U18 World Championships – Looking at USA’s forward group…

Continuing my roster preview for USA Hockey’s U18 squad for the U18 World Championships starting tomorrow I take a look at half of the teams 13 forwards and will preview the rest of the forwards and goalies in my next post. Yesterday’s blog covered Team USA’s defense.

Note: I am referencing Chris Dilks scouting reports from October when U18’s played back to back weekends against University of Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth. (link to his full write up – SBN College Hockey).

Forwards –

#17 Evan Barratt, C (5’11 187 lbs) – Barratt is a Pennsylvania native who is committed to play at Penn State. Prior to being selected to the USNTDP program he played his U16 hockey for Team Comcast. This past season for the U18’s Barratt posted 49 points (17g/32a) in 56 games. 65th ranked player in North America for 2017 draft by NHL Central Scouting.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report:   “Not a fast skater, but he hustles. His best asset is his playmaking ability, but struggled to get much going in either game. If he can get a little faster, he has some good offensive upside. He’s probably a mid-round draft pick.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey)

#10 Scott Reedy, C/RW (6’1 203 lbs) – A Minnesota native who played his Bantam and Midget hockey in Minnesota with Shattuck St. Mary and is committed to play at the University of Minnesota.  Came to the USNTDP in 2015-16. Reedy put up 41 points (20g/21a) in 53 games for the U18 team this season. Ranked #40 player in North America by NHL Central Scouting for 2017 draft.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report: After leading this team in scoring last year, Reedy has just one goal and four points through 12 games. I’m not quite sure what happened, but he hasn’t looked like the same player as last year. He was very quiet in both games. I still think he’s got some talent though, and is interesting as a late-2nd/early-3rd round pick.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey)

#9 Logan Cockerill, RW (5’9 163 lbs) –  Michigan native who is committed to play at BU. Played his Bantam hockey with the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies and his Midget with Belle Tire. Came to USNTDP in 2015-16. This season for the U18’s posted 25 points (14g/11a) in 45 games. Ranked #214 in North America by NHL Central Scouting for the 2017 NHL Draft.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report:  “He’s small and willing to battle for pucks, but at his size, it’s tough for him to be effective.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey)

#4 Joel Farabee, LW (5’11 148 lbs) –  Farabee is a native of New York and is committed to BU as part of the 2019-20 class. One of only two 2000 birth years on this years U18 worlds team. Played two years of U16 hockey with Selects hockey academy. Came to the USNTDP in 2015-16. This past season he played 43 games for the U17 team putting up 31 points (18g/13a). He also played 15 games with the U18’s posting 13 points (5g/8a). He is a 2018 draft eligible prospect and is considered a highly touted prospect in that draft class.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Josh Norris, C (6’1 192 lbs) – Michigan native Norris is committed to play at Michigan. Played his Bantam and Midget hockey with the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies. Came to USNTDP in 2015-16. This season for the U18’s he averaged a point a game with 54 points (24g/30a)  in 54 games. Eligible for the 2017 draft and the NHL scouting bureau has him ranked #34 in North America.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report:  “There’s a lot to like about the way Norris plays the game. He’s a good skater with a very strong frame. He shifts his weight really well to protect the puck allowing him to bring the puck through the neutral zone and gain zone entry. He plays a hard-nosed two-way game, and is comfortable at the center position, which increases his draft value. The downside is that Norris lacks elite hands and finishing ability. He’ll create opportunities by driving hard to the net with or without the puck, but has trouble with difficult passes and isn’t likely to make a skill play to create offense. I would say late-first/early-second round for Norris, with a higher probability that he gets pushed down a little bit by teams taking home run swings on less-proven, but higher ceiling prospects in the top 30.”  (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey)

