Goal Scorers Returning In Hockey East 2010-2011

BC's Ben Smith may be gone next season, but the Eagles return a lot of offensive production next season and are well positioned for another run at the Hockey East title. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Boston University's hopes to climb back to the top of Hockey East were dealt a serious blow this week, when coach Jack Parker dismissed brothers Victor and Vinny Saponari for "conduct unbecoming of a Boston University hockey player." Earlier this week, BU's student newspaper The Daily Free Press reported that the Saponaris, along with junior forward Corey Trivino, were involved in an alcohol-related incident two days before the Hockey East semifinals. 

While Trivino was not dismissed from the team, he will likely serve a multi-game suspension to start the season.

The dismissals are significant since BU has already lost three players to the pros with eligibility remaining - forward Nick Bonino (to Anaheim) and defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk and Colby Cohen (both to Colorado).

If you include the loss of seniors Zach Cohen, Eric Gryba (signed with Ottawa) and Luke Popko, the Terriers have lost nearly 53 percent of their goal scoring and 52 percent of their points production from last season. In Hockey East, this loss of offensive production is rivaled only by UMass-Lowell, who graduates a total of 11 players (5 forwards, 4 defensemen, 2 goalies).

In contrast (and appreciating that lots can change between now and October), with the loss of Ben Smith, Carl Sneep, Matt Price and Matt Lombardi, the Eagles only lose 23 percent of their goal scoring and 21 percent of their total point production from this year's National Championship team.

Here's a look at the offensive production that each team in Hockey East loses next year:

Team 09-10 HE Points Goals Assists Points
Boston University 28 52.8% 52.0% 52.0%
UMass-Lowell 28 52.6% 51.3% 51.8%
Vermont 25 38.1% 36.0% 36.8%
New Hampshire 36 35.1% 20.4% 25.8%
Massachusetts 26 27.6% 23.9% 25.3%
Northeastern 24 28.0% 22.6% 24.6%
BOSTON COLLEGE 35 23.0% 20.0% 21.0%
Providence 14 20.6% 21.0% 20.9%
Merrimack 26 11.9% 20.1% 17.2%
Maine 28 9.0% 8.0% 8.0%

 

As you can see, BC is in a fairly good position when it comes to returning a significant percentage of offensive production from our National Championship team. It looks like the Eagles will be well-positioned to make another run at the Hockey East regular season title.

The Eagles' toughest competition in 2010-2011 will likely come from Maine. The Black Bears, led by Hobey Baker finalist Gustav Nyquist, return over 90 percent of their offensive production from last year. As long as Maine can figure out their goaltending situation, they should give BC a run next season. 

On Wednesday, the University of Maine released their 2010-2011 men's hockey schedule. Maine travels to BC on November 19-20, and the Eagles travel to Orono for their one road game at Alfond on January 16. Next season's BC-Maine regular season series will likely go a long way towards determining the 2010-2011 Hockey East regular season champion.

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