The Journey: NCAA Hockey Championships 2016

Kevin LeBlanc

2016-03-26

The Journey looks into the top NCAA prospects you should be watching over the next couple weeks.

 

Midwest Regional

 

Brock Boeser, Drake Caggiula & Nick Schmaltz – University of North Dakota

 

Known affectionately as the “CBS” line, Boeser (VAN, 23rd Overall – 2015) Schmaltz (CHI, 20th Overall – 2015) and Caggiula (UDFA) have scored 38% of North Dakota’s goals on the season, and have accounted for 36% of the team points.

 

Boeser is second among NCAA freshman in scoring behind only Michigan star Kyle Connor (more on him later), leading the Fighting Hawks in scoring with 51 points in 38 games. Schmaltz, one of the top prospects in the Blackhawks system, has followed up on his solid freshman season with an even better sophomore campaign. He has 32 assists on the season acting as the playmaker on the line. Caggiula will be one of the most sought after undrafted free agents once North Dakota’s season is complete. He has increased his point total in each of his four seasons in Grand Forks.

 

Kyle Connor, J.T. Compher & Tyler Motte – University of Michigan

 

The Wolverines are a team that boasts 12 drafted players. Three of those players make up the “CCM” line that has posted a whopping 183 points in 36 games. Led by Connor, the NCAA’s leading scorer, Michigan averages 4.89 goals per game, and scored an NCAA most 176 goals this season.

 

Connor will likely be a one and done, and could push for an NHL roster spot next year with Winnipeg. Compher, a junior has nothing left to prove in college hockey outside of an NCAA Championship, and no one would be surprised to see him start his professional career in the Avalanche organization after this year. Motte, although less highly touted then his linemates, has had a great season with 54 points in 36 games, and will need to make a decision on whether to return to Ann Arbor for his senior season.

 

Anders Bjork – University of Notre Dame

 

Of the six teams from Hockey East that made the NCAA Hockey Championships, the Fighting Irish were the lowest scoring. Bjork was one the teams two leading scorers, who along with Montreal prospect Jake Evans put up 33 points on the year. The former fifth round pick averaged near a point per game, with a third of those points coming on the power-play. On a team who only scored 113 goals, Bjork was a plus-27 on the season. The Fighting Irish are a team to watch for next season, as six of their top 10 scorers are either freshmen or sophomores.

 

 

Northeast Regional

 

Mark Jankowski & John Gilmour – Providence College

 

Both Calgary Flames draftees, Jankowski and Gilmour will be two of the most important players if Providence is to repeat in 2016. Jankowski is the Friars leading scorer, leading the team in both goals (15) and assists (25). The All-Hockey East First Team selection is a rare first round pick that decided to play out his full four-year college career.

 

Gilmour has been a valuable cog in the Prov