Grant Mismash, C (6’0 183 lbs) – Another Minnesota native who played his Bantam and Midget hockey with Minnesota powerhouse Shattuck St. Mary before coming to the USNTDP program. Mismash is committed to play at North Dakota.  This season for the U18’s posted 53 points (23g/30a) in 58 games. Eligible for the 2017 draft and is a highly ranked prospect by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau coming in ranked #24 in North America.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report:  “Mismash has some high-end offensive tools. He’s really good at handling the puck in traffic, and he can fire a heavy snap shot. His skating holds him back a little bit, so he’s more effective when he can play zone-to-zone, rather than an up-and-down game. His best moment came against Duluth when he made a nice fake in the corner to get a defenseman off balance, then lowered his shoulder to make a strong power move to the net. That’s where I think his game is going forward—working in tight spaces down low to make things happen. He doesn’t have a huge frame, but is strong. Drew Stafford might be a good comparison. I’d project him somewhere in the early-to-mid second round at this point.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey)

Jacob Tortora, LW (5’8 161 lbs) – Tortora is a New York native who is committed to play at Boston College. Like the rest of this team came to the USNTDP program in 2015-16. Prior to that he played his Bantam and Midget hockey with the Don Mills Flyers. This season with the U18’s he posted 34 points (16g/18a) in 44 games. Eligible for the 2017 draft and is the 175th ranked prospect in North America by NHL Central Scouting.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report:  “A little player that relies on his speed to make plays. He’s the only player on the team at over .5pts/gm against the NCAA(4 pts in 6 games). He’s willing to stick his nose into tough areas, and his quickness makes him sneaky effective.”(Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey)

I will preview the remaining forwards and goalies tomorrow as the World Championships kickoff!

@BDHockeyNews

U18 World Championships: Breaking down team USA’s Defenseman…

With the U18 Worlds kicking off on Thursday I am going to dedicate the next few blog posts to breaking down the Team USA’s roster. In today’s post let’s take a look at the seven defenseman on the roster….

Note: I am referencing Chris Dilks scouting reports from October when U18’s played back to back weekends against University of Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth. (link to his full write up – SBN College Hockey).

Team USA U18 Defenseman – 

#13 Tyler Inamoto, D (6’2 196 lbs) – Inamoto is left shot defenseman from Illinois who is committed to play at Wisconsin.  Played Bantam and Midget with Shattuck St. Mary before moving on to play for the USNTDP in 2015-16. This season for the U18’s he had 13 points (2g/11a) in 44 games. He also had 102 penalty minutes.  Inamoto is eligible for the 2017 draft and is the 68th ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting report: “Inamoto is a big, rangy defenseman that covers a lot of ice due to his size and athleticism, making him tough to beat when he’s playing defense. His discipline has really improved too, as he’s cut out a lot of the dumb penalties he took when he was younger. The problem is that his puck-handling and passing is a liability, which means he spends too much time in his own zone defending. I’d put him as a mid-round pick, but can see some team falling in love with his size and toughness.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey) 

 

#27 David Farrance, D (6’2 196 lbs) – Farrance is left shot defenseman who is a native of Victor, NY and is committed to play at Boston University. In 2013-14 & 2014-15 Farrance played his high school hockey at Victor High and with the Syracuse Jr. Stars U16 club. In 2015-16 Farrance was selected to play with the USNTDP. This year with the U18 team he posted 33 points (5g/28a) in 57 games. Farrance is eligible for the 2017 draft and is the 46th ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report:Theoretically, Farrance should be the dynamic offensive force for this team on the blue line. He’s got lightning quick feet and great agility which allows him to get himself out of pressure with the puck, but he rarely does anything with the extra time and space that he creates. Again, likely a mid-round pick.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey) 

