Looking ahead: Northeastern Recruiting class for 2014

Northeastern has gone on a tear in recruiting in the last few weeks, signing 4 players from the end of October to this weekend. Three are forwards, and one a defenseman, and 3 of which are supposed to arrive next year. With an influx of new talent, let’s take a look at who we might expect to see next year.

2014 Recruits:

Garrett Cockerill (Defense, USHL)

Jason Cotton (Forward, BCHL)

Josh Couturier (Defense, USHL)

Philipe Gadoury (Forward, CCHL)

Nick Hutchison (Forward, USHL)

Ryan Rosenthal (Forward, BCHL)

James Winkler (Forward, USPHL)

Nolan Stevens (Forward, US-National Team)

Trevor Owen (Defense, USPHL)

These are the combined lists for incoming players from Chris Heisenberg’s recruiting page and the College Hockey News’ page. There’s a lot of overlap, but some definite differences. CHN has Winkler arriving next year (Heisenberg says 2015), and Hutchison arrivinf this year (Heisenberg says either 2014 or 2015). Finally, Heisenberg reports Stevens as arriving next year (CHN says 2015), and Owens incoming (CHN doesn’t list him).

Typically, I use Heisenberg as my go-to source for recruiting information, as he usually has the most up to date information available.

Regardless, this combined list has 6 forwards and 3 defensemen coming in, which seems very high given how many freshmen we had this year as well. Next year, Northeastern won’t lose any defensmen, unless players sign to the pros early. In terms of forwards, the Huskies will lose Pimm, Snyderman, Ferriero, and Stone, and might lose a player like Roy or Szmatula to an early signing.

To be pessimistic, let’s say Northeastern loses 4 key forwards plus Stone (who’s only played 2 games so far). So Northeastern needs 4-5 new forwards, and maybe a defenseman.

Looking at the defense recruits, Madigan may simply trim the hedges (pun unintentonal) around the existing defensive corp. You can figure Gunn, Manson, Lauwers, Bennett and Saucerman are going to be the main blueliners unless anyone leaves or is injured. So you only need to fill one potential spot. I think Garrett Cockerill will be incoming next year, with Owens potentially coming in as a depth D-man. Cockerill has a 3-9-12 line in 20 games so far in the USHL, and is the top defenseman on his team. I think Madigan brings him in to bring some more firepower to the blueline. I think Couturier gets pushed back a year. It’s his first season in the USHL, and while he’s done well, there’s just no room for him this year. Another year of USHL experience will be good for 2015 when we lose Lauwers and Manson.

In terms of Forwards, there’s not a ton of trimming that needs to be done. I think Nick Hutchison gets deferred for a year. Hutchison is young and hasn’t made it onto the regular lineup for the USHL. Gadoury is in the Hedges model, dominating the Canadian league he’s in, and will likely bring some good offensive capabilities into the game. Cotton started really slowly, but along with Ryan Rosenthal, they’ve both lit up the BCHL and are at the top of their teams in scoring. Winkler wasn’t supposed to come in for 2014 I don’t think, and I’d like to see him in the stronger USHL or BCHL before he comes to Hockey East. Stevens comes to join his brother, and has good size, coming in at 6-3.

So, to close, I think you’ll see Garrett Cockerill and probably Trevor Owens coming to Northeastern for the next season, and for forwards, look forward to seeing Ryan Rosenthal, Jason Cotton, Philipe Gadoury, and Nolan Stevens.

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Weekend Preview: Northeastern University vs. Merrimack College

This weekend, Northeastern faces off against Merrimack College for a home and home series in Hockey East play. This game features the exciting (at least to me) return of Mike Gunn to the lineup.

Gunn will be a nice return, given how frankly Swiss cheese-esque the defense has been at times. Their inability to shut down the neutral zones in the past few games has been one of the reasons why Northeastern has lost 4 of it’s last 5 games (that and a lack of offense).

Merrimack is going to be a test as to whether Northeastern can save any face this season and do better than their 10th spot last year, a feat that will be slightly harder given the addition of the 11th slot. Merrimack has the worst team offense in the league (NU is 3rd best), and hasn’t won a league game yet.

Northeastern really needs to get back in the win column this weekend with a convincing show of force to prove they are a threat.

