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Hockey East offseason news: Playoff format tweaked, more player moves

Five UMass-Amherst underclassmen have left school since the end of the season including defenseman Conor Allen who signed with the New York Rangers.

The Hockey East season doesn't begin for another four months, but some offseason roster moves have began to leak out. UMass-Amherst cut four players earlier in the offseason and more player shakeups have occurred.

K.J. Tiefenwerth was one of four UMass-Amherst players to be cut by second year head coach John Micheletto. He recently had successful heart surgery after electing to transfer to Quinnipiac.

In addition to Kiefenwerth, defenseman Eric Filiou, forward Rob Dongara and goaltender Kevin Boyle all are no longer with the Minuteman program. Defenseman Conor Allen signed with the New York Rangers following the conclusion of the season.

Providence and backup goaltender Dylan Wells have parted ways. Sophomore Jon Gillies, a Calgary draft pick, was stellar as a rookie and should backstop the Friars again in 2013-14. Pomfret alum and Des Moines Buccaneers goaltender Nick Ellis will be his backup. Ellis is a very solid prospect and should be able to spell Gillies more than either backup did a year ago.

Maine has picked up a player for first year head coach Red Gendron. Former Minutemen Andrew Tegeler has decided to transfer to the Black Bears program. Tegeler is appealing the NCAA to be eligible immediately, but is expected to be able to play after the first semester ends. Tegeler was recruited to UMass by Gendron before he left his post there to become an associate coach at Yale.

In other news, it is being widely reported that Hockey East will tweak its playoff format once UConn joins the league for the 2014-15 season. Starting this season, each member institution will make the playoffs. There will be four rounds to the conference tournament as opposed to three in the old format. However, the first round is expected to be one-game, single elimination.

Jeff Cox covers college hockey, the American Hockey League and the NHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.