#5 Nate Knoepke, D (6’3 201 lbs) – Knoepke is another left shot defenseman on this squad. He is a native of Minnesota and is committed to the University of Minnesota. Played a year of high school hockey for Lakeville South High in 2014-15 before moving onto to the USNTDP in 2015-16. This year for the U18 team Knoepke posted 16 points (4g/12a) in 57 games. He is eligible for the 2017 draft and is the 79th ranked skater in North America by NHL Central Scouting.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report:  “Knoepke had two really quiet games, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing all things considered. He showed a decent ability to withstand pressure and still make a play with the puck to keep possession. There’s not much of an offensive side to his game, and he doesn’t make the impact on the game one would hope from a player with his size and athleticism, but he’s a solid player. Probably a 3rd-4th round pick.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey) 

#6 Quinn Hughes, D (5’9 168 lbs) – Hughes is from Orlando, FL and is  late 1999 birth year (October). He is committed to play at Michigan most and given his birth date will arrive on campus in 2018-19. Hughes has taken a bit of interesting path. A native of Florida he played his Bantam and minor midget hockey in Toronto for the Toronto his year Hughes posted 47 points (9g/38a) in 58 games. Eligible for the 2018 draft and is considered a top prospects in that draft. Marlboro’s. Came to the USNTDP in 2015-16. T


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report:  “Hughes was the most effective defenseman in terms of moving the puck out of his own zone because he’s able to use his great skating ability to skate the puck out of the zone frequently. He maintains good gaps defending one-on-one as well. My biggest complaint is that sometimes he trusts himself a little too much, opting to try and stick handle around a fore checker when he’s the last defenseman back, rather than making a safer play.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey) 

#22 Phil Kemp, D (6’3 201 lbs) – Kemp is a Greenwich, CT native who is committed to play at Yale. Played two years of high school hockey at the Brunswick School before moving onto the USNTDP program in 2015-16. He was captain of the U18 team this year and posted 12 points (5g/7a) in 57 games. Eligible for the 2017 draft and is the 175th ranked skater in North America by NHL Central Scouting.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report: “Kemp is a pure defensive defenseman that is better when he doesn’t try to do too much. He had a really ugly game against Minnesota, but rebounded with a quiet, solid performance against UMD. He’s a potential late-round draft choice.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey from Oct. 2016 following USNTDP games in Minnesota) 

#8 Max Gildon, D (6’3 187 lbs) – Gildon is a left shot defenseman from Plano, Texas and is committed to play for University of New Hampshire. Had originally committed to Wisconsin but decommitted in December. Spent two seasons with the Dallas Stars U16 program prior to coming to the USNTDP program is 2015-16.  This season for the U18 team he put up 27 points (7g/20a) in 55 games. Eligible for the 2017 draft and is the 54th ranked skater in North America by NHL Central Scouting.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report: “A player with Gildon’s raw physical tools should be a slam-dunk for the first round of the draft. But I’m not sure that he has the hockey sense to match it. His huge shot from the point is a big asset that I’d like to see used more often. He’ll probably somewhere in the second round of the draft.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey from Oct. 2016 following USNTDP games in Minnesota) 

#12 Tommy Miller, D (6’2 176 lbs) – A Michigan native who is committed to play at Michigan State. Played his Bantam and U16 hockey with Compuware before spending two season with Victory Honda U18’s. Came to the USNTDP in 2015-16. This past season with the U18 team he posted 19 points (3g/16a) in 58 games. Eligible for the 2017 draft and is the 81st ranked skater in North America by NHL Central Scouting.


© Photo: Dan Hickling

Scouting Report:  Miller has a pro frame and is a strong skater. He doesn’t quite have the offensive ability to project as a PP guy at the pro level, but he’s good enough that he won’t be an offensive liability. He struggled a bit defending one-on-one. I’d project him as a 2nd/3rd round pick at this point.” (Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey from Oct. 2016 following USNTDP games in Minnesota) 

 

Overall this appears to be a solid set of defenseman that the US team has put together. We will see how the pairings shake out as the tournament opener approaches later this week. I will take a look at the Forward group in tomorrow’s blog.

