Rangers have their eye on UMass star Bobby Trivigno

When hockey fans think of UMass, the name that usually comes to mind is Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar.

And rightly so. After becoming the first UMass player to win the Hobey Baker, collegiate hockey’s most prestigious award, Makar memorably jumped right into Colorado’s lineup in the first round of the 2019 playoffs before winning the Calder Trophy in his first full NHL season . Now lined up for the Norris Trophy, Makar leads all defenders this season in which the 23-year-old has already amassed 71 points.

However, anyone who has seen UMass’ transformation into one of collegiate hockey’s powerhouses will tell you that Bobby Trivigno took center stage.

The New York Rangers know that too.

“Anyone can talk about Cale Makar,” UMass head coach Greg Carvel told The Post in a recent phone interview. “But the guy who will go down in history for me for changing that program is Bobby Trivigno.

Bobby Trivigno plays for UMass
Bobby Trivigno plays for UMass
Thom Kendall/UMass Athletics

“He’s not the hockey player Cale Makar, but what he accomplished here over four years—two Hockey East Championships, one regular-season championship and one national championship—is more responsible than any other player for the success of this program.”

Trivigno, an undrafted forward from Setauket, New York, has been on the Rangers radar for quite some time. He would have attended Rangers development camp this year were it not for the NCAA’s rules prohibiting players from missing school for NHL events, but a source says the troublesome 5-foot-8 competitor is already making his mark met with members of the front office On Broadway.

If the stars are right for Trivigno, there could be a deal with the team he grew up with, which awaits him at the end of his senior season early next month. Since he was not drafted, he can sign with any team after the season ends.

Madison Square Garden is already familiar territory for Trivigno, whose family owned season tickets when he was young. Trivigno said he even remembered watching current president and general manager Chris Drury during his playing days with the Blueshirts.

Bobby Trivigno celebrates the UMass National Championship
Bobby Trivigno celebrates UMass’s Hockey East Championship
Thom Kendall/UMass Athletics

Trivigno’s style of play ticks all the boxes Drury set for Rangers last offseason, but his resume speaks for itself. Trivigno, a top 10 finalist and favorite for Hobey Baker this year, just led UMass to back-to-back Hockey East championships while being twice tournament MVP. He was also recently named the UMass Winter Season Student Athlete.

Last year, UMass won its first national championship in program history. It would not have been possible without Trivigno’s game-winning assist 14 ½ minutes into overtime in the semifinals game against Minnesota Duluth, which earned him the title of Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen Four and a spot on the All-Tournament Team.

“I think the success I’ve had here with our teams definitely prepared me for the next level,” said Trivigno, the UMass captain. “Whether it’s playoffs or big games, big games. I think the only difference would probably be more fans present.”

Carvel, who served as an NHL assistant coach for the Ducks and Senators, has watched some of his UMass players go pro. In addition to Makar, there are Mario Ferraro and John Leonard from the Sharks, as well as Zac Jones from the Rangers.

Carvel said he knew Trivigno would find a way to impact games at the next level.

Despite his size, Trivigno is always the most conditioned, disciplined and hard-working player on the ice, according to Carvel. Not only will Trivigno’s consistency earn an NHL coach’s trust, Carvel said, but his speed and skating skills should set him apart from the crowd.

Bobby Trivigno plays for UMass
Bobby Trivigno plays for UMass
Thom Kendall/UMass Athletics

“His will really makes up for that size difference,” Carvel said. “Throw a puck in the corner with him and anyone at that level, I don’t care how big the other person is, he’ll come out with it more often than not.

“We used to start almost every video session with him knocking out someone twice his size.”

When UMass first reached the Frozen Four during Trivigno’s freshman season and Makar’s final year in 2018-19, the former was suspended for the championship game for an illegal head check in the semifinals game.

UMass lost 3-0 but Carvel claims Trivigno could have made a significant difference. That proved likely as UMass secured a 5-0 win in their second title fight.

“Without him on this team this year, we’re a very different team,” said Carvel. “His sole impact on this team is greater than any other player I’ve coached at this level.”

Makar is known for his elite skills and a hockey IQ beyond his years. Trivigno is known for its heart and its pioneering effect that comes from within.

The Avalanche have a UMass star. The Rangers might get the others. Rangers have their eye on UMass star Bobby Trivigno


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