With this year all but over (only one game left on 12/29 against Harvard), let’s take a look at how NU’s recruits are doing, as well as what we might expect to see in terms of possible future recruits.
NU’s recruits are mainly drawn from two USHL teams: The Lincoln Stars (2 Forwards for 2013), and Dubuque (2 Forwards, 1 Defenseman), with the other 3 incoming recruits coming from Prep (Nathan Ferriero), USHL (Garrett Cockerill), and EJHL Will Messa).
Will Messa was bumped off the USHL team when Cam Darcy took his spot, and is now getting .5 points per game with the Junior Bruins. He strikes me as a grinder 4th line kind of guy, but we’ll see when he gets here. Cockerill has had some scratches, but has played most games, and is tied for lowest +/- on a middling Des Moines team. I’m not sure what to make of him. I got the impression he was more of an offensive defenseman, but he’s put up very few points. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him deferred a year to allow him to grow in the USHL. Nathan Ferriero meanwhile has about a goal per game and 2 points per game. Prep school scoring tends to look kind of nuts for the better players, but his averages show he’s certainly one of the top prep players. I’d expect him to be a bit like Cody- a slow start and then take off. Hopefully he can keep rising and not regress like Cody has.
On the Lincoln side, both Ross Olsson and Zach Aston-Reese appear to be likely candidate for deferral. Frankly, I’m not sure what the coaching staff is going to do with Reese. He’s a guy who’s gotten a lot of hype but always fails to get on the scoresheet. He has the size and skill, but the word is he’s just not always putting 100% out there. So maybe he’ll shape up if he arrives at Northeastern, or maybe Madigan will want to see him try hard at the USHL before coming (since hustle seems to be an issue here). Olsson will almost certainly be deferred, I think he needs more time to acclimate himself to the speed of the game before he can advance.
On the other hand, all three Dubuque guys have covered themselves and their team in glory. Playing for a 21-3-1 team (I wish NU had that record), forward Michael Szmatula is in 2nd in scoring in the USHL (only trailing a likely 1st round pick this summer if the NHL opens up). John Stevens, the other forward, is 4th on the team with a 7-15-22 line in 25 games, and scored a hat trick last night. Finally, we have defenseman (and 6th round Bruins pick) Matt Benning who is a .5 points per game player, which is quite impressive in the USHL. All three will look to make a terrific impact on next year’s team.
2014/2015 and beyond
I won’t say nearly as much because these guys are further away. However, two NU’s defense recruits look quite good. Daniel Willett, despite being the smallest guy on the team, young, and a first year player is 2nd in defensemen scoring on the team. Chad Duchesne, in the OJHL is .5 points per game on his team, and quarterbacks their power play unit (11 of his 16 points come on the special teams actually).
Where do we go from here?
First, here’s a look at the lineup assuming Olsson is deferred and everyone else comes (listed by seniority):
Well Stone and Snyderman are likely depth guys and won’t see tons of time (and likely don’t take much of any scholarship money). Reese might be deferred if the staff doesn’t see him stepping up. Even if he comes, that gives NU 13 forwards, which isn’t a ton of depth. I think we’ll add at least one more player for next year. With Darcy and Manno out, though, we should have at least a scholarship to offer.
Yikes. Hoeffler won’t see any games, and I have my doubts about Oskroba and Cornell too. Cornell might even move to forward if we get desperate (or have no more money for next year). I’d say Manson, Benning, Saucerman are all likely to start, and Gunn too if he plays as advertised (which at this point remains to be seen). After that, the spots are wide open. I’d feel a lot better if Madigan kept recruiting and grabbed one, if not two more guys. My indication seems to be that Oskroba, Cornell, Fennell, and Hoeffler have little or no scholarship money anyway, and if Cockerill is deferred we’ll definitely have some more money to play with.
Mountain is a question mark because supposedly he might have an extra year of eligibility having not played a year, I’m not 100% sure (nor am I sure Madigan would keep him around anyway if he wanted to make room). Whether or not we go for another goalie is a big question (and one I’ll touch on in a second).
Good question!. Let’s say Madigan wants at least 1 forward, possibly another defenseman, and a goalie if he can find “The One”. The big thing we need upcoming is a goalie. Team USA Thatcher Demko visited Northeastern and would have been the goalie of the future, but as is frequently the case, he ended up at BC. There are a few options for NU. Both of Dubuque goalies, who are 1st and 4th in the league for goals against, are unclaimed (they split playing time). Several other top goalies in terms of GAA are also unclaimed. Frankly, though, I don’t see Madigan picking up another goalie for next year unless he finds someone he really wants and is ready for next year. Northeastern has both Clay Witt and Derick Roy for next year, and while I’m not sure what their scholarships are, I doubt Madigan has the money for a fulltime starting goalie. Sadly it looks like we might have to muddle for a year with whoever we’ve got.
In terms of forwards and defensemen, there are a few players with decent point totals left. Again, the real problem here is how much money we have not just for next year, but also for the following years. In terms of needs, I’d say we need another forward as a top priority due to depth issues, and then if we have anything left maybe go for another defenseman (especially if Cockerill is deferred).
So that’s it. A pretty big view at how Northeastern stands for next year.