1. Will Noah Hanifin stay?
Obviously, this is the #1 question in every player, coach, and fan's mind, will BC's top player return for another year on the Heights? First of all, I think it says a lot about Hanifin and Jack Eichel that they're taking their respective commitments to BC and BU so seriously, that is something we don't really see these days. It is clear that these two prospects, perhaps the most highly touted in college hockey since Toews and Kessel, enjoyed their seasons and it's quite amazing that they're even considering coming back. My take on Hanifin is probably the same as anyone else's, I think it's 50-50 as to whether he stays or goes because it depends so much on who drafts him although I do think there is a better chance of him staying than people think. Is BC screwed if he leaves? No, they still have four very solid guys coming back on the blue line with two young but talented freshmen in Couturier and Fitzgerald. If you really want me to say what I think, and I am very biased, yes, I do think he will stay.
2. Will Jeremy Bracco show?
Unfortunately, I feel like this one is more up in the air than the Hanifin question. The good news is that its been about a month since the close of the NTDP season and Bracco has yet to sign anywhere, unlike some other guys on his team such as Tkachuk and Max Jones (U17). The bad news is that in speaking with people around the program, it is clear that they are not 100% sure that he will arrive in the fall. We all know what happened with Sonny Milano and that was arguably the worst thing that could have happened to the team last year. Bracco signing with Kitchner wouldn't be as big a blow as Milano but I am one of many who believe he could be the leading scorer on this team next season because he always seems to have a knack for putting points on the board, something BC desperately needs. I would like to think that he will be in the opening night lineup at Army but there is only one person that really knows the answer to whether or not that will come to fruition.
3. Is the staff done recruiting for the year?
With 7 seniors and Mike Matheson gone, many believe that the staff has some left over scholarship money to spend for next season. Unlike BU, Coach York and his crew are pretty conservative when it comes to throwing around scholarship money. Here is what I think, if Bracco does in fact sign with Kitchner, then BC will certainly bring in another guy, I believe they have a plan in case that happens. But, if he does end up coming to BC, I don't think they will sign anyone else, and unlike others, I don't think they necessarily need to. All those BU clowns keep talking about how we won't be deep next season but when you look closely, BC won't just be deep next year, they will have "role" players who are experienced and most importantly, skilled. Here is just a quick projected forward lineup for next year....not much thought went into this.
That is as deep a lineup as Coach York has ever had, at least skill wise. I think you could certainly switch some guys around like White and Cangelosi, Calnan, Bracco, and Tuch can be arraigned literally anyway they want, and I'm not sure if they're going to keep that first line together again after they struggled in the postseason. Again, just a quick run through, we will do more of these as October gets closer but it sure is fun when you have a lot of options.
4. How is Demko doing?
From all I have gathered, it seems as if Thatcher Demko is recovering well from his hip surgery earlier this spring. Obviously, we still have a ways to go until October 9th but I think there is a solid chance he is ready to go and if not then, certainly in the first couple weeks of the season. I do not think he will play nearly as much as he did a season ago because I think the staff has some confidence in Birdsall's abilities along with the fact that BC should be the highest scoring team in the nation. For example, will he really need to play @ Army, vs Wisconsin, or RIT? Why not give the freshman some valuable experience early on. It can't hurt in the long run.
5. I've gotten about 1500 emails about BU's recent recruiting run and how we should be concerned, should we?
Remember what Aaron Rodgers said after the Packers went 1-2 to start the year? "RELAX". Obviously, the staff is confident that a lot of guys will stay following this season because they have not committed much scholarship money to high end guys that are coming in the fall of 2016. BU on the other hand will lose guys like Oksanen, O'Regan, Grzelyck, Lane, and perhaps Hickey after this season. Tuch is certainly here for just two years, but I wouldn't say it is a forgone conclusion that guys like Santini, Gilmour, and Calnan leave after their junior seasons.....but that is a long ways off. The point is, don't worry, we will be fine. No one will question recruiting this year, trust me, not even this guy.
6. Is this the most talented team Coach York has ever had, outside of maybe 2011? (If Bracco and Hanifin come/stay)
One week until Chambers Bay, come on Phil!