On Campus Casey Ufko

Conference tournaments kick into high gear this weekend in all six conferences in NCAA Division I men's hockey.

Once these tournaments are finished, the 16-team field for the NCAA Tournament will be selected March 24, with regionals to follow starting March 28 in and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Springfield, Massachusetts, and March 29 in Maryland Heights, Missouri, and Providence, Rhode Island.

The four regional winners will advance to the Frozen Four at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, on April 11-13.

Teams on or close to the PairWise bubble -- roughly Nos. 11 through 16 -- will battle this weekend to improve or solidify their positions. Pairwise is the multifactor system used in college hockey to rank the strength of teams.

As teams try to make their best case, they will be looking to their best players to lead the way.

In alphabetical order, here are 10 NHL draft picks who could make a difference for their teams this weekend.

Alex Bump, Western Michigan University

Selected in the fifth round (No. 133) by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2022 NHL Draft, the forward had reported to the University of Vermont, preparing for his freshman season when the school made a coaching change. He entered the transfer portal and moved to Western Michigan.

It's been a good fit for the 20-year-old; playing a top-six role, he has 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in 34 games and was named this week to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference All-Rookie team.

Western Michigan is No. 13 in the PairWise heading into the NCHC quarterfinal series at St. Cloud, which is No. 16 in the PairWise.

Seamus Casey, University of Michigan

With 43 points (seven goals, 36 assists) in 36 games, Casey is tied with Zeev Buium of the University of Denver, and Lane Hutson of Boston University for the scoring lead among NCAA defensemen.

The 20-year-old sophomore was selected by the New Jersey Devils in the second round (No. 46) of the 2022 draft.

Michigan is a virtual lock to make the NCAA Tournament at No. 10 in the PairWise, but could move up by defeating No. 6 Minnesota, in the Big 10 semifinals Saturday.

On Campus Seamus Casey

Jonathan Castagna, Cornell University

The 18-year-old freshman center, who was chosen by the Arizona Coyotes in the third round (No. 70) of the 2023 NHL Draft, was named to the ECAC All-Rookie team after he had 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 29 games.

Cornell is on the outside looking in at No. 17 but could earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the ECAC playoff title. They face Harvard University in a best-of-3 quarterfinal series at home starting Friday.

Sam Colangelo, Western Michigan University

After three seasons at Northeastern, Colangelo transferred to Western Michigan and has had his best season with 38 points (20 goals, 18 assists) in 34 games.

A senior forward with a big shot, the 22-year was chosen by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round (No. 36) of the 2020 NHL Draft.

Michael Hrabal, University of Massachusetts

Selected by the Coyotes in the second round (No. 38) of the 2023 draft, the 19-year-old goalie has had a good freshman season, going 15-10-1 with a 2.52 goals-against average, .914 save percentage, and two shutouts.

At No. 15 in the PairWise, UMass faces No. 14 Providence College in the Hockey East quarterfinals Saturday.

Noah Laba, Colorado College

The sophomore center led his team to a third-place finish in the eight-team NCHC after they were picked for seventh in the preseason poll by the coaches.

Selected by the New York Rangers in the fourth round (No. 111) of the 2022 draft, the 20-year-old has 35 points (19 goals, 16 assists), including seven game-winning goals, in 33 games.

Colorado College is No. 11 in the PairWise and hosts No. 12 Omaha this weekend in the NCHC quarterfinals.

Tanner Ludtke, University of Nebraska-Omaha

The 19-year-old freshman forward plays on Omaha's top line and leads the team with 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) in 34 games.

He was selected by the Coyotes in the third round (No. 81) of the 2023 draft.

Omaha, on the bubble at No. 12 in the PairWise, visits No. 11 Colorado College in the NCHC quarterfinals.

Veeti Miettinen, St. Cloud State University

Chosen by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the sixth round (No. 168) of the 2020 draft, the senior forward leads St. Cloud with 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists) in 33 games. The 22-year-old has reached double figures in goals in each of his four college seasons.

No. 16 St. Cloud faces No. 13 Western Michigan this weekend.

Ryan Ufko, University of Massachusetts

The 20-year-old junior is a co-captain and was selected by the Nashville Predators in the fourth round (No. 115) of the 2021 NHL Draft.

A solid all-around defenseman, Ufko has 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 34 games and has a knack for scoring big goals. He has five game-winners, including three in overtime.

No. 15 UMass plays No. 14 Providence College in the Hockey East quarterfinals this weekend.

On Campus Ryan Ufko

Chase Yoder, Providence College

Chosen by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the sixth round (No. 170) of the 2020 draft, the 21-year-old forward has 20 points (11 goals, nine assists) in 34 games.

The senior co-captain plays in all situations and leads the team with five power-play goals and two short-handed goals.

No. 14 Providence College plays No. 15 UMass in the Hockey East quarterfinals.