Evingson was selected 211th overall in the most recent NHL draft. (Courtesy of the Winnipeg Jets)
Incoming freshman defenseman Croix Evingson became the third player on the 2017-18 men’s hockey roster to be drafted by the National Hockey League (NHL) on June 25.
But looking past that, there is even more to Evingson to be excited about.
Selected by the Winnipeg Jets in the seventh round with the 211th overall pick, Evingson joins sophomores Ryan Lohin and Tyler Wall as an official NHL prospect on the River Hawks. Lohin and Wall were selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers, respectively, in the 2016 NHL Draft.
Evingson, an Anchorage, Alaska native, lit up the North American Hockey League (NAHL) in the 2016-17 season, having scored 12 times and assisted on 40 goals. His 52 points in 59 games for the Shreveport Mudbugs led all NAHL defensemen in that season.
For his scoring prowess, Evingson was named NAHL Defenseman of the Year and was also selected to the All-NAHL and All-South Divisional Teams.
Evingson stands at 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 214 pounds, which is just what the River Hawks need: size on the blue line with a scoring flair.
He will be the tallest River Hawk on the roster this season, but he only has two inches on five other players. This points to a trend of taller players suiting up for the River Hawks in the past two seasons.
His point total may stand out most to fans, and with defenseman Dylan Zink’s graduation in May, some fans may be wondering where UMass Lowell’s next scoring defenseman is. If Evingson adapts well to the collegiate game and sees a lot of ice time, these fans may not have to look further.
Evingson is one of seven freshmen to join the River Hawks this season and one of eight new players to be introduced to fans this season, as redshirt junior Keith Burchett is now eligible to hit the ice.
Last season the River Hawks made the UMass Lowell fans proud, winning the Hockey East championship on the backs of stellar performances by the freshmen and seniors.
Although the roster has taken hits with the departures of Zink and fellow stars like forward C.J. Smith, forward Joe Gambardella and defenseman Michael Kapla, it reminds fans that college hockey is a cycle that brings in promising players as seasoned veterans graduate or move on to the professional ranks.
Evingson and his fellow freshmen point to an auspicious beginning for UMass Lowell hockey, and fans will have much to look forward to as the leaves fall.