Monday, March 28, 2016

Weekend Recap: Terriers Season ends in Saint Paul

The Terriers 2015-2016 season ended at the hands of the Denver Pioneers this past Saturday in the West Regional of the NCAA Tournament. The Terriers had a good start to the game but couldn't bury any chances they got early on. The first line(Greenway, JFK, and O'Regan) were effective their first 3 or 4 shifts but didn't have anything to show for it. Denver scored two goals at the end of the opening period and never looked back on their way to a 7-2 victory. It was a disappointing way to end the season for the Terriers but in all reality, it is always a win a title or bust mentality every season on Comm Ave(either end of it).  So while this does suck, it doesn't change how I view the team this year or when I look back on the season. This is a top 10 team in the country as their record shows but unfortunately, they didn't play like it after the regular season ended.

It is always easy to point out the flaws in a team or a coach after a bad season ending loss but every other fan in the world does that so I'm going to avoid doing that here. The truth is that BU Hockey is in very good shape moving forward to build off of this season. They have 49 wins over the last two seasons and have made the NCAA tournament in both of them. This is just the beginning of a long run of NCAA tournament appearances as when you look at the recruiting trail and this team is only going to get more talented as time goes on in the Quinn era.

Now that the season is over, it will be interesting to see what members of the team sign professional contracts. We will be doing a post on each individual senior in the next few weeks but for now the attention is on where they will continue their hockey careers. Seniors Ahti Oksanen and Matt Lane are undrafted free agents and are free to sign with any team of their choosing. Oksanen is one of the more sought after college free agents and will have his options of teams. My gut tells me he will sign with NYR(and former associate coach Steve Greeley) but there will be plenty of teams interested in his services after he lead the NCAA in shots on goal. A dark horse to sign him could be Arizona as former BU associate coach Mike Bavis is an assistant coach for their AHL affiliate in Springfield and recruited Ahti to BU from Finland. Lane will have his options of suitors as well and will most likely sign an ATO with an AHL team in the next few weeks. Mike Moran will have options to pursue his career as well in either the ECHL or AHL.

The drafted seniors of Sean Maguire,  Matt Grzelcyk and Danny O'Regan have different types of decisions to make from their classmates. All members of the 2012 NHL draft class. They have the option to sign with the team who drafted them or wait until August when they can become a free agent and sign with any team of their choosing. It is hard to see Grzelcyk, a Bruins draft pick, doing this as he is from Charlestown and father works for the Bruins. O'Regan and Maguire, on the other hand, definitely could wait until August if they don't like the situation with the teams that drafted them.

The only flight risks from underclassmen on this year's team seem to be defensemen Doyle Somerby and Brandon Hickey. All signs point to both returning but obviously anything can happen once they have a conversation with the NHL team that drafted them.

Losing these seniors definitely will be tough to replace as they combined for 131 points this past season as Maguire posted a .920 save percentage but coach David Quinn certainly has the recruiting class to try. Incoming freshmen Dante Fabbro, Chad Krys, Clayton Keller, Kieffer Bellows, Johnny McDermott, Patrick Harper, and Jake Oettinger are Quinn's most talented class yet and will be the best freshmen class in the country next year.  Below is my first way too early look at the lines for next year. Obviously a lot can change over the summer but that's how I would try the lines if the exhibiton game was tomorrow which I wish it was.

Andren- Carpenter- Baillargeon



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