As the Boston College men’s hockey season comes to a close in a disappointing downward spiral, a lot of us are already looking towards next season. The Eagles head into 2017-18 with no senior class, thanks to the great BC hockey exodus of 2016.
BC will definitely lose 3 of their 4 offensive leaders going into next season, as seniors Matty Gaudreau (7 G, 24 A), Austin Cangelosi (17 G, 13 A), and Ryan Fitzgerald (8 G, 18 A) are all graduating. BC will almost certainly also lose Colin White (15 G, 13 A), who is expected to sign with the Ottawa Senators, meaning that the top four scorers from this year’s team will be gone. Chris Calnan and Scott Savage graduate this spring as well. Savage, the lone departing defender, will be a big loss for BC due to his his defensive leadership and 22 points, while Calnan had a respectable 13 points this season.
With some pretty major losses on offense, the Eagles are going to need to see big improvements from players like David Cotton (10 G, 13 A), Chris Brown (7 G, 15 A), and JD Dudek (11 G, 7 A). But they’ll also need the freshman class to step up quickly and make immediate impact.
Here’s the rundown of BC’s incoming freshman class:
Michael Karow is the lone defender joining the men’s hockey team in the fall. At 6’2”, Karow will bring some size to the defensive lineup. Karow, who plays in the USHL for the Youngstown Phantoms, was ranked 117th in the mid-year draft rankings. It is likely that if he is drafted, it will be in a later round. Karow is third in assists on the Phantoms with 17 helpers so far this season. Defense has been a problem for BC this season, so a solid defensive defender that can also set up scoring plays like Karow could be a much needed addition.
Eeli Tolvanen is BC’s biggest recruit coming into the 2017-18 season. Tolvanen is projected to be a top 10 pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, which normally would concern me, but all signs point to him being excited about going the NCAA route. Tolvanen led Team Finland in points during this years WJC (he was tied with fellow BC recruit Aapeli Räsänen). Tolvanen leads the Sioux City Musketeers with 23 goals and 40 points this season. His 23 goals also put him in 4th place in the USHL. Tolvanen is going to need to make an immediate adjustment to NCAA play if BC wants to have a decent season next year.
Aapeli Räsänen will be joining fellow Finn and Sioux City linemate Tolvanen at BC in the fall. Räsänen had a great WJC this January, tying Tolvanen for the lead in points on Team Finland. Räsänen has played only 27 games for Sioux City this season, but is in 6th place on the team with 20 points. He was drafted in the 6th round by the Oilers last year. Räsänen is a great late addition to the Eagles team, particularly since he already has good chemistry with Tolvanen.
Mitchell Martan is the lone Canadian in BC’s incoming class. Martan is unlikely to be drafted, but he’s a good skater. Martan has 17 points in 29 games for the Wellington Dukes this season. He’s the type of player that should grow into a consistent contributor by his senior season.
Monte Graham is one of two Massachusetts natives in next year’s freshman class. Graham plays for the Tri City Storm in the USHL and is in 6th place on the team with 19 points. Like Martan, Graham will likely go undrafted but should develop into a strong 4-year player for the Eagles. Graham is known for being good on faceoffs and winning battles for the puck.
Casey Carreau has had two breakout seasons at Thayer Academy as a junior and senior. Last season he recorded 71 points with 34 goals and 37 assists, and as a senior he currently has 60 points, including a career high 38 assists. Carreau has good hockey sense and is a solid skater, so he should be another 4 year player for the Eagles.
Joey Cassetti is currently committed to join BC in the fall, although there have been rumblings that he might choose to go the major juniors route instead. Cassetti is the only USNTDP player in BC’s incoming class, and would add some size to a smaller class at 6’3”. The left winger has 7 points in 41 games for the U.S. National U18 Team this season.
Logan Hutsko, Chris Grando, and Jacob Tortora are all also eligible to enroll this fall. Elite Prospects currently has them scheduled to join to team in 2018, while other sites suggest that some or all of them may join in 2017. Hutsko has spent this season overcoming an injury, but Tortora and Grando are both solid offensive recruits. Tortora has 31 points for the US National U18 team this year, while Grando has 28 points for his USHL team.