Sunday, May 18, 2014

State of the Program Part Two....Recruiting

Let'a be totally honest for a few minutes. I could write the greatest post on Johnny G, a win vs BU, or some other big event but the only thing that REALLY matters to viewers is recruiting. Trust me, I'm the same way. Who we going after? Who's the next "one"? Is this kid any good? Did we beat out BU? Yhea. Everyday, 24/'s all about the recruiting.

Anyways, the landscape of college hockey recruiting is starting to really change. Back in the 80's and 90's you could get top end prospects to commit in their junior or senior years and almost all the time they came from prep schools or another local high school (in New England anyways). I mean, look at the number of players BC got straight from prep schools fifteen/twenty years ago and compare that number to now. Mary Reasoner, Craig Janney, Brian Leetch, etc all these guys came from the prep ranks. But that's not the biggest issue for the college game (it is for the high school game). The big issue here is that coaches need to try and get commitments from kids at such a young age. Look at Maine, they got a commitment from a 13 year old a couple months ago. 13! Between the ages of 14 and 19 (or whatever age you arrive on campus, 21 in Lowell's case) a lot can change in the hockey world. A lot. Unfortunately, coaches have to take risk on players at such a young age and sometimes those guys just don't pan out.

That leads me right into my next point, the so called "gentlemen's agreement". BC, more so than any other program, has taken a boatload of heat over the course of the past few months for gaining commitments from players that were previously committed to other institutions. For anyone to go out there and say the staff "tampers" with other schools recruits shortly before they are set to arrive is just pathetic. In most cases (Milano for example) the recruit will tell them they don't want to go to the school they are previously set to attend. In other cases, players will either not qualify academically or decide that the ECAC is not the level of hockey they want to play at (Wood, Bracco). BC isn't going out there and talking to every single committed prospect they can. If they catch wind that a kid they think is good enough to play here doesn't want to go to his previously committed school, then they're going to inquire about the possibilities of that kid potentially coming to BC. But to say they're recklessly breaking this agreement is totally, 100 % false.

Anyways, let's dive into some specifics. As I said last time, there is still one more question for next season's roster, they need one more impact forward but we've been over that 100 times and you know how that situation looks. The biggest issue right now for the future is the blue line. Our D core next season will be as good as any we've ever had but hypothetically, Matheson, Hanifin, McCoshen, and Santini could all bolt to the pros after the final game of next season. As of now, we have just one defenseman (Casey Fitzgerald) coming in the fall of 2015 so as you can tell, we need to get a couple of defenseman to sign on for that season.

The final piece of the recruiting puzzle I think we should discuss today is the goalie need. Personally, I think Thatcher Demko will be here for two more seasons but if he has the season he is capable of having next season, he could certainly bolt. Of course, Billett and Barone will be gone after this year so that leaves the Eagles without a potential starter for the 15-16 season if Demko does in fact leave. A couple of weeks ago highly touted USA u17 goalie Blake Weyrick decommited from Brown because he wanted to play at a more recognized program. He could certainly be a potential guy they could bring in to replace Demko. Yes, they have a commitment from Chris Birdsall for the fall of 2015 but he really struggled in the USHL in this season and if that continues next year, I'm not really sure what the future holds for him.

So, here are the biggest recruiting needs. 

1. As I've said over 100 times, another top end forward for this fall (cough, cough Miles Wood).

2. At least two more defenseman (one shut down, Santini type) for the fall of 2015. I expect Matheson and at least one of McCoshen/Hanifin/Santini to be gone.

3. Thatcher Demko's replacement. They always find goalies pretty late in the game. It's the toughest position to evaluate, I think.

Go Eagles

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