Why The Rangers Should Sign Quinnipiac's 'Special Talent' Collin Graf

Bobcats ESPN broadcaster Phil Giubileo, former teammate Joey Cipollone, Everything College Hockey, and QBSN's Clever Streich weigh in on what makes Collin Graf a stand-out hockey player.

2023 Frozen Four
2023 Frozen Four / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

According to Mollie Walker of the New York Post, the New York Rangers have expressed interest in signing Quinnipiac Bobcats standout Collin Graf.

The 21-year-old junior is fifth in the NCAA in scoring, notching 48 points (22 goals, 26 assists) in 31 games this season.

"[Goaltender] Yaniv Perets was the best Bobcat that I've ever covered," said Phil Giubileo, the Quinnipiac Bobcats Men's and Women's Ice Hockey announcer for ESPN.

"However, Graf is the best skater I've seen come through the program...At this point, he's too good for this level. Anytime he has the puck you're expecting either a goal, an assist, or at worst, a good scoring chance."

Giubileo has broadcast for the Danbury Trashers, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, NWHL, the New York Islanders, and Quinnipiac Men's and Women's Ice Hockey.

"His offensive production is the first thing that pops... His talent opens [the ice] up for players around him to be productive, and he is as good as a playmaker as a goal scorer...[H]e'll set up in the Ovechkin spot, but he's just as likely to complete a back door pass for a tap-in as he is to blast a shot past the goaltender."

"We knew [Collin] would have an immediate impact," former teammate Joey Cipollone told Blue Line Station.

"He made a great impression during his first summer, seamlessly fitting into our culture. People don't see how great of a person he is and the extra work he always does to improve. His boom last season was a product of his elite character and special talent."


Cipollone currently skates for the Worcester Rail Riders of the ECHL. His role as a grinder is what Pecknold seeks in recruits. Graf is one of only a small sample of skill players to have ever donned the golden sweater.

In 2019-2020, Cipollone wore the Vermont Catamounts uniform before transferring to Quinnipiac in 2020-2021. Graf was also a transfer, trading in a Union jersey in 2022 for gold and navy ahead of the 2022-2023 season. At Union, he recorded just 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 37 games.

Not every transfer has found success in Hamden. Ty Smilanic and Dylan St. Cyr suggest that imports don't always find their stride in the defense-heavy system.

"When transferring, the most significant thing that stood out was our culture and the attention to detail. Rand is the most honest and prepared coach I've had, and he holds his players to a high standard."

No. 11 tied the Bobcats single-season point record with 59 points (21 goals, 38 assists) in the 2022-2023 campaign, doing so on his National Championship game-tying goal.

"Nothing surprised me in Tampa [last year]. He brings it every night and is a difference-maker on both sides of the puck. We saw it all season; the only difference in Tampa was that everyone saw it [nationally] in the biggest moments."

Giubileo also noted Graf's vigor, "He has an exceedingly high hockey IQ and his compete level is off the chart. His board battles and backchecking are all excellent [.]"

The Bobcats are looking to win their first ECAC Whitelaw Championship since 2016 this weekend at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, New York. Last season the "Mitton Miracle, double overtime goal knocked the Bobcats out of contention.

The "Hamden Heavyweights" are currently the No. 6 program according to the USCHO poll, and have a legitimate chance at defending their national title. Graf will be key in how the team fairs in both circuits.

"He's a threat every time he's on the ice. He's got some size and knows where to be at the correct times I love his ability to create space and make a play," said James Murray of Everything College Hockey.

"If Quinnipiac is going to do anything in the NCAA tournament, it will be because of [Graf]."

Pecknold and his staff are often in conversations as the best recruiters in the country. The program qualified for the 2013, 2016, and 2023 Frozen Four tournaments, winning the school's first NCAA championship last season in dramatic fashion.

"Quinnipiac is not the biggest program despite the state-of-the-art M&T Bank arena facility," said Clever Streich of QBSN Radio. "Enrollment is less than ten thousand [students], and outside of ice hockey the school is primarily a mid [to] major division one [school] in the MAAC."

The "York Hill Boys" line's right wing helped assert the Bobcats as a contending program. Grafs' limitless ceiling could help the Blueshirts win the club's first Stanley Cup in 30 years.

The Hobey Baker nominee skated with the Florida Panthers prospect camp in 2022 and the Nashville Predators development camp last summer.