Position: Left Wing
2015-16 Team: Northeastern University
League: Hockey East
Hometown: Sea Isle City, NJ
Perhaps no player in college hockey saw his stock rise during the season as much as Northeastern sophomore left wing Nolan Stevens. The Sea Isle City, NJ native went from three goals and eight assists as a freshman to 20 goals and 22 assists in his second go-around on St. Botolph Street.
His line, with center (and brother) John Stevens and right wing Zach Aston-Reese, spearheaded the Huskies' resurgence from a 1-11-2 start to eventually finishing 22-14-5 with a Hockey East Tournament Championship on their resume.
The younger Stevens, in his third season of draft eligibility, has the most pro upside of any of the three on Jim Madigan's top line. It's an overly-used cliche, but Stevens is heavy and strong on pucks. Despite his offensive outburst this season, if he makes it to the NHL it will be as a bottom six winger.
Stevens has a good shot, but a lot of his offensive production came from good, old fashioned grit. He has a knack for being in the right place at the right time, winning net-front battles and scoring garbage goals.
He's good in all 200-feet of the ice. He's responsible defensively, doesn't cut corners and pays attention to the finer details of the game. His father John Stevens is the associate head coach of the Los Angeles Kings. He comes from a good hockey family and it shows in his hockey IQ.
The jump in Stevens' game from his rookie to sophomore seasons is in part due to an off-season spent training. The U.S. NTDP alum worked hard in the weight room and other off-ice training to become stronger, which made him a better player.
Draft Projection: Stevens is an interesting case as he's in his third season of eligibility, but had a coming out year. He had never shown much ability to be anything other than a grinder. Look for a team to use a pick on Stevens in the fourth or fifth round.