The bigger prospects in the Nashville Predators system, Adam Hall (6’3″), Dan Hamhuis (6’1″), Brian Finley (6’4″) and Andrew Hutchinson (6’2″) are all prominent names in the Preds future. There is, however, a saying that good things come in small packages, an adage that is personified in the form of another Nashville prospect, and University of New Hampshire star, Darren Haydar.
The hockey gods have certainly smiled on the University of New Hampshire Wildcats this season. The #1 team in NCAA Division I hockey boasted an often times unstoppable offense, as well as two senior goaltenders that have played very well. Next week, UNH will make an appearance as one of the finalists in the NCAA’s Frozen Four hockey tournament, where they will open against the Maine Black Bears in a rematch of the Hockey East championship game. UNH won that previous confrontation, 3-1.
Perhaps the main reason for New Hampshire’s success this season is their leading scorer, vocal leader and captain, Darren Haydar. Haydar (22, 5’9″, 165 lbs.), who wears #20 for the Wildcats, is the leading scorer in the nation. In 39 games so far this season, the Milton, ON native has 31 goals and 43 assists for 74 points, an offensive explosion that comes on the heels of back-to-back 41-point seasons. His breakout season has not gone unnoticed, as he is a finalist (and favorite) for the Hobey Baker Award, the most prestigious award given in the collegiate ranks.
Haydar is an original draft choice of the Nashville Predators, having been selected in the 9th round, 248th overall, in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. Though undersized, especially by the standards of the National Hockey League, Haydar makes up for his lack of size with his strong work ethic and above-average speed. He is known as one of the smartest players in the college ranks, a trait that shows in his knack for being in the right place at the right time. Haydar’s speed and smarts allow him to spot holes in the defense, which has put him in a position to score several big goals for UNH this season.
Haydar is in his final season as a member of the Wildcat hockey team. He has been a big part of that program, serving as their leading scorer and captain this season, and he has a good shot at leading UNH to a NCAA championship. Though his college career is closing fast, he still has his best years of hockey ahead of him.
- Two More New Faces …
- Richard Lintner was also dealt at the trading deadline. Lintner was sent to the New York Rangers for defenseman Peter Smrek, 23.
- Jukka Hentunen was acquired from the Calgary Flames for a conditional 2003 draft choice.
- The Predators gave their fans a further look at the future by recalling forward Jonas Andersson from the Milwaukee Admirals on Mar. 19. Jonas, a winger with some size and quickness, had registered 28 points (12G, 16A) in 65 games for the Admirals so far this season.