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Weekend Preview: University of New Hampshire

This weekend, Northeastern faces UNH for a home and home series in league play. UNH has had a middle of a road record so far, with 2 wins and 2 losses in Hockey East play, and a 4-5-1 record overall. However, UNH did annihilate UMass by a whopping 9-0 last weekend, so the New Hampshire’s offensive power has a lot of kick to it.

Northeastern got mighty lucky last weekend, benefiting from a lot of post shots and missed opportunities by the Riverhawks. For NU, this is an opportunity to really get the ball rolling and pick up some Hockey East wins. UNH is a good team, but certainly beatable, and if NU can pick up some points against them, it’d really help down the stretch.

Northeastern’s played better so far this season than some might have thought. Picking up some points this weekend will go a long way toward showing the league they are a team to be taken seriously.

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Game Day Preview: UMass Lowell

Tonight, Northeastern takes on UMass Lowell in their single game this weekend, aired on WBIN. Lowell is 2-0 in Hockey East, and 5-3 overall, after dropping a shocking 2 games against Sacred Heart (which won 3 games last year).

Lowell will be an interesting game because they’ll be a tough opponent, but they are definitely a half step below Boston College. With any luck, the Huskies really emphasized discipline this weekend, and the coaching staff is able to change things up.

One of the biggest problems was the Huskies’ inability to respond to changes made by the Eagles. Despite letting up a short haded goal, they kept the same formation and PP unit, which led to another SH goal.

If the Huskies are to do well this season, they’ll need to prove themselves adaptable to the shifting nature of hockey. Tonight will be a good chance to see whether they can respond well to the opposing team’s responses to Northeastern’s puck strategy.

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Game Day Preview: Boston College

This weekend, the Northeastern Huskies will be thrown headfirst into Hockey East play as they take on one of the top team leagues in the nation, much less the league, in the Boston College Eagles. BC have already shown their power, destroying Wisconsin and RPI by a combined 16-4 score, and have tied Minnesota.

The Huskies haven’t faced nearly the level of competition that BC has already faced, and BC has ┬ásolid goaltending and a high powered offense that may slice and dice the Huskies, especially if Northeastern continues to take stupid penalties in droves.

Bottom line is this: Don’t be upset if the Huskies go 0-2 this weekend, and be pleasantly surprised if they get a point out of these games.

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Game day Preview: St. Lawrence University

This weekend, the Northeastern University Huskies travel to North Country to face off against St. Lawrence of the ECAC Hockey League. Much like Holy Cross was a step up in competition from Alabama-Huntsville, St. Lawrence is a step up from Holy Cross. An early road trip is always a good opportunity to bond, so seeing how these players interact will be interesting. They play well together already, but even more cohesion and stability is always good.

Look for the same lines as the previous two weeks. Witt and Roy will likely split the weekend as they did last weekend. The Huskies need to show their Power Play is as deadly against increasingly tougher foes, and rein in the atrocious numbers of penalties they themselves take.

This weekend is a good look into how the Huskies might play against BC, which will again be another few steps above St. Lawrence. A good result here could do well for Northeastern’s hopes next weekend.

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The Huskies thus far

After 4 regular season games, Northeastern is 4-0, in addition to to their exhibition win over Dalhousie. During this timeframe, Northeastern has an average of 5 goals per game, 1.5 goals against, and a power play with a 32% conversion rate.

Obviously, the biggest caveat to these numbers is to note that Northeastern played weaker teams in generally weaker leagues. Holy Cross and Alabama-Huntsville are a tenth of the pressure the Huskies will feel when they play Notre Dame and BC this season. While Northeastern’s schedule sees them eased into gradually tougher opponents every week, they haven’t been truly tried yet by the faster and tougher opponents of Hockey East.

Having said that, 4-0 is a great start and the numbers the Huskies put up in this stretch are admirable. The coaching staff clearly put a lot of work into the power play and it looks like it’s paid off.

Going forward, the Huskies really need to rein in their penalties, and keep chugging along. Success breeds more success, and an early road trip often gives the team the chance to bond and play more cohesively. St. Lawrence is another step up from Holy Cross, and swept NU last year, so if the Huskies can pull out a win or two that could really the ball rolling.

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