A tumultuous two weeks for offense-driving Tyler Madden

Tyler+Madden+rips+a+shot+on+net%2C+where+UConn%27s+goaltender+waits+to+squeeze+the+puck+against+the+pipe.

Sarah Olender

Tyler Madden rips a shot on net, where UConn's goaltender waits to squeeze the puck against the pipe.

Riana Buchman, news staff

In the past couple of weeks, Tyler Madden has gone through it all.
Not only has the sophomore forward been nominated for the Hobey Baker award, one of college hockey’s most prestigious awards, but he’s also been traded from the Vancouver Canucks to the Los Angeles Kings while tending to a hand injury caused during Feb. 14’s UMass Lowell game.
Madden isn’t the first of his team to be nominated for the Hobey Baker. Former teammates like goaltender Cayden Primeau and defenseman Jeremy Davies were nominated in 2019. Right wing Dylan Sikura, who plays for the Chicago Blackhawks affiliated Rockford IceHogs, was a nominee in 2018. Current center for the Vancouver Canucks Adam Gaudette took home the award that same year.
Madden didn’t quite remember where he was when he heard the news, but knew his mom must have notified him.
“Obviously, there’s a long way to go for that, but it was really cool to hear it. It’s a long process, and I’m just glad and honored that I can be involved in those conversations,” Madden said.
As for his actual chances of winning, Madden isn’t too caught up in the details, but has his sights set elsewhere.
“We’ll see what the fans and whoever decides it thinks of me, but it’s just an individual award, and I kind of want to win a national championship more than a Hobey Baker,” Madden said.
Still, the nomination acts as a testament to Madden’s talent and drive, as the award is given to the top NCAA men’s hockey player in the nation. The Hobey Baker, named after the Hall of Famer winger who played at Princeton University, honors players who “exhibit strength and character, both on and off the ice; contribute to the integrity of the team; display outstanding skills in all phases of the game; show scholastic achievement and sportsmanship.”
“It’s a great tribute to Tyler and his teammates who have helped make him,” said NU head coach Jim Madigan. “It’s an individual accomplishment, but you need your teammates to help you out. He’s got good linemates and teammates, but he’s deserving. He’s a real good player.”

Sarah Olender
Madden celebrates a goal during NU’s first Beanpot game this year.

Madden was tied for fourth in goals nationally before his injury, contributing offensive drive to a Huskies lineup that, according to Madigan, has been lacking that in recent years. As well as possessing a high hockey IQ, Madigan described Madden as a jokester but also constantly bettering his game.
“He just elevates his play by playing with better players. The better the player he plays with, the better he is, the more productive he is,” Madigan said in a post-practice press conference. “He came to college and knew that he was going to be slightly undersized versus some of the competition. Certainly he doesn’t lack grit or toughness, so we use his intelligence a little bit more.”
Madden is no stranger to comparison, whether that means in terms of his size or similarities drawn between him and his dad, John Madden, a Selke winner with three Stanley Cups under his belt and a record of excellent defensive play from the forward position.
Though everyone keeps asking if Madden’s focus is bulking up, it’s not his number one priority — performing at a high level is.
“A lot of people keep asking me that same question. At this point, it’s just not a thing that I think about anymore,” Madden said after a recent practice. “I’ve proven that I can play and could play at 150 pounds if I wanted to. It’s a hockey strong, it’s not a physicality strength or weight strength, but obviously getting those couple pounds is gonna help me play in the NHL, but you know, that’ll just come.”
Although Madden takes away from his dad, such as learning his 200-foot game, he also makes moves all on his own. Madden agreed that the 200-foot player is “who he is and who he wants to be,” but it’s not the only thing he’s focusing on when he’s hitting the ice.
“The mentality when I go out there is just kind of do what I do every night. I mean, be hard, be strong and be fast,” Madden said. “Obviously, I want to be skilled out there, but those are the three things that are really important to me. Whenever I’m not playing as well as I can, I always think about those.”
Fellow Vancouver Canucks prospect freshman Aidan McDonough referenced Madden’s outlook which helps him stand out.
“Obviously his skill level and skating and puck skills speak for himself, but I think something that really separates him is how competitive he is and how much he hates to lose,” McDonough said.
In terms of his leadership, McDonough attested to having a lot of fun when playing beside Madden. He said his presence is prominent, and the forward often leads by example, not necessarily needing to act as a larger voice in the locker room.
“I think when there’s stuff to be said to our line or just to me, he will say it,” McDonough said. “I don’t think you’ll hear him talk a ton in the locker room, but when he does, guys definitely listen.”
Despite Madden’s accomplishments, he doesn’t seem to let it get to his head. His main emphasis is constant betterment and showing up for his team like they show up for him in exchange, meaning his current team and whatever team awaits in the future as well.
Madden was drafted 68th overall in 2018 as a third round pick for the Vancouver Canucks, who had held his NHL rights during his collegiate career. That was until Feb. 17 when the Canucks traded Madden to the Los Angeles Kings for forward Tyler Toffoli as the Canucks look to jumpstart a playoff run. The move sends Madden from a playoff contender with a notable Northeastern alum to a rebuilding team currently sitting second-to-last in the NHL standings.
With the recent trade as well as his injury, which will leave him off the ice for an undetermined amount of time, Madden has some more changes coming his way as the playoffs approach. However, with his consistent play and tenacity, he’ll maintain his success.
“He’s one of the best players on our team and in the country for a reason,” McDonough said. “He doesn’t really have to say too much because he kind of backs it up by his play on the ice.”