With the winter turning to spring, the season of the traditional NCAA Tournament begins south of Border Roll and the teams compete for the national championship.
This year’s edition of the men’s hockey Frozen Four will be held April 7-9 in Boston. The four traditional powerhouse programs (Michigan, Denver, Minnesota State and Minnesota) will remain stable and one of these teams will win in less than two weeks. From now on.
At the end of the tournament we will see some big names start signing with the NHL team who hold their rights.
I look forward to seeing Wayne Power (Michigan, Buffalo’s first overall pick in 2021) A Sabers uniform to come next fall.
What about Matty Beniers (Michigan, Seattle’s second overall pick in 2021) and his 20 goals and 43 points in 36 games? Will he start his NHL career in October wearing a kraken jersey?
Will Bobby Brink (Denver, 34)M Philadelphia overall in 2019) made his way east of the Flyers after his junior season where he scored 56 points in 39 games?
Traditionally this is the time of year when NHL clubs actively sign NCAA players which they have chosen to draft. In addition, the most lucrative college of all time has a heated competition to freely ink free agents.
Over the course of the 2022 NHL trade we have seen that a number of high-performing college prospect rights have been traded in Arizona Coyotes.
Jack McBain was originally drafted by Minnesota Wild in the third round of the 2018 draft. He told Wilde that he had no interest in signing a contract with the team, so they had no choice but to try and recover some of the assets. GM Bill Guerin and his staff have done well. The comeback turned out to be a second-round pick for McBain, which Arizona acquired from Vancouver last summer in the Oliver Ekman-Larson / Connor Garland deal.
Arizona also acquired fourth-round draft pick Nathan Smith from the Winnipeg Jets when the player informed Winnipeg that he would not sign with the club.
These are just a few examples of the risks involved in selecting players outside of college. These situations do not happen with every player, though, and most previously drafted college players chose to sign with their chosen team.
This week we saw some NCAA signatures from Canadian parties, including the Montreal Canadians, the Ottawa Senator and the Toronto Maple Leaf, who are signing these possibilities outside of college rankings. Jake Sanderson on the way to senators, Jordan Harris Canadian and Nick Abruzzi from Maple Leafs.
Here’s how these three players project and what they can bring to the NHL immediately.
Jake Sanderson, Ottawa
Important: 6-foot-2, 195 lbs., Left shot, d
NHL draft: Ottawa Senator (fifth overall, 2020)
I’m not sure I have enough space in this place to describe the kind of players senators are adding to their list of talented young players.
Sanderson has a better, and perhaps better, chance than Thomas Chabot. Ottawa Chabot signed for the 2027-28 season with an AAV of $ 8 million, and has now added another elite, franchise defenseman to their list.
A complete player. He has the fitness and ability to log more than 25 minutes per game in all situations. Those who are not familiar with her will quickly recognize her outstanding skating abilities. He is fast, agile, and quick to change. Avoiding stress is not a problem for Jack. He can spin off the forecourt and lead the crowd on his own, or distribute and join as an extra level.
He will produce in the power play and will also be called to the main defensive zone situation. He also possesses a tidy physical element. It is better not to sleep on it when opponents enter its alley.
All players experience growing pain as they enter the world’s top leagues, but especially the members of the defense. I hope his learning curve No. To be a steep one, senators need to be excited about his future.
Note: Sanderson is currently recovering from a hand injury that will keep him out of the lineup for now, but is not considered serious.
Jordan Harris, Montreal
Important: 5-foot-11, 179 lbs., Left shot, d
NHL draft: Montreal Canadian (3rd round, 71st overall, 2018)
Each NHL team must make a mid-round pick to fill their organizational depth chart, and Harris is a player who has the opportunity to be a regular (on time) NHL as a third-round pick.
Harris was the captain of the Northeast. He bleeds the character and gives nothing less than what he has every night.
He was used to all situations at the college level (more than 27 minutes per night), but he would not be a candidate to run PP for Habs. Find Harris, finally, become a two-way defender who can slot into the same kind of role that recently departed Brett Kulak was playing.
In PK he spins well, goes into the shooting lane and has an active stick.
He packs responsibly and makes the right decisions with the outlets. Small area space makes its jump difficult. He’s not exceptionally fast in the open ice, so it’ll take him a while to adjust to the pace of the NHL game.
As such, he will be challenged by some of the largest NHL-level organizations.
Although I will not bet on this kid. He is going to give whatever he gets to become an NHL player.
Nick Abruzges, Toronto
Important: 5-foot-10, 174 lbs, left shot forward
NHL draft: Toronto Maple Leafs (4th round, 124th overall, 2019)
As mentioned earlier, mid-round selections are vital to becoming part of your organizational depth. Abruzzi will be in the vicinity of the NHL team and will probably be in game action with Marlis before landing at AHL. She needs more time to develop and add “pro power” to her frame.
A leader at Harvard, he plays heavy minutes with equal strength and power play. Most of his goals came with extra man. Don’t look for Nick to contribute to PK at the next level.
In this forum, my goal is to be open and honest with my player evaluations. That being said, this is a player I don’t project to move the needle immediately at the NHL level.
A good skater, but not a burner on open ice. It has a small / light frame and will be challenged by the size and weight of the pro game.
Its component is its playmaking ability (equal part shooter and distributor) in power play. He values open space and can pick up opponents outside the perimeter. Although he’s not a “heavy” player with the board he has a quick stick and will make plays in positive small areas.
Abruzzese is not a sure thing. It takes time to integrate at the pro level. Having said that, we are talking about a person of character and an organization that has resources and development teams to assist in its process. Time will tell.
Ryan Fanti, Edmonton
Important: 6-foot-3, 195 lbs
NHL draft: N / A (Free Agent Signature)
Eulers picks a strong possibility among the pipes who are a little more mature than the other young goalie who enter the system around the league.
The 22-year-old Thunder Bay native is coming up with an outstanding season in Minnesota-Duluth. His record (20-12-4) is easily trivialized by his impressive statistics line (1.83 GAA, .929 SV%).
Active and athletic is a good size goalkeeper. His style reminds me of King Jonathan Quick. Fanti goes under the ice to save by tightening. From a distance he tracked the play very well and squared up.
He has quick pads and doesn’t leave on a twist. It is routine for him to make second and third stops if necessary. But, the reason he has been given the responsibility to save multiple is because of his rebound control. This is an area that needs to be improved at the pro level.
He plays very well. Long-range outlets accurately move from his rod (when opponents change).
He is going to Bakersfield in an “ATO”. His two-year contract will begin early next season. Find Fanti to challenge for a spot on the Oilers roster next fall. A really good signature for Edmonton.