While the month of March is well known for its postseason basketball tournaments, it's also when the NCAA Hockey postseason begins. And whenever a team gets eliminated in March, there's a mad scramble by NHL general managers to sign the players who are finished with their college careers.
So when Quinnipiac's season came to a close, center Tim Clifton became a target for Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson. He became the newest member of the Sharks organization on March 19 when was signed to a two-year contract.
His grit, scoring and faceoff prowess have been well covered already. What may not have been covered is his attitude as a player and as a teammate.
"Clifton has a reputation as a two-way center that has worked his way all the way through his four years in college to round out his game and the hard work has paid off." - Zachary Devine, Dobber Prospects.
Coming out of juniors, the New Jersey native diligently worked with his coaches on improving his skating. In his time there, he became one of the leading scorers and took the team all the way to the NCAA championship game last season.
"We're very proud of Tim and wish him the best with the San Jose organization," Bobcats Head Coach Rand Pecknold said via the team's website. "He's worked hard to develop his game and has helped elevate our program to another level."
Quinnipiac hasn't just been the place where Tim plays hockey. It's truly a family affair. The Bobcat's captain is his brother Connor, a 5th-round draft pick of the Coyotes. Tim is an alternate captain. The two have played together at Quinnipiac for the past four years.
"They are perhaps the friendliest, most outgoing and intelligent players in the Quinnipiac locker room, with an unconditional loyalty that extends well beyond the ice," New Hampshire Register reporter Chip Malafronte wrote last season.
But - watch out Staal family - there's yet another Clifton coming through the hockey ranks as well. They have an even younger brother named Corey playing in high school, and committed to play at Quinnipiac for the 2018-19 season.
Fans won't have to wait long to see Tim play in teal. His contract came with an ATO (amateur tryout) for the rest of the 2016-17 season, meaning he will likely see some action for the Barracuda down the stretch and potentially through their playoff run. Regardless of what he does on the ice though, it's clear the Barracuda added a great teammate.
Click here to view the current prospect report.