Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Former NCAA Players Trading NHL Places

Several former NCAA players recently changed NHL teams, or will be changing clubs in the near future.

Cam Atkinson (Boston College), a career-long Columbus Blue Jacket, was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers had previously traded Shayne Gostisbehere (Union) to the Arizona Coyotes. 

Jay Beagle (Alaska Anchorage) was part of a multi-player deal between his team, the Vancouver Canucks, and Arizona, while Duncan Keith (Michigan State), who helped the Chicago Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup titles, is now a member of the Edmonton Oilers.

Zach Parise (North Dakota) and Ryan Suter (Wisconsin) were bought out by the Minnesota Wild and will be seeking employment elsewhere. Zach Hyman (Michigan) is not returning to the Toronto Maple Leafs and will also become free agent.

In terms of staying put, Peter Stastny (Denver) inked a one-year deal to re-up with the the Winnipeg Jets, after Adam Gaudette (Northeastern) did the same with Chicago. Cale Makar (UMass) just signed a six-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche.

The NHL's free agency period begins tomorrow.

ADDENDUM: The Winnipeg Jets have acquired Nate Schmidt (Minnesota) from Vancouver.  

Friday, July 23, 2021

2021 NHL Draft First Round Filled with Collegians

The University of Michigan made history in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft tonight, with three current Wolverines taken among the first five selections in the virtually-conducted event.

Michigan defenseman Owen Power was chosen first overall to the Buffalo Sabres, while forward Matthew Beniers went next as the first-ever draft choice of the expansion Seattle Kraken. Wolverines center Kent Johnson was selected fifth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets, one spot after incoming Michigan defenseman Luke Quinn was tabbed by the New Jersey Devils.

Concerning other first round choices this year with NCAA ties, forward Tyler Boucher went 10th overall to the Ottawa Senators and is slated to attend Boston University. The Calgary Flames nabbed forward Matthew Coronato, who is committed to Harvard University, with the 13th overall selection, while the Winnipeg Jets took University of Minnesota incoming forward Chaz Lucius five picks later.

The Florida Panthers took forward Mackie Samoskevich, another Michigan commit, at 24th overall, while Columbus grabbed defenseman Corson Ceulemans,  a future University of Wisconsin skater, at 25th overall.

Rounds 2-7 of this year's NHL Draft will be conducted on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. ET (NHL Network).

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Former NCAA Players Taken by NHL's Kraken

Several former NCAA players were selected in last night's NHL Expansion Draft to help stock the league's newest club, the Seattle Kraken, who will begin play in October.

One player was chosen by Seattle from each of the 31 other NHL clubs, save for the Vegas Golden Knights, who only began play in 2017. Among the players taken by the Kraken were defensemen Gavin Bayreuther (St. Lawrence), Jamie Oleksiak (Northeastern) and Carson Soucy (Minnesota-Duluth), forwards Mason Appleton (Michigan State), Colin Blackwell (Harvard) and Brandon Tanev (Providence), and goaltender Joey Daccord (Arizona State).

Bayreuther, 27, skated for St. Lawrence from 2013 to 2017, where he recorded 35 goals and 76 points for 111 points over four seasons. He has three goals and three assists for six points in 28 NHL regular-season games with Dallas and Columbus.

Oleksiak, 28, played at Northeastern during the 2010-11 season, where he put up four goals and nine assists for 13 points with the Huskies before turning pro. He has registered 24-48—72 points in 369 NHL appearances with Dallas and Pittsburgh. and also helped Dallas to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.

Soucy, 26, played four years at UMD, where he collected 12-35—47 points in 147 NCAA contests, and also captained the Bulldogs to a national championship game berth as a senior in 2017.  In 108 career NHL games, he has put up 8-23—31 points, all with Minnesota.

Appleton, 25, played at Michigan State from 2015 to 2017, scoring 17 goals and adding 36 assists for 53 points over 72  games with the Spartans. He has 20-23—43 points in 138 NHL outings, all with Winnipeg.

Blackwell, 28, skated for Harvard from 2011 to 2015, collecting 19-39--58 points in 94 games for the Crimson. He has 15-17—32 points in 80 NHL appearances with Nashville and the New York Rangers.

Tanev, 29, a member of Providence's 2015 NCAA title team, tallied 35-42—77 points in 149 games with the Friars from 2012 to 2016. In 295 NHL contests with Winnipeg and Pittsburgh to date, he has scored 42 goals to go with 50 assists for 92 points.

