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2016 Top 100 NHL Prospects in the NCAA: #71-80

Matt Christians

This is the third installment of our annual list of the top 100 NHL prospects playing in the NCAA. If you're interested in the previous two installments, here is #91-100, and #81-90.

Seven defensemen are featured on this section of the list, along with three forwards that came to college hockey as underdeveloped 18-year-olds and are now upperclassmen.

71. Dennis Gilbert, Defenseman, Notre Dame(Chicago Blackhawks)

A year after being drafted by the Blackhawks, Gilbert has immediately stepped into Notre Dame's line-up and been a strong, consistent player. Gilbert skates extremey well for a defenseman listed at a legit 6'2" 200 lbs, and plays a controlled, poised game. He still has room to develop a little more on the offensive end, but that should come as he further adjusts to the college level and begins to play a bigger role for Notre Dame as an upperclassman.

72. Teddy Blueger, Forward, Minnesota State(Pittsburgh Penguins)

teddy blueger mankato (Matt Christians)

(photo by Matt Christians)

Blueger led the Mavericks in scoring in his senior season with an 11-24-35 scoring line. Blueger has always been primarily a playmaker, using his quick hands and passing ability to set up teammates rather than looking to create his own shot. The biggest gains he's made over the course of his college career have been in the weight room, going from a skinny 18-year-old freshman to a player that was remarkably difficult to knock off the puck as a senior. Blueger likely won't quite make it as a top-six forward at the NHL level, but he could provide some scoring punch to a lower line, and is especially valuable because of his ability to play center.

73. Connor Clifton, Defenseman, Quinnipiac(Arizona Coyotes)

Clifton's offensive numbers have taken a big jump this year--his points totals in each of his first three seasons went 9, 5, 22--as he's starting to develop more of the offensive game that Arizona hoped he would provide when they drafted him. Clifton is also a smart one-on-one defender that uses positioning and angles more than brute strength to slow down the opposition.

74. Parker Reno, Defenseman, RPI(Free Agent)

Reno quietly put together an excellent season for the Engineers. He's a steady defensive defenseman that doesn't provide much on the offensive end, but his smooth skating and strong frame make him an effective defender, and he moves the puck out of his own zone effectively, which helped him to a team-best +12 +/- rating, which was eight goals better than the next RPI defenseman this season.

75. Devon Toews, Defenseman, Quinnipiac(New York Islanders)

Devon Toews

(photo by Matt Dewkett)

Toews is a poised, steadying presence on Quinnipiac's blue line, and his contributions on the power play--13 of his 27 points this year have come with the man advantage--have put him in the top-10 in scoring nationally among defensemen this year. He's good at distributing the puck, but his strong stick gives him a weapon from the point shooting the puck, and makes him effective at taking away passing and shooting lanes in the defensive end.

76. Mark Jankowski, Forward, Providence(Calgary Flames)

Mark Jankowski

(photo by Matt Dewkett)

It's been an interesting four years for Mark Jankowski at Providence. But take away the baggage of the expectations as a first round draft pick by Calgary four years ago and Jankowski looks like a fairly solid prospect. He led the Friars in scoring this season with 15-25-40 in 36 games this year. Jankowski has started to fill into his 6'3" frame and his skillset has never been in question. It will just be a matter of proving he can handle the physicality of the next level and be a player that does more than just score. The Flames may opt to take a compensatory pick rather than sign Jankowski this summer, but where ever he ends up, he'll be a decent prospect worth watching.

77. Anthony Louis, Forward, Miami(Chicago Blackhawks)

anthony louis toninato miami (Matt Christians) Matt Christians

(photo by Matt Christians)

In his junior season, Anthony Louis saw his production dip a bit with the absence of star forwards Austin Czarnik and Riley Barber from the Miami line-up, but he did finish the season as Miami's leading scorer. Louis uses his tremendous speed to create scoring opportunities for himself and teammates, and to be effective when he is defending. He doesn't project to a scoring line role at the pro level, but his skating ability should mean he'll help his team possess the puck enough to be valuable in a lower line role.

78. Cliff Watson, Defenseman, Michigan Tech(San Jose Sharks)

cliff watson tech (Dave Reginek Getty Images)

(photo by Dave Reginek--Getty Images)

Watson is an extremely effective defenseman because he keeps the game so simple. He's a defensive-minded defenseman that doesn't provide a lot of offensive upside, but he is exceptional at winning pucks in the defensive zone and then making a strong first pass to help his team get the puck out of the zone while maintaining possession. He won't be an exciting player at the next level, but he'll play his position well enough to let the others around him shine.

79. Carson Soucy, Defenseman, Minnesota Duluth(Minnesota Wild)

soucy duluth (Matt Christians) Matt Christians

(photo by Matt Christians)

Soucy had a rough start to this season. There were big expectations for him heading into his junior season, and as a result, he was frequently caught trying to do too much rather than letting the game come to him, leading to many errors. But at his best, Soucy has some of the best raw talent in college hockey. He's a big defender that has the ability to be a physical presence, as well as the skating and offensive ability to jump into a rush and be a scoring threat.

80. John Gilmour, Defenseman, Providence(Calgary Flames)

John Gilmour Matt Dewkett

(photo by Matt Dewkett)

In his first three seasons at Providence, Gilmour showed flashes of offensive talent including a heavy shot to go along with very strong skating ability. But in his final season, Gilmour has been extremely effective on Providence's power play, scoring 16 of his 23 points with the man advantage. Gilmour has the makings of a strong two-way defenseman at the NHL level as a second or third pairing defenseman that is able to skate with anybody and provide the occasional offensive punch.