Luke Eibler is apparently transferring to another school, likely back in his home state of Michigan, according to his facebook today. Considering the only solace we had about our incredibly young defensive corp was that Eibler could anchor it, his departure is a brutal blow to the blueline. Here’s what’s left:
Returning: Drew Ellement, Josh Manson, Dan Cornell, Ben Oskroba, Jake Hoeffler
Incoming: Colton Saucerman, Michael Gunn, Jarrett Fennell, Dustin Darou.
Northeastern’s top returning Dman is Drew Ellement, and that is utterly terrifying. Two of the returning Defenseman haven’t played more than a handful of college games, and two others are just sophomores. Of the 4 incoming defenseman, Saucerman is still recovering from a knee injury (though should be ready by October), and Fennell and Darou are from lower canadian leagues and are unknowns. They could be like Cornell and be hidden gems, or they could be like Hoeffler and not really be ready for D-I hockey.
This, plus Gillies gone, is gonna put a lot of pressure on the defensive aspect of our game. Our defensive corp is incredibly young, and there’s no one that really stands out as a major prospect (like in 2010-2011, when Bitetto, Oleksiak, and Eibler were all clearly prospects).
Northeastern likely has money for another defenseman (and maybe another forward, since the Daniels brothers are gone) but the talent pool is pretty thin at this point. There are a couple of highly ranked guys in prep school for defensemen, but the jump from prep to D-I is a long one, and other than that there aren’t a lot of highly ranked guys. This upcoming year is going to be incredibly tough defensively, unless some of these guys Madigan’s bringing in are ready immediately. Otherwise, it may be a long autumn.