With the Frozen Four Final on tap for Saturday night between the Union Dutchmen and the Minnesota Golden Gophers, there is more at stake than just a National Championship. Dozens of scouts from teams across the NHL are in attendance, and everyone is trying to get a good look at some of the top up-and-coming talent in the NCAA. These five players may be showing up on an NHL roster near you as soon as next season.
1. Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Union
Philadelphia Flyers (Round 3, 78th overall in 2012)
Gostisbehere is one of the top defensemen in college hockey, and has been a stalwart on the Union blueline. His poise and presence in the defensive end has led Union to the Frozen Four final. As the only NHL prospect on his team, he has the distinct responsibility of being the go-to guy when Union needs to shut down opposing forwards. His ability to neutralize Minnesota’s top line could be the difference on Saturday night.
2. Kyle Rau, C, Minnesota
Florida Panthers (Round 3, 91st overall in 2011)
Rau has consistently been a top offensive player for the University of Minnesota, and has centered their first line all season in 2013-14. His 37 points in 39 games leads a team that has nine 20-point scorers this season. His 5-foot-8 frame may look like an issue to the untrained eye, but Rau could be a regular NHLer come the end of his college career.
3. Hudson Fasching, RW, Minnesota
Los Angeles Kings (Round 4, 118th overall in 2013, traded to Buffalo in 2014)
Another graduate of the US National Team Developmental Program, the freshman winger posted 29 points in 38 games for the Golden Gophers and has been a solid right wing for Rau. Going into the Frozen Four final, his chemistry with Rau could prove to be the offensive spark that leads Minnesota to another National Championship.
4. Taylor Cammarata, RW, Minnesota
New York Islanders (Round 3, 76th overall in 2013)
The freshman winger from Minneapolis, MN has been a solid second-line right wing for the U this season, posting 25 points in 37 games and giving the Gophers much-needed depth to complement their star power. If Union’s Gostisbehere can neutralize the Gophers’ top line, it may be up to Cammarata and the second line to spark Minnesota’s offense.
5. Brady Skjei, D, Minnesota
New York Rangers (Round 1, 28th overall in 2012)
One of the top defensemen in the country and another graduate of the USNTDP, Skjei can both shut players down defensively and contribute offensively to Minnesota’s firepower. His 13 points in 38 games is respectable in a difficult Big-10 conference, but it’s his defensive play that could give Minnesota a win on Saturday night.