@BDHockeyNews

BC Hockey Future Prospect Profile – Massachusetts native TJ Walsh

As I mentioned in my last blog post that profiled BU commit Jake Wise, I want to focus my next few posts on Massachusetts kids who are committed to play at BU and BC in the coming few years as there are several high profile players in that group. This post takes a look at TJ Walsh who is 2000 birth year and part of a big recruiting class in 2018-19 for a rebuilding BC program….

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© Photo: Dan Hickling

TJ Walsh, LW (5’9 159 lbs) – TJ Walsh is a native of Shrewsbury , MA who is committed to Boston College most likely arriving on campus in 2018-19. Walsh burst onto the national stage playing for the Minuteman Flames in the Quebec International Pee Wee Tournament as a teammate of Jake Wise who we profiled a couple days ago in this blog. Walsh then moved on to play a year of Bantam hockey in 2014-15 for the prestigious Shattuck St. Mary program where he lead the nation in scoring with an amazing 136 points (71g/65a) in 66 games. Side note, Oliver Wahlstrom of Quincy (Harvard Commit) also put up over 100 points on that Shattuck St. Mary team. Following the season Walsh had surgery and decided to return home to Massachusetts to rehab and played with Cushing Academy in 2015-16 where he posted 24 points (11g/13a) in 23 games good for fifth in scoring on the team. For the 2016-17 season Walsh signed a tender contract to play for the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders of the USHL where he put up 16 points (8g/8a) in 43 games during his first season of junior hockey.

Walsh took part in the 2016 USA Hockey Select 16 Player Development Camp that showcased the top 2000-born hockey players in the U.S. (not including those who made the U.S. National Team Development Program). Below is brief scouting report by Jeff Cox from sbcollegehockey.com of Walsh from that camp:

“There’s no denying the Cedar Rapids tender has all the offensive skill and speed, but he needs to put on strength and work on playing more of a complete game in order to truly be successful this upcoming season in the USHL. He can start and stop on a dime. He has a smooth stride with very good speed. He can toe-drag just about any defenseman at this level. He showed off his vision Wednesday with a highlight reel pass. He was skating left to right behind the goal line. Without even looking he sent out a perfect pass right on the tape of Bryan Lockner for an easy goal at the backdoor.”

Looking at Walsh’s numbers from his first season in the USHL (8 goals and 8 assists in 43 games) where he not surprisingly struggled to put up offensive numbers as a smaller player at the young age of 16. Look for Walsh to continue to get stronger and more complete as a player and put up some big numbers next season in his second go around in the USHL. He is expected to arrive at BC as part of the 2018-19 loaded recruiting class and should make an immediate impact. We will track his progress in the USHL over the course of next year…

@BDHockeyNews

BU hockey future prospect profile – Jake Wise

© Photo: Dan Hickling

This week I wrote blog posts that highlighted both BU and BC’s recruiting classes for the upcoming 2017 season. In looking beyond 2017 at future commits a few big time prospects from Massachusetts are in the pipeline for both schools that we will be talking a lot about in the years to come. I will profile these guys in the next few blogs, let’s start with Jake Wise who is BU commit for 2018-19….

Jake Wise (5’10 185 lbs) – Wise is a North Andover, MA native who committed to play at BU at the age of 14. He burst onto the national radar in 2012-13 at the Quebec International Pee Wee tournament where he won tournament MVP by posting 11 goals in 6 games and leading his Minuteman Flames team to victory. From there he moved on to play the 2013-14 season with the Middlesex Islanders Bantoms putting up a ridiculous 118 points in 48 games (56g/62a). Wise spent his Freshman and Sophmore years of high school playing at Central Catholic under Kim Brandvold, the Associate Head Coach at Central who also worked with Wise as a skills coach from a young age as well as coaching him in his season with the Islanders. He was selected this season to play for USA Hockey’s national team U17 squad where he posted 28 points (9g/19a) in 58 games.

With his tremendous skill set, Wise is considered one of the top prospects for the 2018 draft even drawing comparisons to Jack Eichel another Massachusetts native who followed a similar path through the USNTDP and then to BU for a year before being selected #2 overall in the 2015 draft.

