Michigan State announced the signing of six players to National Letters of Intent who will enroll at Michigan State and begin competing for the Spartans in the 2008-09 hockey season.
Included in the group are defenseman Tim Buttery (Northville), goaltender Drew Palmisano (Ann Arbor) and forwards Adam Henderson, Daulton Leveille, Trevor Nill (Novi) and Brett Perlini.
“We’re very happy with this group of incoming recruits,” noted MSU head coach Rick Comley. “We believe that we are bringing in quality players who will compliment the ones we have returning next season.”
Palmisano was the 2006-07 USHL Goaltender of the Year and boasts a 8-2-0 record so far in 2007-08. He leads the league with a 1.78 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage and has recorded one shutout for the Omaha Lancers. A year ago, he appeared in 25 games for Omaha after being traded from Ohio and boasted a 19-4-2 record, 2.72 GAA, and .914 save percentage.
Buttery, the lone defenseman in the group, has eight assists and is a +6 in 14 games in his second season with the Chicago Steel, with five of his points coming on special teams (four assists on power-play goals, one on a shorthander). He had a 2-17-19 stat line in 2006-07.
The four incoming forwards are all coming from different leagues - Henderson is currently playing for the Spruce Grove Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League and has 11 goals and 11 assists in 25 games. He ranks third on the team in goals, and is second in power-play tallies (5) and penalty minutes (42). In two seasons in Spruce Grove, he has a 33-35-68 stat line.
Leveille is currently playing in his hometown of St. Catharines, Ontario for the St. Catharines Falcons, members of the Golden Horseshoe Junior B Hockey League. Leveille ranks third on the team in points (25) on a team-best 13 goals to go with 12 assists. He leads the league in short-handed tallies (5), while ranking 10th (and leading his team) in power-play tallies (6).
Nill was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in last summer’s NHL Entry Draft, picked in the seventh round (190th overall). The son of Detroit Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill, the centerman is skating this season for the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League, where he owns a 3-4-7 stat line in 24 games. Nill played in 53 games a year ago with the Detroit Compuware midgets, where he produced 13 goals and 20 assists.
Perlini is a member of the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets, and has played in 10 games this season (1-2-3). He previously played for the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, where he ranked eighth in the league in scoring (57 points) and led the league in goals (38) in 48 games in 2006-07.
Michigan State has five seniors on its current roster - forwards Bryan Lerg, Chris Mueller and Zak McClellan and defensemen Jeff Dunne and Daniel Vukovic.