March is upon us, and that means that the road to the Frozen Four is officially started, with Conference tournaments underway, each wrapping up on March 18th. This year’s Frozen Four will take place in Tampa Bay on April sixth and eighth.
Before diving into some of the players leading the charge in collegiate hockey for their respective clubs, a couple of notable trades took place prior to the trade deadline, involving two unsigned free agents. Each of the two players’ signing rights were set to expire during this upcoming Summer, if not signed by the NHL clubs that drafted them.
The Los Angeles Kings acquired goaltender Erik Portillo from the Buffalo Sabres for a 2023 third- round pick. Portillo, currently playing for the University of Michigan, has posted a 21-10-2 record with a 3.09 GAA and a .907 save percentage. With this trade, Buffalo clears the path for fellow goalie prospect Devon Levi, currently with Northeastern University.
The San Jose Sharks traded a 2024 third- round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for left- handed defenseman Henry Thrun, currently playing for Harvard University. This year for the Crimson, the lefty has posted five goals and 21 assists in 28 games played. Thrun undoubtedly noticed the crowded defense pipeline in Anaheim, with plenty of strong young players and prospects, including 2020 sixth overall pick Jamie Drysdale, and a few other highly touted draft picks, including Pavel Mintyukov, Olen Zellweger, Jackson LaCombe and Drew Helleson, among others.
The Hobey Baker finalists are set to be announced on March 15th, followed by the winner being announced on April 7th. In the meantime, let’s take a look at the updated top ten stats leaders in the NCAA this season (Goals- Assists- Total points), along with their draft status:
- Adam Fantilli, Michigan: the projected top- three pick in the 2023 NHL draft has posted 25-31-56 in 31 games played as a Freshman for the Wolverines
- Collin Graf, Quinnipiac: the undrafted free agent has compiled 19-30-49 in 34 games played for the Bobcats, and has garnered plenty of interest from NHL clubs
- Logan Cooley, Minnesota: the Arizona Coyotes draft pick, number three overall in 2022, has put up 16-32-48 in 33 games played for the Gophers
- Jimmy Snuggerud, Minnesota: the St. Louis Blues draftee has been Cooley’s partner in crime this season, posting 20-27-47 in 34 games played
- Sean Farrell, Harvard: the Montreal Canadiens pick has gathered 18-29-47 in 29 games played for the Crimson
- Massimo Rizzo, Denver: the Carolina Hurricanes prospect has compiled 17-29-46 in 36 games played for the Pioneers
- Jason Polin, Western Michigan: the undrafted free agent Polin has scored 29-16-45 in 36 games played for the Broncos
- Ryan McAllister, Western Michigan: McAllister, like his teammate Polin, is an undrafted free agent, and has posted 11-34-45 in 36 games played this season. He and Polin have both caught the eye of NHL scouts with their strong play
- Austen Swankler, Bowling Green: another undrafted free agent, Swankler has put up 19-25-44 in 35 games played this season
- Frank Ireland, Stonehill: Ireland, undrafted, has gathered 17-27-44 in 25 games played
As for the goalies, here are your Semi-Finalists for the Mike Richter Award, given annually to the NCAA’s top goaltender, in alphabetical order (Wins- Losses- Ties):
- Ryan Bischel, Notre Dame: the undrafted free agent is 16-16-4, with five shutouts, a 2.39 GAA and a .931 save percentage for the Fighting Irish
- Magnus Chrona, Denver: the San Jose Sharks prospect is 22-7-0, with four shutouts, a 2.22 GAA and a .914 save percentage for the Pioneers
- Justen Close, Minnesota: the undrafted free agent is 22-8-1, with six shutouts, a 1.99 GAA and a .928 save percentage for the Gophers
- Jakub Dobes, Ohio State: the Montreal Canadiens prospect is 20-14-3, with three shutouts, a 2.25 GAA and a .920 save percentage for the Buckeyes
- Mitchell Gibson, Harvard: the Washington Capitals prospect is 15-5-2, with two shutouts, a 2.19 GAA and a .920 save percentage for the Crimson
- Devon Levi, Northeastern: the aforementioned Sabres prospect is 17-11-5, with six shutouts, a 2.25 GAA and a .932 save percentage for the Huskies
- Victor Ostman, Maine: the undrafted free agent is 14-12-4, with five shutouts, a 2.21 GAA and a .918 save percentage for the Black Bears
- Yaniv Perets, Quinnipiac: the undrafted free agent is 28-3-3, with eight shutouts, a 1.55 GAA and a .927 save percentage for the Bobcats
- Blake Pietila, Michigan Tech: last but not least, the undrafted Pietila has gone 23-9-3, with 10 shutouts, a 1.96 GAA and a .931 save percentage
* All stats accurate as of March 9th
That’s it for this month, thank you for reading!