Photo Courtesy of the Wisconsin Badgers
The NHL draft is always flooded with talent from multiple different leagues around the world. This year, prospects from the NCAA haven’t had much of the spotlight. While the National Collegiate league hasn’t produced the biggest name prospects this year, there are a few names that have the potential to be very solid picks for any team that takes them. A few to keep an eye on are, the number one ranked college prospect, Dylan Holloway from the University of Wisconsin, Yan Kuznetsov from the University of Connecticut, Parker Ford from Providence College, and Zach Uens from Merrimack University.
Let’s take an in-depth look at these players:
Dylan Holloway: Forward for the University Of Wisconsin.
Holloway is a projected first-round pick in the 2020 NHL draft. He made a strong impression during his first year as a freshman, scoring eight goals and adding nine assists for 17 points in 35 games. Holloway is a two-way versatile player who can play both center or wing. He has offensive upside but can also play a physical role. Holloway has the potential to be a top-six winger in the NHL.
He is described as a complete forward with good vision and decision-making abilities. He is an excellent playmaker and does a great job at feeding the puck to teammates, especially off the backhand. Not to mention, he is also a solid skater. He maintains good acceleration and has outstanding straight-line speed. He is strong with the puck on his stick and likes to make it hard for the opposition. His skating and physical abilities allow him to go hard in the dirty areas as well as crashing the net. Holloway also has a very good shot with a quick release.
Yan Kuznetsov: Defenseman for the University of Connecticut
Yan Kuznetsov is in the midst of his second year playing in North America. During his first year, he played with the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede, where he put up four points in 34 games. This season, Kuznetsov played with UConn of the NCAA, where he scored two goals and added nine assists for 11 points in 34 games.
He is a mobile and physical defenseman who possesses solid skating abilities, and likes to use his 6’3” frame to his advantage. While his offensive game is still growing, he has smooth hands and likes to jump up on the play. His defensive game is strong and he always has an active stick. He combines his body plus skating to create turnovers and break up plays. Kuznetsov works very well on the penalty kill and does a good job of getting the puck out of the zone. He is strong in front of the net and likes to use his big frame to knock players off their feet.
Parker Ford: Center for Providence College
Before playing in the NCAA, he played two seasons in the USHL. In 107 games with the Sioux City Musketeers, he scored 27 goals and added 38 assists for 65 total points. This year, Ford played in his first collegiate season with Providence College. He scored nine goals and added 13 assists for 22 points in 31 games while leading his team in plus/minus with plus-14.
He is a small center with good speed and high-end puck skills. Ford works hard in all three zones and brings a strong two-way game, as well as a high motor. He is a fast player with fantastic hands who likes to dangle through the defense. Ford also had a very good shot with a quick release. The 5’10” center is not afraid to get physical. He is strong along the wall and does well at digging the puck out of danger. He can work well on the penalty kill with his physical presence.
Zach Uens: Defenseman for Merrimack University
An overage player who was passed over in last year’s draft, Uens has improved his game and is now catching scouts’ eyes. This year with Merrimack, he scored four goals and added 14 assists for 18 points in 34 games.
Uens is an elite skater who possesses strong puck-moving skills. He has a high hockey IQ and does well to set up teammates. Uens also brings a strong two-way game and likes to get physical. He is also capable of being a great leader on a team, as he will do anything to help his team win.
A notable mention is LW Michael Gildon, an overage player, who plays for Ohio State University. Gildon is a great player who brings a dangerous net-front presence. Other than that most NCAA players eligible are overagers, who still have a chance at being drafted.
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