New Jersey Devils NCAA Prospects: Season Preview

By Andrew Clark

Will Paul Martin and Matt DeMarchi led the Golden Gophers back to the promised land or will David Hale and Jason Ryznar make a run with their respective teams?
Its October and college pucks is getting under way. How will the Devils prospects fare?

David Hale, University of North Dakota, 6’2”, 225 pounds, Defense, Junior year.

Last Season’s stats: 34 games, 4 goals, 6 assists, 63 PIM

After two seasons with the Fighting Sioux, David Hale has proven to the Devils that they did not waste their first round selection on him and he continues to get stronger and more confident with every game. Last year was a difficult season for North Dakota, but they are more experienced, more mature and ready to make a run for the WCHA crown. Hale will be one of the men leading this charge as he enters his third season. Hale’s performance last season was very good, but he did not produce as much as he wanted. This Ed Jovanoski of the NCAA world will continue to use his brute force when needed, carry the puck during the transition game, and will be relied upon during the penalty kill when he is not in the box himself. Don’t expect him to put up more than 15 or twenty points, but do expect him to be one of the reasons why UND has a successful year.

James Massen, University of North Dakota, 6’2”, 220 pounds, Forward, Sophomore year.

Last Season’s stats: 34 games, 5 goals, 8 assists, 18 PIM

It took some time, but eventually James Massen proved to coach Dean Blais that he could be a regular in the line-up and contribute every game. He started his NCAA career a little slow, but in the end he finished his the season strong. Hopefully for this year, there will not be a sophomore jinx and young James will pick up where he left off and continue to develop his career. For the most part, Massen will see time on the third and fourth line and the occasional special teams assignment. UND has some highly recruited talent in charge of providing the offense and Coach Blais needs a proven, strong, reliable and hard working checking forward who can contribute occasionally on offense. Expect Massen to score about 10 goals and finish the season with 20-25 points on this highly explosive UND offense.

Paul Martin, University of Minnesota, 6’2”, 184 pounds, Defense, Junior year.

Last Season’s stats: 44 games, 8 goals, 30 assists, 22 PIM

With Jordan Leopold off to the professional ranks, the Golden Gophers will look to Paul Martin to be their #1 defensemen in their defense of the Frozen Four Championship. Martin had an excellent year last year by exceeding all expectations and doubling his points total from the previous year. The speedy and very mobile defensemen started off last season very fast, but showed signs of slowing as the competition got tougher and defenses got tighter. A late season injury to partner Judd Stevens didn’t help the situation. It seems Paul will be on the number one pairing with Keith Ballard this season and he will have a greater role as the anchor on power play situations since Leopold graduated. Martin is also expected to take on a greater leadership role as he was name assistant captain for the upcoming season. Expect Paul to be recognized for his efforts this season as he will post at least forty points, most coming on the power play.

Matt DeMarchi, University of Minnesota, 6’3”, 185 pounds, Defense, Senior year.

Last Season’s stats: 36 games, 3 goals, 8 assists, 112 PIM

After a slow start due to injuries, Matt began producing and contributing and helped the Gophers win the championship last season. Mostly paired with standout Jordan Leopold on the first line, Matt was the enforcer of the team as he cleared the front of the net and grinded it out along the boards and in the corners. Matt will take on the same role as last season and is considered the third best defensemen on the team. DeMarchi is on pace to become the all-time penalty minute leader in Minnesota history and more than likely, he will score at least 10 points on the season as the Gophers make a run for the title again.

Barry Tallackson, University of Minnesota, 6’4”, 200 pounds, Forward, Sophomore year.

Last Season’s stats: 44 games, 13 goals, 10 assists, 44 PIM

Barry Tallackson will be looked upon to pick up some of the offense lost as John Pohl and Jeff Taffe graduated this past May. Tallackson had an excellent stretch run into the playoffs as he tallied some jaw-dropping goals and caught the eyes of several NHL scouts. Barry is big, strong and knows how to use his hands and stick, especially in front of the net. Tallackson will take a another step towards establishing himself as a premier power forward in the WCHA and his team needs him to score at least 20 goals and post fifty points.

Jason Ryznar, University of Michigan, 6’3”, 205 pounds, Forward, Sophomore year.

Last Season’s stats: 39 games, 9 goals, 7 assists, 20 PIM

Jason is starting his sophomore season on this young and powerful Wolverine team that is expected to do very well this year. Jason is big and strong and plays the power forward game very well. He is one of five returning sophomores that are excepted to lead this team for the next couple of years. Ryznar will play a larger role this season and will be expected to produce. He should tally about thirty points this season, but it will be his game down low, in front of the net, and along the boards that will be watched.

Aaron Varos, University of Alaksa-Fairbanks, 6’4”, 190 pounds, Forward, Sophomore year.

Last Season’s stats: 37 games, 18 goals, 12 assists, 103 PIM

Aaron Varos had an excellent first season with the Nanooks of Alaska-Fairbanks. He was named to the CCHA All-Rookie squad last year as he led his team in goals (18) and +/- (19) and was fourth in total points. Varos plays a very smart, but physical and strong game. Aaron led the CCHA in penalty minutes last year and he needs to stay out of the box and avoid taking stupid penalties this upcoming season. Now that last year’s captain Bobby Andrews is gone, Varos is expected to pick up a leadership role and contribute more offensively. Aaron should tally about 25 goals and more than likely add to his penalty minute totals, but hopefully not as much as last year.

Kenny McGowan, Boston University, 6’2”, 210 pounds, Forward, Junior year.

Last Season’s stats: 37 games, 6 goals, 15 assists, 28 PIM

Kenny, with 21 points last season, including several multi-point games, more than tripled his freshman year totals and looks to add to this during his junior season. McGowan will be looked upon to add some offense to an improved Boston University team, although they lost a couple of talented forwards due to graduation. For the most part, Kenny will see action on the second and third lines and should post between 25 and 30 points this season as the Terriers compete in the Hockey East.