NCAA Prospects Notebook, March, 2016: Hobey Hat Trick finalists, end of season awards, and NHL signings

By DJ Powers

Ethan Prow - St. Cloud State University

Photo: Former St. Cloud State University defenseman Ethan Prow (C) capped off his NCAA career with three NCHC awards before signing his first pro contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins (courtesy of David Berding/Icon Sportswire)

 

Soucy bucking the trend

One non-graduating NHL prospect that has declined to turn pro this spring is University of Minnesota-Duluth junior defenseman Carson Soucy (MIN). The Irma, AB native recently announced that he would return for his senior season. Soucy is coming off an outstanding junior campaign, helping to guide the Bulldogs all the way to the Northeast Regional final in the NCAA Tournament. He finishes the season with 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 38 games. Soucy was one of the best defensive defensemen coming out of the NCHC this season who also provided some crucial secondary scoring from the blueline for Minnesota-Duluth.

Free agent feeding frenzy underway

In addition to drafted players being signed, the NHL has also scooped up a number of college hockey’s top free agents. The following are some of the notable signings.

Two of the most prized free agents already claimed are Minnesota State-Mankato junior defenseman Casey Nelson and Providence College senior winger Brandon Tanev.

Nelson signed with the Buffalo Sabres on Mar. 22nd. The Wisconsin Rapids, WI native was a key cog in the Mavericks run to grab a share of the WCHA regular season title. Nelson, the WCHA Defensive Player of the Year, led Minnesota State-Mankato in scoring by a defenseman with 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) in 40 games. He also led the team with a +14 rating. Nelson played in all situations, but really excelled on the Mavericks power play where two of his six goals were scored.

Tanev scored the National Championship-winning goal for the Friars last season and continued to be a force to be reckoned with this season, helping to guide Providence College to a share of the Hockey East regular season title. The speedy Toronto, ON native finished his final season co-leading the Friars with 15 goals and ranking fourth on the team with 38 points in 38 games.

Three of the best free agents recently signed by NHL teams have come from St. Cloud State University, with seniors Kalle Kossila and Ethan Prow, and junior netminder Charlie Lindgren all inking pro deals within the past week.

Kossila, who signed with the Anaheim Ducks on Mar. 30th, was one of the motors that drove the potent Huskies offense this season. The dynamic Kauniainen, Finland native led St. Cloud State with 54 points (14 goals, 40 assists) in 41 games and was named to the All-NCHC Second Team.

Prow, the NCHC Player, Defenseman and Defensive Defenseman of the Year, signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Mar. 29th. The Sauk Rapids, MN native is coming off a tremendous senior campaign where he currently leads the nation in scoring by a defenseman with 38 points (eight goals, 30 assists) in 37 games. Prow was one of the nation’s best defensemen in quarterbacking the power play this season, where six of his eight goals were scored. Among his many other accolades was the fact that he was the only defenseman named as one of the top 10 finalists for this year’s Hobey Baker Award.

Lindgren, a finalist for the Mike Richter Award, signed with the Montreal Canadiens on Mar. 30th. The Lakeville, MN native is coming off the best season of his collegiate career. Lindgren was one of the nation’s workhorses, starting in all 40 of St. Cloud State’s games this season. He finishes his final collegiate camapaign with a sparkling 30-9-1 record that includes five shutouts, earning the NCHC Goaltender of the Year honor. Lindgren’s 30 wins currently ranks second nationally while his .762 winning percentage ranks fourth.

Follow DJ Powers on Twitter via @DJPowersHF

 

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