Daccord, 24, who backstopped ASU to its first-ever NCAA tournament berth in 2019, posted a career record of 32-40-7 with 3.07 goals-against average and eight shutouts in three seasons with the Sun Devils, including a 21-13-1 mark and seven shutouts in his third and final campaign. He has gone 1-4-1 with a 3.50 GAA in nine NHL appearances, all with Ottawa.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Colton Powers Tampa Bay to Second Straight Stanley Cup Championship

Rookie forward Ross Colton (Vermont) wasn't part of the Tampa Bay Lightning's Stanley Cup championship last year in the bubble in Edmonton.

He keyed this one by scoring the only goal of the game tonight in Tampa Bay's 1-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game Five of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, at a sold-out Amalie Arena in Florida. The Lightning won the series, four games to one, to earn the third Stanley Cup crown in team history, the first coming in 2004.

Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (Wisconsin) assisted on Colton's goal, a re-direction directly in front of the Montreal net with 6:33 remaining in the second period. The Lightning become the first back-to-back Stanley Cup champs since Pittsburgh in 2016-2017, and just the second NHL club to do so since Detroit in 1997-1998.

Colton, 24, from Robbinsville, N.J., joined the Lightning this year after two seasons with Syracuse (AHL). He scored a goal in his NHL debut, and ultimately tallied nine goals and three assists for 12 points in 30 regular-season outings, before adding four goals and two assists for six points in 23 Stanley Cup Playoff contests. He played two NCAA seasons at the University of Vermont (2017, 2018), where he collected 28-2250 points in 69 career outings with the Catamounts.

Besides McDonagh and Colton, who became the first rookie to score a Stanley Cup winning goal since 2003, other members of this year's Lightning team with NCAA ties included Alex Killorn (Harvard), Blake Coleman (Miami), Curtis McElhinney (Colorado College) and assistant coach Jeff Halpern (Princeton).

Sunday, July 4, 2021

College Hockey Happenings 07-04-21


Jerry Keefe (Providence) has formerly taken over as the men's hockey head coach at Northeastern University. An assistant/associate coach with the Huskies since 2011, he succeeds Jim Madigan, who was elevated to athletic director.

Jay Pandolfo has been named an associate men's hockey coach at his alma mater, Boston University. The former Terriers and NHL forward, who won a national title at BU and two Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils, was an assistant coach with the Boston Bruins the last five years.

Finally, the men's branch of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, which was down to just two schools in Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Fairbanks following a mass exodus, has been formally disbanded after 70 years of play. It earned a host of accolades since 1951, including 37 NCAA national championships. The WCHA women's league will continue play.

Happy Independence Day!

ADDENDUMFormer New York Rangers assistant coach Greg Brown (Boston College) was recently named head coach of Dubuque (USHL).

Monday, June 28, 2021

2021 Stanley Cup Final Starts Tonight

The 2021 Stanley Cup Final begins tonight. Both teams feature former NCAA players, some of whom will be seeking their first NHL championship ring, while others will be looking to add to their collections.

Montreal Canadiens: Jeff Petry (Michigan State), Jake Evans (Notre Dame), Cole Caufield (Wisconsin), Cayden Primeau (Northeastern), Jon Merrill (Michigan).

Tampa Bay Lightning: Alex Killorn (Harvard), Blake Coleman (Miami), Ross Colton (Vermont), Ryan McDonagh (Wisconsin), Curtis McElhinney (Colorado College).

Montreal is in its first Stanley Cup final since winning the 1993 title, while Tampa Bay is the defending champion.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

UND's Hakstol to Coach NHL Seattle


The National Hockey League's new Seattle franchise has already gotten Kraken with the naming of former NCAA player and coach Dave Hakstol (North Dakota) as its first-ever head coach.

Hakstol, 52, spent the past two seasons as an NHL assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He served as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers from 2015 to 2018, with whom he fashioned a regular-season record of 134-101-42 while also earning two Stanley Cup Playoff berths.

Hakstol took the Flyers job immediately following 15 seasons coaching at his alma mater, all but four of those as head coach. He led North Dakota to 11 NCAA tournament appearances and seven Frozen Four berths, while also winning six regular-season or playoff championships in the old Western College Hockey Association, and one such crown in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. His career record at UND as head coach from 2004 to 2015, while claiming those aforementioned laurels, was 289-143-43 (.654).

Hakstol, who hails from Warburg, Alberta, skated on defense for UND from 1989 to 1992. In three seasons with the then-Fighting Sioux, the last two as team captain, he tallied 10 goals and 36 assists for 46 points to go with 191 penalty minutes. 

He played five seasons in the old International Hockey League before getting into coaching with Sioux City (USHL), serving four seasons (1996-2000) with the Musketeers before returning to UND. He also helped Team Canada to silver-medal finishes as an assistant coach at both the 2017 and 2019 World Championships.

The Seattle Kraken will begin play this fall as the 32nd and newest NHL club.