He's tough, feisty and is the first player from New Brunswick to suit up for the University of North Dakota. Here's a closer look at one of Colorado's 2007 draft picks...Brad Malone.
Birth Date: May 20, 1989
Weight: 212 lbs
Hometown: Miramichi, NB
Current Team: North Dakota Fighting Sioux (WCHA)
Drafted: 105th overall in 2007
A senior season for a college player is often one of reflection. You cherish each goal and victory and each loss is a punch in the gut. Then there are the regrets. For Brad Malone, his senior year with the University of North Dakota has been filled with mostly bright spots. Overall, things have gone well for Malone and his team this season. The Fighting Sioux, who have been highly ranked all year, will be taking another crack at their eighth Division I hockey championship in the spring.
Malone spurned the Canadian major junior hockey route and choose to play in the United States Hockey League as a 17 year old for the Sioux Falls Stampede; where he posted 33 points in 57 games. The Colorado Avalanche nabbed the intriguing power forward in the fourth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Malone joined the Fighting Sioux in the fall of 2007, and it was an inauspicious start for the New Brunswick native.
Malone had only three points in 34 games during his freshman campaign. However, his team found its way to the 2008 Frozen Four in Denver, before bowing out to eventual champion Boston College. The college game was a tough adjustment for the power forward, who comes from a strong hockey family. His cousin, Ryan Malone, currently plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning. His uncle, Greg Malone, played eleven seasons in the NHL and is currently a scout for the Phoenix Coyotes. His father, Jim, was a first round pick of the New York Rangers in 1980, but never made it to the NHL.
During his sophomore season of 2008-09, Malone's numbers saw improvement to 17 points in 41 games, with 75 penalty minutes. However, his team lost to the University of New Hampshire in the first round of the 2009 NCAA hockey tournament; though Malone had a goal and assist in the loss.
His junior season of 2009-10 saw another statistical improvement for Malone. He registered 25 points in 43 games to go along with101 penalty minutes. He has accumulated 221 penalty minutes over his first three years for the Fighting Sioux. Yet, post season expectations fell short for the Sioux again, as they lost in the first round of the NCAA hockey tournament to the Yale Bulldogs in the spring of 2010.
As a senior this season with North Dakota, Malone has firmly entrenched himself on top line, along with fellow seniors Matt Frattin and Evan Trupp. The trio is nicknamed the "Pony Express," which plays off Malone's own nickname "Pony." As a member of the line, Malone is having his best statistical season and should surpass the 30 point mark, but it's a Frozen Four championship he covets before graduating.
Malone projects to be a solid third/fourth line winger, who can chip in offensively and is a solid contributor on the penalty kill. He isn't afraid to use his size and that has gotten him in trouble on occasion. Malone received a one game suspension in November of 2010 for a hit on University of Denver forward Jesse Martin, which resulted in a career threatening injury for Martin. While the two young men communicated to each other after the incident, Malone has never spoken publicly about what happened.
As Martin embarked on his tough recovery, Malone tried to return his focus to himself and his North Dakota team mates. In December of 2010, he was honored as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Offensive Player of the Week. Malone is expected to finish top five in team scoring for the season.
Internationally, Malone represented Team Atlantic in the 2006 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. This is an event organized by Hockey Canada. He had four goals and an assist in five games for Team Atlantic.
The Avs hold the rights to Brad Malone until August 15, 2011. He's expected to receive an entry level contract from the Avalanche this off-season and is scheduled to begin his professional career with the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) in the 2011-2012 season.