For me, the best way to get a season ending loss off my mind is to look ahead to next year. Obviously, we lose the big three plus our fourth leading scorer in Patrick Brown but we return a good chunk of our second and third lines. Look, next year is all about how guys like Ryan Fitzgerald, Austin Cangelosi, Adam Gilmour, and Chris Calnan can step up. I think out of all those guys, Fitzgerald has the best shot to step up and become one of the top notch players in Hockey East. Gilmour, Cango, and Calnan were better towards the end of the season but they have got to start putting pucks in the net. The good news for these guys is that they should be given ample opportunities to step up and produce, which they weren't always given this season.
As for the incoming forward class, we've got some good players but the bottom line is they're very young. We saw what age and experience can do for you vs Union. I'm not saying these guys are not going to be good, they're going to be tremendous, but it is going to take some time. We have two, maybe three, forwards coming in and each one of them will play a role on the first or second line. Sonny Milano is the most skilled forward of the group. He is quick, has tremendous hands, and will hopefully be the top scorer on the team next season. Alex Tuch is 6'3 power forward that is the meat and potatoes guy on a top line. Zach Sanford is another big guy (also an NHL draft pick) that will come in an be expected to produce quickly. Don't know if he will be a second liner off the bat but he should get a spot in the lineup. The one question mark is the guy I think has the biggest upside, Noble and Greenough forward Miles Wood, who has yet to decide whether he wants to come to BC or go back to Nobles. If Miles does indeed come next season, he would certainly play first or second line left wing. He is one of those unique hybrid forwards. He is a big kid but man does he have a powerful stride. So, basically, the point of this post is to stress the amount of importance into getting Miles Wood to campus next fall (and another guy but that's for the next paragraph). He will eat the ISL up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner next season. If he comes to BC, he will be put in a situation where he will be given every opportunity to play power play, first line, kill penalties, etc. WE HAVE TO GET HIM TO CAMPUS.
Basically, if those three guys come, we will have one of the deeper forward lineups in Hockey East, IF Gilmour, Calnan, and Cangelosi (to a lesser extent) can take that next step. It's going to be a growing process, as it always is with young kids but the offense isn't my worry. It's the defense. I heard from multiple sources today that Michael Matheson is leaning towards signing with the Florida Panthers and forgoing his final two years of eligibility. If Mike leaves, we are in big trouble. Really big trouble. All along, the strength of next years team was going to be the defense because we would have arguably the three best returning Dmen in the league along with a freshman stud and two gradually improving offensive guys (Doherty and Savage). But if Mike leaves, that all falls apart. And to be honest, I'm furious about what some of the fans have said about Mike. They make it seem like he had the worst season any defenseman has ever had. Did he make some mistakes ? Sure, but are you gona seriously tell me we would be better without him than with him? Look at the amount of minutes he played vs Lowell, Denver, the Beanpot, etc. We need this kid.
I'm really worried about this team if Mike does not come back. Really worried. I was under the impression all along that he was coming back but because of some recent events, that mindset has drastically changed. Sure, Hanifin is going to come in and make a huge impact but he's 17 years old. He'll be playing against guys six and seven years older than he is (8 years older in Lowell's case). By the end of the year, he will be one of the top offensive defensemen in the country but imagine how good a power play unit of Wood-Fitz-Milano along with Hanifin-Matheson could look. Are we going to be an NCAA team even if Miles and Mike don't come next year? Probably. Are we a National Title contender without them? I don't think so.