From the outside looking in the 2016-17 season was the first year Wise has had to face some adversity. The USNTDP U17 team struggled losing 15 straight to end the season while Wise himself struggled a bit offensively. In October Chris Dilks from sbcollegehockey.com gave this scouting report on Wise following a couple of games against the Upper Midwest High School Elite League:

“It’s easy to see why he was hyped coming into this year, and also why he has struggled a bit offensively so far this year. Wise looks incredible when he gets the puck. He’s got quick, strong hands and tremendous body awareness. But other than one dazzling play one-on-one against a defender, it never amounted much. He looked pretty skating around with the puck for a while, and then he lost it. If he can figure out how to use his teammates better and how to better use his skills against higher competition, he could be a really spectacular player.” 

In terms of adversity, another thing to note is USA hockey announced it’s roster this week for the IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship from April 13-23, in Poprad and Spišská Nová Ves, Slovakia. That roster is comprised of mostly 1999 birth years but two 2000 birth years that played with Wise on the U17 squad were selected – Oliver Wahlstrom and Joel Farabee.

A little adversity can be good for any hockey player and with everything I read about this kids work ethic and commitment I expect Wise to have a big year in 2017-18 and be a star for BU come 2018-19. Definitely an exciting prospect to watch and we will track his progress here throughout next season and beyond.

@BDHockeyNews

Preview: 2017-18 Boston College hockey recruiting class

BC is coming off a disappointing 2016-17 campaign in which they failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament. Add to that the teams best player in Colin White has signed his ELC with Ottawa and will not be returning. They also lose several key seniors including Matt Gaudreau, Austin Cangelosi, Ryan Fitzgerald, Scott Savage and Chris Calnan. The Eagles are no doubt in middle of a rebuilding phase so let’s take a look at the freshman class that will be coming in for the 2017-18 season to try and help jump start the rebuild…

EELI TOLVANEN, LW (5’10 179 lbs) – One of the crown jewels of the 2017-18 college hockey recruiting class. Played for Finland’s U20 World Junior team last year. Also played in the USHL for the Sioux City Musketeers where he posted 53 points (30g – 23a) in 50 games. Tolvanen is one of the top prospects in the 2017 draft currently ranked #12 by hockeyprospects.com. Tolvanen was also selected by the Oshawa Generals in the 1st rd. of last seasons CHL draft but chose to return to the USHL again which would indicate he is on track to play for BC next season but that is something to keep an eye on (remember Jeremy Bracco). Will play a key offensive role for BC next season.

AAPELI RASANEN, C (6’0 196 lbs) – A native of Finland who played for Finland’s World Junior U20 team last season along with Tolvanen. Also played with Tolvanen in the USHL for the Sioux City Musketeers putting up 25 points (7g – 18a) in 38 games. Rasanen was a 6th rd. pick of the Edmonton Oilers in the 2016 draft. Look for Rasanen to step into a big role at BC next fall.

MICHAEL KAROW, D (6’2 194 lbs) – Karow is a left shot Defenseman from Green Bay, WI who played is junior hockey this season in the USHL with the Youngstown Phantoms logging 20 points (4g -16a) in 56 games. Karow is the only defenseman commit for BC in the 2017-18 class so expect him to play an important role on the teams blue line.

CASEY CARREAU, F (5’10 170 lbs) – Achushnet, Massachusetts native who played his high school hockey at Thayer Academy putting up big numbers the last couple seasons including 60 points this past season. BC has a big group of seven forwards expected to come in next season. Assuming they all arrive on campus (see Tolvanen) Carreau will try and challenge for a 3rd-4th line role.

MITCHELL MARTAN, LW (5’8 187 lbs) – Martan is a left shot winger from Whitby, Ontario native who split time in juniors last year playing 18 games for the West Kelowna Warriors of the BCHL before moving on to play 29 games for the Wellington Dukes. He put up 20 points combined (4g – 16a). Similar to Carreau, with a crowded forward group it appears Martan will compete for a 3rd-4th line role.

