Frozen Four Finalists standouts
We’re down to the final two in college hockey with the NCAA championship final going tonight. We’ll see Minnesota-Duluth facing off against Notre Dame. Both teams prevailed in thrilling semi-final matchups against Ohio State and Michigan. Here’s a look at some of the players that got their teams to the final four.
One of a number of Philadelphia Flyers draft selections excelling at the collegiate level, the 2016 sixth rounder is shaping up to be quite a steal for Ron Hextall & Co. A nearly point per game player with the Chicago Steel of the USHL, Laczynski has been an even better offensive threat in the college ranks. His freshman total of 32 points was tied for the fourth best mark by a first year player in the conference and came through in the clutch as many as any other Buckeye with a team high 3 game winning goals. Another year older and wiser, Laczynski has taken his game to another level leading Ohio State with 30 assists, 46 points, the 12th highest total in the league, and a team best mark of plus-19. Laczynki scored the only goal for the Buckeyes in a semi-final loss to the Bulldogs and now to watch begins as to whether or not he will sign a pro contract with the Flyers.
An undersized pivot, Jobst has enjoyed a productive college career during his three years on the Columbus campus producing at better than a point per game. The undrafted product out of Indiana, Jobst played four seasons with the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL, finishing his junior career with 88 points in 158 games. In his freshman year with the Buckeyes he registered a dozen goals and 18 assists to finish tied for third in the Big Ten in scoring by a first year player and earned conference All-Rookie Team honours. Year number two was a rousing success with Jobst leading the team in assists (36), points (55) and finished seventh in the nation in scoring. Not surprisingly he was named to the conference First All-Star Team. His junior year has seen his overall offensive number take a step back, but with greater team success. The first year captain set a new career high in goals with 21, although his point total dropped 21% to 43. No doubt Jobst doesn’t care one iota as Ohio State reached the Frozen Four for the first time in 20 years. It’ll be interesting to see if he gets a pro deal but has at least two factors working against him in his size (listed as 5-08) and age (24). But he’s proven he can score having massed the fourth most points, 98, in the NCAA over the past two years, to the point where some team might take a flyer on him.
I previously cover Marody in my Philadelphia Flyers focused column here but since then there has been an interesting development for the Michigan Wolverine. Marody paced the maize and blue in assists with 34 and points with 50 forming the lethal “Run DMC” line for Michigan consisting of himself, Tony Calderone and Dexter Dancs. The junior finished in the top 10 in the NCAA in both of these categories placing him third in the NCAA in assists and sixth in points and was named to the conference First All-Star team. The intriguing news came when Marody’s rights were traded by the Flyers to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a third round pick in 2019. A natural centre, it’ll be curious to see if that’s where the Oilers keep him or shift him to the wing. If it’s the latter he could make for a decent sleeper prospect with the possibility of him playing with any of McDavid, Draisaitl or RNH.
A mammoth specimen, it’s hard to miss Tufte on the ice with the combination of skating and skill he packs in his 6-06 frame. Since being made the 25th overall selection in the 2016 draft by the Dallas Stars there’s been some bad and some good to Tufte’s game. He had an underwhelming freshman year registering just nine goals and 16 points, not exactly numbers one would expect from a first round NHL pick and winner of the highly coveted title of “Mr. Hockey” in the state of Minnesota. Tufte’s bounced back in his sophomore campaign, leading the Bulldogs with 16 goals and finished third on the squad with 29 points. He suffered a knee on knee hit in the semi-final against Ohio State but he shook it off, only missing one shift and didn’t show any lingering effects the rest of the game. Regardless of what the outcome is tonight, another year in college wouldn’t be the worst thing for Tufte’s development but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Dallas lock him up.
Anderson made his presence known on the prospect scene with a standout freshman campaign in 2016-17, tallying nearly a point per game with 37 points in 39 games to finish tied for second on the team in scoring and tied for fifth in the NCAA among freshman skaters. Year number two saw him average 0.18 fewer points per game as he’s produced 27 in 35 contests but is second on the Bulldogs with a 0.77 average and leads the team in shots per game averaging 3.43. Anderson also served as the captain for the bronze medal winning team USA at the 2018 WJC where he amassed seven points in as many games. A New Jersey Devils pick, Anderson has all the makings of an effective middle-six winger at the NHL level but he’s probably still a couple of years away.
The Montréal Canadiens prospect has been a beast for the Fighting Irish all season. The senior, and first year captain, hovered around the top of the NCAA scoring leaders during the first half of the season but ended up falling off a little bit eventually finishing 16th in league scoring. He still wound up the season with the best campaign of his college career leading the Irish with 32 assists, 45 points, and his 13 goals tied a career high. Evans came through in a big way in the semi-final matchup against Michigan registering two goals and an assist, including the game winner with less than four second left in regulation. Look for the Habs to make a hard push to sign him in the coming days to prevent him from going to free agency.
A senior defenceman for Notre Dame, the 5-10 defender has proven to be a remarkably consistent producer during his time in South Bend. He’s amassed point totals of 28, 31, 32, and 30 in his four years on campus, leading the Irish defence in scoring the past three seasons and finished in the top-10 in defensive scoring nation-wide three out of his four seasons. Gross dished out two helpers against Michigan to help Notre Dame punch their ticket to the national championship game. An undrafted player with a good head for the game, he’s playing his way into a pro contract.
As always thanks for checking out this week’s edition of The Journey. Give me a follow on Twitter @BradHPhillips. Enjoy your weekend!
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