Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Catching Up

A few quick notes as we approach NHL Draft weekend.

I expect that Joe Woll and Graham McPhee will hear their names called in either the third or fourth rounds while guys like Luke McInnis, Mike Campoli, Jesper Mattila, and Zach Walker are all possibilities for the fifth and sixth rounds.

Woll and Casey Fitzgerald were named to the US National Junior Evaluation Camp roster this afternoon, but, in an odd move, the school only mentioned Fitzgerald in their press release. Woll has signed his letter of intent so they can comment on him without issue. Perhaps I am reading too far into it but there have been rumors that Woll could possibly sign with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL. Colin White will miss camp due to an injury but don't worry, it's nothing serious and I would be stunned beyond belief if he was not on the squad for a second straight season.

That is all I got. Go Eagles.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Ian McCoshen Signs With Florida

In the least surprising move of the summer, various reports have stated that defenseman Ian McCoshen has signed with the Florida Panthers, the team that drafted him three seasons ago. Although Florida has yet to send out an official press release, it is all but certain that the Eagles will lose their top blue liner from a season ago.

I've said all along that I think McCoshen is the most pro ready player not only from last year's club, but perhaps in all of college hockey. Time and time again, the staff had him out there against some of the most talented players in the country and he seemingly always pulled through with clutch performances. I wish him nothing but the best of luck in the Sunshine State.

 BC had known about this for a long time as McCoshen informed them a while back that he wouldn't be returning, it just took some time for him and the Panthers to reach a deal. As of right now, the staff is set to bring in freshmen Connor Moore, Mike Campoli, Luke McInnis, and Jesper Mattila to help alleviate the losses of McCoshen and Steve Santini.

Congrats to Ian and Go Eagles.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Staff Lands Top Uncommitted Prospect

Finnish forward and top 2017 draft prospect Eeli Tolvanen committed to Boston College this afternoon, giving the Eagles their eight member of the 2017 class, all of which are forwards. Tolvanen is a prototypical BC dynamo at 5'10, 178 pounds and scouts I have talked to compared his style of play to former Eagles Cam Atkinson and Nathan Gerbe- small in stature but not when it comes to compete and skill levels.

Tolvanen was one of the youngest players in the USHL this year but he was second on the Sioux City Musketeers in scoring with 17 goals and 21 assists. In addition to being named to the USHL All-Rookie team, he led the U18 World Championships in scoring with 7 goals in 7 games, along with a pair of helpers. The U17 Championships were even more of a success for Tolvanen as he once again led the tournament in scoring with 9 goals in 5 games. A native of Vihti, Finland, Tolvanen played his junior hockey for the Espoo Blues, where he notched 84 points in 41 games two seasons ago. One can't help but think that BC's established Finnish pipeline with the Mattila brothers played a major role in this commitment.

The numbers speak for themselves- this is a massive get for an Eagle coaching staff that has turned up the heat on the recruiting trail as of late. After the departure of Alex Tuch, I wrote a piece about how BC needed to find a fine line between recruiting high end guys that may leave after a year or two and those who will develop into scoring threats by their junior and senior seasons. I believe the class they have coming in the fall of 2017 gives them that ideal mix. Tolvanen, Joe Cassetti, Jacob Tortoa, and Logan Hutsko are all ranked in the top 20 of their class but perhaps more importantly, the staff was able to pick-up some long term assets such as Casey Carreau, Mitch Martan, and Chris Grando. Some have questioned the lack of "star power" in the group that is set to enroll this fall but the good news is that I can't see a scenario where any of the fourteen members leaves early to sign an NHL or CHL deal, unless there is an issue with playing time down the road. That will allow the coaches to create some roster sustainability instead of having to retool year in and year out. It's a bit like Kentucky basketball- can you really have success on a yearly basis with a new set of players every winter? I don't think so. This season, they will have a nucleus of five or six guys that will be expected to carry the bulk of the scoring but if newcomers like David Cotton, Graham McPhee, Connor Moore, and Mike Campoli can get better as the year goes on, it not only bodes well for March and April, but for future seasons as well.

The staff also picked up a commitment from Philadelphia Flyers forward Ron Greco, who notched 57 points in 44 games for the USPHL club. A 1995 birthdate, Greco is likely one of those skaters that will compete for a fourth line role throughout next season, with the hope that he will develop into a third liner sometime in the future. You don't typically see players from the USPHL make immediate impacts on college hockey scoring sheets but as we saw with Mike Kim and Josh Couturier, players from that league are more than capable of competing at this level.

On another note, congrats to former Eagle Brian Dumoulin on winning the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Outside of Kris Letang and Brent Burns, I thought Dumoulin was the best defenseman on the ice- good things happen to those who stick around and work hard. The Biddeford, Maine native is the 17th Eagle to have his named etched onto the Stanley Cup. For comparisons sake, BU has 7.

Solid 24 hours in BC Hockey world, now we need a victory for Phil at Oakmont!

Go Eagles. Go Phil.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Coach Brown Named Assistant Coach For US World Jr Team

Associate head coach Greg Brown has been named an assistant coach for the US World Jr team, as announced by USA Hockey this afternoon. St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko will lead the team, which is rounded out by assistants Grant Potulny (Minnesota), Kris Mayotte (PC), and Steve Miller (Air Force). This will be Coach Brown's second time serving as an assistant for Team USA (2014).

The World Jr Championships will take place in Montreal and Toronto from December 26th to January 5th.

