With the NHL Draft starting tomorrow, we connected via email with Northeastern incoming freshman forward Sam Colangelo, one of the highest-ranked draft prospects incoming to the collegiate ranks this year. Colangelo is ranked 31st among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 36th by TSN’s Craig Button, and 38th by Corey Pronman of The Athletic.
NU Hockey Blog: Hello Sam, thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions. I have to imagine this has been a challenging time for you with a lot of moving parts, including preparing for the NHL Draft later than expected, moving into college, and having the start of the NCAA season up in the air. Can you walk us through what the last few months have been like for you both as a hockey player and as a new freshman in college in the age of COVID-19?
Sam Colangelo: The past few months have obviously been a little bit crazy with the pandemic. I was fortunate enough to be able to skate and workout regularly this summer and was able to make some strides in terms of development on and off the ice. Transitioning from high school to college schoolwork has obviously been a bit of an adjustment, but our support staff here is great and have been helping me out a lot.
NUHB: What has the NHL Draft process been like for you? What can you tell us about having virtual interviews rather than in-person? How long do these conversations last, and are there any teams you’ve spoken to repeatedly?
SC: The process has been incredible and everything I dreamed of as a little kid. I was fortunate enough to have some in person interviews before the pandemic hit, but the online zoom interviews have been great as well. It was a cool experience to get to many so many great former NHL players who have impacted the game so much. Some of the conversations were up to an hour or so long, depending on the team and how many questions they would ask. There have been some teams I have talked to more than others, but out of respect for the organizations I would like to keep that information private.
NUHB: Multiple draft boards and rankings websites have you listed as a candidate to go near the end of round one or the beginning of round 2. For Northeastern fans, how would you describe Sam Colangelo, the player? What can Huskies fans expect out of you once you take the ice at Matthews Arena?
SC: I would describe myself as skilled forward who loves to set up his team mates and score goals. I love to play in the offensive but I have worked a lot over the last year or so on my defensive game to become a complete player. They can expect someone who will do anything to help his team win and loves to be with his teammates around the rink.
NUHB: I know you committed to Coach Madigan and the Huskies program at a young age; what was it about Northeastern that appealed to you as a destination for your collegiate career?
SC: Coach Madigan and Coach Keefe were very straight forward with me throughout the whole process. I was a young kid at the time and being so close to home in the city of Boston was a no brainer. They seemed to know my game the best and the program was on the come up at the time. Northeastern was the first school I ever visited and I instantly knew it was the place for me, so a year or two later when they offered, it was a no brainer.
NUHB: You had an extremely successful year on a very talented Chicago Steel team in the USHL. How do you feel the USHL prepared you to make this leap to college, and how did that environment lend itself to your success and growth?
SC: I think the USHL is a great place to develop, especially in Chicago, where the staff is second to none in my opinion. I was fortunate enough to grow a lot as player because of great players I played with and being apart of arguably one of the best teams in league history.
NUHB: What players have you watched and emulated growing up as you’ve shaped your own game and skills?
SC: Growing up I was a huge Sidney Crosby fan, how hard he worked and how elite he was at all parts of the game really stuck out to me. A couple guys I like watch and emulate now are Alex Tuch, Kasperi Kapanen, and JVR on the flyers.
NUHB: And finally, what are your personal goals for this upcoming season? What are you most looking forward to in your first season of college hockey?
SC: I want to do whatever it takes to help our team win. I’m looking forward to getting out on Matthews as a Husky in a game and wearing the NU jersey. I’m looking forward to the Beanpot the most, as I grew up going to it for as long as I can remember.
Thank you again to Sam for answering our questions and to Northeastern Men’s Hockey SID Sky Kerstein for setting us up to speak with Sam. For all updates on Sam’s landing spot in the NHL Draft and on the Huskies’ program, follow us on Twitter, @NUHockeyBlog