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Notre Dame Hockey's Impressive Incoming Freshman Class

The incoming freshman class for Notre Dame hockey is poised to make big contributions right away.
Photo: Notre Dame Athletics

Photo: Notre Dame Athletics

The incoming freshman class for Notre Dame hockey is poised to make big contributions right away. With only six seniors on the roster, these eight freshmen will be relied upon heavily by the Irish next season.

Who They Are

Zachary Plucinski - Defense

Zachary Plucinski is a right-shot defenseman with good size already at 6-foot-1 and 190 lbs. Plucinski has spent the last two seasons playing in the USHL with the Sioux City Musketeers and more recently the Omaha Lancers.

In the 2019-20 season, Plucinski appeared in 48 games for the Lancers contributing 26 points. He was also named the Lancers' best defenseman. At 19 years of age, Plucinksi brings much-needed experience to the Irish defensive group which has only one senior (Matt Hellickson).

Ryan Helliwell - Defense

Ryan Helliwell is a left-shot defenseman who brings size also, standing at 6-foot-1 and weighing 185 lbs. Helliwell has spent the past two seasons with the Langley Rivermen of the BCHL. He also represented Canada in the 2018 World Under-17 Championships where he played alongside top 2020 NHL Draft prospects Quinton Byfield and Jamie Drysdale.

In the 2019-20 season, Helliwell posted 23 points in 48 games. He also contributed three points in the Rivermen's four playoff games.

Photo: Langley Rivermen

Photo: Langley Rivermen

Helliwell has shown offensive abilities that will help the Irish lineup next season. Spending the 2017-18 season with the Burnaby Winter Club in British Columbia, Helliwell logged 50 points in just 41 games. The Burnaby Winter Club has had an impressive line of alumni including Hall of Famer, Paul Kariya.

Hunter Weiss - Defense

Another defender with great size at 6-foot-3, Hunter Weiss will bring physicality to the 2020-21 Irish lineup. In the 2019-20 season with the Madison Capitols of the USHL, Weiss compiled 101 PIM in just 43 games.

Growing up in Illinois, Weiss played his minor hockey with the Chicago Mission and won't be too far from home while attending Notre Dame.

Photo: Notre Dame Athletics

Photo: Notre Dame Athletics

Grant Silianoff - Forward

Grant Silianoff is a left-shot winger from Edina, Minnesota. Edina has had a strong showing for the Irish over the years, including now-New York Islanders' captain Anders Lee who played for the Irish from 2010-2013.

Silianoff is currently ranked the 60th-best prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft by NHL Central Scouting. He has spent the past three seasons with the Cedar Rapids Roughriders of the USHL, scoring 75 points in 100 games during that span. In his first season with the Roughriders, he was named to the USHL All-Rookie Second Team.

Silianoff has also represented the United States in a couple of tournaments. He helped the U.S. Junior Select Team capture the championship at the 2018 World Junior A Challenge and also competed in the 2018 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup.

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Landon Slaggert - Forward

Landon Slaggert will be joining his older brother, Graham Slaggert, and father, associate head coach Andy Slaggert, at Notre Dame next season.

Growing up in South Bend, Slaggert played his minor hockey with the Chicago Mission. In 2018, Slaggert joined the U.S. National Team Development Program and has continued to impress. He is currently ranked as the 88th-best prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft by NHL Central Scouting.

In 2019-20, Slaggert appeared in 66 games scoring 34 points. He is known as a strong skater who drives play by forechecking hard and being active along the boards.

USA NTDP U17 vs Waterloo

Photo: Rena Laverty

Slaggert recently appeared in the Biosteel All-American Game, which hosts the top American-born prospects eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft.

Brady Bjork - Forward

Brady Bjork is another incoming freshman with strong family ties to the Irish hockey program. Brady's brother, Anders, played for the Irish from 2014 to 2017 and currently plays in the Boston Bruins organization. Brady's cousin, Erik Condra, was the Irish captain in 2008 and now plays in the Dallas Stars organization.

Photo: NAHL

Photo: NAHL

Bjork played his 2019-20 season with the St. Cloud Blizzards of the NAHL. In 50 games, he recorded 28 points.

Ryder Rolston - Forward

Ryder Rolston, son of former NHL-er Brian Rolston, is a right-shot winger who already has an impressive resume coming in as a freshman next season for the Irish. Growing up in Michigan, Rolston played for the well-respected Little Caesars program and spent two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program.

Photo: NHL

Photo: NHL

In 2019-20, Rolston played in the USHL with the Waterloo Blackhawks. In 42 games, Rolston scored 33 points. He is currently ranked the 102nd-best prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft by NHL Central Scouting.

Tyler Carpenter - Forward

Tyler Carpenter is yet another product of the Chicago Mission minor hockey program who will be joining the Irish next season. Carpenter, who grew up in Illinois, has stayed close to home playing with the Chicago Steel of the USHL in the 2019-20 season, where he scored 27 points in 49 games. He will bring an element of physicality to the Irish lineup that will help open up space for his linemates.

Photo: Chicago Steel

Photo: Chicago Steel

Notre Dame finished the shortened 2019-20 season with a record of 15-15-7 and a Big Ten conference record of 9-9-6. The incoming freshman class will be able to contribute right away next season in hopes of leading the Irish back to the Frozen Four, where they were the runner-up in 2018.