This is our first of most likely many posts about the upcoming season this summer and fall. 130 ish days until the puck drops in the first exhibition game at Agganis Arena and while the schedule needs to be finalized, we can still start taking a look at the upcoming season. With most if not all of the early departures throughout the league finalized, we can get a good idea of what % of their teams scoring each team will return. This isn't the best way to pick how each team will finish but it is telling in what the teams will need to replace. BC, UMass and UVM have lost the most but all three should have large incoming freshmen classes to attempt to replace that production. BU returns a majority of their points from last season but need the returning players to make an even larger jump as the team struggled to score goals last season and that certainly can't be the case this season with the young defenseman that will see serious ice time. It is also comforting as a fan that BU is returning the largest % of their points out of any team in the league along with all three of their goaltenders from last season. The Terriers will certainly have the right combination to be successful next season with a large portion of last year's team returning along with a highly touted 9-10 man freshmen class.
% of points returned in HE
*Indicates returning starting goaltender
*BC 50.5- Buh bye Gaudreau
Maine 81.7(If Lomberg doesn't return to the program)
Now, on to the projected lineup for opening night 10/10 in Amherst. This year's squad will most likely have 15 true forwards along with TJ Ryan who saw some time as forward this past season. There is plenty of high quality depth that gives the coaching staff the ability to sit guys who are playing like shit. This is a great thing for both the players and the fans as there won't be any guys failing to backcheck or make the right play unless they want to watch with the rest of us for the next game.
The top 7 forwards are pretty set in my eyes with the senior assistant captains Cason Hohmann and Evan Rodrigues along with junior studs Danny O'Regan and Matt Lane. Robbie Carrots Baillargeon should build on a strong freshman campaign as should classmate Nick Roberto. Highly touted freshman Jack Eichel should fit into the top 6 quite easily as he has had success at the U-18 and U-20 level already as a 17 year old. The rest of the lineup becomes a guessing game as I don't know how quickly the freshmen will adjust to the college game and what kind of jump in play to expect from returning players. I would expect Chase Phelps, AJ Greer, JJ Piccinich to be in the mix for playing time right away with returnees Kevin Duane, Tommy Kelley, and Mike Moran. TJ Ryan and Nikolas Olsson should also fight for playing time and provide good depth for the program.
Forwards(In no set order)
Scratches-Kelley, Ryan, Olsson, Lawrence
The defensemen for this season's squad will be very young with 0 seniors and 2 juniors on the roster to go with 7 underclassmen. They were will be growing pains at times but this d corps is skilled enough to work through those struggles. Junior captain Matt Grzelcyk will be on the ice in all situations while classmate Ahti Oksanen should be a force on the powerplay assuming he improves his decision making at the point to limit the shorthanded chances for the opponents. Sophomore Doyle Somerby and Dalton MacAfee will be in fights for ice time with freshmen Johnny Macleod, Brandon Hickey, Brenden Diffley, Brandon Fortunato and redshirt sophomore Ahram Abramason. Macleod, Hickey, Fortunato and Diffley should be able to come in right away and fight for major ice time. It will be interesting how the defensive pairs shake out but my best guess as of today is below.
D-men(No set order)
Scratches- MacAfee, Diffley,,Ryan(F or D)
BU announced 6 members of their 9-10 member class for the upcoming 2014-2015 season. The only players that can be announced at this time are ones who signed an LOI(Letter of Intent) for the upcoming season. Those players were forwards Jack Eichel, Chase Phelps and JJ Piccinich along with defensemen John MacLeod, Brandon Hickey and Brenden Diffley. Only the players receiving scholarship money for this coming season sign an LOI. The amount of scholarship money does not matter so all this tells us is that those 6 are receiving some type of scholarship for next season. It has been widely reported that AJ Greer, Brandon Fortunato, Nicholas Olsson and Connor LaCouvee will fill out the remainder of the class.
It was also announced recently that Brendan Collier and JD Carrabino will not be returning the program next season as a mutual decision between the players and the staff. It seemed like it would be an uphill battle for both players to earn playing time so the decision makes sense for both sides but it still sucks anytime players leave the program. We wish them all the best in wherever they play next.