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Twenty NCHC Alumni Earn Spots on 2017-18 NHL Opening Rosters

By NCHC, 10/04/17, 5:30PM EDT

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All eight NCHC teams place at least five alumni on NHL rosters, 57 alumni from NCHC teams make the NHL

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – With the 2017-18 National Hockey League (NHL) regular season getting underway tonight (Wednesday), the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) will be well represented in the NHL this season as 20 NCHC alumni made NHL opening rosters, which were finalized Wednesday. Last season, the NCHC only saw seven alumni make NHL opening rosters out of training camp.

In addition to the 20 NCHC alumni that made opening rosters, 37 other alumni of NCHC teams also made 2017-18 NHL opening rosters, giving NCHC teams a total of 57 alumni on NHL rosters. All eight NCHC teams had at least five alumni make an NHL roster, led by 16 from North Dakota. Miami was second among NCHC teams with eight alumni on NHL rosters, while Denver, Minnesota Duluth and Western Michigan each placed six alumni on opening rosters and Colorado College, Omaha and St. Cloud State each saw five alumni make an NHL roster out of training camp. Four of the 57 alumni will start the season on injured reserve, including two NCHC alumni – Miami’s Austin Czarnik (Boston) and Omaha’s Luc Snuggerud (Chicago).

Among the 20 NCHC alumni to make NHL rosters, six played in the NCHC last season, including 2017 Hobey Baker Award winner and former Denver defenseman Will Butcher, who earned a spot with the New Jersey Devils. Also earning roster spots in their rookie seasons were former Minnesota Duluth standout and First-Team All-NCHC forward Alex Iafallo with Los Angeles, as well as a trio of North Dakota stars from last season in forwards Brock Boeser (Vancouver) and Tyson Jost (Colorado) and defenseman Tucker Poolman (Winnipeg), who was also a First-Team All-NCHC pick a year ago. Snuggerud is also in his rookie season after leaving Omaha following his junior campaign.

All eight NCHC teams had at least one alumnus who played in the NCHC among the 20 NCHC alumni on opening night rosters, led by six from North Dakota. Omaha produced four NCHC alumni on opening rosters, including a pair of Stanley Cup champions in Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Josh Archibald, the inaugural NCHC Player of the Year, and Jake Guentzel. Miami saw three alumni from the past four years make NHL rosters, including two with the Boston Bruins in Czarnik and fellow forward Sean Kuraly.

Other NCHC alumni on NHL rosters include a pair of Los Angeles Kings from St. Cloud State in forwards Nic Dowd and Jonny Brodzinski, and a pair of defensemen from Colorado College in Jaccob Slavin, a star blue liner for Carolina and the inaugural NCHC Rookie of the Year, and Gustav Olofsson with the Minnesota Wild. The lone Western Michigan alumnus to play in the NCHC and make an NHL roster is Jordan Oesterle, as he is one of five former Bronco defensemen to make a roster to start the 2017-18 NHL season.

Of the 31 NHL teams, 23 are represented with at least one player who is an alumnus of an NCHC team, including two on the expansion Vegas Golden Knights (Miami’s Reilly Smith and UMD’s Jason Garrison). The Los Angeles Kings have the most alumni from NCHC teams on their roster with six, while Chicago, Minnesota and New Jersey each selected five alumni from NCHC teams for their rosters.

Of the 57 alumni on opening-day rosters, 31 are forwards, 23 are defensemen and three are goaltenders.

Below is a list of all NCHC teams’ alumni on an opening-day NHL roster broken down by alma mater (in order of most alumni to fewest). Those that played in the NCHC are listed in bold italics:

North Dakota (16)
Brock Boeser, F (Vancouver)
Drake Caggiula, F (Edmonton)

Taylor Chorney, D (Washington)
Aaron Dell, G (San Jose)
Derek Forbort, D (Los Angeles)
Tyson Jost, F (Colorado)
Brock Nelson, F (New York Islanders)
T.J. Oshie, F (Washington)
Zach Parise, F (Minnesota)
Tucker Poolman, D (Winnipeg)
Carter Rowney, F (Pittsburgh)
Nick Schmaltz, F (Chicago)
Drew Stafford, F (New Jersey)
Troy Stecher, D (Vancouver)
Jonathan Toews, F (Chicago)
Travis Zajac, F (New Jersey) – IR

Miami (8)
Blake Coleman, F (New Jersey)
Austin Czarnik, F (Boston) - IR

Andy Greene, D (New Jersey)
Sean Kuraly, F (Boston)
Alec Martinez, D (Los Angeles)
Reilly Smith, F (Las Vegas)
Chris Wideman, D (Ottawa)
Tommy Wingels, F (Chicago)

Denver (6)
Tyler Bozak, F (Toronto)
Will Butcher, D (New Jersey)
Joe Colborne, F (Colorado)
Nick Shore, F (Los Angeles)
Paul Stastny, F (St. Louis)
Jason Zucker, F (Minnesota)

Minnesota Duluth (6)
J.T. Brown, F (Tampa Bay)
Justin Faulk, D (Carolina)
Jason Garrison, D (Las Vegas)
Alex Iafallo, F (Los Angeles)
Matt Niskanen, D (Washington)
Alex Stalock, G (Minnesota)

Western Michigan (6)
Kevin Connauton, D (Arizona)
Danny DeKeyser, D (Detroit)
Mark Letestu, F (Edmonton)
Jordan Oesterle, D (Chicago)
Matt Tennyson, D (Buffalo)
Luke Witkowski, D (Detroit)

Colorado College (5)
Curtis McElhinney, G (Toronto)
Gustav Olofsson, D (Minnesota)
Nate Prosser, D (St. Louis)
Jaden Schwartz, F (St. Louis)
Jaccob Slavin, D (Carolina)

Omaha (5)
Josh Archibald, F (Pittsburgh)
Jake Guentzel, F (Pittsburgh)
Jaycob Megna, D (Anaheim)
Luc Snuggerud, D (Chicago) - IR

Andrej Sustr, D (Tampa Bay)

St. Cloud State (5)
Jonny Brodzinski, F (Los Angeles)
Matt Cullen, F (Minnesota)
Nic Dowd, F (Los Angeles)
Matt Hendricks, F (Winnipeg) – IR
Nick Jensen, D (Detroit)

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