Monday, June 13, 2016
Staff Lands Top Uncommitted Prospect
Finnish forward and top 2017 draft prospect Eeli Tolvanen committed to Boston College this afternoon, giving the Eagles their eight member of the 2017 class, all of which are forwards. Tolvanen is a prototypical BC dynamo at 5'10, 178 pounds and scouts I have talked to compared his style of play to former Eagles Cam Atkinson and Nathan Gerbe- small in stature but not when it comes to compete and skill levels.
Tolvanen was one of the youngest players in the USHL this year but he was second on the Sioux City Musketeers in scoring with 17 goals and 21 assists. In addition to being named to the USHL All-Rookie team, he led the U18 World Championships in scoring with 7 goals in 7 games, along with a pair of helpers. The U17 Championships were even more of a success for Tolvanen as he once again led the tournament in scoring with 9 goals in 5 games. A native of Vihti, Finland, Tolvanen played his junior hockey for the Espoo Blues, where he notched 84 points in 41 games two seasons ago. One can't help but think that BC's established Finnish pipeline with the Mattila brothers played a major role in this commitment.
The numbers speak for themselves- this is a massive get for an Eagle coaching staff that has turned up the heat on the recruiting trail as of late. After the departure of Alex Tuch, I wrote a piece about how BC needed to find a fine line between recruiting high end guys that may leave after a year or two and those who will develop into scoring threats by their junior and senior seasons. I believe the class they have coming in the fall of 2017 gives them that ideal mix. Tolvanen, Joe Cassetti, Jacob Tortoa, and Logan Hutsko are all ranked in the top 20 of their class but perhaps more importantly, the staff was able to pick-up some long term assets such as Casey Carreau, Mitch Martan, and Chris Grando. Some have questioned the lack of "star power" in the group that is set to enroll this fall but the good news is that I can't see a scenario where any of the fourteen members leaves early to sign an NHL or CHL deal, unless there is an issue with playing time down the road. That will allow the coaches to create some roster sustainability instead of having to retool year in and year out. It's a bit like Kentucky basketball- can you really have success on a yearly basis with a new set of players every winter? I don't think so. This season, they will have a nucleus of five or six guys that will be expected to carry the bulk of the scoring but if newcomers like David Cotton, Graham McPhee, Connor Moore, and Mike Campoli can get better as the year goes on, it not only bodes well for March and April, but for future seasons as well.
The staff also picked up a commitment from Philadelphia Flyers forward Ron Greco, who notched 57 points in 44 games for the USPHL club. A 1995 birthdate, Greco is likely one of those skaters that will compete for a fourth line role throughout next season, with the hope that he will develop into a third liner sometime in the future. You don't typically see players from the USPHL make immediate impacts on college hockey scoring sheets but as we saw with Mike Kim and Josh Couturier, players from that league are more than capable of competing at this level.
On another note, congrats to former Eagle Brian Dumoulin on winning the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Outside of Kris Letang and Brent Burns, I thought Dumoulin was the best defenseman on the ice- good things happen to those who stick around and work hard. The Biddeford, Maine native is the 17th Eagle to have his named etched onto the Stanley Cup. For comparisons sake, BU has 7.
Solid 24 hours in BC Hockey world, now we need a victory for Phil at Oakmont!
Go Eagles. Go Phil.