11 Minutemen attending NHL development camps

Four draft picks, seven free agents among the group

By Liam Flaherty, Assistant Sports Editor

The Massachusetts hockey team is well represented at National Hockey League development camps this week, as 11 different Minutemen were invited to showcase their skills in front of professional organizations.

Comprising five forwards (John Leonard, Mitchell Chaffee, Jake Gaudet, Bobby Trivigno and Bobby Kaiser), four defensemen (Marc Del Gaizo, Zac Jones, Ty Farmer and Colin Felix), and two UMass goaltenders (Filip Lindberg and Matt Murray), the group features four more Minutemen than last summer and boasts four draft selections that will be playing on this year’s roster.

Drafted in the seventh round in 2018, Leonard returns for a second year of camp with the San Jose Sharks after the Amherst native was drafted 182nd overall following a jumpstart freshman campaign. Fellow juniors Chaffee and Gaudet, both free agents, are also undertaking their second years of camp, except this time with different organizations. After attending the Pittsburgh Penguins’ camp last summer, Chaffee is working out with the Vegas Golden Knights this time around. Gaudet, who attended the Ottawa Senators’ camp in 2017 ahead of his freshman season, is now at camp with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Sophomore free agents Kaiser and Trivigno were both invited to the first camps of their careers. Kaiser, a forward who played in seven games before going down with a season-ending injury last year, received an invite from the Detroit Red Wings. Trivigno, who left the USHL for UMass a year earlier than expected, will attend camp with the Pittsburgh Penguins following consistent play as a freshman.

As for the defense, Del Gaizo is attending his first-ever development camp with the Nashville Predators after being taken 109th overall in the draft on Saturday following an impressive freshman stint next to Cale Makar on the UMass blue line. Jones, last year’s USHL Rookie of the Year and the fourth-highest draft pick in Minuteman history, is the only incoming freshman in the group and is at camp with the New York Rangers after being taken in the third round (68th overall) on Saturday. Farmer and Felix, both free agent sophomores, are attending camp with the Winnipeg Jets and Philadelphia Flyers, respectively.

Both of UMass’ mainstay netminders are attending development camps. Lindberg, whose name was called in the final round of the draft on Saturday as result of his outstanding play in the NCAA Tournament, is attending camp with the Minnesota Wild, while Murray is attending camp with Penguins as a free agent alongside Trivigno.

Liam Flaherty can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @_LiamFlaherty.