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Future Watch: 11 under-the-radar NHL prospects who’re lighting up the NCAA

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The Vegas Golden Knights have solely taken half in three NHL drafts, in order that they haven’t had an enormous base to construct upon. However they’ve drafted successfully, and Windfall School’s Jack Dugan, a fifth-round choose in 2017 (142nd general) is beginning to turn into one of many group’s finest alternatives.
Via 22 video games, Dugan has recorded an unimaginable 34 assists and 41 factors, beating his freshman complete of 39 factors in 19 fewer video games. To place that in perspective, Johnny Gaudreau’s Hobey Baker season in 2013-14 is usually seen because the gold customary for a high-end NCAA prospect after producing 80 factors, together with 42 factors in 22 video games. Dugan has one fewer level in the identical span, and whereas Dugan is older than Gaudreau was, that’s nothing to sneeze at.
Dugan is having among the best seasons of any prospect on the earth this season, and he has performed so regardless of being far down the depth chart for the Golden Knights. That begs the query: who’re the very best under-the-radar prospects taking part in within the NCAA? Utilizing the factors of simply that includes gamers exterior the highest 5 in our group prospect rankings in our 2019-20 Yearbook challenge, right here’s a have a look at 10 extra having a unbelievable marketing campaign:
Tyce Thompson, RW (New Jersey)Few NCAA gamers this yr have been nearly as good as Thompson, a fourth-round choose in 2019 (96th general). At 20, the Windfall sophomore was handed over on the 2017 and 2018 drafts however has made groups look foolish with 33 factors in 22 video games to sit down second in NCAA scoring behind Dugan. Of the pair, Thompson has been the higher goal-scorer with 17 objectives in 22 video games, topping Northern Michigan’s Griffin Loughran by a purpose for the league lead. After 25 factors as a freshman, it was straightforward to write down Thompson off as a “meh” mid-level prospect, however his numbers are excellent for a participant at this stage of his growth. Perhaps the Devils have a future star on their arms, and at an unimaginable worth, too.
Michael Callahan, D (Arizona)Arizona already has a vibrant future on the blueline with Ty Emberson, Victor Soderstrom, Kyle Capobianco, Jakob Chychrun and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, however Callahan has thrown his hat within the ring with a robust NCAA marketing campaign. Callahan shortly blew previous his freshman complete of 10 factors in 41 video games with 21 in 22 video games this yr, marked by a gentle enhance in ice time and two-way tasks. Callahan is a fast skater with a very good wrist shot and may play aggressive when wanted. By way of cellular D-men, he’s close to the very best within the NCAA, however he may use at the least one other yr of college to refine his skills.
David Cotton, C (Carolina)It looks like perpetually in the past that the Hurricanes took Cotton within the sixth spherical again in 2015 (169th general), however he’s had a current offensive explosion at Boston School. Cotton has didn’t report some extent in simply three video games this season and has seven in his previous three video games, good for 24 factors in 16 video games to steer the college. Cotton does have the benefit of being an older participant and certain would have been a helpful participant with Charlotte within the AHL, however he selected to return for his senior season. That presents a slight challenge for the Hurricanes, who may lose Cotton – an enormous 6-foot-Three, 205-pound heart – as a UFA later this yr, so it’ll be attention-grabbing to see how he matches within the group’s long-term plans.
Tyler Wall, G (NY Rangers)Igor Shesterkin and Adam Huska have been pegged because the Rangers’ goaltenders of the longer term for a number of years now, however don’t ignore the recent play of Wall. A senior at UMass-Lowell, Wall has been one of many NCAA’s finest goaltenders with an 11-Three-Four report and two shutouts, a 1.69 goals-against common and .945 save proportion by means of 18 video games. This isn’t a complete shock after a unbelievable run final yr, however Wall has taken issues to an all-new stage in 2019-20. It’s going to take a third-party supply to stop him from taking part in within the AHL subsequent yr after proving he’s a top-end NCAA netminder.
