As you all know, I keep promising my midseason reports every other day but for multiple reasons, tonight is the night I will finally get back to writing...this time it will be concerning the Eagle forwards and assessing their play thus far. Let's take a look
Johnny G- I shouldn't really have to say much here because you all know about the start Johnny Hockey is off to. His playmaking ability is second to none in college hockey and if he continues to play like he has been, a Hobey Baker award might be in his reach. While he struggled at the end of the semester vs BU and Providence, an unreal experience in Russia should help him get his feet back under him.
Pat Mullane- All people like to talk about (including myself I guess) these days is the eye popping play of Johnny G and because of that, guys like Pat Mullane get very little recognition. If you ask me, Mullane is certainly one of the best forwards in Hockey East if not the country right now as he continues to show outstanding leadership not just on but off the ice along with playing some stellar hockey.
Steve Whitney- As we sit here tonight, it's hard to say that Steven Whitney has not played up to, if not surpassed the expectations the staff had for him coming into the first half of the year. He has multiple intangibles such as his blistering snap shot and ferocious penalty killing abilities that often get overlooked. Hopefully in the second half he can take his game up to an even higher notch that we know he is capable of arriving at.
Kevin Hayes- If you ask me, there may not be one person on this whole roster that has improved as much as Kevin Hayes has. It may have taken a long time but Kevin is now becoming a truly dominant forward in Hockey East and is playing as well as anyone on this team.
Billy Arnold- If you ask me, there may not be a better two way forward than Bill Arnold in all of Hockey East. He is one of those guys that isn't going to jump out at you right away but he certainly does the little things like block shots, makes crisp passes, and helps generate good chances, very well. The consistency in his play has been solid up to this point so hopefully it continues thought the winter and spring.
Destry Straight- The start of Destry's sophomore year certainly has gone better than the start of his freshman year a season ago. It took a while but playing with guys like Hayes and Arnold has really had a solid impact on his play. Hopefully, his injury is not too bad and he can get back for the Gophers because without him and Johnny G, winning two games out in St.Paul is going to be very, very tough.
Danny Linell- Danny is one of those guys that I think has been solid at times this year but also struggled a bit in terms of his play in the offensive end. To be honest, I think it was expected that he was going to generate more offense than he has to this point but there certainly have been some bright spots for him. I look for his play to continue to get better as the year goes on.
Quinn Smith- Quinn has been one of those guys that's had to adjust to playing on some different lines up to this point because of the injuries to guys like Straight and because of that, his play has been a bit up and down. Granted he is not one of those star studded forwards that's going to score a point every game for you but I do think his play needs to improve in the second half.
Brendan Silk- I've said it multiple times already and I'll say it again, from puck drop vs Northeastern till now, no forward has improved as much as Brendan Silk has. Like Quinn Smith, Brendan has had to step up and play an even bigger role in the lineup for this team and at times this year, like the BU home game, he has really stepped up and played well. His play is going to be key in order to beat the high powered Gophers.
Brooks Dyroff- After not playing much in his first three years, it's nice to see a guy like Dyroff play night in and night out and actually play some good hockey at times this year. He struggled to get going at the start of the season but since about the first BU game, he has been starting to play some solid hockey.
Patrick Brown- There is not a guy on this team that works harder to become a better hockey player than Patrick Brown does (if you ask me). When you watch him in practice, he is always the first one on the ice and always the last one off. You can clearly see that his play has improved a lot since he first got here but I also think there is lots of room for improvement. I look for a stronger second half from him.
Michael Sit- This is another guy that I think has had an OK first half. His play in his own zone is fine but it seems that he is never able to get anything going in the offensive end. It looks like to me that he has the speed to take that next step but whatever it is that's keeping him back, I hope he finds it in this second half.
Not graded- Cam Spiro
Defenseman coming up later in the week.
On the injury front, I originally posted that Destry Straight was a go for Minnesota but now I would put him back into the 50-50 category, along with Isaac Macleod. We should know more when the players get back right after Christmas.