Top 5 Impact Players Heading Into Post-Season Hockey

These five players will have great impacts on their teams success heading to the University Cup in March!
The conference playoffs are soon set to begin, as this weekend’s action will wrap up the regular season portion of the 2013-2014 CIS Men’s hockey schedule. Which players will contribute the most to their team’s success in the postseason as we inch closer to the season ending University Cup? Below I have featured some of the players that I think will be beneficial in their team’s success.

Photo Credit: Cole Guenter/The Sheaf
Derek Hulak of the Saskatchewan Huskies has some of the most impressive stats across Canada. Not only does he sit in 4th place in points with 43 but also boasts a superb plus 23 rating. What does this mean for the Huskies? Well, a few things; when he is on the ice he has shown he is fully capable of getting things going offensively but also when he is on the ice, not many pucks from the opposition are going in the back of the net. I expect the Huskies to be somewhat of an upset special in the conference playoffs and look no further than Derek Hulak to provide the spark on and off the ice that is needed in the playoffs to be successful.

It’s no surprise why the Alberta Golden Bears once again top the rankings in Canada. An astonishing 11 Golden Bears are in the top 15 nationally in plus/minus. It’s hard to pick what player will be the biggest contributor for this team but Jordan Hickmott tops my rankings. He has a sparkling plus 36 rating and to go along with that he ranks tied for 21st in points with 32. 15 times he has found the back of the net. He has proven he can find the back of the net, find the open man along with not allowing his opponents much as the Golden Bears rank 1st in all of Canada in goals against with 47.

Earlier I picked the Moncton Aigles Bleues to be upset specials in the AUS conference and with that how could I pass up on featuring one of their stars? I can’t. Eric Faille has been stellar for his squad. Along with 22 assists, Faille has found the back of the net 14 times for 36 total points. Being plus 10 in a conference that has 2 of the top 4 teams in Canada is a plus and shows how skilled Faille really is. If my prediction of Moncton winning the AUS comes true, keep your stat trackers set to Faille as I expect his stellar campaign to continue on to the postseason.

The Alberta Golden Bears are a good pick to go deep in the Canada West Conference and as previously noted how good this defence is. Jordan Rowley has been one of the best shutdown defenseman in all of Canada this year but has also shown his offensive ability is nothing to laugh at as well. Rowley’s plus/minus is tied for 9th in Canada at plus 30. Having a defenseman who not only has one of the highest plus/minuses but has also notched 25 points not only shows how good Rowley is but why the Bears are so good. Keep an eye on Rowley as he looks to continue locking down other teams’ forwards and pitching in offensively as well.

Why are the Carleton Ravens amongst the hottest teams in Canada? You look at goaltender Francis Dupuis and that question is easily answered. Dupuis ranks in the top 5 in nearly every important category for Goaltenders. Along with his 12-1 record, he ranks 3rd with his .933 save percentage and 1st in all of Canada with a phenomenal 1.67 G.A.A. If the Ravens look to continue their success, and if Dupuis keeps up his play he could be one of the nominations for Goaltender of the Year but more importantly lead his Ravens squad to an OUA Championship.

Five teams ultimately take part in the University Cup, 5 players come from 4 different teams, all of which have realistic chances of making it and if they do, look for these players to be the big reason that it happens. Overall, goaltending I think is the most crucial aspect so I look at Francis Dupuis from this All-Star group to be most impactful to his squad between the pipes for the Ravens.