One last major event hockey fans have to look forward to before this dumpster fire of a year is over is the World Juniors. In the meantime, college hockey has resumed in a somewhat limited capacity. Some teams have been playing since before Thanksgiving, while others won’t start until the New Year. For some of the World Juniors players, this means they’ll have had a month’s warm-up leading into the tournament in Edmonton.
There are plenty of collegiate players on the USA roster, as well as a couple on the Canadian roster. What’s exciting for a New England college hockey fan is the amount of Hockey East representation. With 8 players playing for the USA, and 2 for Canada, Hockey East has the highest number of players represented (tied with Big Ten, technically).
Trevor Zegras signed an entry-level contract with the Ducks in March, but his last minutes played were for the BU Terriers. He’s a two-way center who’s shown enough talent to be drafted 9th overall in 2019. He had 36 points in 33 games with BU, 11 of those being goals. He’s a player that can get under your skin while also producing points.
Sam Colangelo is scheduled to make his NCAA debut tonight at 6 against Merrimack. Last year he played for the Chicago Steel in the USHL. He had 58 points in 44 games, those points being 28 goals and 30 assists. He was drafted 36th overall this year by the Ducks. He’s a winger but knows how to drop back to help his teammates.
Devon Levi is our first Canadian of the bunch. One of four goaltenders currently on the Northeastern roster, it may be a while before we see what he can do in the NCAA. Before Northeastern, he played in Canada for the Carleton Place Canadians in the CCHL. He’s a decent prospect for the Panthers (one of many, though), but is likely to be back up in the World Juniors this year to Dylan Garand (WHL Kamloops Blazers).
Cam McDonald is a defensive defenseman who came out of the USHL. He played for the Friars last season, having 6 points in 34 games. All 3 goals last season were game-winners. While he may be a defensive-minded guy, he clearly knows when to turn on the offense.
Patrick Moynihan was a product of the USDP when he started with Providence last year. A versatile centerman, he had 21 points in 34 games last season. He has a wicked shot and is reliable both on offense and defense. He was drafted 158th overall in 2019 by the Devils.
Another USDP product, Brett Berard has only played 2 games with the Friars. He’s an undersized player who was great offensively in the Development Program. He had 34 points in 41 games last year. He was drafted 134th overall by the Rangers.
Alex Newhook is the second Canadian from Hockey East. Touted as an amazing skater, he’s an offensively successful centerman. Last season, he scored 42 points in 34 games for the Eagles. Before college, he was a huge fish in the small BCHL pond, where he scored 102 points in 53 games in the 2018-19 season. He was drafted 16th overall in 2019 by the Avalanche.
Drew Helleson is a very defensive-defenseman. He knows his job and sticks to it, rarely deviating. He had 6 points in 28 games last year, 5 of those being assists, and in only 4 games so far this year has 3 points. Helleson was drafted 47th overall in 2019, also by the Avalanche.
Matt Boldy is a winger with a wicked shot. He had 26 points in 34 games last season with BC and is already at 8 points in 4 games this season. He’s not the best skater, but makes up for it with his quick thinking and shot power. He was drafted 12th overall in 2019 by the Wild.
Perhaps the crown jewel of the USA roster is Spencer Knight. He’s been on the radar since before his draft in 2019 as one of the most promising young goalies born after 2000. (He’s also one of the most promising players to come out of Connecticut, maybe ever.) He was in the USDP for two years, averaging about a .900 save percentage both years. In his freshman year at BC, he started 33 games, averaged a .931 save percentage, and his season landed at 23-2-8. This year, Knight already has 2 shutouts in 4 games (almost halfway to last years’ 5) and hasn’t lost one yet. He was drafted 13th overall in the 2019 draft by the Panthers.
Exciting Times for College Hockey
With the number of players who opt to play in the CHL rather than in the NCAA, it’s pretty exciting to see so many collegiate players on World Junior rosters. While this is only Hockey East players specifically, there are only 3 players on the US roster currently playing in Canada, and 1 playing in Germany. What that means is that there is a lot of quality talent in the NCAA right now. It really sucks that we can’t see college games in person right now because now is the time to see all of these players develop into talent worthy of the NHL. I guess, for now, we’ll have to suck it up and watch Hockey East on NESN until the World Juniors start.
-Heidi Thomas (@DamselOnDrums)
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