By PowerPlayCJ @powerplaywithcj on June 17, 2014
While the majority of American born NHL players play college hockey, a growing number play Canadian Junior Hockey and forfeit their NCAA eligibility. Thinking about where some of the elite American born CHL produced talents would have played college hockey is at the very least intriguing. Some of the players were committed to said schools before taking their talents to junior hockey while others are pure speculation.
The Capitals’ rising star was committed to the Minutemen before ultimately taking his talents to the London Knights of the OHL. The New Jersey native surely would have been among the elite defenseman to pass through Hockey East in recent years.
“Big Buff” went to the WHL after not having the grades to play college hockey. If things were different the Minnesota native surely would have played for Don Lucia and the Golden Gophers. His size and ability to play both forward and defense would have made him a great fit in Minneapolis.
The two-time Stanley Cup champion played for the OHL’s Guelph Storm, but if he had gone to college there would have been plenty of options for him in his home state of New York. Clarkson would have been among the best fits for Brown as the school also produced fellow American power forward Erik Cole.
The former New York Rangers captain and current member of the Tampa Bay Lightning grew up in the same neighborhood as former Eagles great Brian Gionta. Having that kind of influence surely would have led the gritty winger to joining Jerry York’s elite program at Boston College.
The Pennsylvania native went to the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit after two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program. Had he chosen the NCAA route, the Spartans would have been a great fit as his gritty, two-way style of play would have made a truly elite player in the CCHA/Big 10 Conference.
The big winger played for the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack before going No. 2 overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. While every program in the nation would have loved to have Ryan in their lineup, the New Hampshire Wildcats and Coach Dick Umile would have likely been the front-runners for the New Jersey native’s services.
The undersized but ultra skilled member of the Tampa Bay Lightning played for his hometown Spokane Chiefs of the WHL. Given there are no Division 1 programs on the West Coast, he’d have to go a little bit further away to play NCAA Hockey. The University of Denver would have been the best fit for Johnson given its proximity to Washington and track record of producing NHL talent.
The Massachusetts native was committed to the Black Bears before academic problems sent him to the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior League. His skating ability and offensive prowess would have made a standout player in Orono for a program with a stellar track record of producing NHL talent.
The Plano, Texas native came down to choosing between North Dakota and the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks before choosing the latter. Jones would have been the rare 17-year-old freshman who surely would have benefited Dakota in the same way playing there would have benefited his development.
The NHL’s best American player lit up the OHL as a member of the London Knights before joining the Blackhawks at age 18. Kane was rumored to be looking at Jack Parker’s BU Terriers where he have joined the likes of Chris Drury and Tom Poti as elite American players to suit up at BU.
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