The Gopher Hockey Team announced Monday afternoon that All-American Tyler Sheehy will wear the C as the Gopher captain for the 2017-18 season. He will be joined by alternate captains Ryan Lindgren, Mike Szmatula, and Leon Bristedt who will all wear the A on their sweaters.
Sheehy was named the 36th First Team All-American to play for the Gophers after a 2016-17 season that saw him finish 8th in the nation in scoring with 53 points. He was named the Big Ten Player of the Year for his efforts. There were some rumors that with Sheehy’s great season he might look to sign a NHL Free Agent deal while the market was high on him, but this announcement puts those rumors to bed. He will come into his junior season averaging 1.11 points per game for his college career, and will start on the Gophers top line come October.
Ryan Lindgren will come into his sophomore season with Minnesota as one of the top defensemen on the Gopher roster. He missed the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments after suffering a leg injury in the regular season finale against Michigan State. Lindgren spent time over the Holiday break winning a gold medal with the US Junior National Team.
Mike Szmatula will return for his senior season in his fifth year of eligibility. He played his first two seasons for Northeastern and sat out the 2015-16 season after transferring to Minnesota. He scored 25 points in 28 games last year for Minnesota. He missed several games down the stretch after being hampered by a lower-body injury. He will be relied upon along with his fellow senior assistant captain for leadership.
That other senior assistant captain will be Leon Bristedt. The second highest returning scorer for the Gophers behind Sheehy, Bristedt scored 33 points in 38 games. He recorded a hat trick in the Gophers win over Penn State in February by scoring shorthanded, regular strength, and on the power play. He will be a key member of the Gophers power play in 2017-18 that struggled down the stretch.
The Gophers and their new leadership group will start the season at the Ice Breaker Classic in Duluth against UMD on October 6th.