April NCAA Report: Hobey Baker and College Prospects Signing Professional Contracts

by Josh Tessler on April 8, 2020
  • Feature Story
  • April NCAA Report: Hobey Baker and College Prospects Signing Professional Contracts

Photo Courtesy of https://www.inquirer.com

 

Normally, our April NCAA Report would be centered around the Frozen Four, but unfortunately, that is not the case. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA canceled every winter sport collegiate tournament including the Frozen Four and March Madness. For many seniors, this was their last shot to make a run at the Frozen Four and the end of the season will be bittersweet for them. 

 

While we do not have live games to watch, there still is plenty to talk about. In this month’s NCAA report, I will be focusing on the Hobey Baker Award, collegiate prospects (both undrafted and drafted) who have recently signed contracts with NHL clubs, and which 2020 and 2021 draft-eligible prospects will be playing college hockey next season. 

 

Hobey Baker Award

 

On Saturday night at 11 pm EST on ESPN’s SportsCenter, the Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced. The three finalists are Jordan Kawaguchi (University of North Dakota), Scott Perunovich (University of Minnesota Duluth, St. Louis Blues prospect) and Jeremy Swayman (University of Maine, Boston Bruins prospect). Kawaguchi is coming off of a stellar junior campaign in which he tallied 45 points in 33 games played. Perunovich mustered up a 40 point season in 34 games played. His efforts last season helped secure a National Title for the University of Minnesota-Duluth and he followed that up with a great campaign. Swayman was a brick wall in net for the University of Maine and managed to record a 2.07 GAA and a .939 SV%. If Swayman wins the Hobey Baker Award, he will be the first goaltender to win the award since Ryan Miller won the award in 2001.

 

Collegiate Players Who Signed With NHL Clubs

 

Once the collegiate season concluded, quite a few college hockey prospects signed entry-level contracts. Below, you can find a complete list of each college hockey signing. I have added each prospect’s pNHLe, so you can extrapolate each prospect’s points from college hockey play and project how many points they would earn at the NHL level. 

 

Alex Turcotte was selected 5th overall in the 2019 Draft by the Kings

 

In addition, several of these prospects have an asterisk next to their name, which means that they were an undrafted free agent. Every year, there a bunch of undrafted college players that end up signing professional contracts. In the past, several undrafted college players have made it to the NHL and had long careers. Unfortunately, it is far from a guarantee that undrafted college players will have a long NHL career, but anything is possible. Jeff Halpern, Chris Kunitz, Adam Oates, Martin St. Louis, Dan Boyle, John Madden, Tyler Bozak, Torey Krug, Nate Schmidt, Ty Conklin, Dwayne Roloson, and Curtis Joseph were able to pull it off. Do not write off these prospects. 

 

NHL Team

Player

Position

College/University

pNHLe

Boston

Jack Ahcan*

LHD

St. Cloud State University

40

Minnesota

Mitchell Chaffee*

RW

University of Massachusetts

42

New York Rangers

Patrick Khodorenko*

C

Michigan State University

42

Calgary

Connor Mackey*

LHD

Minnesota State University

21

Vancouver

Marc Michaelis*

LW/C

Minnesota State University

33

Pittsburgh

Drew O’Connor*

LW

Dartmouth College

43

Los Angeles

Alex Turcotte

C

University of Wisconsin

50

New York Rangers

K’Andre Miller

LHD 

University of Wisconsin

34

New York Rangers

Austin Rueschhoff*

RW

University of Western Michigan

30

Buffalo

Mattias Samuelsson

LHD

University of Western Michigan

35

Florida

Max Gildon

LHD

University of New Hampshire

57

Anaheim

Trevor Zegras

C

Boston University

64

St. Louis

Scott Perunovich

LHD

University of Minnesota Duluth

77

Anaheim

Jack Badini

C

Harvard University

17

Los Angeles

Tyler Madden

C

Northeastern University

70

San Jose

John Leonard

LW

University of Massachusetts

52

Chicago

Evan Barratt

C

Penn State University

47

Dallas

Jerad Rosburg*

LHD

Michigan State University

15

Pittsburgh 

Cameron Lee*

LHD

University of Western Michigan

39

Buffalo

Brandon Biro*

LW

Penn State University

42

Boston

Nick Wolff*

LHD

University of Minnesota Duluth

11

Nashville

Cole Smith*

LW

University of North Dakota

14

Vancouver

Will Lockwood*

RW

University of Michigan

31

Arizona

Nate Sucese* 

LW

Penn State University

27

St. Louis

Hugh McGing*

C

University of Western Michigan

48

Nashville

Patrick Harper

C

Boston University

53

Buffalo

Dawson DiPietro*

LW

University of Western Michigan

22

Philadelphia

Tanner Laczynski*

C

The Ohio State University

34

Carolina

David Cotton

C

Boston College

47

Carolina 

Jason Cotton*

C

Sacred Heart University

22

Florida

Alec Rauhauser*

LHD

Bowling Green State University

29

Philadelphia 

Wade Allison

RW

University of Western Michigan

38

San Jose

Brinson Pasichnuk*

LHD

Arizona State University

48

 

2020 & 2021 Draft Eligible Prospects Playing College Hockey Next Season

 

As I have mentioned in a previous prospect rambling, Prospect Ramblings: College Hockey Recruitment, the University of Michigan and Harvard University did an outstanding job in recruiting prospects. 