JOSEPH CASSETTI, LW (6’3 201 lbs) – Cassetti is a big LW from California who has spent the last two seasons playing for USA Hockey’s National Development Program. In 43 games for the U18 team he put up 7 points (5g – 2a). Brings a different element with size and power than the other forwards in the class. Should be drafted in the 2017 NHL draft.

CHRISTOPHER GRANDO, LW (5’10 154 lbs) – Grando comes to BC out of New York  and has spent the last two seasons playing junior hockey in the USHL for the Green Bay Gamblers. Last year he amassed 33 points (9g – 24a) in 59 games.  Put Grando in the same category as Martan and Carreau in terms of competing for a role next year.

MONTE GRAHAM, F (5’11 174 lbs) – Graham is a native of Hanover, MA  who played three year of high school hockey at Thayer Academy before moving onto the USHL for the last two season playing for the Tri-City Storm. Recorded 24 points (8g – 16a) in 58 games last season. Again, with seven forwards in this class roles on the 3rd-4th lines will be competitive. 

Interesting recruiting class for BC. If they can keep Tolvanen from major juniors and the CHL he will be a high impact player for them along with Rasanen. With Karow being the only blue liner in this class he should have an impact as should Cassetti with his size and power game. The other four forwards will likely compete for roles in the bottom six.

@BDHockeyNews

Taking a look at BU’s 2017-18 incoming freshman class

I am going to change up the content of this blog moving forward. I started out weighing in with my thoughts on various topics around the Bruins. But there are plenty of those opinions out there!!! I am passionate about college hockey and learning about incoming recruits and the stories around those kids. So I am going to focus my blog in those areas.

There has been a lot of talk here in Boston over the last couple weeks around the Bruins signing McAvoy and JFK from BU as well as Clayton Keller leaving school to  sign with Arizona. In addition to those key underclassman departures BU is also losing Nick Roberto, Doyle Somerby (last years captain) and Tommy Kelley to graduation. With all those departures I wanted to start by taking a high level look at the BU recruiting class for 2017-18 to get a sense for who David Quinn is bringing in to help fill the void created by those guys moving on.

Shane Bowers, C (6’0 170 lbs) – A native of Halifax Nova Scotia Bowers is a left shot Center who has played his Junior hockey the last two years in the USHL for the Waterloo Black Hawks. He put up 49 points (21G – 28A) in 57 games this past season. 200 foot player who isn’t flashy but is solid in all areas of the game. Ranked the #20 prospect in the 2017 NHL draft by hockeyprospect.com.

Brady Tkachuk, C (6’2 194 lbs) – Son of NHL great Keith Tkachuk and brother of Calgary Flames rookie Matthew Tkachuk he is a left shot Center who has spent the last two seasons playing for the USA Hockey National Development program. This season for the USNTDP U18 team Tkachuk put up 45 points (22G – 23A) in 52 games plus 115 penalty minutes!! Physical player who is a pretty good skater that has good hands and a scoring touch. Tkachuk will be eligible for the 2018 draft and is considered one of the top prospects in that draft class.

Logan Cockerill, RW (5’9 163 lbs) – Michigan native Cockerill is another left shot forward who has been teammates with Tkachuk with the USNTDP program for the last two seasons. For the U18 squad this year he posted 24 points (13G – 11A) in 43 games. Undersized forward with tremendous speed, vision and creativity. He is eligible for the 2017 NHL draft.

Ty Amonte, RW (5’11 185 lbs) – Another son of a Massachusetts hockey (Tony Amonte) heading to BU next season. Ty is Norwell, MA native who is a right shot forward that played his high school hockey at Thayer Academy. Played his Junior hockey this season for the Penticton Vees of the BCHL in Canada putting up 37 points (17G – 20A) in 58 games. Not a clear scouting report on Amonte out there but it appears he is a kid who shown significant improvement in all aspects of his game over the course of the last couple seasons.

