Bruins and NAHL alum Folin is the top NCAA free agent
March 25, 2014
Two years ago, Austin Bruins defenseman Christian Folin was playing at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. Now he is the top NCAA free agent with NHL teams lining up for his services.
By Chris Peters, CBS Sports
At this stage of the season, with the trade deadline passed and the number of call-ups becoming limited for teams beyond emergency situations, there isn't a lot teams can do to make themselves better heading into the postseason. There is one way, though, and rather, one player that might be able to help at least a little bit.
NAHL and Austin Bruins alum Christian Folin is a 23-year-old defenseman who hails from Gothenburg, Sweden. He's 6-3, 210 pounds with great mobility and a heavy shot and pretty soon, he'll be available to any team with a contract to spare.
Folin is currently a sophomore playing for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell hockey team, which just captured the Hockey East tournament championship last weekend. The River Hawks are set to meet Minnesota State in the first round of the NCAA national tournament Saturday.
Sometime within the next three weeks, Folin's season will be over -- as early as Saturday or as late as April 12. Whenever his college season ends, expect a long line to form wherever Folin will listen to teams.
It is not confirmed that he will leave school with two years of eligibility on the table. He still has meaningful games to play this year and hasn't commented on his status, but it is highly likely he will move on to the pros. He had a chance to do so as well last year after his breakout freshman campaign, but Folin opted to stay in school and it turned out to be a great move as his development took another big step forward.
Having come up through the vaunted Frolunda system in Sweden that counts Ottawa Senators star Erik Karlsson among its alumni, Folin moved to North America in 2009. Folin ended up in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) with the Austin Bruins. For non-goalies, it is rare for a player to get drafted out of the NAHL. He went unnoticed and undrafted.
However, it was while playing at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in February of 2012 that Folin was noticed by and ultimately committed to UMass-Lowell.
In his two years at UMass-Lowell, Folin continued in his development in a big way, growing into a physical, mobile two-way defenseman capable of playing at the NHL level and possibly even excelling. His numbers took a dip this year as his defensive responsibility grew, but in two years, he's posted 40 points in 77 games for one of the best teams in college hockey over that span.
The River Hawks made it to the Frozen Four last year after winning the Hockey East playoff title. Folin was a big part of that and is again this year as UMass-Lowell won its second consecutive Hockey East title and has eyes on a return to college hockey's big weekend in April again.
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