Among the crowd of big-name CHL prospects and European prospects who are looking to transition to North America, NCAA players sometimes get lost in the shuffle among both fans and scouts.
The Calgary Flames might be one exception to the case. Under both former General Manager Jay Feaster and current GM Brad Treliving, the Flames have been able to not only find talented NCAA prospects, but their prospects are learning how to win at the college level with four of them appearing in this year’s NCAA hockey tournament. They are also helping their teams earn berths in the Frozen Four, which starts on April 9 at the TD Garden in Boston.
Jon Gillies – Goaltender – Providence
The junior goaltender was able to help lead his Friars club was able to post impressive starts in back-to-back games to help lead his team to the Frozen Four. The third round selection (75th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft stopped 29 of 34 shots in a 7-5 first-round victory over Miami (OH), and then the native of New Hampshire followed that performance up by stopping 23 of 24 shots in a 4-1 win over the Denver Pioneers in round two.
On Monday, Gillies was named the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week, it was the 12th time he has been given that honor in his three seasons at Providence and he was also named named Prospect of the Week by the Flames on Monday.
John Gilmour – Defenseman – Providence
This native of Montreal is another Calgary prospect who is enjoying his junior year with the Friars. Gilmour, who was selected in the seventh round (198th overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, posted 11 points (4g, 7a) in 28 games for Providence this season.
Gilmour had a blocked shot and a plus-minus rating of minus-two in the Friars’ 7-5 victory over Miami (OH), while registering a shot and a penalty in his team’s 4-1 win over Denver. According to flames.com, Gilmour has a high hockey IQ and strong work ethic.
Mark Jankowski – Forward – Providence
Like Gilmour, this Ontario native is also in his junior year at Providence. He was chosen with the 21st-overall selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and registered 24 points (6g, 18a) in 35 games this season.
Jankowski notched a block and an assist on the Friars’ game-winning goal at the 18:43 mark of the second period in their win over Miami (OH) in first-round action, while recording a block and a plus-minus rating of plus-one in his team’s 4-1 victory in the second round. According to flames.com, scouts say Jankowski is a good playmaker who is creative with the puck.
Brandon Hickey – Defenseman – Boston University
This native of Edmonton, who is the lone Flames representative in the Frozen Four that does not play for Providence, is in his freshman year at Boston University. He hails from the Spruce Gove Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, where he put up 29 points (5g, 24a) in 106 games played over a span of three seasons. He was selected in the third round (64th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
Coming in as a freshman hasn’t stopped Hickey from being an impact player for BU. He notched 16 points (5g, 11a) in 39 games, while finishing the regular season with a plus-minus rating of plus-18. He also led Hockey East with 49 blocked shots in league play, finished tied for fifth among freshman defensemen in points in league play, while leading his team with 87 blocked shots.
Hickey had three shots and a block in BU’s 3-2 victory over Yale in the first round of the NCAA tournament. He followed that performance up with a team-leading five shots and a plus-minus rating of plus-one in a 3-2 win over the University of Minnesota-Duluth in second round play on March 28.
Friend becomes foe
In order for Boston University to get a chance to play Providence on April 11 in the championship game, BU will have to defeat North Dakota while the Friars will have to defeat the University of Nebraska-Omaha.