In a bit of an odd twist considering they own a junior team, the Calgary Flames will have as many prospects playing college hockey as they will in the Canadian junior circuits. A quartet of drafted players will be pursuing their academic and on-ice dreams in 2019-20.
After a strong freshman season, Pettersen is headed back to Denver. The Pioneers lost starting goalie Filip Larsson and one of their top scorers in Jarid Lukosevicius, but they’re going to be a really fun team to watch. Their recruiting class includes Philadelphia Flyers second rounder Bobby Brink, Detroit Red Wings draft pick Ryan O’Reilly and Swedish goaltender (and Tampa Bay prospect) Magnus Chrona.
The Pioneers lost in the national semi-finals in last year’s Frozen Four, but they’re likely deep enough to push things even further.
A year ago, you could’ve been forgiven if you didn’t know that the Arizona State University Sun Devils had a hockey team. But after the year they had in 2018-19 – qualifying as the first independent team in the Frozen Four in a couple decades and making some noise when they got there – you better be paying attention to them.
The Sun Devils are returning much of the same team, including Koumontzis for his sophomore season after a pretty solid freshman campaign. The X-factor will be goaltending, as Ottawa Senators prospect Joey Daccord went pro and they’ll go with newcomers Justin Robbins and Max Prawdzik in net.
After two post-draft seasons in the United States Hockey League, Mattson spent his freshman season with the Michigan State Spartans. He dressed in 14 of the club’s 36 games and failed to register a point.
The Spartans weren’t great last season, but they’re going to have a lot of new faces in 2019-20. Arguably the top recruit is Nodler, one of five “true” freshmen and 10 new recruits. They lost top scorer Taro Hirose to the Red Wings, so they’ll really need to lean in on their team concept… or hope that one of their new faces have some surprises up their sleeves.