Erik Portillo staying with Michigan hockey rather than jumping to the NHL

It may be a summer of change for Michigan hockey, but the Wolverines will have one thing to stay the same: sophomore goaltender Erik Portillo will reportedly return for his junior season in Ann Arbor.

The 6-foot-6 Swede had the option to sign with the Buffalo Sabers, who drafted him in the third round (No. 67 overall), one spot after the Red Wings selected Swedish right win Albin Grewe. But Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports that Portillo is headed back to school. Portillo was the fifth goalie selected in his class. Two of those four taken ahead of him – Spencer Knight for the Panthers (No. 13 overall) and Mads Søgaard for the Senators (No. 37) – but the pick is looking better and better for the Sabers despite having to wait another year.

Michigan goaltender Erik Portillo looks to pass against Denver during the second period of the Frozen Four semifinal at the TD Garden in Boston on Thursday, April 7, 2022.

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Portillo started all 42 games for the Wolverines during the 2021-22 season, stopping 92.6% of the shots he faced with a 2.14 goals-against average for a 31.10-1 record with three shutouts. That included a four-game stretch during the Big Ten tournament in which he stopped 90 of the 95 shots he faced in leading UM to the conference title and an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. For his efforts, Portillo was named the Big Ten tourney’s Most Outstanding Player.

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