Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hockey East Pre-season Predictions

Since Hockey East Media Day is approaching and everyone and their brother is releasing their Hockey East predictions, I figured I had to release mine as well. While making predictions before the season starts usually just leaves you open to look like an idiot, I'm actually smarter than everyone else since I correctly picked BU to win Hockey East last year(and I look like an idiot most of the time anyway). The coaches' poll will come out at media day next week as well and probably be dead wrong per usual (they picked BU to finish 6th last year). Then people wonder why Quinn has such an easy time getting guys on the recruiting trail. It's pretty easy to outsmart a bunch of guys who thought last year's Northeastern and UNH teams were better than BU.

1. BU- Easy choice once again. They are the deepest/best team in the country on defense. They return all 6 of last year's dmen and add a future first round pick in Charlie MacAvoy and a solid add in Shane Switzer. They return Ahti Oksanen and Danny O'Regan up front while adding two 2015 second round picks in Jordan Greenway and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. They also add Robert Carpenter and Ryan Cloonan up front where they should be able to contribute to the bottom 6 forwards right away. Connor Lacouvee and Sean Maguire are going to tweet weird things and stop pucks all season. That's what every fan should want in their goalies. No good goalies are normal. Freshman Max Prawdzik seems capable to push them for time if they struggle as well.

2. Lowell- They return basically same team from last year which just missed the NCAA's. They only lose two D from their lineup and no forwards who contributed at all. The problem would be that Kevin Boyle is still their goalie and his 5 hole will probably still be wide open anytime a guy gets to the net.

3. Providence- I am sure they will be #1 in the coaches poll as defending NCAA champs but they have some questions without Gillies in net for them anymore. Leaman can obviously coach up basically any team and he has some talent returning with Jankowski, Tanev,Pinho,Walman and Co. but whoever is in net will have big shoes to fill.

4. Notre Dame- They do lose their top 2 point guys in Hinostroza and Russo but they return a lot of  talent with Anders Bjork, Jake Evans and Stevan Fogarty  plus Mario Lucia who should score his share of goals this season. Cal Petersen also showed that he can steal games in goal at the end of last season which should put them towards the top of the league in record but bottom of it in entertainment value since they play the most boring style possible under Jeff Jackson.

5. UVM- They return enough talent at all three positions with Alexx Privitera(defense), Brady Shaw(forward), and Mike Santaguida(goalie) to remain competitive. Just don't buy into the hype early on when they beat up on Clarkson and everyone in Burlington has a few too many heady toppers and starts making bold NCAA predictions.

6.  UNH- The great people of New Hampshire are lucky enough to get three more years of mediocrity thanks to Dick Umile's new contract extension. They do return a top 3 goalie in the conference with Tirone as well as a few top end scorers in Kelleher and Poturalski. Unfortunately,  Umile is still the coach though.

7. Northeastern- They bring back the Roy brothers as well as a bunch of other talent like Matt Benning and Colton Saucerman on the back end and Dale Hedges, ZAR, and the Stevens brothers up front. They have enough talent to be a top 5 team in the conference but Madigan is their coach and they usually find a way to go on a 4-5 game losing streak at some point during the year and ruin their season.

8 Merrimack- They have some questions in net now that Rasmus Tirronen graduated but Dennehy has consistently found average to above average goalies in the last few years. They also return their top 4 scorers from a year ago as well as adding Matt Foget from the OJHL where he scored like a million points in a league where defense is considered very optional but Brett Seney came from the same league and put up points right away in HE so there is no reason to think Foget can't as well.

9. UConn- They return goalie sensation(for 70% of the year) Rob Nichols as well as some young talent up front with Corey Ronan and incoming freshman Maxim Letunov. They should be able to beat the bad teams but still a few years away from competing for titles.

10. Umass- They have some good young freshmen coming in up front like Austin Plevy and Kurt Keats to go with Dennis Kravchenko , Ray Pigozzi, and Steven Iacobellis. It will be difficult to replace the production of Frank Vatrano and Brandon Montour but  the bigger question will be is if they can get any defense or goaltending whatsoever.

11. Maine- Maine is terrible this year. All their incoming freshmen don't seem ready to contribute right away and the guys coming back suck with no stud goalie to bail them out. It is going to be a long year in Orono.

12. BC- BC sucks. Well their defense sucks besides McCoshen and Santini. That's enough for me to put them in last.

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