Olson, a 2019 third-round selection, is having his best year to date in the NCAA. After two seasons where he posted 26 points in 59 games with the University of Minnesota-Duluth, the junior winger is up to 13 points in 18 games with the Bulldogs this season.
His points place him third on the team and his 10 assists lead all Bulldog skaters. It helps that he’s been playing with Dominic James and Blake Biondi, UMD’s top goal scorer and a 2020 fourth-round pick by the Canadiens.
It’s been encouraging to see the play-making ability from Olson this season, something he excelled in when he was in the AJHL. He’s well on his way to setting a new career-high in points with the Bulldogs.
Perhaps out of all the college prospects for the Bruins, Schmaltz has surprised the most. The freshman out of the University of North Dakota has impressed this season playing in the middle in his first season in college hockey.
The seventh-round pick from 2019 has 12 points in 19 games with the Fighting Hawks, which puts him in a tie for fifth on the team and first among the freshmen. He was skating a lot with Riese Gaber, the top scorer on North Dakota and one of the top players in the NCHC, and Judd Caufield, but has been switched around a bit as of late.
A lot of his points came at the beginning of the season when he was centering a line with Gaber, as in his last nine games, he has just three points. But Schmaltz has stood out among the freshmen on a strong North Dakota team.
In his third season at Clarkson University, McFaul has maintained a steady, stay-at-home defensemen role on Casey Jones’ squad. He doesn’t shoot the puck much, nor will he jump up in the play, so he’s rarely on the score sheet. But he’s a leader and plays well in his own zone.
A fourth-round pick from 2018, McFaul does the little things right on the blue line for the Golden Knights. He’s managed two assists in 19 games this season.
After four years at Michigan, Becker used his fifth year of eligibility and transferred to the University of Arizona. The change of scenery has worked wonders for Becker, a seventh-round pick from 2015.
The forward already has posted a career-high in points with 16 through 20 games, his best at Michigan was 15. His fourth on the Sun Devils in that category with five goals and 11 assists.
He looked like just another seventh-round pick that wouldn’t play professionally while with the Wolverines, but he’s been a different player at Arizona. Not that he’ll be a mainstay in Boston at all, but it’s been encouraging to see that the transfer has worked in Becker’s favor.