How important is the quest to find top undrafted free agents in college hockey? Many NHL organizations have scouts devoted solely to finding such players.
Former New Hampton and Kimball Union head coach and Brown assistant Mike Levine (Sandwich, Mass.) scouts college free agents for the Vegas Golden Knights. UNH alumnus and former Bentley and Brown assistant Mark White (Woburn, Mass.) does the same for the Winnipeg Jets. The Boston Bruins employ Scott Fitzgerald (Billerica, Mass.) to scout the college ranks.
Some of the region’s top undrafted free agents in recent years have included Union center Mike Vecchione (Saugus, Mass.), Northeastern left wing Zach-Aston Reese, and UMass Lowell defenseman Christian Folin. Vecchione is in the Philadelphia Flyers’ system with the organization’s AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley. Folin is with the Flyers and Aston-Reese is now skating for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This season, the top undrafted free agents in college hockey reside in the NCHC and WCHA. Headlining the group of coveted undrafted free agents in college hockey is St. Cloud State senior defenseman Jimmy Schuldt, who spurned several offers last spring to return to school.