With its final pick of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo, NY, the Florida Panthers went the prep school route when they selected defenseman Ben Finkelstein in the seventh round with the 195th overall pick.
In the season prior to being chosen by Florida, Finkelstein played for Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire and poured in an eye-popping 24 goals and 46 assists in 35 games.
After being drafted, the smallish, high-scoring blueliner enrolled at St. Lawrence University and produced five goals 23 points in 37 games as freshman.
During his sophomore season, Finkelstein amassed 12 points in 20 games (with a -13 rating) before leaving the school for the USHL’s Waterloo Blackhawks, where he racked up 34 points in 23 games and added 6 more points (2G/4A) in 8 playoff tilts.
Finkelstein returned to the NCAA in 2018-19 after a transfer to the Boston College Eagles. After being forced to sit out the early portion of the season, he ended up playing in 22 games and totaled ten points (1G/9A) for an Eagles team that wasn’t up to its usual snuff.
The 21-year-old returned to Boston College for his senior season, where he suited up alongside fellow Cats prospects Logan Hutsko and Spencer Knight and helped lead the Eagles to a sparkling 24-8-2 record and number four ranking before the coronavirus ground things to a halt.
Finkelstein appeared in all 32 of BC’s games and put up five goals and 16 assists and finished second on the team with a career-best +29 rating. His 21 points were tops among the squad’s defensemen.
Florida will have to make a decision on the seventh-rounder by August 15, 2020 or he will become an unrestricted free agent. The road’s been a little bumpy, but It looks like he has done enough to earn an entry-level deal with the Cats.
What does the future hold for Finkelstein?
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