|Incoming defenseman Mike Matheson|
The recruit that has the most hype around him next year is defenseman Mike Matheson. This season for the Dubuque Fighting Saints (Johnny Gaudreau's former team) Matheson recorded 27 points which was tops for defenseman on the team. With the losses of Brian Dumoulin and Tommy Cross, I think you could very well see Matheson have some power play time this season. The kid has good size a 6'2 and plays a style not unlike the style of Brian Dumoulin (which means he's pretty good). Another recruit who could log some big minutes on the blue line could be Matheson's teammate at Dubuque, Teddy Doherty. Doherty, a Hopkington native, recorded a solid fourteen assist this season (along with a couple of goals) for the Fighting Saints and also had nine power play points. So, I wouldn't be surprised to see these guys be the #2 and #3 defenseman on the team next year behind Patrick Wey. Another guy I like coming in is Collin Sullivan (a former Yale commit). Sullivan is another one of those guys that could very easily find his way on the opening night roster if he practices well to start the season. Most people say this kid has a lot of skill so look for him to also have an impact on this team.
Up front, I think this team is pretty deep compared to a lot of other teams in Hockey East. I really like the first couple of lines this team could have because of the firepower returning up front. The forward coming in to most look for is Frank Vatrano. Vatrano had 35 points this season for the US Under 18 team and could be placed on the second or third line next year depending on where the staff thinks he fits in the best. Honestly, we were a little spoiled last year with Johnny G being the best freshman I have ever seen (ok maybe Gionta) so we forget that guys like Quinn Smith, Destry Striaght, and Danny Linell had really solid seasons. Last years fourth line (made up of all freshman) was as solid of a fourth line as the Matt Lombardi- Matt Price- Barry Almeida fourth line was in 2010. If the freshman on next years team can be as solid as the guys who were freshman on this years team were, watch out.
Note- For those looking for the schedule, I made it into a page up top so it would be easier to sort out.