Tampa Bay Lightning: NCAA Products and Their Contributions
All five of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s NHL prospects featured in the 2012 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Division I Championship bracket were eliminated in the regional rounds this past weekend. Accordingly, barring a future trade or free-agent signing, local fans shouldn't bank on seeing any of next week’s Frozen Four participants making the Tampa Bay Times Forum their workplace.
That notwithstanding, it is worth noting the dense presence of U.S. college alumni on the team that will lend its abode to the upcoming NCAA championship.
Out of 27 players to have suited up for the Bolts this season, 13 played their last lick of amateur hockey at a Division I institution. All but one of them (rookie Evan Oberg, formerly of Minnesota-Duluth), are presently playing at the NHL level.
In alphabetical order, here is a capsule of highlights from each current Lightning player’s NCAA career.
Clark was a one-and-done Maine Black Bear in 1995-96. Establishing himself as a point-based playmaker, the blueliner tallied 31 assists in 39 games for Maine and garnered a position on the Hockey East All-Rookie Team.
Commodore left North Dakota a year early, but not before he partook in a run to the 2000 national championship. Ironically, most of his first professional season was spent with the AHL’s Albany River Rats, whose arena hosted the next Frozen Four—where UND relinquished its title to Boston College.
The Michigan State graduate went to two Frozen Fours (1999 and 2001) and was the Spartans’ leading goal scorer in 1999-2000 and 2001-02.
Hall also won three Great Lakes Invitational titles, two conference playoff championships and was named to the CCHA all-tournament team in 2001, after having a hand in both goals to beat rival Michigan in the title game, 2-0.
Jonathan Toews was not the only North Dakota player to bolt for the pros after his sophomore season in 2006-07. Lee followed his lead out of Grand Forks, but not before charging up 47 assists and 53 points in 82 career appearances and making back-to-back trips to the Frozen Four.
Malone played the full balance of his college eligibility and peaked as a junior. In 2001-02, he tallied a 24-25-49 scoring log for his St. Cloud State Huskies.
In addition, Malone is a part of the school’s only graduating class to have been to the NCAA tournament in all four of their collegiate seasons.
Like Clark before him, Purcell spent one season in Orono with the Maine Black Bears. He placed third on the team scoring charts in 2006-07, trailing only two seniors. He also tied Michel Leveille for the Maine lead among forwards with a plus-five rating, and was named the top rookie in Hockey East.
In his only NCAA tournament, Purcell tallied a playmaker hat trick in a first-round regional victory over St. Cloud State.
Roloson assumed the starting job at UMass-Lowell to commence his junior year and proceeded to break the 20-win plateau twice.
He turned in a firework finale as a senior in 1993-94, winning Hockey East’s regular season and postseason MVP accolades and backstopping the Riverhawks to their first NCAA tournament. They would beat Michigan State in the opening round before a 2-1 overtime loss to Minnesota ended the thrill ride, closed the college door and opened the professional threshold to Roloson.
In both his junior and senior seasons at Boston College, Shannon averaged a point per game or better and placed second on the Eagles’ scoring charts. Two of his last three career points were assists in a 3-1 victory over New Hampshire that clinched the 2005 Hockey East championship.
Smith led the New Hampshire Wildcats with 21 goals and 43 points in his second and final collegiate season in 2006-07.
Martin St. Louis
St. Louis set a sensational tone for his career by leading Vermont in scoring each year he was there (1993-97,) and still holds the program record with 176 assists and 267 points. His career campaign as a junior (29 goals, 85 points) culminated in the Catamounts’ first-ever Frozen Four berth.
Although Vermont was knocked out of the semifinal by Colorado College, St. Louis did enough to be the only player not involved in the championship game to make the All-Tournament team.
Originally playing under former NHLer Dave Poulin, Wallace went to the 2004 NCAA tournament with Notre Dame as a sophomore. Two years later, he capped off his stay in South Bend with a career-high campaign of 11 goals and 23 points.
Logging 41 goals and 85 points in 123 career games at Dartmouth, Wyman gradually upped his productivity each year to a 15-15-30 transcript as a senior in 2007-08.