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A Summary of Notable NCAA Signings in the NHL

With the NCAA season wrapping up a couple of weeks ago, the rush of NCAA signings of NHL drafted talent has not disappointed. Tony Ferrari looks at some notable names to have signed as of late.
Jordan Harris

With the NCAA season wrapping up a couple of weeks ago, the rush of NCAA signings of NHL drafted talent has not disappointed. While we took in-depth looks at some of the bigs names such as Matthew Beniers, Owen Power, Kent Johnson, and Bobby Brink, there has been a number of players making the jump from student-athlete to professional athlete.

Let's take a look at a few of them:

The Other Michigan Trio

While everyone was focused on the big three, Brendan Brisson (Vegas, 29th overall pick in 2020), Thomas Bordeleau (San Jose, 38th overall pick in 2020), and Nick Blankenburg (undrafted, signed with Columbus) all took the step into pro hockey. 

Brisson, a winger, joined the Henderson Silver Knights on a tryout agreement. This gets the young sniper into Vegas’ organization and some experience in pro hockey before likely signing his entry-level contract in the summer with the expectation of competing for a roster spot in the NHL next year. With the Golden Knights' well-documented cap conundrum, a cheap and productive player on a rookie deal will get every chance to make the team. With two power-play goals and an assist through two games, Brisson’s offensive touch has shone in the AHL.

Bordeleau, a center, joined the AHL's San Jose Barracuda, also on a tryout. Bordeleau registered three assists in his very first AHL game, announcing his arrival in style. Bordeleau’s offensive production at Michigan was impressive as he recorded 37 points in 37 games, with his ability to create offensive chances for his teammates being the strength of his game. San Jose was so impressed by his AHL play that they felt the need to give him his entry-level deal, giving him the opportunity to get into some NHL action as the Sharks season winds down.

Blankenburg, Michigan's captain, joined teammate Kent Johnson in Columbus, debuting on the same night. The undersized defenseman had a solid debut, recording his first NHL point on a Cole Sillinger goal in his first game. He was throwing his body around, engaging in all three zones, and making smart and precise passes on the breakout. Although Johnson is the flashier player, Blankenburg had the more steady debut in the NHL.

Jordan Harris, D (Montreal)

The Habs were happy to bring their 2018 third-round pick into the fold for the remainder of the season. The Northeastern captain played four years in college which led to some worry from Habs fans that ended up being all for not. Harris has played in a handful of NHL games already and hasn’t looked out of place at all. His ability to get the puck up to the forwards in transition seems to be his strongest trait in the NHL at the moment but there is much more to his game that will come as he gets stronger and more comfortable in the pro game. He's a smart player who reads the play in his own end well and uses his mobility well to play a strong positional game. Harris likely won’t be the kind of player that asserts himself in the NHL too often, but that's when he's at his best.

Bobby Trivigno, F (NY Rangers)

Standing at just 5-foot-8, Trivigno was one of the most interesting free agents coming out of college. With a number of suitors rumored to be in on the former UMass star, the Rangers convinced the Setauket, N.Y. native to sign in his home state. Trivigno brings a ton of fun elements to the game, including a shiftiness that was a key part of why he was able to find success at the NCAA level despite his size.

The Hobey Baker finalist was third in the nation in scoring across college hockey this year with 49 points. Trivigno’s elusiveness in traffic is impressive as he is able to use his slight frame to his advantage, slipping through traffic with purpose and opening space up for himself and his teammates with his quick hands when the puck is on his stick. He's not a perfect prospect, but there's still a lot to like.

Ben Meyers, F (Colorado)

Often referred to as the top free agent coming out of the NCAA this year, the Avs are getting a solid prospect in the American Olympian. Colorado felt like the best fit for Meyers as he takes the step into the pros. His responsible and intelligent 200-foot game could serve as a valuable asset to the Avalanche down the road. Unfortunately, because of how late in the season Meyers signed, he will not be eligible to play in the playoffs for the Avs due to the fact that he signed as a free agent and not a team-affiliated prospect.

Meyers should be able to get some NHL experience as the season winds down and Colorado looks to give some of its better players a pre-playoff breather. The former college stud may not have top-six upside but he should provide some excellent value in the bottom-six as a two-way center with the ability to chip in offensively. He proved that he is capable of playing against men in his Olympic stint this past February as he racked up four points in four games for the American squad. Meyers may only get a game or two as the regular season wraps up, but he's ready to fight for a spot next year.

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