Shortly after winning the 2014 NCAA Men’s Hockey National Championship, three of the Dutchmen’s most outstanding players had even more reason to celebrate after signing contracts to play at the NHL level next season.
Captain Mat Bodie ’14 along with fellow alternate captains Daniel Carr ’14 and Shayne Gostisbehere ’15 will be taking their impressive talents to the National Hockey League, where they all hope to enjoy even more success than they have at Union.
Gostisbehere was the only player out of the three that had already been drafted, as the Philadelphia Flyers took him 78th overall in the 2012 entry draft before he even stepped foot on the ice for the Dutchmen.
Not even a week after helping lead the Dutchmen to their first ever national championship, the Flyers locked him up to an entry-level deal and could not be more excited to have him playing in their system.
The Flyers director of scouting Chris Pryor had nothing but great things to say about Gostisbehere in an interview with NHL.com after signing the young 21-year-old defenseman from Margate, Fla. “He’s exciting to watch. He’s got offensive flair to his game that you just don’t teach. Some kids have it and some kids play a different style game. He has that knack for finding holes, jumping up with the play and seeing things from an offensive standpoint, which is a unique ability from his standpoint.”
Gostisbehere showed the offensive flair and ability to find holes in opposing teams’ defenses during the championship game. He scored an incredible goal, shredding through several Minnesota defenders and launching a gorgeous snap shot right past Gophers goaltender and Hobey Baker Award finalist Adam Wilcox.
“He can make plays, he can skate, he can shoot the puck,” said Pryor. “Those things are attributes that are going to give him a real good opportunity. Who’s to say when that opportunity is going to come? It’s going to come from Shayne and the development side. But he’s got some things that you just don’t teach. It’s attractive from an NHL standpoint.”
Throughout the Dutchmen’s run to the Frozen Four, highly respected NHL analyst and former NHL head coach of the Los Angeles Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning Barry Melrose could not seem to give enough praise to Gostisbehere’s game and skill set while commentating all of Union’s games in the regionals and finals.
When considering the talent Melrose has coached throughout his career, including players like Wayne Gretzky, Martin St. Louis and Stephen Stamkos, that is a huge compliment to Gostisbehere.
Many critics however, seem to think Gostisbehere’s only flaw in the NHL will be his size. He is listed at just five feet 11 inches and 160 pounds, which is relatively small compared to the average size of an NHL defender. As the game only gets more physical and faster in the NHL, Gostisbehere’s size seems like a reasonable concern.
Regardless of his size, Gostisbehere appears to have all the tools needed to hopefully contribute to the Flyers, down the road. The Flyers are an ailing organization that saw their team eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last week by divisional rivals the New York Rangers.
Coincidentally, the New York Rangers recently signed the Dutchmen’s former captain and Gostisbehere’s fellow blue-liner Mat Bodie as an unrestricted free agent.
As impressive as Gostisbehere was throughout the season and Frozen Four, Bodie was equally as impressive.
Bodie demonstrated strong defensive play, outstanding leadership qualities and timely goals down the stretch that seemed inevitably to propel the Dutchmen to victory.
Bodie is well-known for his consistent and physical play in the defensive zone. As a result, he was frequently called upon by coach Rick Bennett to shut down opposing teams’ best goal-scorers, such as Hobey Baker award-winner Johnny Gaudreau in the Dutchmen’s Frozen Four semifinal game against Boston College.
However, Bodie may be best remembered by the blistering slap shot he launched into the back of the net to start off the Dutchmen’s scoring against Boston College, which seemed to change the momentum in Union’s favor for the rest of the contest.
Bodie will definitely be missed next year, as he’s the all-time leading defenseman scorer in school history.
This past year, Bodie set a single-season record for most points scored by a Union defenseman with 39, tallying eight goals and 31 assists in 40 games. He was also named an AHCA/CCM All-American and finished as the second highest-scoring defenseman in the country.
With the Rangers in the midst of a chase for the Stanley Cup, Bodie has decided to remain at Union and finish his degree. He plans to join the Rangers at the team’s development camp this summer.
The Rangers have always been a team rooted with very solid defensemen, and they definitely got the full package with the six-feet-tall, East St. Paul, Manitoba, native. The sky is only the limit for Bodie as he leaves an illustrious college career behind him.
Six-feet-tall, 195-pound, forward and alternate captain Daniel Carr became the third Union Dutchman to sign an NHL deal. He signed as a free agent with the Montreal Canadiens.
Carr was an outstanding player throughout his four-year career at Union, averaging nearly a point per game and posting 157 points in 160 contests.
Carr finished ninth nationally in scoring this year, recording the first 50-point (22 goals and 28 assists) campaign in Union’s Division I history.
Carr was also a force down the stretch for coach Rick Bennett and Union’s special teams, scoring seven of his 22 goals on the power-play and notching 14 points in the post-season (five goals and nine assists), earning him “Most Outstanding Player of the ECAC Tournament” honors.
Gostisbehere, Bodie and Carr most certainly have bright futures ahead of them.
All three of the teams they signed with have extremely rich and proud hockey traditions. Two of the teams, the Rangers and the Canadiens, are members of the NHL’s “original six.”
On behalf of everyone from the Union community, we wish the three players the best of luck and know that they will represent the garnet-and-white tradition admirably.
Their talents will also be sorely missed next season, as Union looks to defend its national title.