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Copponi Among Few Prospects Representing Merrimack at 2023 NHL Draft

Marcus Antonelli

Staff Writer

It’s summer for Merrimack College’s academic calendar and that means rest for most students. But for young hockey players it could mean fulfilling the dream of getting into the NHL. Merrimack has some members and recruits that could be getting selected at this year’s draft in Nashville. The headlines are all on Connor Bedard but pundits can’t deny that this class is deep with talent. And it goes down the list to those who are and will be representing us in blue and gold. 

MATT COPPONI C  (see above)

2022-23 Stats (NCAA): 37GP | 14G | 15A | 29PTS 

Ranked #98 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA skaters)

Ranked #98 by ESPN NHL STAFF (NA skaters)

Ranked #185 by PUCK EMPIRE DRAFT RANKINGS

Matt Copponi is a name that is most familiar with us at the Mack. Especially after scoring the OT winner in the Hockey East Semifinal to send MC to the conference championship. A goal that will go down in the history books at this school. But that wasn’t the only thing that drew eyes towards the phenom from Mansfield. 

Copponi was second on Merrimack in points behind Alex Jefferies. In general, he thrived playing top minutes for Scott Borek and was a key part of Merrimack’s success this season. Making headlines time and time again. With his high offensive intensity, any team would be lucky to have him in their forward group.

TY DANEAULT RW

2022-23 Stats (AJHL): 53GP | 37G | 28A | 65PTS

Ranked #195 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)

Ranked #195 by ESPN NHL STAFF (NA Skaters)

According to Drumhelleronline, Daneault doesn’t plan on making the trip down to Nashville, but will be ready if his name is called. At the beginning of the 2022-23 season, he was ranked 222nd in North American skaters but moved up a whole 27 spots to where he is now. A huge step and hard to do for any young hockey player.

All that improvement came from being 5th in the AJHL in scoring, which led to multiple league award nominations, including a finalist for MVP and Best Forward awards. Regardless of outcome this summer, Daneault will be playing Merrimack hockey next year and should be a promising name to look forward too. 

MAX LUNDGREN G

2022-23 Stats (USHL): 41GP | .913 SV% | 2.65 GAA | 19-16-2 WLT

Ranked #18 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Goalies)

Ranked #186 by PUCK EMPIRE DRAFT RANKINGS

Des Moines head coach Matt Curley calls Lundgren the ‘Anchor of the Buccaneers ship.’ The Swede had 4 shutouts which was tied for 3rd in the USHL and was a top ten goalie in the main goalie statistics.

One weekend this season he played 3 games in a row tallying 67 saves, winning the USHL player of the week. At that point, he was as high as 10th among goalies in NHL Central Scouting in the middle of the year. At some point we should see Lundgren at Merrimack, unsure about next year with Ollas, Borgiel and Bacovsky still in the mix. 

A player I do not want to leave out of the mix of the conversation is Merrimack two-way defenseman Zachary Bookman. He was projected to be drafted in late rounds last year but due to an upper body injury, he was unable to showcase himself at NHL camps.

It should be known that Bookman, before his first season in the NCAA was the man that broke the AJHL’s Most Points by a Defenseman in a season record, previously held by NHL Superstar Cale Makar. Makar’s 75 points in 2016-17 was superb, but Bookman tallied 102 points; 27 more than Cale. 

Bookman as a North American skater over the age of 20 has missed the chance to be drafted, but I hope an NHL team doesn’t pass up on the chance to sign him. 

If you’re around on the weekdays of June 28-29, look out for these names if you watch the NHL Draft this year. They could be selected and soon enough will be representing us in the future of Merrimack Hockey. From what I’ve seen and researched these players are the ones I know of that could be picked. Like I’ve said before I’m not an insider. But definitely look forward to these names Warriors fans, they’re projected to make huge impacts here. 

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