College hockey is a great thing that gets underappreciated each and every year. Sure there are pockets of cities where its importance is more prevalent but overall it doesn’t reach the levels of say, college football or basketball. That said one of the more followed college hockey events on the calendar is the Beanpot Tournament. The schools it consists of are as follows: Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern University, and Harvard. Nolan Stevens, who has spent four years with the Northeastern Huskies helped the school end their 30 year drought not winning the tourney.
After four seasons with the school the current captain looks to be ready for a new challenge. Stevens currently has 20 goals and 13 assists, having played 30 games so far. But more importantly than just the point totals the 2016 fifth round pick looks to have a more well rounded game. Especially since returning from an upper body injury that kept him to just 17 games last year. Stevens plays a two-way game that virtually any pro player needs to learn unless their one aspect on the ice is so incredible it covers up the areas one would lack.
The Blues have had luck the past few years with college players turning pro including Colton Parayko(Alaska-Fairbanks), Jake Walman(Providence), and Tage Thompson(UCONN).
Though success isn’t guaranteed. A prime example of this is prospect Mackenzie Maceachern, a 2012 third round pick and former forward for Michigan State. Now playing in his second season as a pro, currently with the Chicago Wolves, Maceachern’s presence on the ice often comes up a bit short. This isn’t to say he will always have these struggles but the transition from playing against college age players to professionals can be a shock to some.
What we do know currently is Stevens is having himself another strong season on one of the more dynamic lines in college hockey. The question that remains is that of just where he will play. Both the AHL and ECHL have their set of challenges, on the ice and the crazy travel.
As spring comes near this is the exciting time if you don’t follow the prospects all that often. Their seasons are getting close to wrapping up and post season play will be in the cards for a few. Which of course leads to the debates on which Baby Blue will stand out in camp next fall and earn himself a spot we didn’t expect him to. It’s almost time to throw Stevens in that mix of players who just may surprise people and have a strong showing to Mike Yeo and company. He may not earn himself a job in the NHL immediately but to stand out amongst veterans can do wonders for a young player in his first season outside of college puck. The Blues have until August 15th, 2018 to sign the 21 year old.