The best part about college hockey is landing a huge recruit.
In years past, Happy valley has seen some talented players go one to the professional ranks. A few examples include Evan Barret (Chicago Blackhawks, third-round pick), Cole Hults (LA Kings, fifth-round pick), and Liam Folkes (Bakersfield Condors, two-year deal).
Lately, we’ve seen many future first-round studs choose schools such as Michigan, Denver, Boston College, and Boston University.
Most commonly high recruits choose these schools based on NHL readiness, present relationships with players and coaches, and the likelihood of winning a national championship.
For example, Boston University has stellar recognition for helping to develop past players such as Jack Eichel, Brady Tkachuk, and Charlie McAvoy. All three became vital parts of their respective NHL squads.
Some Boston College names include Johnny Gaudreau, Cam Atkinson, and Matt Boldy.
The latest Denver studs include Troy Terry and Cale Makar.
Michigan is a prominent example from last season having 4 players being drafted top five overall. Owen Power was on the list as well as Matty Benier’s, Kent Johnson, and Luke Hughes.
Numerous players listed had all played at least one season with one another for the United States National Development Program from ages 16-20. Following my last point, Denver has won nine NCAA Division I national ice hockey championships, tying Michigan for most ever.
How does Penn State Hockey climb the ladder?
Penn State Hockey has only competed at the NCAA Division I level since 2011-12, so, the Nittany Lions will need to dive deeper into parts of Canada, Minnesota, and other hockey hotbeds.
Land that one big recruit, make history with a long NHL career, and network recruits together.
If there’s one word to describe the world of hockey it’s community. Good players will follow the great ones, helping Penn State hockey get closer to that national championship the fans deserve.