Top NHL Managers Play in the NCAA Tournament
Buffalo Sabers: Owen Power, D, Michigan; Devon Levi, G, Northeast
The Sabers have a baffling abundance in their prospect system and have some quality players in this league. That includes overall No. 1 pick Owen Power, who excelled in every aspect of the game when he was present. He competed in the world junior tournament and the Olympics, where he lost eight action matches. His numbers don’t jump off you, but he averages close to a point per game and outplays a lot every time he’s on the ice.
Meanwhile, I can’t write about Sabers prospects and don’t include Devon Levi. Acquired from Florida in the Sam Reinhart deal, Levi is currently having his best season by an NCAA goalkeeper since Ryan Miller won Hobey Baker in 2001. Levi has a crazy save rate of .952 in 31 games. , 10 saves and 1.52 goals Conceded Average. He’s a Hobey Baker top 10, and I personally think he should win the award, but I didn’t get the vote.
Other Sabers prospects: Ryan Johnson, Minnesota; Aaron Huglen, Minnesota; Matteo Costantini, North Dakota; Erik Portillo, Michigan
The Calgary Flame: Matt Coronato, RW, Harvard
After such a start to the season, Coronato played explosively towards the end of the season and is now Harvard’s top scorer with 35 points in 33 games, including 18 of the team’s best goals. Coronato scored the winning goal in extra time of the ECAC championship game to send Harvard into the NCAA. In 5 matches in the knockout round, Coronato has 10 points.
Other Flames Prospects: Jake Boltmann, Notre Dame
Carolina Hurricanes: Scott Morrow, D, UMass
One of the best performing defensive players in the country as a true freshman, Morrow has far exceeded pre-season expectations. He has 33 points, including 13 goals, ranking second for UMass in both categories. He has incredible skill but is still prone to making big mistakes that could cost his team. However, you have to say that the good has outweighed the bad in his rookie season.
Other hurricanes that look promising: Massimo Rizzo, Denver; Lucas Mercuri, UMass; Jake Kucharski, AIC
Chicago Blackhawks: Wyatt Kaiser, D, Chicago Blackhawks
Kaiser is one of the most polished young defensive athletes in college hockey. His mobility and sense of defense are top notch. Also, his move and attack know-how has come a long way in the past two years. He has 17 points in 32 games but has his insane minutes as UMD’s top defender.
Other Blackhawks prospects: Ryder Rolston, Notre Dame; Slava Demin, UMass; Connor Kelley, Minnesota Duluth
Colorado Avalanche: Sean Behrens, D, Denver
The Avs have ruled out two of their top defensive prospects but have managed to keep Behrens, who has really exploded this year. He has 28 points in 33 games as a freshman, has a strong playing time record and can play in any situation. He’s a good skater and senior puck athlete who can change shifts as needed.
Avalanche’s other prospects: Nick Lievermann, Notre Dame; Taylor Makar, UMassi
Columbus Blue Jacket: Kent Johnson, LW, Michigan
As one of the purest skilled players anywhere, Johnson has really improved in getting inside and making the most of his attack. Despite missing 10 games this season, he is fourth for Michigan with 35 points from 29 games. He’s probably the best player in college hockey and while he’s only got eight goals this season, he’s still a dangerous scoring threat.
Dallas Stars: Ben Brinkman, D, Minnesota
The All-Stars don’t have much of a top-university outlook, and neither is the defense they have in the league that is unlikely to be the NHLers. Still, Brinkman settled into a regular role on Minnesota’s loaded blueline and provided a physical element as a senior. He moves well and when he lowers the boom, it can be devastating.
Other rising stars: Jack Bar, Harvard
Detroit Red Wings: Carter Mazur, RW, Denver
Selected in the third round as a re-entry in the final draft, Mazur continued his strong play as a freshman at Denver. NCHC’s all-rookie selection has 35 points in 37 games and plays in all situations for the Pioneers. He has the good mix of pace, grit and skill to make him an exceptionally versatile top six striker for one of the nation’s top attacking teams.
Other Red Wings prospects: Shai Buium, Denver; Antti Tuomisto, Denver; Cooper Moore, North Dakota; Jack Adams, Notre Dame Cathedral; Kyle Aucoin, Harvard
Edmonton Oilers: Carter Savoie, LW, Denver
As one of the top goalscorers in college hockey over the past two seasons, Savoie is on the NCAA’s list of deadliest goalscorers alongside Bobby Brink and Cole Guttman. He has 20 goals and 42 points in 35 games this season. Savoie is a crafty player with good one-on-one skill, helping to open the ice for him.
Other oil prospects: Skylar Brind’Amour, Quinnipiac
Florida Panthers: Mackie Samoskevich, RW, Michigan
A lightning-fast striker with stellar skill, Samoskevich is eclipsed on the full list of Wolverines. He’s rumored to be a potential piece in the Claude Giroux trade, but Cats have latched on to the freshman and definitely have high hopes in him. He had 28 points in 37 games for Michigan this year. He’s gone down their roster but will likely play a huge role going forward.
Other Panthers Prospects: Michael Benning, Denver
Kings in Los Angeles: Brock Faber, D, Minnesota
One of the best purists in college hockey, Faber is a brilliant skater who is starting to find a little more of his offensive game as he progresses. He can change the course of a shift according to how he plays in his area and can raise the ice. There’s nothing flashy about Faber’s game, but everything he does works.
Other Promising Kings: David Hrenak, St. Cloud State; Andre Lee, UMass-Lowell; Ben Meehan, UMass-Lowell; Alex Laferriere, Harvard