The 3ICE season came to a close last week, with Team Murphy claiming the Patty Cup in the championship game. After a hard-fought summer, all eyes are on the 2024 season as the players and coaches alike enjoy some well-deserved time off. However, time away from the ice doesn’t mean the planning process comes to a halt. In fact, what better time to take a look at future rosters than immediately following the season’s conclusion?
Due to the nature of 3ICE’s draft process, the entire league will reset at the start of the 2024 season. Each coach is given the option to protect two players, but the remainder of their roster will shift. Taking into consideration the performance of each player during the 2023 season, these are the players who will likely find themselves protected or at the top of the draft when the coaches sit down to prepare for 2024.
8. Cameron Brown
Cameron Brown played for Team Mullen during the 2023 season, and he was phenomenal in the six games he appeared in. The only reason he slipped to eighth was purely due to the fact he didn’t appear in every game this year. That being said, in the games he did appear in, he was averaging 1.5 goals per game. If he returns for the 2024 season, it would not be surprising to see him making an appearance toward the top of the draft.
7. Eamon McAdam
If there is anyone who deserves to be selected high in the 3ICE Draft, it would undoubtedly be the winner of the Grant Fuhr Goalie of the Year Award and the Guy Carbonneau Playoff MVP Award, Eamon McAdam. He was far and away the best goaltender this season, leading all goalies with seven wins and a .849 save percentage.
McAdam’s performance this season was a major part of Larry Murphy and his team winning the Patty Cup. Honestly, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Murphy protect his playoff MVP, but in the event he doesn’t, he will likely be selected very early in the draft.
6. Matt Register
Matt Register was the recipient of the Larry Murphy Best Defensive Player Award this season. On Team Murphy, he averaged one block per game and ended the season with a plus/minus rating of plus-11. Scoring is an important part of 3ICE, but defense is also key to a successful season. Register’s season proved that a championship-caliber team needs someone to lock it down defensively. He will undoubtedly be a hot commodity in the 2024 Draft.
5. Colton Hargrove
Colton Hargrove was yet another member of the Team Murphy squad that managed to steamroll the league this season. However, what separates him from the majority of the other skaters is that the majority of his points came from assists.
Hargrove managed to put up 14 points in eight games, but nine of those points were assists. His ability to set up plays allowed other players to accelerate their goal-scoring abilities. Pairing Hargrove alongside a pure goal scorer could create an absolute monster of a team to play against next season.
4. Eddie Matsushima
Although Team Johnston was unable to win the Patty Cup in their first season, Eddie Matsushima was a major bright spot for Ed Johnston and his squad. He finished the season with 14 points in eight games, leading Team Johnston by a wide margin. He could very likely be one of the players that Johnston decides to protect, but if not, his production will put a lot of eyes on him in the draft.
3. Peter “Swaggy P” Lenes
Without a doubt, Peter “Swaggy P” Lenes was the most electric player to watch in 3ICE’s second season. His ability to move the puck wherever he wanted to was incredible to witness, and he was an absolute shot machine. He put up 13 points in eight games, averaging 4.75 shots per game. While maintaining a great pace points-wise, he turned his game into a spectacle. Coaches will be clamoring to get their hands on him next year, and deservedly so.
2. Brandon Pirri
During the 2023 season, Brandon Pirri was the crowning achievement of Team Patrick. In eight games, he put up 18 points, which tied for first league-wide. After leaving the NHL, he found his game almost immediately with 3ICE. It would be surprising to see him available in the draft, but if he is unprotected, he has a real shot at being taken first-overall with how dominant he was.
1. Hank Crone
Hank Crone walked away from 3ICE’s 2023 season with an entire trophy case worth of awards. Outside of winning the Patty Cup, he also won the Bryan Trottier League MVP Award and the Joey Mullen Top Scorer Award.
He was essential in Team Murphy’s victory, putting up 18 points in eight games. He won the league’s MVP award for a reason, and it would be shocking to see anyone else dethrone him for the most sought-after player in the 2024 Draft.
While there is plenty of time before the coaches will sit down to conduct the 2024 Draft, these eight players have shown that they deserve to be the first selections. There’s always a chance that more players will enter the league, which will undoubtedly shake things up. However, as it is now, these eight players’ performances in 3ICE’s 2023 season earned them the right to be fought over when the next season kicks off in 2024.