Congrats to Coach Brown on this terrific accomplishment.

Go Eagles.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Michael Merulla Commits to BC

BC added yet another forward to next year's incoming class as Michael Merulla, a 6'0 and 1996 birthdate out of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania and the Aston Rebels (NAHL) joined the fray this afternoon. Merulla led a team that made it to the Robertson Cup semifinals in scoring with 24 goals and 31 assists. Over the Boards had Merulla ranked as the 47th best uncommitted prospect two years ago.

From what I can tell, this seems to be a solid pick up late in the game for the staff. With the departures of Ian McCoshen (coming soon), Miles Wood, Alex Tuch, Steve Santini, Adam Gilmour, and Thatcher Demko, they had some left over scholarship money to spend in order to field a deep roster. Admittedly, there is no telling how any of the freshmen will adjust to college hockey because it's such a hit or miss proposition, but hopefully they will gel by trophy season. The good news is that while BC loses four top nine forward in Tuch, Wood, Gilmour, and Teddy Doherty, they also bring back some perennial goal scorers in Colin White, Zach Sanford, Austin Cangelosi, and Ryan Fitzgerald, who will certainly help ease the transition for the younger players.

If I had to guess, Merulla will be competing for a bottom six role in September with the likes of Julius Mattila, Michael Booth, and perhaps Zach Walker. If those guys can find a way to get acclimated sooner rather than later, I think the Eagles will have one of the deeper forward groups in Hockey East, despite the early departures. That being said, things tend to change between June 7th and October 1st, so we will see what happens.

Go Eagles

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Eagles Land Second Mattila Brother

Julius Mattila, brother of recent Eagle commit Jesper Mattila, has committed to Boston College for this fall. The former Western Michigan recruit and forward for the Ilves U20 squad recorded 56 points in 46 regular season games before notching 8 points in 7 postseason contests. Julius was ranked 115th by NHL Central Scouting for European skaters. His brother finished the season as the team's top defenseman, posting 37 points in 47 games and was pegged at 83rd by Central Scouting.

I have not seen these guys play but from what I have been able to gather, it seems as if BC picked up two pretty good players that have a chance to come in and play right away. Assuming McCoshen signs, Jesper will likely be competing with fellow freshmen Luke McInnis, Mike Campoli, and Connor Moore for playing time. Julius certainly has a shot to garner top twelve minutes, especially with the speed and skill he brings to the table. Finnish scout Marco Bombino described Julius as a "skilled forward who is tenacious and competes hard- he is certainly a nice get for BC." We will get deeper into potential lineup scenarios as the summer goes on but as of right now, I think both brothers will get a chance to play on opening night, assuming they continue to get stronger during the offseason.

Julius' commitment gives BC a whopping eleven members in the incoming class and I would not be surprised if the staff went out and added one more forward. The blue line, while extremely young and inexperienced, is fine in terms of numbers and if McCoshen does shock the world and come back, then BC will be looking at nine defensemen vying for six spots. If I had to guess, I'd say four of the five incoming forwards will get a look on opening night but of course, that number could change between now and October.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Connecticut Forward Commits to BC

A hectic 24 hours continued on Saturday afternoon as the staff secured a commitment from Salisbury School forward Jacques Bouquot, a 2000 birthdate out of South Windsor, Connecticut. The 6'0 forward recorded 15 points in 26 games for a very deep Salisbury team this season and is generally regarded as one of the top 2000's in New England. He was taken 57th overall (fourth round) in the USHL Draft this past week by Sioux City.

Bouquot is another solid add for the staff, giving them their second commit in under a day's time and fourth in the class of 2018 along with TJ Walsh, Pat Giles, and Adam Samuelsson. With Salisbury losing a good chunk of its top players from last season, I'm sure Bouquot will see an increase in playing time and should develop into a top end player sometime in the future.

Go Eagles

White Staying and Staff Picks Up Top Goaltender

After a month of constant departures, BC got some terrific news yesterday as freshman forward Colin White will return for another year, per TSN's Darren Dreger.  The Hanover native recorded 43 points on the season, second to Ryan Fitzgerald for the team lead. There is no doubt the Eagles lose a lot of talent, especially up front, but they return their top four skaters and there are increasing signs that Ian McCoshen, the best defenseman in the country as far as I'm concerned, may come back for one more run at a national championship- a final decision has yet to be made. With some open scholarship money, I expect the staff to bring in at least one more forward because for the first time in a couple years, they may have a bit of a logjam on the blue line, if McCoshen stays. As of now, they have four defensemen coming in (McInnis, Campoli, Moore, Matilla), but only Santini is gone from last season.

 Late last night, the staff picked up a commitment from top 1998 goaltender Ryan Edquist, a former Minnesota recruit, giving BC two of the best incoming goaltenders in the country to replace Thatcher Demko. Edquist is not a giant at 6'0, but led Lakeville (MN) to a perfect 31-0 record plus a state championship in 2015 before turning in a solid season with the Madison Capitols of the USHL in 2016. BC is in a bit of a tricky situation with four talented goalies on the roster but Chris Birdsall was riddled with concussions for the entire season and there is no word on his health status. Ian Milosz was brought in on an emergency basis but from what I'm hearing, there is a good chance he returns next season. The staff will only have a handful of practices to decide on a starter for the Icebreaker and honestly, I would be surprised if it wasn't Woll. In saying that, Edquist and likely Milosz will certainly get more than their share of looks throughout the campaign. 

Have a nice weekend. 

Go Eagles!