The upper left hand corner on the entrance end of St. Lawrence University's Appleton Arena has long been a popular spot for National Hockey League scouts watching draft-qualified players as well as free agents on ECAC Hockey rosters. The proximity of Appleton to Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto has kept a steady stream of scouts coming to Canton.
That stream should become a torrent in 2013-14 as the Saint men's hockey team will be led by a player who will rank among the top free agent prospects in all of college hockey. Saint senior Greg Carey led the nation in goals scored and power play goals a year ago, earned All America honors and was one of ten finalists for the Hobey Baker Award. He is the first returning All America for the Saints since Pete Lappin in 1988 and the first junior in program history to be a Hobey Baker finalist.
"Greg made a wise move in not jumping to the NHL after a great season a year ago," said Saint coach Greg Carvel. "He is a mature and intelligent guy and knows that his game is still developing. He came back to school in his best shape by far physically, and that is a big step for him in terms of taking his game to a professional level.
"He has the obvious skill of scoring goals, and we are all excited to see what he can do as a senior with his maturity and knowledge of the game. We are going to see a lot of pro teams sending scouts to Appleton, because there is no question that he is one of the top free agents in all of college hockey this year."
Carey heads into his senior season with a three-year total of 66 goals and 62 assists for 128 points and is destined for the Saint all-time list in goals and points if he maintains his career average of better than a point per game. He is the first Saint player to lead the team in scoring in three consecutive seasons since Rich Peverley from 2001-04 and could become the first player in program history to lead the team in scoring in four straight years.
His 28 goals a year ago are the most for a Saint since Burke Murphy scored 33 in 1995-96 and are tied for fifth on the all-time list and his 14 power play goals and six game winners as a junior rank among the all-time top single season performances in those categories. He is the first Saint to win a "statistical champion" award from the NCAA since that program was initiated, capturing the award for both goal scoring and power play goals last season. His total of 30 power play goals and a dozen game winners in three seasons are also among the best in Saint program history.
As the only senior returning from last season's first-team All ECAC squad, he is a lock to earn pre-season all league honors for the second straight season. He joins Boston College's Johnny Gaudreau, also a Hobey Baker finalist last year, as the top returning scorers in the east after each posted 51 points a year ago.
Another plus of Carey's return instead of a jump to the professional ranks is the opportunity to play with his brother Matt, who will begin his Saint career this season and is likely to center for his brother. The Careys continue a tradition of brother duos in the Saint program which has included the Flanagans (Kyle and Sean), the Hughes brothers (George and Gunnar), the Raleys (Matt and Pat), and the Kellers (Jared and Derek) over the last five seasons and several more sets of siblings prior to that.