With the season having ended yesterday, and 7 months before the puck drops again at Matthews, we can only do the next logical thing: discuss next year’s team. Here’s a look at the current team, who’s gone, who’s likely to leave, and wildcards in this projection:
Mike McLaughlin: As a senior, he is the only person who is definitely gone at this point.
Steve Quailer: Quailer has been discussed as likely to leave for a while now, and there was further proof last night. Former Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin (presumably still with the Habs in some scouting capacity) was in Matthews last night, Quailer was announced as a senior, and finally (and most damming), Quailer doffed his helmet in a salute to the DogHouse and was the last off the ice. I’d say he’ll be signing with the Canadiens within the next 2 weeks.
Alex Tuckerman: Tuckerman also was an announced senior last night, and was asked by GoNUtv during the intermission interview how it felt to play his last game. I doubt Tuckerman will be back next year.
Vinny Saponari: Saponari came back to Hockey East, and was able to get his revenge on BU by scoring the game-winner last night against his former team. While there’s nothing official ever mentioned, I get the impression Saponari will likely sign with the Jets.
Chris Rawlings: He had 2 offers last summer, and the general impression is that he stayed because of his girlfriend (who is graduating).
Anthony Bitetto: I was going to list him as a possibility, but his tweet earlier today thanking the DogHouse for everything stoked suspicion, which makes me bump him up, not to mention the fact we have 3 defensemen coming in and no one graduating. He’s had 2 solid years, and Nashville has a strong history of churning out top defensemen. Not to mention the fact that Nashville spent the deadline stocking up on their team for a playoff run. If Nashville decides to go for broke, Bitetto could be called up.
Ludwig Karlsson: Leading the team in points, and as an older freshman, there’s a decent chance he could pull a Jake Newton or Brodie Reid, and leave. Having said that, he had a god chance to make some money by playing in Sweden, but he chose to come to play in the juniors in the U.S and to come to college, so I think he’ll stay.
Braden Pimm: It’s possible. He put up 10 goals, and is an older player, so there’s an outside shot he gets signed by an AHL team a la Brodie Reid
Joining the team:
Jon Gillies, G
Michael McMurty, C
Ryan Belonger, RC
Cam Darcy, RW
Michael Gunn, LD
Colton Saucerman, RD
Dustin Darou, LD
Gillies has stuck with the team, and has been pushed up to this year as Rawlings’ departure looks increasingly likely. Gillies getting here would be terrific, as he has been seen as the goalie of the future for some time. Darcy recommitted this fall and unless he has another change of heart. The only wild card here is injuries. Saucerman has been out for a while with a knee injury, and it’s unclear if he’ll be ready for next season. Bringing in Darou may have been a sign that Saucerman won’t be ready for the start
Wildcard: NHL Playoffs. A number of players belong to teams looking to go far in the playoffs. A lot of times NHL teams will sign a lot of prospects as they prepare for the playoffs, to stockpile extra players to serve on their AHL team as they call up prospects, lets players rest/heal in the final weeks of regular season play, etc. Depending what they do, certain teams with draft picks at Northeastern may be looking to sign players by playoff time.
Jon Gillies-Clay Witt-Bryan Mountain: I think Rawlings leaves, Gillies comes on, and Witt stays as a capable backup, and sees about 5 games this season.
Luke Eibler-Dan Cornell, Drew Daniels-Drew Ellement, Michael Gunn-Josh Manson: I think Saucerman’s injured to start the season (but jumps into the lineup once healed). Gunn fits in as a shutdown defenseman, and Darou, Oskroba, and Hoefler remain as depth defensemen.
Cody Ferriero-Braden Pimm-Garrett Vermeersch, Ludwig Karlsson-Justin Daniels-Joe Manno, Adam Reid-Cam Darcy-Robbie Vrolyk, Ryan Belonger-Zak Stone-McMurty: Dongara and Morra remain as backups to start while Madigan fits in the freshmen and try to see where they fit in best.
I’m unsure how I feel about this potential roster. There’s opportunity for a lot of young players with good upside (Darcy, Reid, Manno, Gillies, and Gunn), but I don’t see the same striking ability I saw last year. The top 2 lines offensive lines could be tremendous, especially is Ferriero continues to play as he has and Karlsson continues to excel. However, there’s not a lot of depth offense wise. We have 2 depth guys, and we had games this season where we had 3 or 4 guys out with injuries. So I forsee us adding another forward or two. There are some good players out there. K.J Tiefenwerth is a top-scoring player in the EJHL who decommitted from BC after being pushed back a year to let Gaudreau in. While he hasn’t committed anywhere, he’s a player that could be picked up for some added offense.
We’ll know more in the coming weeks, as players make their intentions pretty clear. I’ll keep this updated as more is known.