Luke Stevens 2016-17 season capsule
Luke Stevens was a fifth round selection in the 2015 NHL draft by the Carolina Hurricanes. After finishing his high school career at Noble & Greenough School in 2015-16, Stevens was a freshman at Yale University for the 2016-17 season. He started the 2016-17 in the bottom part of the forward roster, but rose up into a larger role later in the season before being sidelined for 6 weeks with a shoulder injury. He finished his freshman season with 2 goals and 3 assists in 17 games.
Interview on Luke Stevens with Chris Bracken from Yale Daily News
Chris Bracken is a sports staff writer at Yale Daily News covering hockey and other sports. He is from Boston and a sophomore at Yale planning to major in History and Classics.
Canes and Coffee: What were your first impressions of Luke Stevens at Yale after seeing him in practice, scrimmages and initial game action?
Chris Bracken: Luke is a prototypical power forward. He’s big, knows how to use his body to establish position in front of the net and has a nose to find the puck in the right areas. His goals this year weren’t the type that will make it on SportsCenter,, but Luke has a high hockey IQ, puts himself in good positions and finds pucks to finish. He plays physically, throws on some good hits, and manages to play physically and avoid taking penalties.
Canes and Coffee: What role did Luke Stevens play on the 2016-17 team?
Chris Bracken: Luke took a little while to adjust to college hockey. He was the only freshman on the team to come straight from high school without a year in juniors. He spent the first third of the season either on the fourth line or as a healthy scratch before establishing himself as a fixture on the fourth line at the beginning of December. He suffered a shoulder injury against St. Lawrence which sidelined him for six weeks. When he came back for the playoffs, he slotted right back into the lineup and spent the last two-and-a-half games on the first line replacing the injured Frank DiChiara. He didn’t play any significant minutes on either the penalty kill or the power play this year, although he projects to play significant minutes on the man advantage next year.
Canes and Coffee: How did Luke Stevens 2016-17 season play out?
Chris Bracken: Luke took a few games to adjust to the speed and physicality of college hockey, but he showed tremendous improvement throughout the year. He looked very comfortable at the end of the season on the first line alongside John Hayden, who plays for the Blackhawks, and Joe Snively, the team’s leading scorer. The shoulder injury came just as he was really starting to hit his stride and looked to have found his comfort level in college hockey. He had scored his first career goal in the previous game. He only played four games after the injury, so we only got a glimpse of the talent Luke has at the end of the year, but the two games against a very talented Harvard team were the two best he played all season; his goal was deserved and he created a couple other really good chances. And despite the injury, he was tied for the most points-per-game among freshman on the team.
Canes and Coffee: What jumps out about Luke Stevens’ game that projects to be NHL caliber? What areas do you see for improvement at this early stage of his development?
Chris Bracken: Luke has an NHL-caliber physique already, and he’s good at using his size to his advantage. He also has a good hockey IQ, which is reflected in his excellent positioning and a solid work ethic. He also has a good shot and a quick release. A couple areas for improvement would be his skating and general defensive play.
Canes and Coffee: Is there anything else that Carolina Hurricanes fans might be interested to know about Luke Stevens and his 2016-17 season at Yale?
Chris Bracken: Luke’s dad, Kevin, was a three-time NHL All-Star, an NHL First All-Star in 1992 and a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Canes and Coffee extends a huge thank you to Chris Bracken for generously sharing his ‘from the rink’ insight on Luke Stevens with the Carolina Hurricanes hockey community.
More on Luke Stevens plus menu of previous MIDTERMS on Hurricanes prospects
Previous coverage on Luke Stevens at Canes and Coffee includes:
Canes and Coffee’s ‘Back to School’ article on Luke Stevens on September 14 included interesting insight on Stevens from his U18 coach and also Yale’s Head Coach Keith Allain prior to Stevens’ arrival at Yale.
If you missed them and want to catch up, you can find the other entries in the ‘Midterms’ series here: