After just one year of collegiate hockey at the University of Minnesota, forward Hudson Fasching had to re-acclimate himself following a trade-deadline deal that sent the big-bodied prospect from the Los Angeles Kings to the Buffalo Sabres.
So how exactly did Fasching find out about the trade?
“Actually, one of my teammates just put a text in a group chat of rumors of Fasching being traded,” the 18-year-old said, laughing. “I just got out of class so it was kind of interesting how it all happened.”
Buffalo acquired Fasching and Nicolas Deslauriers at the NHL Trade Deadline on March 5 from the Kings in exchange for defenseman Brayden McNabb, forward Jonathan Parker and two second-round picks that the Sabres previously acquired from the Kings for defenseman Robyn Regehr.
It was really good for my development just to understand the game, understand how big moments are supposed to be handled. - Hudson Fasching
The Kings originally drafted Fasching in the fourth round of the last year’s NHL Draft (118th overall).
While Fasching now has a different NHL team holding his rights, he still has the ability to focus on improving his game with the Golden Gophers.
In his freshman campaign, Fasching finished sixth in scoring on a deep Minnesota team, totaling 14 goals and 16 assists. Fasching also compiled the team’s third-best plus/minus rating at plus-17.
After finishing as the top collegiate team in the country, Minnesota advanced to the NCAA Championship game, but ended up losing a 7-4 contest to Union College. Fasching scored a power-play goal in the loss.
The experience of playing on college hockey’s greatest stage prepared Fasching for the moments that top players encounter regularly at the professional level.
“It was incredible,” Fasching said of the championship game. “I think for me as a player to play in the middle of the spotlight in that big of a game, it was really humbling for me. It was really good for my development just to understand the game, understand how big moments are supposed to be handled. I think that was really big for me.”
Fasching entered his final year of pre-draft eligibility as a top prospect, but ended up falling to the Kings in the fourth round. Throughout the 2012-13 season with the U.S. National Team Development Program, Fasching struggled with inconsistent play as he looked to develop an identity for his game on the ice.
“Before my draft year, I had lost touch with my game and I hadn’t really decided what kind of player I wanted to be,” he said. “My freshman year I settled into a role. I was more of a power forward, just trying to stop trying to make quite as many skills plays, and just kind of play my game a little more as a power forward.”
Fasching was not able to participate in the Kings’ development camp last season due to commitments at Minnesota, so this week’s experience in Buffalo is certainly an eye-opener.
“I like the atmosphere out there; it’s competitive, it’s tough,” Fasching said. “There’s a lot of skill out there. It’s really fast-paced and it’s a lot of fun.”
This week’s on-ice activities will certainly help Fasching round out his game in order to take on an increased role with the Golden Gophers next season. With the experience he has collected just from one year, Fasching has started to prepare for the big moments ahead in his career.