Morgan Barron, C (NY Rangers)Barron’s youthful brother, Justin, is anticipated to be a first-round choose in June, however Morgan is taking part in some spectacular hockey himself. A 3rd-year heart at Cornell, Barron has 17 factors in 13 video games and he’s effectively on his option to beating his earlier better of 34 factors in 2018-19. Barron is a robust, 6-foot-2 ahead who can bodily dominate a shift and has improved his shot over time. Barron’s growth has taken a gentle curve upwards after going within the sixth spherical again in 2017 (174th general).
Max Gildon, D (Florida)After a few stable seasons on the College of New Hampshire, Gildon – a third-round choose by Florida in 2017 – has lastly emerged as an actual two-way menace and one able to taking part in top-four minutes within the NHL in the future. The third-year defenseman has 17 factors in 19 video games and can most definitely beat his earlier excessive of 23 as a freshman. Gildon has improved his play in his personal zone and isn’t as vulnerable to defensive lapses as he was in his early NCAA profession. Gildon is powerful, bodily and good with the puck and appears very mature already, so don’t be stunned if he indicators his entry-level contract as soon as the season concludes.
Brandon Kruse, LW (Vegas)Kruse was a part of Vegas’ second draft class in 2018 and the chances have been stacked in opposition to the fifth-round choose (135th general) standing at 5-foot-9 and 154 kilos. However Kruse has performed something however disappoint at Bowling Inexperienced, producing 20 factors in 22 video games after recording 41 in 41 a yr in the past. A member of the WCHA second all-star group in 2018-19, Kruse appeared to be far down the Golden Knights’ depth chart heading into the season however his confirmed capacity to provide stable numbers makes him a very good candidate for a contract post-school. Including some additional muscle will take his recreation to a brand new stage, however the manufacturing is clearly there.
Jeremy Swayman, G (Boston)Tuukka Rask is simply 32, so the Bruins are at the least one other 5 years away from needing to determine his substitute. Will or not it’s Swayman? He’s been one of many busiest goalies within the NCAA with 88 begins over the previous three years and he’s given the mid-pack Maine squad an opportunity with a 10-7-Four report with a 2.26 GAA and .936 SP. Swayman has preferrred measurement at 6-foot-2 and strikes fairly effectively, and in 5 years’ time, there’s an opportunity it’ll come right down to him and Kyle Keyser for the Bruins’ beginning position – however once you’re as constant as Swayman is within the NCAA, you possibly can’t low cost his potential as a starter.
Sam Hentges, C (Minnesota)The Wild’s prospect cabinet is sort of naked, however Hentges’ 22-point run in 18 video games has raised some eyebrows, particularly after recording simply 20 factors in 37 video games a yr in the past. Hentges needed to battle accidents prior to now that restricted his potential, however he’s a very good skater and whereas not flashy, he does the little issues effectively and that makes him a very good utility choice. His potential is probably going capped as a third-line heart, however his velocity and elevated offensive manufacturing have given his profession a bit of additional life.
Jakov Novak, LW (Ottawa)Ottawa has had a very good few years on the draft flooring, and Novak could possibly be one of many group’s hidden gems. A seventh-round choose in 2018 (188th general), Novak is an enormous 6-foot-Three winger with a rough-and-tumble taking part in fashion and you’ll at all times rely on him to be a menace across the web. Novak has 20 factors in 20 video games, together with three objectives prior to now two video games and has been Bentley College’s most useful participant from the get-go. Novak has grown into his huge body and has stepped his general recreation up a notch, so he is perhaps a viable bottom-six NHL choice sometime.
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Tags: NCAA, vegas golden knights, prospects, florida panthers, boston bruins, carolina hurricanes, arizona coyotes, new jersey devils, big apple rangersConnect: In regards to the AuthorSteven EllisSteven Ellis is a Digital Content material Producer for The Hockey Information. He spends his free time listening to music you would not like and watches obnoxiously-long motor races.

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