 

The University of Michigan managed to add Thomas Bordeleau (2020), Brendan Brisson (2020), Jacob Truscott (2020), Kent Johnson (2021) and Mackie Samoskevich (2021). In addition, more than likely the University of Michigan will have Cameron York (Philadelphia Flyers prospect) and John Beecher (Boston Bruins prospect) back in the lineup next season. With that being said, it should be a thrilling 2020-2021 season for fans in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

 

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University managed to land Sean Farrell (2020) and Matthew Beniers (2021). With Harvard losing Jack Badini to the Anaheim Ducks, Farrell and Beniers will provide the Crimson with some excellent offensive reinforcements. They will also fit rather nicely with the already lethal Harvard club that features Nicholas Abruzzese (Toronto Maple Leafs prospect), Henry Thrun (Anaheim Ducks prospect), John Farinacci (Arizona Coyotes prospect). Plus, the Crimson could potentially Jack Rathbone (Vancouver Canucks prospect back. Rathbone is undecided on whether or not he will sign his entry-level contract just yet. Per a report from Sportsnet, Rathbone will make his decision once the COVID-19 pandemic comes to a close.

 

Around the corner in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, Boston College recruited Eamon Powell (2020). The Boston College Eagles were an unstoppable force this past season. With a core of Spencer Knight (Florida Panthers prospect), Drew Helleson (Colorado Avalanche prospect), Marshall Warren (Minnesota Wild prospect), Alex Newhook (Colorado Avalanche prospect), Matthew Boldy (Minnesota Wild prospect) and Jack McBain (Carolina Hurricanes prospect), this group is nothing to sneeze at. The addition of Powell only makes the Eagles stronger on the blue line. Recently, our very own Tony Ferrari spoke about Powell’s development in his March NHL Draft Report: Where We Go From Here. Check out Ferrari’s write up on Powell to get more insight on what to expect from him.

 

New Los Angleles Kings’ prospect Tyler Madden of Northeastern University

 

Several other universities within the Hockey East conference were fairly active with their recruitment. With Boston University losing Trevor Zegras and Patrick Harper, the Terriers have brought Dylan Peterson (2020) to town. In addition, the Terriers added Drew Commesso (2020), who more than likely will take Sam Tucker’s spot in net. Their rivals on Huntington Avenue in Boston, Northeastern University added power forward Sam Colangelo (2020). With Northeastern losing Tyler Madden to the Los Angeles Kings, they certainly needed some offensive firepower and they found it in Colangelo. Just an hour and a half north from Northeastern, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) managed to bring Chicago Steel defenseman Luke Reid (2020) to Durham, New Hampshire. With Max Gildon signing his professional contract with the Florida Panthers, UNH needed to find a solid addition to their blue line and Reid fits the bill. Down the I-95 in Providence, Providence College recruited USNTDP forward Chase Yoder (2020). Providence College had plenty of contributors in the offensive zone last season as Tyce Thompson (New Jersey Devils prospect), Patrick Moynihan (New Jersey Devils prospect) and Jack Dugan (Vegas Golden Knights prospect), but you can always use more offensive talent. 

 

Not too far away from Providence, in Hamden, Connecticut, Quinnipiac University recruited USNTDP forward Ty Smilanic (2020). Smilanic is coming off of a 22 point season (34 games played) with the USNTDP and will join Rod Brind’Amour’s son Skyler Brind’Amour (Edmonton Oilers prospect) on the ice in Southern New England.

 

Out west, Carter Savoie (2020) has committed to the University of Denver and will be joining Mathias Emilio Pettersen (Calgary Flames prospect) and Bobby Brink (Philadelphia Flyers prospect) in the robust Denver offensive unit. Savoie tore up the AJHL this past season with 53 goals and 46 assists in 54 games for the Sherwood Park Crusaders. He will be a nice addition to the University of Denver.

 

Up north in St. Cloud, Minnesota, St. Cloud State University will have Finnish right-winger Veeti Miettinen (2020) in the lineup next season. St. Cloud has done a great job of the years in attracting overseas college hockey prospects. This past season, they had three European players including David Hrenak (Slovakia), Ondrej Trejbal (Czech Republic) and Jami Krannila (Finland). For next season, they managed to recruit both Miettinen and another Finnish prospect, Valtteri Piironen. Miettinen will hopefully feel right at home and no time with a few countrymen in the lineup. Recently, our very own Jokke Nevalainen interviewed Miettinen. If you would like to see a transcript, click on the link.

 

Tune In On Saturday And What’s Next

 

If you are a college hockey fan, you should tune in on Saturday night and find out who will take home the Hobey Baker Award. All three candidates had outstanding seasons and each truly deserves the award.

 

Aside from the Hobey Baker Award, summer is around the corner and the means that we are months out from the next college hockey season. But, time flies pretty fast and next season will be an exciting one.

 

Thanks for reading our April NCAA report. If you would like to follow Josh Tessler, his Twitter handle is @JoshTessler_.