When Nick Seeler left Nebraska-Omaha three weeks ago after two seasons for what the team cited as "personal reasons," his next destination was unknown. Now it is. With classes starting yesterday, Seeler, a native of Eden Prairie, MN, will be heading home to the University of Minnesota, the school officially announced Wednesday.
Seeler must sit out 2014-15 due to NCAA transfer rules. He will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
The 21 year-old defenseman, selected in the fifth round of the 2011 NHL Draft by the Minnesota Wild, was ineligible to play in juniors. This left Seeler with one of two options. He would either have to sign a professional contract with the Wild, who are already near the 50 contract limit, or transfer.
The 6'2", 192 lbs Seeler is a strong skating, two-way defenseman who isn't afraid to use his size and get physical. He had 10 points (4G-6A) and 61 penalty minutes in 36 games last season for the Mavericks, following a freshman campaign where he was a co-winner of the team's Rookie of the Year award.
Prior to that, he played for Des Moines and Muskegon of the USHL, where he was named to the 2011-12 USHL All-Rookie team. Seeler also was a member of Eden Prairie's 2009 and 2011 Class AA Minnesota HS championship teams alongside Gopher senior Kyle Rau. (He is the second men's hockey player from Eden Prairie to transfer to Minnesota this summer following former Sacred Heart forward Mitch Rogge.)
Although Seeler is ineligible this season - he can practice with Minnesota - his presence gives last year's national runners-up a boost on the blue line down the road in 2015-16 and beyond. The Gophers have eight defensemen (all of whom are drafted by NHL teams) playing this season. One (Ben Marshall) will graduate. Two others (Brady Skjei and Mike Reilly) could leave after their junior seasons for the NHL.
The Seeler family is plenty familiar with the University of Minnesota. Older sisters Ashley (women's soccer) and Kelly (women's hockey) both suited up for the Gophers, however, Nick is new. He was out with an undisclosed injury the lone time UNO came to Mariucci Arena during his two years.
He'll now have a year to prepare.
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate