Nickerson Bolts Clarkson

Matt Nickerson has decided to leave Clarkson after just one year, signing a three-year deal with the NHL’s Dallas Stars.

“Matt is only 19 years old and will go to an American Hockey League camp this fall,” said Stars assistant general manager Francois Giguere. “Based on his performance at the camp, he’s either going to play at the AHL level or possibly junior hockey in the Quebec League.”

As a freshman defenseman for the Golden Knights this past season, Nickerson was Clarkson’s top scorer from the blueline. Through 38 games, the 6-foot-4, 235-pound native of Old Lyme, Conn., scored 14 points on five goals and nine assists. Nickerson also set a new ECAC record for penalty minutes (179/61) in a season, breaking the record of Rensselaer head coach Dan Fridgen.

“We understand Matt’s decision to pursue a professional hockey career,” stated Clarkson head coach George Roll. “We are disappointed to lose Matt, but we respect his decision and wish him nothing but the best in his efforts to make it to the NHL.”

Nickerson was selected by Dallas in the third round (99th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Midway through his freshman season, it had been rumored that Nickerson was returning to Major Junior, but those rumors proved unfounded.

“I think what surprised us the most over the past 12 months at Clarkson was Matt’s play on the power play and how he moved the puck so well for such a big man,” said Giguere. “He has a great shot and his skill at the college level was higher than what we expected when we drafted him one year ago.”

Said Nickerson, “To sign with Dallas is just a dream come true. Living here in the Metroplex for two years, I came to as many games as I could. Now just having the opportunity to work in the program and develop in this organization is absolutely phenomenal.

“I try and play a game that is similar to Derian Hatcher’s. He’s a big, physical defenseman who can play both the power play and the penalty kill. He does not back down to anybody and that is exactly the style I want to play one day in the NHL.”