A new champion has been crowned in college hockey and the reining champs now reside in Duluth, MN, home to the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. An Avs prospect didn't taste final victory this season and while there are not any stars among this bunch, there are a couple players who could prove to be solid contributors down the road.
Luke Moffatt, Michigan (freshman)
Luke Moffatt was selected by the Avalanche in the seventh round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. The Avalanche tend to take chances on college bound players late in the draft and Moffatt fits the mold of an Avalanche draftee. Listed at 6-0, 194 lbs, the Arizona native, once thought to be one of the up and coming American stars, saw his development stagnate; thus the drop in the draft rankings.
Prior to his arrival at the University of Michigan, Moffatt skated with the US National Team Development program. He racked up 15 points in 28 games in the 2009-10 season. During his freshman season with Michigan, Moffatt often skated on the bottom two lines for the Wolverines. He tallied five goals and eight assists in 36 contests, including a trip to the Frozen Four.
Michigan would fall short in capturing their 10th championship in Men's Division I Ice Hockey; losing to eventual champion Minnesota-Duluth in the final. As for Moffatt, given his ice time and place on the team, it was a solid freshman campaign for the skilled forward. Avalanche fans should view Moffatt as a project; meaning we'll have a better handle on the type of impact he can make once he arrives to his junior and senior seasons. For now, he's one to keep an eye on 3-4 years down the road.
Eastern College Athletic Conference
Gus Young, Yale (freshman)
Gus Young was a seventh round selection by Colorado in 2009. The offensively minded defenseman spent the 2009-10 season in high school with the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, MA. He joined Yale in the fall of 2010 with high expectations; only to spend most of the season recovering from injuries. He was limited to just five games for the Bulldogs this season, but showed flashes of offensive production for Yale in future seasons. Regarding the results of this season, his club ended up losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament to eventual champion Minnesota-Duluth. Like Moffatt, Young is someone Avalanche fans will have a better read in 2-3 years.
Paul Carey, Boston College (junior)
Massachusetts native Paul Carey was snatched up by the Avalanche in the fifth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. With a NCAA championship already in tow entering his junior season, Carey and the Boston College Eagles were ready for more. After putting up a 21 point season, in 41 games, as a sophomore, Carey upped his production with 13 goals and 13 assists in 38 games. It was his best statistical season as a collegian to date.
Team success for BC fell short of its ultimate goal this year. The Eagles won both the regular and post season conference titles, but were handily beat by Colorado College in the opening round of the national tournament. Carey will return for his senior season as an alternate captain for Boston College. The sniper will be looking to finish out his collegiate career with another national championship.
Kieran Millan, Boston University (junior)
Kieran Millan was selected by Colorado in the fifth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft; after successfully leading the Boston University Terriers to a national championship. Since that magical freshman season for the Edmonton, AB native, Millan has strived to find consistency. After winning 29 games as a freshman, he won just 16 in his sophomore season and his goals against average ballooned from 1.94 to 3.15.
Entering his junior season, Millan was hoping to reclaim past form and was partially successful. He posted a record of 16-10-8, save percentage of 0.919, and a goals against average of 2.68. BU finished third in the conference during the regular season, but lost to Northeastern in the quarterfinals of the Hockey East Tournament and failed to qualify for the national tournament. Millan will return to BU for his senior season.
Western Collegiate Hockey Association
Nate Condon, Minnesota (freshman)
Selected by Colorado in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft (seventh round), Wisconsin native Nate Condon spent the previous two seasons with the Fargo Force (USHL). He accumulated 80 points in 118 games during those two seasons. He joined the Minnesota Gophers in the fall of 2010 as a 20-year-old freshman.
Condon moved up and down throughout the Gophers lineup during the season. His production during the season was a mixed bag. He was named WCHA Rookie of the Week in early November of 2010, after recording two goals and three assists in a game against Colorado College. Yet, he only had 12 points in the other 34 games he played during the season. Like Condon himself, the Gophers as a whole had their ups and downs, and they ultimately missed out on the national tournament.
Kent Patterson, Minnesota (junior)
Kent Patterson, who was selected by the Avalanche in the fourth round of the 2007 draft, came into his junior season having only played in 15 combined games in his first two years with the Gophers. A season ending injury to starter Alex Kangas opened the door for Patterson and the Minnesota native took full advantage.
Despite the Gophers missing the NCAA tournament, Patterson posted a record of 14-9-6, with a goals against average of 2.54, and a save percentage of 0.919. Outside of 2010 draft picks in Calvin Pickard and Sami Aittokallio, Patterson is perhaps the most intriguing goaltending prospect within the Avalanche farm system.
In addition to being named as the team MVP for Minnesota, Patterson was also selected to the All-WCHA Second Team. He's expected to enter his senior season as the full-time number one starter for the Gophers.
Brad Malone, North Dakota (senior)
Like Kent Patterson, New Brunswick native, Brad Malone, was picked by the Avalanche in the fourth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Of all the current Avalanche collegiate prospects, Malone is the only senior and the only player from this group to have recently signed an entry-level contract. After coming off a season in which he produced 11 goals and 14 assists in 43 games, Malone upped the ante as the center of the top line for North Dakota this season.
The top line, dubbed as The Pony Express, featured Malone flanked by Evan Trupp and Hobey Baker finalist Matt Frattin. The trio would combine for 141 points; 40 of which belonged to Malone. He didn't earn any post season awards (was WCHA Offensive Player of the Week in December of 2010), nor did he end up with a NCAA championship ring, but it was his best offensive season as a collegian.
As Malone graduates to the professional level next year, he'll perhaps be more remembered this season for his hit on Denver Pioneers forward Jesse Martin. Malone served a one game suspension in November of 2010 and Martin missed the remainder of Denver's season and continues to recover from his neck injuries. While it's not fair to refer to Malone as a dirty or cheap player, he does play over the edge at times and that has both its pros and cons.