University of Minnesota freshman forward Hudson Fasching had his NHL Draft rights traded Wednesday from Los Angeles to Buffalo.
Fasching, who is third in team scoring with 27 points (12G-15A) in 31 games, is part of a deal that sees Nic Deslauriers and the 2013 4th round draft pick's right go to the Sabres in exchange for Brayden McNabb and two second-round picks.
He joins Michigan freshman J.T. Compher - two of the best Big Ten freshmen forwards - in the Sabres prospect pool. The two played together at the US National Development Program.
The 6'2", 207 lbs right winger has more than rebounded from a tough draft year to play a big role beyond his draft spot for the top-ranked Gophers this season. Fasching has spent the entire season on Minnesota's top line with Kyle Rau (Florida Panthers) and either Sam Warning or Taylor Cammarata (New York Islanders). It is there which Fasching has been a power forward who can use his size to both create space and score.
When he does that, he's been successful offensively more times than not.
"(Fasching has been) putting himself in a position to score when he's around the blue paint. Especially off rebounds," Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said last month. "That's the type of player he is. We talked about a week and half ago that all of a sudden he was trying to play fancy, play one on one hockey, and that's not him. That's not anybody at this level."
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Fasching plays in all roles for the 23-4-5 Gophers, being on the team's second power play unit and killing penalties. He was also on Team USA's third line this past World Juniors with Michigan sophomore Andrew Copp (Winnipeg Jets) and Stefan Matteau (New Jersey Devils) that specialized in both grit and scoring. (Fasching finished with 4 points in 5 games.)
The 18 year-old Burnsville, MN native, listed as SB Nation College Hockey's 27th-best college hockey NHL Draft prospect, has made freshman mistakes this year where he's out of position. Although Fasching is strong on his skates and tough to take down, he isn't the fastest skater. There was a point during the middle of the year following a fast start where it appeared he hit a freshman wall, going scoreless in six games,
However, Fasching has buckled down the stretch run both on and off the scoresheet. The freshman has 5 points (3G-2A) in his last 4 games, looked better on special teams and has created a half-dozen breakaway chances.
That includes an assist against Penn State last weekend where instead of shooting on a breakaway, he passed back against the grain through a Nittany Lions defender to an open Rau.
"I did see (Rau) a little bit," he told SB Nation College Hockey about the goal "I didn't have a good shot and saw him slipping in to (Matthew Skoff). Worked out well, I guess."
Although the play was one you wouldn't exactly expect from a freshman, Fasching still has room to grow (despite his size) hockey-wise. He has more than exceeded expectations as a freshman - and as a person, if you haven't read Scott Burnside's feature on him a couple years ago - but that doesn't mean his potential is a couple years away from the Buffalo system.
Fasching is the second Gopher in a year to have his draft rights. Last year saw Mark Alt traded from Carolina to Philadelphia.
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate