Steven Fogarty looks the part of a professional hockey player, even if he's still in the amateur ranks. The 6-foot-3, Minnesota native just finished his sophomore season at Notre Dame. As a collegiate thus far, Fogarty has shown he's strong at both ends of the ice, a skill he said he takes pride in.
"I'm a solid, two-way centerman," Fogarty said after his Notre Dame team eliminated top-ranked Boston College in the Hockey East quarterfinals. "This weekend especially, our line did a good job of shutting down the best line in college hockey. They only had one 5-on-5 goal against us."
The unit Fogarty was referring to was that of Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames), Kevin Hayes (Chicago Blackhawks), and Bill Arnold (Calgary Flames), the most potent offensive trio in the country by far. To date, the line has combined for 126 points in 25 games.
"I kind of take pride in that, but when it's time to go offensively, I feel like I have good skills, good vision to make plays, or put the puck in the net, or find someone to score," he said. "Just overall, a good two-way centerman."
Another thing Fogarty does especially well is protect the puck using his frame. At Notre Dame, head coach Jeff Jackson stresses puck possession, a trend that's becoming more and more popular in the NHL, and also more linked to success.
"People like to say we're a defensive team, and I think the exact opposite," said Jackson after a Game 1 win over Boston College. "It's about puck possession; it's about making plays on transition.
"You can't have transition without defense."
It's a system very similar to what Alain Vigneault has installed with the Rangers in his first year as head coach: strong on pucks in the neutral zone, smart decisions with the puck once you have it, and, maintaining possession to serve as a form of defending.
"You look at the guys in the NHL and they're all big and strong," said Fogarty. "I've been blessed to have a bigger body, so it's just a matter of how well I use it.
"When I am using it is when I'm at my best, so that's definitely something that would translate to the next level."