in the USHL.

Tyler Duke, who will be a freshman defenseman this fall, was invited to the Toronto Maple Leafs camp. He was part of the U.S. National Team Development Program the last two years and had 18 points in 54 NTDP games in 2021-22, with a 2-9-11 line in 24 USHL contests.

Eric Cooley, a forward who spent 2021-22 with the Buckeyes as a graduate transfer, is a free agent invitee at the Carolina Hurricanes development camp. He played in 35 games last year, with 10 points on five goals and five assists.  Including his four years at Niagara, Cooley played in 165 collegiate games, with 29 goals and 54 assists for 83 points.

Layton Ahac, a defenseman who skated for the Buckeyes for two years before signing with Vegas in March 2021, is at the Golden Knights development camp. In his first full pro season, he had six assists in 32 games for the AHL Henderson Silver Knights in 2021-22. He saw action in 63 games for the Buckeyes from 2020-21, with 11 assists and 12 points and 70 shot blocks.

Goalie Tommy Nappier, who signed with the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2021 following a four-year Buckeye career, is in camp with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He saw action in 25 AHL regular season games and six playoff contests in 2021-22, along with seven ECHL outings. He was the 2019 Big Ten Goaltender of the Year and earned First Team All-Big Ten accolades in 2019, with honorable mention recognition in 2020. Nappier finished his Ohio State career third in program history with a .925 save percentage and fifth with a 2.31 goals-against average.