Sports, Hockey, Men's Hockey

Seven Former Eagles Who Are Making Big Impacts In The NHL

After successful collegiate careers on the Heights, in recent years, a number of former Boston College men’s hockey players have not only made it to the NHL, but have put their names in the record books. 

This season, 10 former BC players made it to this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, and Alex Newhook became the 21st Eagle to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.

Johnny Gaudreau and Chris Kreider have cemented their statuses as stars, while others—including younger players Marc McLaughlin, Jack McBain, Newhook, Matt Boldy, and Spencer Knight—have more recently begun to make a name for themselves. Here’s what some of them were up to this season.

Alex Newhook, C, Colorado Avalanche

In his first full season with the Avalanche, the center impressed, capping off the year with a Stanley Cup. Newhook posted 13 goals and 20 assists through 71 regular-season games. He recorded five multi-point games over the course of the year, one of those coming in the Stanley Cup Finals on June 18. After the Avalanche finished the regular season with the second-best record in the NHL, his production bolstered Colorado’s third forward line in its capture of the Stanley Cup.

In the playoffs, Newhook earned four points off four assists in 12 appearances, becoming the 21st Eagle to have his name engraved on the Cup. 

Chris Kreider, LW, New York Rangers

The 2021–22 season marked the first time in Kreider’s 13-year professional career that he scored over 30 goals, finishing this season with 52. He is the fourth New York Ranger to score 50 goals in a single season and is one of 14 NHL players all-time to score 50 goals in a season at age 30 or above. 

Kreider’s production has increased as he’s gotten older. He averaged 21.9 goals over his past eight seasons with the Rangers heading into 2021–22. This year, working with the Rangers’ effective net-front presence and talented power-play unit, Kreider finished the regular season ranked third in the NHL in total goals, and he scored 10 goals over 20 games in the Rangers’ playoff run. 

Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Calgary Flames

On the same day he accepted the Hobey Baker Award in 2014, Gaudreau signed a contract with the Calgary Flames. Since signing, he’s established himself as a leading scorer on the team, accumulating 210 goals across nine seasons. 

Gaudreau helped the Flames finish the regular season sixth in the league standings and first in the Pacific Division after failing to make the playoffs one season ago. Gaudreau finished the regular season second in the NHL in points with a career-best 115. He was also first in the NHL in plus/minus rating. Gaudreau scored three goals in this year’s playoffs before Edmonton defeated the Flames in five games in the quarterfinal round.

On July 13, the first day of NHL free agency, Gaudreau left Calgary to sign a seven-year, $68.24 million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

Marc McLaughlin, RW, Boston Bruins

After scoring 21 goals in his senior season at BC, Massachusetts local McLaughlin signed a two-year entry-level deal with the Bruins following the end of the NCAA regular season. While playing in the NHL, McLaughlin simultaneously finished out his last semester in the classroom at BC and graduated on May 23

McLaughlin posted three goals and a positive plus/minus rating through his first 10 NHL games, and he scored a goal in his first professional game on the Bruins’ home ice. He said the goal was a moment he had “lived a hundred million times down in [his] basement.”

Jack McBain, C, Arizona Coyotes

Less than a week after McLaughlin reached a deal with the Bruins, McBain inked a two-year, entry-level contract with the Arizona Coyotes. He picked up his first point in his third professional game by assisting a Nick Ritchie goal before Calgary routed the Coyotes 9–1. He scored his first NHL goal five games later.

McBain averaged 13 minutes of ice time through the regular season, appearing in 10 games. Providing a physical presence while adding some goals here and there is a great first step for McBain. 

In the final game of the Coyotes’ 2021–22 season, McBain jammed home his second goal of the year on a scrum in front of the net, as Arizona came back from a 4–0 deficit to beat Nashville 5–4.

Matt Boldy, RW, Minnesota Wild

Boldy left BC after his sophomore season and spent time playing for the Wild’s AHL affiliate Iowa Wild while recovering from an injury. This season he was called up to the big leagues, and on Jan. 6, Boldy scored his first career goal in his first career game against the Bruins in his hometown of Boston.

Though he missed some time at the beginning of the season due to his injury, Boldy has impressed since arriving in Minnesota. Since his debut, he has fit into the Wild’s roster, earning significant ice time on the second line and making a number of highlight plays, including a between-the-legs goal against the Canadiens on April 19. 

In a loaded rookie class with the likes of Trevor Zegras and Moritz Seider, Boldy led all NHL rookies with at least 25 games played in average per-game production, recording 0.85 points per game.

Spencer Knight, G, Florida Panthers

After struggling earlier this season and having a stint with the Panthers’ AHL affiliate Charlotte Checkers, Knight has reestablished his presence in net throughout the past few months. He finished the season with a .908 save percentage over 32 appearances with 27 starts. 

After he was called up to the Panthers from Charlotte in March, Knight boasted a higher save percentage than the Panthers’ other netminder Sergei Bobrovsky. After returning to Florida, Knight boasted a .917 save percentage in 10 appearances, while Bobrovsky recorded a .881 percentage during the same stretch. 

Knight went 6–1–0 in April with a 2.16 goals-against average, .925 save percentage, and shutouts in seven appearances, good enough for the NHL’s Rookie of the Month title. 

July 19, 2022