Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)
6'3", 198 pounds
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM
2009-10 Burlington Cougars CCHL 50 5 28 33 42
2010-11 Rensselaer ECAC 31 1 2 3 14
2011-12 Rensselaer ECAC 27 1 1 2 22
2012-13 Muskegon Lumberjacks USHL 20 0 3 3 34
The headlining news with Koudys (pronounced COW-dice, by the way) is that he's an NHL draft pick, the second such player associated with Penn State, after Max Gardiner, of course. The Washington Capitals selected Koudys with their fifth round pick (147th overall) in 2011. Let's work a photo of him wearing a Caps jersey in, just because we're not used to this NHL thing yet.
Photo: Russian Machine Never Breaks
Koudys left Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute after last season and joined the USHL for his sit-out year, where he presently plays with 2015 commit Conor Garland (and Matt Mendelson, the brother of women's team member Cara) on the Muskegon Lumberjacks. The Jacks are off to a great start at 12-7-1, with Koudys second on the team in plus-minus at +5.
Here's what RPI blog (and FoTYT) Without a Peer had to say upon his leaving their program in the spring.
Koudys came to RPI with a lot of upside potential, but did have a rough sophomore year defensively after a solid freshman campaign.
It doesn't do us much good to speculate about underlying reasons for the departure. [RPI coach] Seth Appert told the Troy Record that it was a decision that Koudys himself made in part because of a lack of playing time. Why Koudys was a healthy scratch down the stretch is unknown and will likely remain that way. He was not injured this season, which means he was a healthy scratch on 12 different occasions this year on a team with only seven defensemen.
It's not outside the realm of possibility that the Washington Capitals weren't satisfied with his development in Troy (or just his playing time) and wanted him elsewhere, but Koudys plans to return to juniors rather than sign with the Oshawa Generals, the OHL team that has his rights. That means he's looking to use his last two years of NCAA eligibility in 2013-14 and 2014-15, and in most cases an NHL team leaning on a player to leave school would result in a bee-line for major junior.
Where he ends up from here is a bit of a mystery, but given that he majored in civil engineering at RPI, that might narrow it down a bit if he maintains his field of study. It makes Clarkson and Yale likely potential landing points, and would put Union out of the running, though he does have a connection there in Josh Jooris, who he played Junior A hockey with in Ontario.
At any rate, it's tough to lose a guy with as much potential as Koudys, but hopefully he lands on his feet. He's a good kid and his father, Jim, is a great person. Unless we see him across the ice at any point down the road, best of luck to him in the future.
Before his apparent falling out of favor with the RPI coaching staff, Koudys - who describes himself as a big, physical defenseman who makes smart decisions with the puck - actually enjoyed a great deal of success as a freshman, in 2010-2011. That year, and with the Ontario blueliner regularly in the lineup, the Engineers went 20-13-5 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time since Ned Harkness' revival of the program in 1949 (I suppose it's worth a quick mention that Rensselaer split a pair with Guy Gadowsky's Princeton team that year, with Koudys registering a shot and a -2 rating over both games). Washington was pleased enough to nab him with their second pick (the Caps traded their picks in each of the first three rounds) following that season.
Photo: Sara Melikian/RPI Athletics
So why use his last two years of eligibility at Penn State?
“Penn State was the right choice for me because it was more than I expected when visiting the campus with the new state of the art facilities being built, and the coaching staff is dedicated to helping me develop my skills for the pro level,” said Koudys. “Penn State has everything to offer both on and off the ice for me because it is close to home and the engineering program they offer is second to none.”The reference to PSU's engineering program is hardly fluff - Koudys was a dean's list student as a civil enginnering major at an institution recently rated behind only CalTech, MIT and Stanford among the world's engineering schools. Their athletic teams are even named the "Engineers," if you didn't know (or catch it above). So yeah, he's probably not dumb.
Prior to his time in Troy, NY, he skated for the CCHL's Burlington Cougars in 2009-2010, where he and PSU freshman Luke Juha were the two highest scoring defensemen on the team. Interestingly, from there, Koudys went to RPI and - after another year with the Cougars - Juha committed to rival Clarkson. Now in a bizarre way, the puck mover and the brick wall will bring things full circle as Nittany Lions. Burlington was 39-8-3 that year to take the West Division title, but was upset in the league semifinals by second-place Newmarket. Prior to his season in Junior A, Koudys played Junior B for the Welland Jr. Canadians in 2008-2009 and for the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs organization from 2002 through 2008.
Koudys is the product of a true hockey family, as his father Jim was a former 12th-round pick of the New York Islanders in 1982, although he never made it to the NHL. Jim's brother Randy was a four-year player at RPI from 1980 through 1984. Randy's two sons also are playing or played college hockey, as one, Dan, is a senior forward at Bentley, while Joey is playing professionally in Germany following four years with Alabama-Huntsville.