By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — While the NHL has its own minor league system, more teams are supplementing it with draftees and acquisitions who’ve previously played in college. The Predators’ newest member compiled an impressive record during his college days, and the hope is that this will translate to the pro ranks. Patrick Harper, a former Boston University forward, signed a two-year entry level deal Friday. Harper also has international experience, having played for the American team at the World Junior Championships twice. The 2017 team won the gold medal, while the 2018 edition won the bronze.
He was an alternate captain for BU his senior year, and also finished second on team in points scored. Harper had 14 goals and 37 points, earning third team Hockey East all-star selection. He also had 12 multi-point game. His career stats place him 14th among all NCAA hockey players in points per game (1.16). Predators director of player development Scott Nichol heralded Harper’s potential in a statement released after he was signed last week.
“Patrick is a dynamite player and with his size excels in the way today’s game is played,” Nichol said. “He’s a fun player to watch – he likes having the puck on his stick, he likes to make plays and wants to score goals every game. He fits in well on the power play and uses his biggest on-ice attributes – his hockey sense – to his advantage.”
Harper was originally elected by the Predators in the fifth round of the 2016 NHL draft, but opted at that time to play in college. The Predators hope that this will eventually pay off in success at the NHL level.