This is the sixth installment of our annual list of the Top 100 NHL prospects playing in the NCAA this year, covering spots 71-75 on the list.
75. David Cotton, Left Wing, Boston College(Carolina Hurricanes)
Boston College rookie left wing David Cotton has improved perhaps more than any other player in college hockey since October. The 6-foot-3 Parker, Texas native has always intrigued NHL scouts with his hands and shot, but he’s learned to use his size to his advantage the past month.
A sixth round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2015, Cotton has scored three points in two of the last four games, including a three assist performance in a comeback win over Notre Dame. In that game, his ability to win puck battles along the left wing wall opened up scoring chances for linemates Chris Calnan and Julius Matilla, who along with his brother Jesper both hail from Finland.
“You love playing with those guys. He’s a tremendous player. He’s tall. He creates space. He protects pucks well. He’s got a bright future,” Calnan explained.
Four of Cotton’s eight goals this season have been of the game-winning variety. He’s also assisted on two game-winners.
74. Tyler Sheehy, Right Wing, Minnesota(Free Agent)
Tyler Sheehy was passed over in multiple NHL Drafts because of his lack of elite skating ability. But he has become impossible to ignore as a pro prospect after putting together the most productive offensive season by a Gopher in over a decade this year with 52 points in 36 games.
Sheehy makes up for his lack of speed with an incredible hockey IQ. He gets into the right positions at the right times to be effective, and when he gets the puck on his stick, he’s a smart passer and has an above-average shot for his size which makes him an effective scorer. He has potential as a second or third line scoring winger at the NHL level.
73. Christian Wolanin, Defenseman, North Dakota(Ottawa Senators)
Wolanin still has some work to do on the defensive end of the ice, but his upside as an offensive defenseman makes him a solid pro prospect.
Wolanin has good foot speed and is smart and confident with the puck on his stick. He’s received more ice time as a sophomore for North Dakota this season and has seen a slight increase in his point totals even though North Dakota’s offense isn’t the powerhouse it was last year.
Another year or two of development to his defensive game should help Wolanin turn into a second or third pairing NHL defenseman capable of creating offense from the back line.
72. Chase Priskie, Defenseman, Quinnipiac(Washington Capitals)
Priskie has always been a player with elite foot speed and skating ability. He’s really taken advantage of college hockey’s schedule by bulking up in the weight room to become a more effective defenseman.
After a solid freshman season as a contributor on a deep Quinnipiac blue line, which helped get him drafted in his final year of eligibility, Priskie has developed into Quinnipiac’s top offensive defenseman. He’s quarterbacking their power play where he has scored five of his seven goals. He’ll still need a bit more development time in the college game, but is headed towards developing into an elite college defenseman.
71. Michael Kim, Defenseman, Boston College(Free Agent)
While his first goal of the season is what will draw the headlines, Kim also played very well in his own end. It’s a part of his game that he worked on a lot over the summer, knowing there would be an opportunity for increased ice time due to Steve Santini and Ian McCoshen’s departure to the pro ranks.
“It was a step I was ready to take. I knew going into the summer we had some big guys that someone would be able to fill their shoes as best they could. I just tried to work hard this summer,” said Kim who has 10 assists on the season.
Kim’s mobility and good stick were building blocks for a player to be able to defend with his feet, and he’s tried to learn as much as he could from associate head coach Greg Brown.