University of Maine freshman right winger Gustav Nyquist was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie team Wednesday and senior defenseman Matt Duffy embarked on his pro career.
Duffy signed a Florida Panthers contract and will play for the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans through the remainder of the season.
Duffy was a fourth round draft choice of the Panthers in 2005 (104th overall) and Rochester is Florida’s AHL affiliate.
Nyquist became the first freshman to lead the Black Bears in scoring since Paul Kariya in 1992-93 as he notched 13 goals and 19 assists for 32 points in 38 games.
He had five power play goals, seven power play assists, a shorthanded goal and a game-winner. He had seven multiple-point games and finished with three goals and an assist in the last two games of the best-of-three Hockey East quarterfinal series loss against Boston University.
“I’m very honored to make the All-Rookie team,” said Nyquist. “I’m very thankful to my linemates (freshman left wing Brian Flynn and sophomore center Tanner House). They’ve been a big part of my success. It’s not hard to get points on a line like this one. I really thought Brian was going to make the All-Rookie team, too. He had a tremendous season as well. And Tanner is an unbelievable center.”
Nyquist said the four seniors (Jeff Marshall, Chris Hahn, Simon Danis-Pepin and Duffy) were “tremendous” and took great care of the freshmen and he was “really proud” of how the team played against BU, the nation’s top-ranked team, in extending them to a third game.
“I’m really excited about next year. I wish the season started tomorrow,” said Nyquist, who intends to spend a lot of time improving his strength in the off-season.
“He’s one of the better young talents in our league and he’s only going to get better,” said BU sophomore center Nick Bonino. “I couldn’t believe the goals he scored against us on Saturday night. He has a lot of skill.”
“He’s a ‘Wow’ player for sure,” said UMass Lowell coach Blaise MacDonald. “He’s electric when he gets the puck on his stick. He’s got phenomenal tight-area skills and he’s elusive. He has really good vision as well.”
“He has great speed and great puck skills,” said Providence coach Tim Army. “And if you give him a little opening, he’ll attack it. Some kids stay on the perimeter but he attacks. He’s also a very good transition player.”
Duffy, a Windham native, had his best season with seven goals and 10 assists in 39 games. The solid two-way defenseman was a trigger man on the power play with his blistering one-timers. He had five power play goals and eight power play assists. He concluded his career with 21 & 22 in 135 games.
“This is a great opportunity for Matt,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “He’s playing the best hockey of his career right now and he’s more than ready to take the next step. It’s great timing for him. I’m confident he’ll earn a good opportunity in the Florida organization for the future.”