If you ask any loyal BC Hockey follower about what their expectations are for this upcoming season, I would bet every single one of them would tell you that they are extremely high (when are the not). I am no different. I expect this team to be good when the season gets underway but as it progresses into "trophy season", I expect them to be REALLY good. The problem with all these expectations is that a lot of them rest on the performances of BC's star studded freshmen class which includes 4 of College Hockey News' best recruits coming in next season. While BC loses Pat Wey and Patch Alber on the blue line along with Pat Mullane and Steven Whitney up front, there is a solid core of players returning, including three highly talented forwards and a couple of young defenseman who were very impressive at times last season.
Anyways, I thought it would be a good idea to look at each incoming freshman and assess some reasonable expectations for them. Let's start with the forwards.
Austin Cangelosi- Even though he was not drafted last month, Cangelosi could perhaps be BC's best incoming forward. He has the speed and creativity that the staff looks for when recruiting, which is why I think there is a chance we will see him on the first or second line at times this year. One thing BC lost with Mullane and Whitney is two great penalty killers and guys that logged a lot of minutes. With Cangelosi, they get that back as I expect that he will play a big part of both the power play (most likely second unit center) and the penalty kill. I'd really like to see the staff put him on a line with Johnny G as I think that could make for some pretty exciting hockey. Player he compares to- Cam Atkinson.
Ryan Fitzgerald- A local kid, Fitzgerald will bring a lot of much needed help on both the offensive and defensive ends. "Fitzy" doesn't really have a weakness to game as he is a great offensive threat who can play on the power play but is also the type of guy who could make a big differences in the defensive end, whether it be 5 on 5 or on the PK. Like Cangelosi, I think we will see Fitzgerald play a role on the first or second line....most likely at left wing. Player he compares to- Brian Gibbons/Billy Arnold
Chris Calnan- Unlike Fitzgerald and Cangelosi who are both smaller guys that use their speed to make an impact on the ice, Chris Calnan is a guy who uses his big 6'3 frame to assert himself on the ice. One thing BC really lacked last season was size up front as we saw a bigger/stronger Union forward core impose their will on a smaller Eagle lineup. While I am not sure where the staff will insert Calnan, I think that he would work really good around two playmakers such as Johnny G or Cangelosi because he can attract a lot of attention in front of the net and will free up space for the smaller/more skilled forwards to do their jobs. Player he compares to- Jimmy Hayes
Adam Gilmour- Like Calnan, Adam Gilmour is another good sized forward (6'2) but unlike his former high school teammate, Gilmour is the type of guy who will try to make his mark on the college game with his puck handling. Gilmour isn't the type of big forward who will go in front of the net and create space. Instead, he will try to use his good puck handling skills to help create plays for the guys around him. This kid can put the puck in the net, evident by leading the Muskeegon Lumberjacks in goals scored and points last season. The big problem last season for the Eagles was they lacked guys that could score on the third and fourth lines. Gilmour is the type of kid who could really help out in this area because I think there is a great chance he wins the battle for third line center and even if he doesn't, he'll be a dangerous fourth line center that teams will have to watch for. It may take some time for him to develop, but once he hits his stride, he could be big time. Player he compares to- Kevin Hayes
Evan Richardson- If there is one "wild card" in this years class, it would be Richardson. I don't say that because of his attitude or his ability to play, but because we really don't know that much about him. Yes, he had a couple of fantastic seasons for the Powell River Kings of the BCHL but BC hasn't had a great track record of players coming out of that league. Richardson is another one of those small but super quick and highly skilled forwards that could find himself on the second power play unit to start the season. I think it will take a bit of time for him to develop into a great player but if he do that sooner rather than later, he is in a position to have a productive season. Player he compares to-Steven Whitney
Matthew Gaudreau- Let me get one thing clear before I start. I hope no one expects this kid to be his brother. That is like expecting a 14 year old kid who is a 5 handicap to become the next Golden Bear (Jack Nicklaus...the greatest). On the other hand, I do expect that Matthew could come in and earn a spot on the fourth line this October. He is going to have to impress the staff in September but I really think he could turn into a solid fourth line/defensive minded "grinding" forward. Player he compares to- Patrick Brown
We'll do the defensemen tomorrow or the next day.
Happy Open Championship Week.
Go Eagles !