Cranbrook signs University of Maine commit Nick Peluso for 2022-23

The Cranbrook Bucks announced ahead of their 2022-23 season opener that they’ve added NCAA Division I University of Maine committed forward Nick Peluso to their current roster.

Peluso, a 2004-born product of Rochester, NY, joins the Bucks after spending the 2021-22 season with the United States Hockey League’s Muskegon Lumberjacks. In 39 games with the Jacks last season, Peluso contributed three goals and six assists for nine points. He gained another nine games of postseason experience during the USHL playoffs last spring.

The American-born import also played a handful of 18U AAA games with Bishop Kearney Selects a year ago, where he was teammates with current Bucks defender Jack Henry. During his time with Bishop Kearney Selects last year, Peluso tallied six goals and added 18 helpers for a productive total of 24 points in 21 contests.

Peluso really established himself as a high-end junior and college hockey prospect in the seasons prior to playing 18U AAA. He suited up for Bishop Kearney Selects 16U AAA squad in 2020-21, where he managed 15 goals and 19 assists for 34 points in 46 contests.

The season that really jumps out in Peluso’s young career is in 2019-20 with the Rochester Selects 15U AAA team. The emerging prospect scored 47 goals and added 48 helpers for 95 points in 71 games played.

In another 17 contests playing United States High School-New York hockey with Victor High that same year, Peluso added eight goals and 18 assists for 26 points. He contributed another three goals and three assists for six points in four playoff games with Victor High.

In the Bucks’ official news release announcing the addition, head coach and general manager Ryan Donald shared his excitement in bringing Peluso to Cranbrook.

“We are thrilled to be able to add a player of (Peluso)’s ability to our forward group,” said Donald. “We like that he brings speed, creativity, and offensive instincts to our forward group and will also bring a level of experience from his time in the USHL.”

“It’s always a challenging time of year with player movement around training camp,” Donald added. “(Peluso) was looking to find a place where he can be relied on offensively and put in situations to create for himself and his teammates. Our staff believes that he will be able to step into our lineup and be a solid contributor in all three zones.”

While the Bucks are thrilled to be adding a player of Peluso’s calibre, it did come at the expense of Carter Schmidt’s spot on the roster.

Schmidt was acquired from the West Kelowna Warriors in a trade deadline transaction last January. Following the trade, Schmidt played in 19 games with Cranbrook, contributing a pair of goals. He also played in all six postseason contests for the Bucks, in which he added an assist.

While Schmidt was a dependable player and a valued member of the team, he got caught in a numbers game within Cranbrook’s deep forward group.

Following Friday’s roster movement, the Bucks’ roster sits at 23 players — 13 forwards, eight defenders, and two goaltenders.