2015-16 Team: Quinnipiac
League: ECAC Hockey
Hometown: Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Quinnipiac freshman Chase Priskie is hoping the third time is the charm. The Pembroke Pines, Fla. native is in his third season of draft eligibility, but for the first time, there is a considerable chance he hears his name called on the second day in Buffalo.
A summer of working out with the Quinnipiac strength and conditioning coaches helped Priskie bulk up, which was one of the best decisions he's made. The added strength helped him win puck battles and increase his foot speed. The stronger core and lower body allowed him to have a better first step.
"The smartest thing he did, or we did with him, is we had him enroll in the summer and take classes. Once you do that, you have access to our strength coaches. He got stronger so he had four months of that before starting," said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold prior to the Frozen Four. "That really helped him. That gave him a lot of confidence. It also integrated him into our culture quicker so he felt more comfortable."
Priskie wasted no time to prove he belonged as a top four defenseman in ECAC Hockey. The former Selects Hockey Academy star began his collegiate career with a five-game point streak that included his first multi-point game against Maine.
Priskie's strength is his ability to push the pace, join the rush and jump into the offense. His straight line speed isn't something that will blow an observer away, but he has good mobility and lateral agility. His style of play fit in well with the Bobcats' game plan.
"Chase had a great year. He's been dominant. The way he plays is how we want our 'D' to play. We want to get our 'D' in the rush. We want to create that second wave, that third wave of attack. If there's no opportunity offensively, they've created good gap. They're up in the play and now the gap is going the other way," Pecknold explained.
Priskie's play in his own zone continued to develop as the season progressed, but there's little doubt his best asset will always be on the offensive side of the puck. He did go 14 games in a row without posting a minus in the plus/minus category before going -2 in the national championship game loss to North Dakota.
Priskie finished his rookie season with four goals and 22 assists for 26 points in 43 games played. No freshman defenseman played in more games than he did. His scoring total was tied for fourth nationally among rookie blue liners.
Priskie, who twice earned Rookie of the Week honors in the league, was named to the 2015-16 All-ECAC Hockey Rookie Team.
"He's a great hockey player, a great kid, and a straight A student," said Pecknold of his team's Rookie of the Year.
Draft Projection: The jury is still out on Priskie as an NHL prospect, but an organization could and very likely will use a late round pick on him as a flier.