Center Ludvig Larsson Transfers To Penn State Hockey From Merrimack
Penn State men’s hockey will add forward Ludvig Larsson to its roster next season after he transferred from Merrimack, according to Merrimack beat reporter Mike McMahon.
Larsson utilized college hockey’s graduate transfer rule to leave Merrimack and be immediately eligible to play for the Nittany Lions in the 2018-19 season. The Swede graduated early after spending three years at Merrimack and will spend his final season of NCAA eligibility in Hockey Valley.
The graduate transfer rule allows early graduates to change schools and be immediately eligible to play as long as their new graduate field of study is not offered at their previous school.
Larsson is the second former Merrimack player to join Penn State this year. Defenseman Evan Bell announced his intention to bring his talents to Hockey Valley last February after he played five games for the Warriors in 2017-18. Bell finished the 2017-18 campaign with the Fargo Force (USHL) and will be reunited with former junior teammate Denis Smirnov next season.
Adding Larsson is quite a coup for the Nittany Lions, as several other top-tier programs were apparently in the running for his services. Reigning national champions Minnesota-Duluth, Northeastern, and Providence were all reportedly interested in bringing Larsson to their respective programs.
Boston University was also in the mix, but the Terriers withdrew after likely top-ten NHL Draft pick Brady Tkachuk announced his intention to return to the program for his sophomore season.
The left-shot forward scored 24 goals and 21 assists at the NCAA level during his time with Merrimack. Last season, he potted a career-high 13 goals along with eight assists.
His decision to join Guy Gadowsky’s program also gives Penn State much needed-help in the face-off dot. Larsson finished No. 14 in the nation last year with a .583 winning percentage in the circle.
Larsson’s skill on face-offs will certainly bolster Penn State’s center corps, which ranked No. 44 in the nation with a lackluster .482 win percentage. Evan Barratt is the only returning center that finished last year with a win percentage above .500.
Outside of Larsson and Bell, Penn State’s 2018-19 recruiting class features seven incoming freshmen. However, the only two that have signed their letters of intent are defenseman Paul DeNaples and New Jersey Devils draft pick Aarne Talvitie.