Transfusion of quality: 4 transfers join Northern Michigan University hockey Wildcats for fall season

Artem Shlaine

“Each player brings special qualities to our group on the rink, but equally important, all four are high-character men.” — Grant Potulny, NMU head hockey coach, on the 2 forwards and 2 defensemen transferring to the Wildcats


MARQUETTE — In the past several years, transfers have become an important part of the recruiting process in stocking college sports teams with quality players, including in hockey.

For Northern Michigan University, head coach Grant Potulny has announced four transfers who will join the Wildcats for the upcoming season.

They are forwards Artem Shlaine from the University of Connecticut and Kristof Papp from Michigan State, along with defensemen Simon Kjellberg of RPI and Aiden Gallacher of MSU.

Connecticut’s Artem Shlaine handles the puck during a Huskies’ game last season. Shlaine is one of four NCAA Division I transfers coming to Northern Michigan University’s hockey team for the upcoming season, two coming from Michigan State. (Photo courtesy UConn Athletics)

“We are thrilled to welcome Artem, Kristof, Simon and Aiden to NMU and our hockey team,” Potulny said in a news release announcing them. “Our staff has had the opportunity to watch these players over the past several seasons, dating as far back as youth hockey. There is strong familiarity and understanding regarding what these players can contribute.

“Each player brings special qualities to our group on the rink, but equally important, all four are high-character men. We believe they will immediately add to the chemistry, expectations and culture currently established within our program.

“We are confident and optimistic that the success we’ve experienced with other incoming transfer student-athletes will continue with this group at Northern Michigan.”

The Wildcats begin their season at home in a CCHA series against Bowling Green State on Oct. 1 at the Berry Events Center.

Here are details about each of these players:

Kristof Papp


Artem Shlaine — Shlaine, 20, is a Russian-American center who played two years for the Huskies of Hockey East. At UConn, he scored eight goals and made 18 assists for 26 points, leading the Huskies in faceoff percentage at 58% in 2021-22.

Prior to college, he had two dominant seasons at Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep in Minnesota with 168 points that included 60 goals in 102 games.

In 2019, Shlaine was selected to the USA Under-18 team that competed at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup tournament, while in 2020, he was drafted in the fifth round, 130th overall, by New Jersey in the NHL Entry Draft.


Kristof Papp, front right, plays for Michigan State in a game against Arizona State last season. Papp is one of four NCAA Division I transfers coming to Northern Michigan University, including 2 from MSU. (Photo courtesy Michigan State University Athletics)

Kristof Papp — A native of Budapest, Hungary, he had the highest faceoff percentage in the Big 10 last season at 59% and accumulated 16 points in 59 games over two seasons for the Spartans.

Before college, he totaled 73 points, including 27 goals, in 103 USHL games for the Madison, Wisconsin, Capitols and Des Moines, Iowa, Buccaneers, serving as captain for Madison in 2019-20.

Papp has also played for the Hungarian national team in international competition.


Simon Kjellberg — For the Wildcats of RPI in the ECAC, this 6-foot-3, 190-pound Swedish defenseman played in 75 games with 53 blocked shots and 38 points.

Simon Kjellberg

Prior to college, Kjellberg played for the Dubuque, Iowa, Fighting Saints of the USHL in 2018-19 and was selected in the sixth round, 163rd overall, by the New York Rangers in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.


Aiden Gallacher — The second MSU player coming to Northern this fall, Gallacher is a 6-1, 200-pound Rochester Hills native who skated in 58 games for the Spartans.

Before Michigan State, he played for the Bismarck, North Dakota, Bobcats of the NAHL and Youngstown, Ohio, Phantoms of the USHL. He was captain at Youngstown in the 2019-20 season, the leading defenseman scorer for the Phantoms with 25 points, including eight goals, in 46 games.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.

Simon Kjellberg skates with the puck for RPI last season. He is one of four NCAA Division I transfers to Northern Michigan University, including two from Michigan State University. (Photo courtesy RPI Athletics)

Aiden Gallacher

Aiden Gallacher, left, skates against Minnesota in a Big 10 game from last season. He is one of four NCAA Division I transfers coming to Northern Michigan University. (Photo courtesy Michigan State Athletics)


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