With the college playoffs starting to get underway, we’re starting to see a few free agents that were eliminated early sign with NHL teams. Many more players will become available in the coming weeks and quite a few will sign shortly thereafter.
With that in mind, here is a closer look at some of the forwards that could be of interest to teams in the coming weeks. All of these players are undrafted (and are too old to be drafted this year making them eligible for free agency) and unless they’re in their senior season, they could opt to return to their schools for the 2018-19 campaign.
Brady Ferguson (Robert Morris)
Ferguson opted to return for his senior season after finishing fifth in NCAA scoring last season with 58 points in 38 games. The decision may not have been the best one as his final college campaign wasn’t quite as productive with just 43 points in 38 contests. That may lessen his market a little bit but he should still have several suitors in the coming weeks.
Robby Jackson (St. Cloud)
Jackson has gone from being a supporting cast player to a top threat on the Huskies this season. His point production nearly doubled from his sophomore campaign and at only 20 years of age, he is also one of the younger free agents and will be eligible for a three-year entry-level deal (most players on this list are only able to sign two-year pacts). However, some teams may be scared away due to his smallish stature as he stands just 5’9.
Mason Jobst (Ohio State)
Like Ferguson, Jobst was among the top NCAA scorers last year (seventh) as a sophomore but opted to return instead of turning pro. While he still put up more than a point-per-game this season (41 points in 36 games), he still came up well shy of the 55 he put up last year. At 5’8, his size will be a concern to some teams as well. However, while it may seem like a good idea to go back for a senior campaign and boost his stock, Jobst is already 24; accordingly, going back to school and dominating players several years younger than him likely won’t draw much more attention to him than there already is.
Ryan Kuffner (Princeton)
Kuffner has been one of the top goal scorers in all of college hockey this season and had been hovering near the goal-per-game mark. The junior forward is willing to battle around the net as well which should also help endear him to scouts. He certainly benefits from having one of the top playmakers in the NCAA on his line (more on that player shortly) but Kuffner should still draw plenty of interest in the near future.
Sheldon Rempal (Clarkson)
The sophomore winger became a go-to scorer this season, boosting his goal total from 11 to 21 despite playing in four fewer games. While he has shown a knack for scoring in tight at the college level, there will justifiably be some questions as to whether or not he can play that style in the pros as he, like several others on this list, is undersized. Rempal could stand to fill out his frame a bit more and that’s easier to do at the college level than in the minor leagues so he could stick around for another year.
Max Veronneau (Princeton)
The junior playmaking winger ranked second in the NCAA in regular season scoring with 52 points in 36 games and is believed to be drawing plenty of interest already; Chris Peters of ESPN reports (Insider required) that he is the most sought-after forward in college free agency. However, he adds that he appears to be leaning towards returning for his senior season.
Sebastian Vidmar (Union)
The Swedish winger also saw his production dip from his sophomore campaign (understandable considering the team lost both Mike Vecchione and Spencer Foo, two of the top four scorers in the NCAA last year) although he still managed to post 30 points (10-20-30) in 36 contests to sit third in team scoring. He’s more of a playmaker than some of the others on this list but also has pro size. Vidmar turns 24 on Tuesday so it may not make much sense for him to return for his senior year so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him opt to turn pro.