The NCAA men’s hockey preseason has started and fans have gotten a glimpse at what they can expect to see from the newest additions to the league. Every year, the NCAA introduces highly skilled prospects to the league and this year is no different.
Many prospects who were drafted at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft will be playing their hockey in the NCAA this season and will have all eyes focused on them this season as they look to take their games to the next level. 49 Sports takes a look at of some of the most exciting rookies to watch out for in the NCAA during the 2019-2020 season as opening night looms closer.
Cole Caufield ( Montreal Canadiens 2019 first rounder)
The record-breaking sniper has made quite the impression already in the preseason. Scoring an abundance of goals including a hat trick against the University Of British Columbia has seen his name being thrown around everywhere as the excitement grows to see how many goals he can score in his rookie season.
The University of Wisconsin Badgers rookie has found success at finding the back of the net at every level. So far, the preseason has been no different but as the regular season looms closer he will face his toughest task yet. He excelled scoring adjacent NCAA competition during the 2018-2019 season for the United States Development Program (USDP) and he will look to build off of that this season for the Badgers. If he can continue to score at the pace that he is surely capable of, then he will be a player you will not want to miss this season.
Spencer Knight (Florida Panthers 2019 first rounder)
The 13th Overall selection at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft by the Florida Panthers has been labeled one of the best goaltender prospects in years. Many scouts believe that he is the most athletic American goaltender since Jonathan Quick and will surely be a star in the NHL.
This season Knight will take the next steps in his development playing in the NCAA with Boston College. With goaltender Joseph Woll leaving the school for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, Knight has a chance to steal the starting goaltender job and backstop the longtime league powerhouse to glory once again.
Alex Newhook (Colorado Avalanche 2019 first rounder)
The BCHL’s most valuable player is coming to the NCAA. Newhook joins a strong rookie class for Boston College and surely has a lot to offer. He dominated the BCHL in both of his two seasons. In a combined 98 games, Newhook recorded 60 goals and added 108 assists for 168 points which is a PPG% of 1.71. Newhook has a lot to offer for Boston College as he brings superb speed and an excellent hockey IQ to the team. The Newfoundlander is a player that you must keep an eye on this season. Although he was the best player in the BCHL last season, it will be interesting to see how his production translates to the NCAA. Many players such as Tyson Jost have succeeded in finding success at the next level from the BCHL, but others have not had much luck. Newhook has shown all of the indications that he will not have a hard time making the jump to the NCAA, but with prospects, it is never an exact science.
Dylan Holloway (2020 Draft Eligible)
The 2019-2020 season will be the biggest and most important season of Dylan Holloway’s young career. He is joining the Wisconsin Badgers as the league’s second-youngest player only behind Yan Kuznetsov and is already widely considered to be a first-round pick in the upcoming 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Holloway spent the 2018-2019 season playing for the Okotoks Oilers Of The AJHL. Holloway excelled for the Oilers last season, putting up 88 points in 53 games and was named as the league’s Most Valuable Player.
As a young draft-eligible player heading into the NCAA, it is important not to expect too much from Holloway. While it is unlikely that he puts up points at a point per game pace, it is not out of the question to see him put up about 15+ points. He certainly has the skill set to do so and on a highly talented and young Wisconsin Badgers team, there is no reason why he can’t do so.
Jayden Struble (Montreal Canadiens)
The second Montreal Canadiens prospect on this list is Jayden Struble. Struble is a highly interesting prospect to watch out for this season. His athleticism is on an elite level already and he has shown flashes of tremendous potential. This season, he is heading to the NCAA which is a major step up from his current league the USHS-Prep. Struble possesses all of the intangibles that you want in a defender. he is a smooth skater, solid puck mover with great hockey IQ, great defensive abilities and plays a physical game. While he has all of the skills ready to make the jump to the next level there is sure to be a learning curve for Struble. As a defender, the stat sheets will not tell the full story with Storable this season. He may not rack up large amounts of points in his rookie season, however, Struble is widely known for his defensive game which is what people will have to make sure to keep an eye out for this season.
All five of these prospects will be appointment viewing as many of them are set to become NHL stars in the not too distant future. Who knows, maybe some of them do so well that we see them in the NHL after their college season is complete. Either way, these guys are very skilled and exciting hockey players who should be a joy to watch in the 2019-20 NCAA hockey season.