The last stop in our ‘back to school’ series that features interviews on Hurricanes prospects slated to continue their development at the NCAA level concludes with the fifth and final article today on Hurricanes prospect Luke Stevens.
Below are links to the previous 4 articles in case you missed them:
Luke Stevens is similar to David Cotton in that both were selected in the 2015 NHL draft but are just entering the NCAA as freshmen for the 2016-17. Stevens was selected by the Hurricanes in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL draft and played the 2015-16 season at the prep school level at Noble & Greenough School and also with the renowned Cape Cod Whalers U18 team in the Boston area.
Comments on Luke Stevens from Cape Cod Whalers U18 coach Andrew Orpik
Andrew Orpik is the U18 coach for the Cape Cod Whalers which boasts an impressive list of alumni who have gone on to play at the college and NHL level.
Canes and Coffee: How would you describe Luke Stevens’ game in 2-4 sentences. What are his strengths?
Cape Cod Whalers U18 Coach Andrew Orpik: Luke is a big, strong forward who continued to get better the two years I coached him. He is skilled for his size but also can play a hard, physical style. He is competitive and coachable which will allow him to continue to develop as he progresses through his time at Yale.
Canes and Coffee: What areas do you see for improvement as Stevens develops as a player at the college level hoping to then jump to the professional ranks?
Cape Cod Whalers U18 coach Andrew Orpik: For Luke to continue to develop he needs to learn to use his size more and more. As he fills out and gets strong, his ability to leverage his size to do the things he wants to do will become more and more important for him. As with all guys his age, developing consistency for a longer schedule will be something he needs to focus on to continue to develop into an effective pro player.
Canes and Coffee: What NHL player(s) would you compare Stevens’ game to? Who might he model his game after?
Cape Cod Whalers U18 Coach Andrew Orpik: Luke should pay special attention to guys like Andrew Ladd and Jamie Benn. Both of those guys are capable of playing with a lot of edge, especially Ladd, but also have the ability to put up points and contribute in more ways than one.
Canes and Coffee: Do you have any other thoughts/comments on Luke Stevens from coaching him that are not covered by the questions above?
Cape Cod Whalers U18 Coach Andrew Orpik: He’s a great kid who has a lot of potential to become an everyday NHL player. It’s not an easy thing to become, but given his size and ability to fill out his frame, Luke has the chance to become a true power forward in the NHL and use his size to physically dominate the game.
Comments on Luke Stevens from Yale Bulldogs head coach Keith Allain
Keith Allain has led the Yale Bulldogs men’s hockey team to unprecedented success since being named the head coach in 2006. In Allain’s 10 years as head coach, Yale has 7 Ivy League championships, 6 NCAA tournament appearances, 3 regional finals appearances and a national title. Coach Keith Allain’s full bio can be found on the Yale Bulldogs men’s hockey web site.
Canes and Coffee: How would you describe Luke Stevens’ game in 2-3 sentences. What are his strengths?
Yale Bulldogs head coach Keith Allain: Luke is a big strong player who is an excellent skater, has a quick release on his shot and should be a consistent offensive contributor to our team.
Canes and Coffee: What areas do you see for improvement as he develops as a player over his college career?
Yale Bulldogs head coach Keith Allain: Like all young players, Luke needs to continue to work on his overall game, play with confidence and make sure he brings his considerable strengths to the table every game he plays. Luke will also have to navigate the jump from prep school hockey to div1 college hockey where the game is faster and his competition will be deeper and stronger than what he has faced in the past.
Canes and Coffee: What NHL player(s) would you compare his game to?
Yale Bulldogs head coach Keith Allain: As a young player who is still developing his game it would be unfair to put him in a box and compare him to a specific NHLer. Luke has a considerable skill set, skates very well for a big man and is still defining his overall game.
Canes and Coffee: Do you have any other thoughts/comments on Luke Stevens that are not covered by the questions above?
Yale Bulldogs head coach Keith Allain: Most importantly Luke is a wonderful young man who is fully committed to becoming the best hockey player that he can be. This commitment to growth and drive to be successful is what will ultimately lead to his success at the college level and beyond.
Additional comments on Luke Stevens’ situation at Yale from Chip Malafronte from the New Haven Register
Canes and Coffee: How did Yale hockey finish up the 2015-16 season? What is the early outlook for the 2016-17 season in terms of roster changes and season expectations?
Chip Malafronte from the New Haven Register: Yale is coming off a disappointing finish to an otherwise outstanding season. It had lost only five games (19-5-4) and was ranked seventh in the USCHO.com national poll heading into the regular season finale. A loss to Quinnipiac began a skid of four straight losses, two in the ECAC quarterfinals and another to UMass Lowell in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Yale has been the nation’s defensive team the past two seasons largely on the heels of defenseman Rob O’Gara and goaltender Alex Lyon, both first-team All-Americans. Gara graduated and signed with the Bruins; goaltender Alex Lyon chose to forgo his senior season to sign a free agent deal with the Flyers. Graduations of senior defensemen Ryan Obuchowski and Mitch Witek, along with two-way forwards Carson Cooper and Stu Wilson, leave the Bulldogs with gaping defensive holes that need to be filled.
Canes and Coffee: What do the Bulldogs look like in terms of returning forwards, and where would you expect Luke Stevens to start the season in terms of role, ice time and general situation?
Chip Malafronte from the New Haven Register: Yale returns its top two offensive weapons, Joe Snively and John Hayden. Consistent scoring has been an issue the past two seasons, so it will look to its incoming crop of freshmen to contribute right away.
Where Luke Stevens fits into the equation depends on how quickly he adjusts to the college game and Yale’s system. Will D’Orsi, Robbie DeMontis and twins Mitchell and Evan Smith, the other incoming forwards, all spent extra time fine-tuning their game in Junior hockey. All are very different types of forwards, and none have the combination of size and skill that Stevens possesses.
Stevens is the rare player coming directly from prep school (he attended Noble & Greenough.in Dedham, Mass.) Though he likely would have benefited from a season in the USHL or a similar Junior league, I expect to see him in the lineup right away, though its entirely possible Stevens role could be limited early in the season. Yale has three openings at forward, needing centers on its top two lines and a second-line right wing.
Canes and Coffee: What things are you hearing about Luke Stevens prior to his arrival to play for Yale for the 2016-17 season?
Chip Malafronte from the New Haven Register: The coaching staff has high expectations, with the understanding that he is a young player who needs time to develop.
Canes and Coffee would like to extend a big thank you to Head Coach Keith Allain from Yale University, Coach Andrew Orpik from the Cape Cod Whalers and Chip Malafronte from the New Haven Register!