Photo credit: Rebekah Bing, NAHL.com
Earlier this evening, the NAHL’s Lone Star Brahmas announced on Twitter that defenseman Ryan Orgel is leaving the team and joining the top-ranked Denver Pioneers for the remainder of the 2017-18 season and beyond. There is no corresponding early departure or dismissal.
The 5’11”, 181 lbs El Segundo, California native is a talented defenseman who has tallied seven points on five goals and two assists in 11 games with the Brahmas. Last year, with the Wichita Falls Wildcats, he scored 31 points with 10 goals and 21 assists in 56 NAHL games.
— Lone Star Brahmas (@LoneStarBrahmas) November 21, 2017
“It’s a dream come true,” Orgel said via the Brahmas’ official website “It’s something I’ve been working my entire career for and I’m very excited to be joining such a prestigious program.”
Orgel will add to the Pioneers’ already incredible depth along the blue line that features Tariq Hammond, Michael Davies, and Blackhawks draft picks Ian Mitchell and Blake Hillman. With the concussion sustained by Adam Plant against North Dakota over the weekend and no timetable for his return, Orgel will certainly fit into Denver’s immediate blueline plans.
The timing of this move raised some eyebrows across the college hockey world. It’s always odd when a player is added in the middle of the season. When the player is added before Thanksgiving, the general assumption it’s to replace a player leaving college early. The initial speculation surrounded star forwards and NHL Draftees Henrik Borgström and Troy Terry and their potential early departures. However, no one is leaving the program early. Orgel isn’t replacing anyone on the roster.
“Denver has kept tabs on me for a few weeks and they’ve watched me over the course of the season and one thing led to another and everything fell into place nicely,” Orgel said.
Plant’s injury may have caused the Pioneers to move the process along more quickly, but either way, Orgel will quickly be an important piece for the Pioneers. He’ll give head coach Jim Montgomery another talented option to add to a defenseman corps that has shown itself to be a formidable offensive force but needs some work in the defensive zone.
Orgel could be on campus as soon as tomorrow (Wednesday) but there is no word when he’ll make his debut. DU is expected to make the move official in the coming days.