Henry Crone, LW (5’8 161 lbs) – Crone is a 19 year old native of Dallas, TX who is a left shot winger who has spent the past three seasons playing in the USHL for the Omaha Lancers and Fargo Force. Last year for the Force he put up 56 points (23G – 33A) in 53 games. Creative playmaker with real good hands and a nice shot. 2017 draft eligible.

Kasper Kotkansalo, D (6’2 190 lbs) – A native of Finland Kotkansalo came to North America for this last season and played in the USHL for the Sioux Falls Stampede scoring 12 points (1G – 11A) in 47 games. Also played for Finland’s U18 in the World Junior U18 tournament. Two way defenseman with good size. He is eligible for the 2017 draft.

Cam Crotty, D (6’1 172 lbs) – Crotty is a right shot D-man from Ontario. Played his Junior hockey the last two seasons in the CCHL for the Brockville Braves. Posted 13 points (4G – 9A) in 41 games for the Braves this season. Good size and skating ability and is known as more of a stay at home defenseman but has the ability to jump in the rush. He is eligible for the 2017 draft.

David Farrance, D (5’11 187 lbs) – Farrance is a left shot D-man out of New York. Was a teammate of Tkachuk and Cockerill with the USNTDP program for the last two seasons. For the U18 squad last year he posted 32 points (5G – 27A) in 55 games. Offensive minded defenseman with good vision who is a very good skater. Eligible for the 2017 draft and is ranked the #75 overall prospect by Future Considerations.

It is impossible to match up this class against BU’s powerhouse class of 2016. At first glance it appears Farrance has the highest immediate upside on the blue line to come in and try and fill some of the void left by McAvoy. Bowers and Tkachuk will look to do the same at the Center position again trying to fill some of the void left by Keller & JFK.

@BDHockeyNews

My thoughts on the Tuukka Rask situation….

When it was reported that Tuukka Rask wasn’t going to play on Saturday in the biggest game of the year versus the NY Islanders due to a “Lower Body Injury” it brought back memories to all Bruins fans of last year when he could not go in the must win last game of the season versus Ottawa due to a “stomach bug”. And for that matter when he couldn’t go for Finland in the semi finals of the 2014 Olympics against Sweeden due to the “Flu”.  Bagging on your team in three must win games due to stomach bugs, flu’s and treatments for LBI injuries is most certainly a pattern of behavior. In my opinion one of two things happend leading up to the Islander game – 1) due to his utter lack of competitiveness against the Lighting the game before Cassidy decided that he needed to take a seat but wanted to protect Tuukka and not throw blame his way so therefore the “Lower Body Injury” was thrown out there, by the way he miraculously recovered in time for practice today. 2) Tuukka has probably been dealing a lingering injury for some time  like every player on the roster and when things didn’t go his way last week against Tampa and Ottawa specifically he turtled before the Islander game and once again couldn’t go. My opinion on this is the truth probably falls somewhere right in the middle…Tuukka didn’t want to go on Saturday and went to Cassidy with the LBI injury and based on what he saw from Tuukka the game before the coach was quick to give him a day off in an effort to  shake things up and stop the teams four game skid.

Either way it is clear to me at this point that Tuukka is a really good goalie who lacks the compete level and killer instinct to be an elite goalie on a championship team.  I also believe  his teammates know that and it is a big part of the Bruins problem the last couple years. The team rallied in front of Khudobin against the Islanders and I would ride him until loses in an effort to pull out a different outcome than the last couple of seasons.  Moving forward, it is time to really look at the DNA of this team and that starts with considering moving on from Rask.

I know a lot of Bruins fans will disagree with my thoughts on riding Khudobin until he loses and with the idea of moving on from Rask and I get the loyalty. However the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result and I feel we are at that point with Tuukka.

@BDHockeyNews