Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Forward Issue

What did the 2010, 2011, and 2012 all have that neither the 2013 or 2014 teams had? Depth at the forward position. The depth on the 2013 squad was as bad as we've ever had and last years fourth line combined for just 22 points all season. For comparisons sake, the fourth line in 2011 (for the majority of the season) had 41 points. That line included two NHL draft picks (K.Hayes and Carey). In 2010, the fourth line combined for 43 points and one of it's tenants, senior Matt Price, scored the game winning goal in overtime vs Maine in the Hockey East finals. So, as you can see, when we've had success because in the past, we've had third and fourth lines that could score from time to time and could always play hard vs another team's second or third line. Over the course of the past two seasons, especially this season, that has not been the case and unfortunately, it may continue this season.

I expect Milano, Gilmour, Fitzgerald, and Cangelosi to be our top scorers next season with Calnan and Tuch just behind them. Now, we're not going to have three guys score over 65 points like Arnold, G, and Hayes did but I do think there is a chance we have 6 or 7 guys that eclipse 30 points. Outside of the Big Three, just one player (Pat Brown) had 30 points. That's a problem. Everyone I have talked to seems to be thrilled about our club this upcoming but the way it is structured, as of now, it's going to be difficult to win a National Championship. I think we have by far and away the best goaltending/defense combo in the country, something I don't think we've ever had. But there are two really pressing issues for me. #1, this is going to be by far and away the youngest team of the Coach York era. Our entire top two lines will be made up of freshmen and sophomores, without a doubt. Although the staff has been adamant they're only adding three forwards and one defenseman, I'm totally convinced they have something else in the works. Evan Richardson would have played every game next year unless he got injured or something. He would have been, at worst, fourth line center. There is no way they just let him go without a backup plan. The question is, what is that backup plan? Well, I'm convinced they're set on accelerating Miles Wood but the problem is Miles' dad, Randy (played for a long time in NHL), supposedly wants him to return to Noble and Greenough for one more season. They're not going to accelerate JD Dudek because he needs to develop, Colin White and Jeremy Bracco are way to young, and Chris Brown/Chris Shero simply aren't ready yet. That leaves us with two options. 1- accelerate Miles Wood. 2- Pick up a late recruit over the summer....not sure if that is going to work.

Look, without Wood, we're injury away from being completely devastated up front, much like what happened when Kevin Hayes was injured in 2013. The good news is that outside of maybe Providence and perhaps BU, there won't be many "deep" teams in Hockey East. Also, BC's insanely loaded defense should be able to provide a nice scoring boost but the bottom line is that guys like Silk (who took a solid step forward last year), Smith, Linell, and Sit MUST become Matt Lombardi/Matt Price/Barry Almeida type players. Six points isn't going to cut it for them this season. They've got to find a way to score in the double digits, kill penalties, and help lead one of the youngest teams in BC Hockey history.

Here is how I would rank the forward depth chart. Let's just ASSUME they add Wood (which they probably won't).

1. Milano
2. Fitzgerald
3. Gilmour
4. Wood
5. Cangelosi
6. Tuch
7. Calnan
8. Silk
9. Sanford
10. Sit
11. Matty G
12. Linell
13. Smith
14. Straight
15. Spiro
16. McMullen

Anyways, that's all for now.

Go Eagles.

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