The Michigan State University Spartans hockey team picked up a commitment over the weekend for the 2017-18 season. Gianluca Esteves, 20, of the Aston Rebels (NAHL) pledged to join the Spartans late in the recruiting process.
Esteves, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba produced 17 goals and 45 points during his first season playing in the NAHL. In the playoffs, Esteves helped the Rebels reach the Robertson Cup Final where the Rebels were defeated 3-0 (game winning goal by future Spartan Austin Kamer). During the playoffs Esteves scored 5 goals and 9 points in 12 games which was good enough to earn a spot on the All-Tournament Team.
Esteves is the third Spartan commitment since coach Danton Cole was hired, joining Austin Kamer, and Dennis Cesana (Brooks Bandits-AJHL 2018-19). Esteves and Kamer are likely players who fit a role for coach Cole to help turn around the Spartans quicker, as they each are over the age of 20, and were secured late in the recruiting process. Michigan State currently sits at eight commitments listed for the 2017-18 season. Previously Tommy Miller (Defense-USA NTDP), David Keefer (RW-Muskegon Lumberjacks), Mitch Lewandowski (Defense-Chicago Steel), and Ty Farmer (Defense-Muskegon Lumberjacks) had signed their Naitonal Letter of Intent. Farmer has since reclassified for 2018-19. The Spartans also list Jake Smith (LW-Chilliwack Chiefs), Brody Stevens (RW- Green Bay Gamblers), and Tommy Apap (C-Youngstown Phantoms) for next years class.
The Spartans graduated 7 scholarship players last season which would seem to indicate that either one of the players committed for next season may reclassify to spend more time in the juniors, or that one of the players will be coming to MSU as a walk-on. The Spartans have already lost one commitment (perhaps due to Cole’s talk with the prospect) when Noah Lalonde changed his pledge to the Lake Superior State Lakers.