Hobart added a ’99-born defenseman for this upcoming season, committing Amarillo (NAHL) D Gagik Malakyan.
The 6-foot-3 native of Moscow, Russia, posted a career-high 15 points (2 goals, 13 assists) in 54 games played during the 2019-20 season. He was also selected to and played in the 2020 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament for the South Division team.
“We are very happy for Gagik and his family,” said Amarillo coach Rocky Russo. “Hobart is a top-end academic college with an excellent hockey program. I am confident that he will be able to step right in and make a positive impact for the hockey team and be a very successful student.”
Malakyan made his NAHL debut in 2017; overall in 91 career NAHL games, he recorded 23 points.
“Gagik is a big Dman at 6’3” and over 200 pounds,” said NZ scouts. “He used that size to hit with authority to defend. He made opponents pay to be in his end and has some “mean” to his game that we liked. He has a long stick and hid his poke well while defending the rush. His hands and skating are better than we expected as he was able to recover when necessary and made clean outlets. He started transition and jumped up on the rush, getting a great chance against Minot. He also showed he could lead the rush and set up screens well to get pucks on net.”
Meanwhile, Alabama-Huntsville added a late piece for this upcoming season, committing ’99-born forward Frank Vitucci, a Philadelphia native who had been playing for the Wellington Dukes in the OJHL.
Vitucci popped this past season, scoring 36 goals and adding 31 assists in 54 games.
“Frank is a very fast player who uses his speed to get in quickly on forechecks, turn pucks over, cycle and hustle,” NZ scouts said. “Real buzz saw type of player. And with an ability to produce points. Key guy on Wellingtons PP and can score and/or make plays with good vision.”
Neutral Zone had Vitucci has the No. 40 uncommitted ’99-born prospect in our report that was posted after the season ended this past April.