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Players to watch during NCAA Division I hockey tournament

Panthers prospect Borgstrom, Wild draft pick Greenway, Tkachuk of Boston University among notables

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

The NCAA Division I men's hockey tournament starts Friday, with 16 teams divided into four regional brackets.

Among the teams are a number of prospects, as well as free agents who NHL teams will be pursuing.

Here are a 12 players to keep a close watch on when the tournament begins with regional games in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Allentown, Pennsylvania; Worcester, Massachusetts; and Bridgeport, Connecticut.


Henrik Borgstrom, C, Denver (Florida Panthers)

Borgstrom, 20, was selected by the Panthers with the No. 23 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. He helped Denver win the NCAA title as a freshman last season, and has been better this season. He leads Denver with 22 goals in 38 games, and is fifth in the NCAA with 50 points after he had 43 points (22 goals, 21 assists) in 37 games last season. Borgstrom is one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top player in NCAA Division I men's hockey.


Matthew Galajda, G, Cornell

In his first NCAA season, the 20-year-old goaltender went 21-4-2 with a 1.49 goals-against average, a .940 save percentage and nine shutouts in 28 games. He leads NCAA goaltenders in GAA and shutouts, and is third in save percentage. He is one of 10 finalists for the Mike Richter Award, given to the best goaltender in NCAA Division I men's hockey, as well as a Hobey Baker Award finalist. He is an undrafted NHL free agent.


Adam Gaudette, C, Northeastern (Vancouver Canucks)

Gaudette, 21, was selected by the Canucks in the fifth round (No. 149) in the 2015 NHL Draft. His third season at Northeastern has been his best; he leads the NCAA in goals (30) and points (60), and is a Hobey Baker Award finalist.


Jordan Greenway, LW, Boston University (Minnesota Wild)

Greenway, 21, was selected by the Wild in the second round (No. 50) in the 2015 draft. He led Boston University with 33 points (12 goals, 21 assists) in 34 games despite missing time to play for the United States at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. Greenway (6-foot-6, 226 pounds) had one goal in five games for the U.S., which finished seventh.


Quintin Hughes, D, Michigan

The 18-year-old freshman is No. 4 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters, and the No. 1 defenseman, for the 2018 NHL Draft. He's fourth on Michigan with 28 points (four goals, 24 assists) in 34 games. 


Ryan Kuffner, LW, Princeton

Kuffner, 21, is tied for second in the NCAA with 29 goals and fourth with 52 points. The undrafted NHL free agent skated at Winnipeg Jets development camp last summer.


Tanner Laczynski, C, Ohio State (Philadelphia Flyers)

Laczynski, 20, was selected by the Flyers in the sixth round (No. 169) in the 2016 draft. In his second NCAA season, he leads Ohio State with 43 points (15 goals, 28 assists) in 34 games after he had 32 (10 goals, 22 assists) in 34 games last season.


Cayden Primeau, G, Northeastern (Montreal Canadiens)

Primeau, 18, was selected by the Canadiens in the seventh round (No. 199) in the 2017 NHL Draft. The freshman is 19-7-5 with a 1.88 GAA, a .932 save percentage and four shutouts in 33 games. He helped Northeastern win the Beanpot Tournament for the first time since 1988, allowing two goals on 77 shots in two games, and is a finalist for the Mike Richter Award.


Ryan Poehling, C, St. Cloud State (Montreal Canadiens)

Poehling, 19, was taken by the Canadiens with the No. 25 pick in the 2017 draft. He improved offensively this season with 31 points (14 goals, 17 assists) in 35 games for the No. 1 team in the NCAA rankings, after he had 13 points in 35 games last season. Poehling also had three points (one goal, two assists) in seven games to help the U.S. win the bronze medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.


Dylan Sikura, C, Northeastern (Chicago Blackhawks)

Sikura, 22, was selected by the Blackhawks in the sixth round (No. 178) in the 2014 NHL Draft. The senior forward is third in the NCAA with 53 points (21 goals, 32 assists) in 34 games and is a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. Sikura (5-11, 158) has 110 points (42 goals, 68 assists) in 72 games the past two seasons.


CJ Suess, LW, Minnesota State (Winnipeg Jets)

Suess, 24, was selected by the Jets in the fifth round (No. 129) of the 2014 draft. He led Minnesota State with 22 goals and 43 points this season and is a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. Suess, who is in his fourth college season, has been captain the past two seasons.


Brady Tkachuk, LW, Boston University

Tkachuk (6-3, 196) is No. 3 on Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters for the 2018 draft. He has 29 points (eight goals, 21 assists) in 38 games, and was third in scoring for the U.S. and helped them win the bronze medal at the 2018 World Junior Championship with nine points (three goals, six assists) in seven games.

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