This is the eighth installment of our annual list of the Top 100 NHL prospects playing in the NCAA this year, covering spots 61--65 on the list.
65. Carson Soucy, Defenseman, Minnesota Duluth(Minnesota Wild)
Soucy has shown an increased maturity after deciding to return to the Bulldogs for his senior season. He has always been a big physical presence on the blue line, and had the ability to jump into the play offensively. But in his final year of college hockey he has gotten much better at waiting for the right moment and picking his spots, rather than trying to force the big play every time. His game has been much more effective as a result. Soucy has been a reliable piece on one of the best teams in the country this year.
He has the potential to do a little bit of everything as a defenseman at the NHL level. He won’t be a big offensive producer from the blue line, but he could be above-average in that regard for a player that earns his paycheck by being a physical presence on the blue line.
64. Matheson Iacopelli, Right Wing, Western Michigan(Chicago Blackhawks)
No team in the country improved more from last season to this season than Western Michigan, and part of that is because no player in the country improved more from last season to this season than Matheson Iacopelli.
Drafted by the Blackhawks for his big shot and goal-scoring prowess, Iacopelli languished with just one goal as a freshman last season. This year, Iacopelli has scored 20 goals for the Broncos. He’s improved his foot speed, which has allowed him to use his heavy snap shot more often coming off wing.
Iacopelli projects as a goal-scoring second or third line winger at the NHL level, assuming he can continue to play at the level he has this year consistently.
63. Jonathan Kovacevic, Defenseman, Merrimack(2017 Draft Eligible)
"His poise with the puck," [head coach Mark] Dennehy answered when asked what he liked about Kovacevic's game after a game against BC earlier in the season. "He doesn't panic with the puck. He's so big and strong he can protect it with his body. He made nice plays. He gained zones. He got pucks deep. He found guys in the middle of the ice. He used his partner and he handled the front of the net."
At 6-feet-4 and 215 pounds, Kovacevic has the potential to develop into a major force in and around his net and in the defensive zone. He has racked up 28 penalty minutes, but is still looking to get better in his own end.
—from our full feature on Kovacevic, February 21, 2017
62. Matt Filipe, Left Wing, Northeastern(Carolina Hurricanes)
“He’s a big body who is fast, physical and strong on pucks. When he’s moving his feet and taking pucks to the net, those are good things for us. He continued to stay on it and got the puck to Aston-Reese. He did a real nice job on the forecheck,” said [coach Jim] Madigan.
“His game is continuing to mature and develop. It will over a period of time, similar to what Adam Gaudette went through last year. He’s in a good spot. He just has to be aware of situations a little, but we’re happy with his play this early in the season,” Madigan added.
61. Tanner Laczynski, Right Wing, Ohio State(Philadelphia Flyers)
Playing an extra season of junior hockey after graduating high school allowed Tanner Laczynski to have a breakout season as a freshman in college. He’s always been a smooth, fast skater, but in the past year, he’s added some more bulk to his thin frame, which has allowed him to play through contact more effectively. He’s still not an overly physical player, but his elite speed allows him to create offensively, and his shot is pretty good.
A strong start to the year earned him a spot on the US World Juniors team. He has struggled with illness since coming back from that tournament and hasn’t been as productive in the second half, but is still in the point-per-game range for the season, and the promise he showed in the first half was very exciting.