The College Cup
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🚨What. A. Finish: Check out Nikita Kucherov’s goal last night with 7 seconds remaining in the 3rd period, giving the Tampa Bay Lightning a 2-1 win to go with a 2-1 series lead.
The College Cup
What’s Happening: NHL rosters are filled with more and more college hockey alumni each year, and the 2020 playoffs include more than ever before.
Tell Me More: The 24 NHL playoff teams featured 218 players from 43 colleges. The Star Tribune’s Randy Johnson writes, “The University of Minnesota had a league-high 17 alums in the playoffs, with Boston University (16), Michigan (15) and North Dakota and Boston College (14) right behind. The Pittsburgh Penguins led NHL teams with 18 college players on their roster, three more than the Wild, the next-closest team.”
And players aren’t simply on the roster. They’re making a difference. “Two of the most dynamic players in the first two round of the playoffs were rookie defensemen Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks and Makar of the Colorado Avalanche. Both play with speed and skill rather than beef and braun. Hughes, 20, who played two years at Michigan, ranks second among NHL defenseman with 16 points in the playoffs. Makar, 21, who played two years at Massachusetts, had 15 points in the postseason.”
And There’s This: The NHL’s final four also features several NCAA alumni. “The four teams remaining in the playoffs are relying on NCAA talent. The Islanders have six collegiate players, including a trio of Minnesotans playing prominent roles – forwards Lee (Edina and Notre Dame) and Brock Nelson (Warroad and North Dakota) and defenseman Nick Leddy (Eden Prairie and the Gophers).
The Bottom Line: College hockey players are more important to NHL teams than ever before. But why is this happening? Weigh in by commenting above, and be sure to check out our discussion on the choice between playing in the NCAA vs. the CHL.