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Top NCAA Prospect Ben Meyers is Catching NHL's Attention

An undrafted NCAA star, Ben Meyers has been rumored to have interest from NHL teams for a few years. Thanks to a strong showing with USA's Olympic team, that's only going to grow.
Ben Meyers

When USA elected to bring a college-heavy roster to Beijing, one word came to mind: opportunity. 

Think back to 1980, when USA's college group shocked the hockey world by beating the Soviets in the semifinal and Sweden in the final to win an unlikely gold. To a point, that feeling was renewed in China, with USA putting a big focus on younger talent compared to the older, more experienced team that struggled in South Korea four years ago. 

On paper, USA looked like underdogs, but they managed to be the only team to have a perfect round-robin record with three regulation wins. 

So opportunity is a big theme with this American lineup, and nobody knows that better than Ben Meyers. 

Meyers, a 23-year-old college student at the University of Minnesota, had never represented USA Hockey in an international event. He was a forceful high school player in the Minnesota area and had a couple of good seasons with the USHL's Fargo Force, but he was a bit older at that point. Meyers was undrafted, but like many prospects who took a bit of a longer development path, the NCAA provided an opportunity for Meyers to put himself on NHL radars. 

Meyers' name was mentioned in NHL free agent circles a little bit last season after recording 28 points in 31 games as a sophomore. In 26 games this year, the Gophers captain has a point-per-game average and sits just one point behind Anaheim Ducks prospect Blake McLaughlin for the team lead despite missing games due to being in Beijing. 

And speaking of opportunities, Meyers has used his time at the Olympics to really bolster his value to NHL teams. Through three games, Meyers has four points for USA, including goals against China and Canada. His line with Sean Farrell and Brian O'Neill has been tremendous for the United States with 13 points between them, good for No. 1, 2 and 4 in team scoring. Much of that damage came in an 8-0 win over China, but the overall play of Meyers with and without the puck has been impressive.

Compared to top prospects like Matty Beniers and Jake Sanderson, Meyers has never had a ton of hype around him. But along with fellow U.S. Olympian Marc McLaughlin, Meyers is getting attention from NHL scouts, with Meyers looking like one of the more well-rounded prospects on the NCAA free agent pool. Meyers, standing 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, joined the Boston Bruins' development camp in August and turned some heads but ultimately returned back to college.

And he can do that again for 2022-23, which might not be the worst thing for his development. Meyers has added about 10 pounds to his frame over the past two seasons and has improved his play away from the puck while still showcasing his quick release and quick skating abilities. 

"In terms of the NCAA, he's an everyman," a scout said. "Minnesota can just throw him into any matchup and he'll succeed. Meyers can take over shifts. The right NHL team could make use of him throughout the lineup."

Everywhere Meyers has played, he's been a standout. And while his numbers haven't exactly blown away the competition in the NCAA this year, NHL teams won't be able to ignore just how good he is against competition his own age. The fact that he's been part of USA's most impactful line, despite not really being the team's top trio, says how good Meyers has been and how much the team will need him to step up as the stakes get higher.

College free agents don't always work out, and there's no guarantee Meyers will, either. But if Meyers decides to go pro this summer, don't expect a lack of suitors for the reigning Big Ten champion.

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