This is the tenth installment of our annual list of the Top 100 NHL prospects playing in the NCAA this year, covering spots 51--55 on the list.
55. Cameron Clarke, Defenseman, Ferris State(Boston Bruins)
Clarke is a smooth-skating two-way defenseman. Because he was drafted as an older player, he was able to step right into the college game and play big minutes from day one. He still has room to grow on the offensive end, but his combination of size and skating ability should make him a very solid defender at the pro level.
54. Luc Snuggerud, Defenseman, Nebraska Omaha(Chicago Blackhawks)
Snuggerud is an extremely talented offensive defenseman. He had to play more conservatively due to system in his first two years, but started to open things up a bit more this past year with Omaha needing him to shoulder more of the scoring load. He responded by putting up 31 points in 39 games, putting him in the top-10 nationally in scoring for a defenseman.
Snuggerud is a great skater with the ability to get up the ice and join rushes to create odd-man situations. He’s capable of running a power play with decent passing and a big shot from the point that he’s able to get through for goals. He’s the rare college defenseman that projects to play an offensive role on the blue line in the NHL.
53. Mark Friedman, Defenseman, Bowling Green(Philadelphia Flyers)
Friedman continues to be one of the top defensemen in the WCHA. He’s effective in all three zones, and plays in all situations. He doesn’t project as a big offensive point producer at the next level, but should be a capable puck-moving defenseman that plays with a nasty, physical edge.
52. Andrew Peeke, Defenseman, Notre Dame(Columbus Blue Jackets)
Peeke is a big defenseman with excellent strength and athleticism. He’s very effective on the defensive end of the ice and still developing on the offensive end. He’s put together a scoring line of 4-9-13 in 36 games this year, and with further development, could continue to improve on those numbers.
If he’s able to continue developing offensively, he has potential as a very good two-way defenseman capable of playing in any situation. Even if he doesn’t become a big producer offensively, he should be very effective defensively with the skating ability to match up against top forwards at the NHL level.
51. Cameron Hughes, Center/Wing, Wisconsin(Boston Bruins)
When Hughes first came to Wisconsin as a 17-year-old, he was a fantastic skater, but didn’t have much else to his game. Now in his third season in Madison, Hughes’ hands have really improved—see: this highlight reel goal— and he’s having the most productive offensive season of his college career. He’s also added a lot of strength thanks to the weight room and is really tough along the boards as a result.
Wisconsin uses Hughes all over the ice. As a pro, Hughes certainly has the skating ability to play up the middle, could also end up as a speedy winger in a lower line role that provides a bit of offense.