Five Flyers' prospects to take part in NCAA tournament

Boston University v Massachusetts-Lowell
Boston University v Massachusetts-Lowell / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

As the NHL playoffs are just around the corner, there is a different type of tournament days away from starting. That is the NCAA National Tournament. 16 teams will battle for the chance to take home a national title.

The Flyers will have more than a small interest in the event as they will have five prospects from five different colleges participating. They are far from having the most prospects in the tournament, with that going to the Detroit Red Wings who have nine prospects playing. But it is still a good chance to see some lesser-known prospects.

It has to be said that while there are five Flyers' prospects whose teams are participating, one player may not play. Massimo Rizzo has not appeared in a game for Denver since Feb. 3, suffering a lower-body injury. He has not been ruled out for the start of the tournament, but it was said to be doubtful by his head coach a few days ago.

Rizzo had a solid season when it came to total points, but regressed when it came to goal scoring. After scoring 17 goals in his sophomore season, Rizzo managed only 10 goals in his junior year. He did have 34 assists, the most of his collegiate career, and is third on the team in points despite missing so much time. Still, seeing his goal-scoring numbers go down as he has gotten older isn't a great sign. It would be nice if he could get healthy enough for the tournament or if Denver could go far enough for him to return. A solid performance in the tournament could go a long way.

If he does not end up playing, the Flyers will still have plenty to watch nonetheless.

Bryce Brodzinski

University of Minnesota

Brodzinski is in his fifth season at Minnesota, taking advantage of the extra season given to players who had their seasons affected by COVID. He has used that time well, posting a career season in points as the Gopher's captain. He posted 13 goals and 32 points in 37 games. Brodzinski is still looking for an entry-level contract from the Flyers after being drafted in the seventh round in 2019.

Philadelphia was able to keep his rights due to the pandemic and the extra year afforded to players. So Brodzinski is not only playing for a national title but a contract as well. The Gophers fell short of a title last season, falling to Quinnipiac in overtime. They will begin their run against the University of Omaha on Mar. 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Alex Bump

Western Michigan University

Alex Bump was originally expected to attend the University of Vermont before withdrawing his commitment and transferring to Michigan. In his first NCAA season, Bump enjoyed a rather successful season. He posted 13 goals and 34 points in 37 games. He was fourth on the team in both categories. Bump finished the season hot, recording 11 points in his final 10 games of the regular season. He had six multi-point games during the season.

Bump earned a few honors throughout the season, including NCHC Rookie of the Month in February. He was up for NCHC Rookie of the Year but it was Zeev Buium of Denver that took home the award. Bump was a unanimous addition to the NCHC All-Rookie team, however. Bump and Broncos will take on Michigan State University at 5:00 p.m. on Mar. 29.

Devin Kaplan

Boston University

Coming over from the U.S. Development Program, Devin Kaplan is in his second season at Boston University. He is known for his physical play more than his goal-scoring but he can get to the dirty areas to make plays happen. He managed to post five goals and 20 points in 34 games despite missing some time with a lower-body injury. Kaplan has moved around the Terriers lineup, showing an adaptability to perform in different roles.

Coming in at 6'2" and 198 lbs, Kaplan will need to fill out more to keep up with his physical play. He has cut down on the penalties, dropping from 49 PIMs last season to 34 this season. Boston will take on the Rochester Institute of Technology on Mar. 28 at 5:00 p.m.

Owen McLaughlin

University of North Dakota

Owen McLaughlin is in his second season at North Dakota and has shown a drastic improvement from his freshman season. He posted 13 goals and 38 points in 38 games after only registering two goals and 15 points in 37 games. McLaughlin is second on the team in points, showing how important he has become to the Fighting Hawks this season.

The seventh-round pick in 2021 has continued to show growth in his game. After going pointless in the first four games of the season, McLaughlin hardly had long droughts the rest of the season, recording point streaks of four, five, and six games throughout the year. He compiled nine points during a six-game point streak from Nov 3-24. He has had 11 multi-point games, including five three-point games.

North Dakota will take on the University of Michigan at 7:30 p.m. on Mar. 29.