Not To Miss: NCAA Names that Should be on Everyone's Draft Boards

The depth of talent from the NCAA this season is evident, as highlighted by these players that have a case for why they should be on every GM's draft board.

Not To Miss: NCAA Names that Should be on Everyone's Draft Boards
Quinnipiac's Sadie Peart on the ice (Credit: @QU_WIH on X/Formerly Twitter)

It’s no secret the depth in this year’s draft class is outstanding, I mean, just look at the goaltending lineup. At the NCAA level especially, there’s a lot of high-end talent waiting to make the jump to the professional stage, including national team members, and collegiate standouts. But what about the names that might be further down toward the bottom of the draft boards? 

Here, we’re making a case for a player per position that might not be high enough on some general managers list although they definitely should be. From a conference-top scorer, to some incredible defenders, and even a national goaltender of the year candidate, this list has it all. While we can’t cover every single name out of the NCAA, here are just a few to watch out for on draft night, and they’ve each got their own reason why. 

Ida Kuoppala, LW – Maine (Hockey East)

The last five years at Maine have been interesting to say the least for Kuoppala. As a freshman in 2019-20, the forward put up 33 points in 35 games. She was named to the All-USCHO rookie team, and received national attention for her performance. Over the years (outside of a rough fourth season in 2022-23), Kuoppala has consistently been a top scorer for the Black Bears, and operated at a 0.8 point per game pace overall. In her final season, she secured the Hockey East scoring titles, notching 21 goals and 39 points. 

It’s not just the offensive side of her game that stands out, however. During her time at Maine she played on both special teams units, including being a solid penalty killer. She finished this past season with the highest +/- rating of the entire team (+16) and had the highest shots blocked total of any forward on Maine’s roster (22). 

Kuoppala is an all around player that will slot in well in a bottom-six role to start, before eventually moving up the lineup. Her upside on both sides of the ice should attract attention from general managers throughout the league, and it’ll be interesting to see where she falls in those later rounds of the draft. 

Sadie Peart, C – Quinnipiac (ECAC)

Of all centers in the ECAC, Peart had the highest number of wins in the faceoff dot with 503 this season. While her .550 win percentage wasn’t the highest mark in the conference, the sheer amount of faceoffs she took compared to everyone else in front of her (outside of Yale’s Elle Hartje) makes that number just a tad more impressive. Not to mention that over her five years in Hamden, the forward has only gotten better at the dot – something that would continue with the right development in the PWHL. 

Outside of her prowess at faceoffs, Peart is also an incredibly productive forward, not to mention a great leader as one of QU’s captains the last two seasons. Over 169 games in five years, Peart put up 124 points with 60 of those being goals, putting her in the top-10 for both statistics all time at the university. While her production dipped in her sophomore year, Peart mainly hovered between 25-30 points per season throughout her NCAA career. 

Combine the production with her capabilities at the faceoff dot, and all around she’s a solid addition to any team. Especially if they’re looking for a reliable forward who’s not afraid to get in front of the puck – over the last two years Peart has led all forwards in blocked shots at QU with a combined 65 between 2022 and 2024. She’s the full package, and GM’s should take note of that.