League Boasts Most Skaters on Opening Night Rosters For Ninth Straight Year
A Record 79 Alumni Named to NHL Rosters
League Boasts Most Skaters on Opening Night Rosters For Ninth Straight Year

WAKEFIELD, Mass. - A record 79 alumni of the Hockey East Association will have begun the 2021 season on National Hockey League rosters, setting the bar for the most alumni on NHL rosters on opening night for the ninth season in a row. The number also nearly doubles the 44 league alumni who suited up in the NHL on opening night in 2011, showing the steady growth of the league’s talent over the last decade.

Each Hockey East member institution is represented on at least one NHL roster as the season began, led by Boston University’s 17 players, Boston College’s 15, and Massachusetts’ 10. Three schools boast six alumni on club rosters, including Maine, Northeastern, and Providence, while New Hampshire sends five, UMass Lowell claims four, and UConn, Merrimack, and Vermont all are represented by one player. Additionally, seven players from Notre Dame who competed in Hockey East began the year on NHL teams.

The record opening night follows a 2020 NHL Entry Draft that saw 25 current players and recruits selected, representing nine of the 11 Hockey East member schools. Hockey East’s 25 selections were the most of any college hockey conference and represent nearly 40% of the 65 NCAA players and recruits chosen.

Of the 25 players, four spent the 2019-20 season in Hockey East, including UConn defenseman Yan Kuznetzov (Murmansk, Russia/Calgary), Massachusetts defenseman Matthew Kessel (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./St. Louis), Merrimack defenseman Zach Uens (Belleville, Ont./Florida), and New Hampshire forward Filip Engaras (Stockholm, Sweden/Edmonton.) In total, Hockey East had 16 forwards, seven defensemen, and two goaltenders chosen. Massachusetts and Northeastern led all member schools with four players chosen each, while Boston College, Boston University, UConn, and Providence each boast three, Merrimack and New Hampshire claimed two, and one UMass Lowell player was picked.

In total, 20 of the current 31 NHL clubs chose at least one current or future Hockey East player. The selections were highlighted by four second round choices and seven of the 10 NCAA players picked in the sixth round.

The impressive showing at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft follows a record-breaking 2019 Draft that saw 27 Hockey East selections. The draft concludes a 2019-20 season for Hockey East that saw 94 alumni play in the NHL, once again more than any other college hockey conference.

Last season, two Hockey East alumni captured the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay, represented by former Boston University defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (2007-10) and Boston College’s Stephen Gionta (2002-06), a pro scout in its front office. The 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins had a record seven Hockey East players on their Stanley Cup Championship team.

In the NHL’s Return to Play this summer, 23 of the 24 returning teams boasted a Hockey East alumnus on their Stanley Cup Playoff roster, totaling 71 former Hockey East players in the playoffs. Boston University led the way with 16 former players, good for second most of any NCAA program this year, followed by Boston College with 14, Northeastern with seven, Providence and UMass with six apiece, New Hampshire with five, Maine with four, UMass Lowell with three, and Merrimack with one.

Hockey East Alumni on 2020-21 NHL Opening Night Rosters
First Pos. School NHL Team
Noel Acciari F Providence FLA
Zach Aston-Reese F Northeastern PIT
Cam Atkinson F Boston College CBJ
Matt Benning D Northeastern NSH
Kieffer Bellows F Boston University NYI
Ben Bishop G Maine DAL
Anthony Bitetto D Northeastern NYR
Anders Bjork F Notre Dame BOS
Nick Bonino F Boston University MIN
Kevin Boyle G UMass/UMass Lowell DET
Justin Braun D Massachusetts PHI
Alex Chiasson F Boston University EDM
Adam Clendening D Boston University CBJ
Ian Cole D Notre Dame MIN
Charlie Coyle F Boston University BOS
Collin Delia G Merrimack CHI
Thatcher Demko G Boston College VAN
Casey DeSmith G New Hampshire PIT
Brian Dumoulin D Boston College PIT
Jack Eichel F Boston University BUF
Jake Evans F Notre Dame MTL
Dante Fabbro D Boston University NSH
Joel Farabee F Boston University PHI
Mario Ferraro D Massachusetts SJS
Warren Foegele F New Hampshire CAR
Adam Gaudette F Northeastern VAN
Johnny Gaudreau F Boston College CGY
Nathan Gerbe F Boston College CBJ
Dennis Gilbert D Notre Dame COL
Jordan Greenway F Boston University MIN
Matt Grzelcyk D Boston University BOS
Noah Hanifin D Boston College CGY
Kevin Hayes F Boston College PHI
Connor Hellebuyck G UMass Lowell WPG
Vinnie Hinostroza F Notre Dame FLA
Ben Hutton D Maine ANA
Carter Hutton G UMass Lowell BUF
Matt Irwin D Massachusetts BUF
Mark Jankowski F Providence PIT
Stephen Johns D Notre Dame DAL
Brady Keeper D Maine FLA
Clayton Keller F Boston University ARI
Chris Kreider F Boston College NYR
William Lagesson F Massachusetts EDM
Anders Lee F Notre Dame NYI
John Leonard F Massachusetts SJS
Ryan Lomberg F Maine FLA
Cale Makar D Massachusetts COL
Josh Manson D Northeastern ANA
Mike Matheson D Boston College PIT
Charlie McAvoy D Boston University BOS
Kevan Miller D Vermont BOS
Brandon Montour D Massachusetts BUF
Matt Nieto F Boston University SJS
Gustav Nyquist F Maine CBJ
Jamie Oleksiak D Northeastern DAL
Jake Oettinger G Boston University  
Kyle Palmieri F Notre Dame NJD
Brett Pesce D New Hampshire CAR
Cal Petersen G Notre Dame LAK
Brian Pinho F Providence WSH
Jonathan Quick G Massachusetts LAK
Evan Rodrigues F Boston University PIT
Kevin Rooney F Providence NYR
Chad Ruhwedel D UMass Lowell PIT
Bryan Rust F Notre Dame PIT
Zach Sanford F Boston College STL
Cory Schneider G Boston College NYI
Kevin Shattenkirk D Boston University ANA
Riley Sheahan F Notre Dame BUF
Conor Sheary F Massachusetts WSH
Devin Shore F Maine EDM
Brandon Tanev F Providence PIT
Tage Thompson F UConn BUF
Brady Tkachuk F Boston University OTT
Alex Tuch F Boston College VGK
Trevor van Riemsdyk D New Hampshire WSH
James van Riemsdyk F New Hampshire PHI
Frank Vatrano F Massachusetts FLA
Oliver Wahlstrom F Boston College NYI
Jake Walman D Providence STL
Colin White F Boston College OTT
Miles Wood F Boston College NJD