With all the rain causing all the golf courses to close, I thought it would be a good time to examine a couple of major issues I see regarding next years roster. My biggest problem is the number of forwards that could be on the roster come next fall. By my count, there will be 18 guys battling for 12 spots next season up front. Here is how I look at it.
Locks- Johnny G, Arnold, Hayes, Cangelosi, Fitzgerald, Smith, Brown, Richardson, Calnan, Gilmour, Straight. That's 11 guys.
Guys who will be battling for the final slot- Silk, Sit, McGlynn, Matty G, Spiro, Linell, and possibly one more walk-on.
So....this is a good problem to have, if you ask me. I think those top 11 forwards will be as talented as any group in the country and I expect that five freshmen- Calnan, Gilmour, Fitzgerald, Richardson, and Cangelosi will step up and play in the top 9 spots as soon as the season gets going. If Quinn Smith can build off of what he did at the end of last season, I think we could see him playing a big role on this team, maybe even getting some power play time on the second unit (even though he is more of a grinder). I wouldn't say Destry Straight is a definite lock but he made some strides at the end of last season so it'll be interesting to see if he can keep it up. He's got to get quicker with his feet and he needs to score more than 15 points this season.
As for the final forward spot, well, that's going to be an interesting battle. If I had to pick one guy out of the ones mentioned above, I would pick Linell BUT I don't even know what the staff plans to do with Linell this season because he did play defense last year. I think he has the speed to keep up with the more talented guys on the squad and I also think his defensive zone play could be a nice asset to a third or fourth line.
Everyone always says the key to winning a National Championship is having an outstanding goalie that plays out of his find for four straight games. I slightly disagree. I think the biggest component of a championship team is depth. Last years BC team had zero scoring from their third and fourth lines. The 2010 and 2012 teams' third lines could play against another teams first line. Let's take a look at the projected lineup.
Johnny G- Cangelosi- Fitzgerald
Hayes- Arnold- Richardson
Smith/Straight- Brown- Calnan
Smith/Straight- Gilmour- TBD
While I really like the forwards next season, I think the blue line is where this team is going to be unbelievable. There is a small chance that there are three first round draft picks running the point next season (Matheson, Santini, and McCoshen). Mix those three in with Teddy Doherty, Isaac Macleod, and Scotty Savage (most likely), it comes out to be one of the most talented group of defenseman BC has had in some time. Now, I don't expect Santini and McCoshen to come in here and become the next Brian Dumoulin's of the world, but it is reasonable to think that they will be given the chance to log lots of minutes on 5 on 5, the PP, and the PK. McCoshen and Matheson are two guys that can really skate and make things happen with the pucks on their sticks while Santini is a mixture of both, but is more of a defensive minded, physical presence in his own end. Isaac Macleod made some huge steps last season and his play in his own end along with the fact he is the only senior on the blue line, will hopefully help the young guys develop their play in the defensive zone.
Of course, the staff is going to have to make some tough decisions about playing time but I would think that what I have above is a pretty educated guess on how next years roster will look.
Happy (almost) US Open week and GO EAGLES