With a 3-4 loss to Boston College on Saturday, UMASS Lowell’s season has come to end one game shy of a repeat appearance in the Frozen Four. That means that standout sophomore defenseman Christian Folin is now a free agent. Folin was courted by NHL teams after UMASS was eliminated by Yale in the semi-finals of the Frozen Four last year, but he smartly opted to continue his development in the NCAA instead of turning pro.
Folin is 23-years old and 6’3″, 210. He’s a product of the Frolunda system in Sweden, the same system that turned out Ottawa Senators’ star Erik Karlsson. In 2009 he jumped into the North American system, playing briefly in the USHL, then moving into the NAHL playing for the Austin, MN Bruins. He went undrafted out of the NAHL before heading to UMASS Lowell.
This season he tallied six goals and 14 assists for UMASS, with a career total of 12 goals and 29 assists in 79 games. (Stats via Hockey East.)
It remains to be seen if Folin will opt for free agency or if he’ll continue his career at UMASS. At the start of the 2013-14, according to the View From 123, Folin asserted that he plans on staying at UMASS for all four years of his eligibility.
Nonetheless, he’s highly sought after, with TSN’s Bob McKenzie reporting that the Wild, Lightning, and Oilers have the best shot at acquiring Folin. The Flyers and the Bruins are also rumored to be interested. He’s an exciting player with size and offensive upside and, many claim, the ability to jump straight into the NHL partly because of the style coach Norm Bazin has the team playing.
Before anyone gets too excited though, note that his immediate impact will be limited because, as the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo points out, he’s not eligible for playoff play.
Bonus: Watch Folin shoot the puck through the net in a Hockey East quarterfinal match against Vermont earlier this month: