Friday, September 6, 2013

BU Freshman Class Preview - Forwards Part 1

This is Part 1 of a 3 Part Preview of this year's freshman class. The other two parts will come out in the coming weeks as the class is finalized and the season approaches.
                                        -Brendan Collier -photo credit- Jason Mastrodonato-Boston Globe

1. Brendan Collier, F, 5'9", 185-Charlestown,MA #8-(Valley Junior Warriors, EJHL, 15-33-48, 49 GP)

Collier is a local product who was a star on his high school team at Malden Catholic for 4 years. He played last year for the Valley Junior Warriors of the EJHL and posted a solid 48 point line in 49 games. This was after he posted 64 points and 27 goals in 22 games as a senior in high school. That includes the game winning goal in the Super 8 Championship game.

 There was also a Boston Globe article about Collier from last October which details his success at the high school level and the transition to the junior level. Collier's junior coach, Andy Heinze, is quoted in the article as saying "He's just such a smart player, and he is talented enough to score at this level, I would expect him to do the same at BU. He is that good."

From everything you read on Collier, he seems ready for the college game due to his vision and feel for the game. He just seems like a hockey player that should contribute from the get-go this year. He could even sneak into the top 6 forwards with only 3 of the top 6 returning from last year's BU squad. I would expect seventh round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2012 to become a fan favorite rather quickly for the gritty way he plays the game and put up between 20-30 points this season.

Here is a scout's take from a Carolina Hurricane prospect website's profile of Collier
"We hear this about him, he’s just a pure hockey player. Goal line to goal line, he works so hard, got a good compete level. I think he’s going to be a great college player. He’s got some potential because he just works so hard.” 

Peter Chiarelli’s(Bruins GM) take: “A couple of interesting one’s, the Collier kid, [he is] kind of under the radar a little bit, but a real gritty kid.”

2. Robbie Baillargeon, F, 6'0", 175 lbs- Enfield,CT/Brewster,MA #19 (Indiana Ice, USHL , 18-23-41,55 GP)

-Baillargeon is another local product who was drafted late in the 2012 draft(5th round, 136 overall). He spent his last two seasons in the USHL after tearing it up at Cushing Academy in the 2010-2011 season with a 30-34-64 line in 30 games there. Baillageron split the last two seasons between Omaha Lancers and Indiana Ice of the USHL and while he struggled at times last season, he seems to be a solid prospect coming who has had a few years to get bigger and prepare for the college game in the USHL.

Here is what Kirk Luedeke had to say about Robbie in this piece from last year : "The former Cushing Academy star challenged himself at a higher level in the USHL and it paid off, as he averaged nearly a point per game in his first season. Intelligent and industrious, Baillargeon is a slick playmaker who sees the ice well and can make pinpoint passes. He’ll need to build more strength and mass on his lean frame, but he should be ready for an instant impact when he arrives at Boston University in the fall of 2013."

A western conference scout from the same piece wrote "I like Baillargeon because he’s a skilled playmaker and underrated in the draft discussion, but also because he left the easy mark in prep school to play at a higher level against guys a lot bigger and stronger than he is. And you know what? He did a lot better than people thought he would"

You can see the highlight video of Baillargeon below from the 2011-2012 season in the USHL. Baillargeon took some lumps as he made the jump from the high school level to the USHL but I think that only will help him as he plays his first collegiate games. It is a much easier transition from the USHL to college than from high school to college(unless you're Danny O'Regan). I would expect Baillargeon to play on the 3rd or 4th line this year and put up 15-20 points. I think he can contribute right away on a third or fourth line in Hockey East.

3.  Kevin Duane-F, 6'4", 218- New Canaan, CT#18 ( Boston Jr. Bruins, EJHL, 13-15-28, 25GP)

Duane is another New England native in this year's class. He will bring some needed size to the forwards while also bringing a scoring touch from his time in the EJHL and the USHL. He recorded 12 points in 18 games in the USHL last season before coming back to the EJ. Duane is reported to play his best when is using his size in front of the net and his big shot.  Duane was named to the EJHL all-star game this season and I think can contribute right away on the 4th line with his size alone. He seems like a big kid who isn't afraid to throw his weight around. I can hear the BC fans whining already. I would expect a 10-15 points from Duane and probably a good amount of penalty minutes for being bigger than the people he hits. Thank you Hockey East officials.

Duane was a B rated prospect by this website along with 3 of his current teammates who were also playing in high school at the time.

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