Between graduation and the NHL’s annual springtime harvest, the list of NCAA defensive scoring leaders in 2018-19 has thinned out, leaving the defensive scoring race up for grabs in the 2019-20 collegiate season.
During the 2018-19 campaign, 16 defensemen eclipsed the 30-point mark but only five are set to return to their collegiate programs for the upcoming season. The top three scorers—led by Cale Makar—and eight of the top 10 have wrapped up their NCAA careers.
The five returning defensemen, as well as a few outsiders, highlight the blue-liners to watch next season inside the offensive zone.
Sr. | Niagara
2018-19: 41 GP, 15 G, 25 A, 40 pts.
Delmas finished second in team scoring behind only standout freshman Ludwig Stenlund. The 23-year-old has steadily increased his output across the board through three seasons with the Purple Eagles and was named team captain for the upcoming season.
He broke out for 15 goals, which placed him fourth among defensemen. He participated in the Carolina Hurricanes’ development camp this summer as he preps for another big year for Niagara.
Sr. | Northern Michigan
2018-19: 38 GP, 6 G, 29 A, 35 pts.
In 2017-18, Beaulieu recorded 42 points (11 G, 31 A) in 43 games for the Wildcats during his sophomore season. He played a vital role in NMU’s second-half surge and even with a seven-point dropoff as a junior, he quarterbacked the blue line.
The 2018-19 WCHA Defenseman of the Year, Beaulieu was also named team captain for the pending season, where big things are anticipated in Marquette.
Sr. | St. Cloud State
2018-19: 39 GP, 6 G, 28 A, 34 pts.
Size has become less “mandatory” on NHL blue lines and the Colorado Avalanche have witnessed that first-hand with Samuel Girard. Ahcan, listed at a diminutive 5-foot-8, participated in the Avalanche camp this summer after an impressive junior season.
Ahcan is the third-highest scoring defenseman returning and his plus-30 defensive rating is evidence that he’s hardly a one-way player. Another recently named team captain, Ahcan’s senior season is set to be a treat for Husky fans everywhere.
Jr. | Harvard
2018-19: 33 GP, 12 G, 19 A, 31 pts.
Drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 2014 (Round 3, 81st overall), Walsh built off of an impressive All-Rookie Team freshman season in 2018-19 by adding 11 more points (5 G, 6 A) in as many games.
Through two years of college hockey, Walsh is developing into a solid future piece for a young, upcoming Devils team that already features three first-overall picks in Taylor Hall (2010), Nico Hischier (2017), and Jack Hughes (2019).
Sr. | RIT
2018-19: 38 GP, 7 G, 34 A, 31 pts.
Brubacher has been the Tigers’ No. 1 defenseman since his freshman season in 2016-17, when he wrapped up his first NCAA season winning Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Year. Since then, he’s been a pivotal part on both sides of the ice.
As the team’s top returning scorer, Brubacher will be leaned on heavily and added offense can certainly be expected. A trio of promising juniors on the offense will help Brubacher in his quest for added offense heading into his senior season.
Other Defensemen to Watch
Alec Rauhauser (Sr., Bowling Green), Yanni Kaldis (Sr., Cornell), Brinson Pasichnuk (Jr., Arizona State), Scott Perunovich (Jr., Minnesota Duluth), Marc Del Gaizo (So., UMass), and Cam York (Fr., Michigan).
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