It was a relatively slow week for Bruins prospects but it wasn’t due to poor production. It simply had more to do with inactivity. Boston University had the weekend off, so that took NCAA studs Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson out of the running for our “Prospect of the Week” honor. But there were still some good things happening in the college ranks. The Wisconsin boys, Trent Frederic and Cameron Hughes, both had 2 points in their games against St. Lawrence and Clarkson. As for the guys playing in the CHL, Jesse Gabrielle, Zach Senyshyn, and Jakub Zboril all had assists. Jeremy Lauzon is still out with a concussion.

The spotlight didn’t avoid our future Bruins man crush Anders Bjork though. He continued his torrid season for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The junior had a 5 point weekend against Hockey East foe UConn. Bjork had an assist in Thursday night’s loss but then exploded on Friday night for 2 goals and 2 assists. Bjork now leads the NCAA in scoring with 16 points (7 goals and 9 assists) in 8 games.

Below are the highlights from Notre Dame’s win against UConn Friday night. Both of Bjork’s goals show some nice skill, but his second goal is pretty damn sweet. He uses his speed to burn by the UConn defenseman and then beats the goalie short side with a slick back hand.

Harvard finally starts their season

The Ivy League schools have finally started and Harvard opened up their season in sunny Arizona taking on newly minted Division 1 opponent Arizona State. Harvard got two wins and Bruins prospects Ryan Donato and Wiley Sherman both had 2 points on Friday night. Donato had 2 goals while Sherman had 2 assists.

CHL players playing in the NCAA?

Here at BostonPucks.com we have written a few blogs about the CHL/NHL agreement and how it is bad for development.  You don’t have to look any further than the Arizona Coyotes where Dylan Strome has been juggled in and out of the lineup. Because of Strome’s age the Coyotes cannot send him to their AHL affiliate in Tuscon. They would have to send him back to the Erie Otters, his junior team where he put up 240 points in 124 games over the past 2 seasons. He is obviously too good for junior hockey, has some challenges in the NHL, but isn’t allowed in the AHL. It’s a tough spot for Strome to be in.

This is also one reason Auston Matthews choice to play pro in Europe over Canadian junior was brilliant. Of course he’s been good enough for the NHL, but he hasn’t been nearly as hot as his first 4-goal game. In fact the NHL’s Rookie of the Month, Matthews teammate William Nylander, has outplayed him overall. If for some extreme reason Matthews needed a stint with the Toronto Marlies in the AHL (he won’t) he could not do it if had he chosen Canadian junior over Europe. Meanwhile Dylan Strome, a lottery draft pick just like Matthews, has to wade in limbo at times. It’s an outdated rule, in an NHL that keeps getting younger, that hinders development of some top prospects all in the name of money.

So this leads me to a similarly interesting topic that just popped up. Theres’s been recent chatter that the CHL/NHL agreement could finally be in the cross hairs for change. The reason; recently the NCAA has allowed Brayden Gelsinger, who played 14 games in the CHL, to be eligible to play for Lake Superior State in the NCAA. Normally the NCAA does not allow CHL players to be eligible to play American college hockey due to players in the CHL having signed professional contracts even though those players are not paid until they play in either the AHL or NHL. Due to the NCAA not doing a simple Google search on Geslinger they missed the fact he had played in the CHL and accidentally granted him NCAA eligibility. 

In my personal opinion I think this would be great for NCAA hockey, and player development, to open their doors to the CHL. A side effect of the move would be that it’d pave a way for ex-CHL players to play in the AHL if they didn’t meet the CHL/NHL agreement’s age requirement. 

We have seen that most Canadian college teams are not at the same level as NCAA teams just from watching NCAA exhibition games played against each other at the beginning of the collegiate season. But there are some Canadian players, with some CHL experience, that could cut it in the NCAA. You rarely hear of a player, outside of San Jose’s Joel Ward, making the NHL coming from Canadian colleges. But plenty of NCAA players sign NHL contracts as free agents. Allowing CHL players to have the option to play NCAA hockey would allow for these players, who might be late bloomers, a second chance at their dream while kicking the AHL door open for them too. Allowing CHL players to be eligible for NCAA hockey just makes sense.

For your reading pleasure here’s an article from Ryan Lambert of Puck Daddy talking about this specific topic. It is a good read if you are into this stuff like I am.