What is your prediction for this year’s team?
Laura: My prediction is dependent on BC’s defense. If the defense gets it together, this is definitely a tournament team. If the defense continues to struggle, like we saw against Wisconsin, I think we’re going to see a repeat of last year - a team with promise that does well in Hockey East but has issues in non-conference games and doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament.
Steve: On paper, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be better than last year. The talent they are bringing in with this recruiting class plus the (hopefully) continued improvement of the returning players should mean the team takes a step forward in 2018-19. Exactly how big of a step that is remains to be seen, but there are enough pieces on this team that expectations should be higher than the last two seasons.
Gränt: I’m pretty optimistic. We’ve waited so long to have the right balance of young stars and experienced upperclassmen, and we’ve finally got it. I think we’re a Frozen Four team this year.
Peter: Even though we had a rough opening weekend, I think that this team has the potential to do really well. We have a lot of talent in our underclassman in players like Hutsko, Grando and Tortora that will propel us to a solid season.
What outcome would you be happy with for this year’s team?
Laura: I want to see improvement from last season. The team is older and we have some skilled freshmen. I’d hope for a Beanpot finals appearance, winning Hockey East regular season and/or tournament, and at least making the NCAA Tournament.
Steve: Some sort of trophy (Beanpot, HE regular season or tournament) and an NCAA Tournament bid.
Gränt: We really need some kind of hardware. Winning Hockey East and making the NCAA tournament would be a good threshold, or not winning Hockey East but getting to the Frozen Four would be great too.
Peter: I agree with Grant in that we need some hardware. Personally, I want to see a win in the Beanpot. It’s been far far too long.
Which player(s) do you think will have the biggest impact? Who is your MVP prediction going into the season?
Laura: David Cotton. He showed clear improvement from last season in both games against Wisconsin and gave 100% in all aspects of his game - he’ll score nice goals and rebound goals and he refuses to give up a fight for the puck. Oliver Wahlstrom could also have a huge impact once he adjusts to NCAA play.
Steve: I legitimately think Oliver Wahlstrom can lead this team in just about every major offensive category if he stays healthy. He’s a talent that BC just hasn’t had in previous years and even as a freshman, we’ve already seen him on the top line and the first powerplay unit. He’s going to have every chance to make his mark on this team and I don’t see any reason to think he won’t succeed.
Gränt: Well, to me it’s got to be Wahlstrom. The guy has so much hype surrounding him, and we need a superstar to carry us. He’s got that elite level talent you need to have to be a top team.
Peter: I really like the style play and style of Logan Hutsko. I think that he is going to be the catalyst to BC’s scoring attack and have just as big of an impactful as he was in his rookie season, if not even better.
Which rookie are you most looking forward to watching?
Laura: The obvious answer is Oliver Wahlstrom and I’m going with the obvious answer. He’s clearly a really skilled player who can score some great goals, and paired with the right line-mates he definitely should become a force to be reckoned with.
Steve: In case my previous response wasn’t clear enough, I am more excited to watch Oliver Wahlstrom play for BC than I have been to watch a BC player in a good few seasons.
Gränt: Lol this question
Peter: I would say that Oliver Wahlstrom is a player I will have my eyes on. The Quincy native has a lot of potential and a high ceiling given that he was selected by the Islanders in the first round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Who will be BC’s most improved player this season?
Laura: David Cotton again. Like I said above, he’s already showing clear improvement from last season, and he was one of the lone bright spots against Wisconsin.
Steve: Aapeli Rasanen had what I thought was a really solid freshman season with 16 points in 32 games. I think those numbers take a nice jump when he reenters the lineup, and I certainly think he puts up more than the four goals he had last year.
Gränt: I’m going to forego the usual “role player develops into a producer” definition of most improved and say that Cotton is going to go from Good producer on a so-so offense to a real, legitimate, elite offensive threat. He only put up 9 goals last year, but I think the offense as a whole is going to take a big step forward, with Cotton being a big part of that. Having a hat trick in the opening weekend certainly doesn’t hurt... haha
Peter: Christopher Grando flashed some upside in his rookie season but did have a decently sized lull mid-way through the season. Now being acclimated to top-tier hockey, I think that Grando will exhibit more consistency in his point production and become another pivotal component the Eagle’s offense.
What do you think will be the biggest struggle for this year’s team?
Laura: Defense. This team can score. Woll is usually a strong goalie. But defense still looks shaky. There were a lot of mistakes made against Wisconsin that shouldn’t have been made, and that was the difference between winning on Saturday and starting the season 0-2.
Steve: It’s always hard to make huge judgements after just two games but man, if the series against Wisconsin is a preview of how BC is going to handle the puck in their own end, that’s an alarming sign. For my money, the single most important thing that a defense needs to do in order to be successful is break out the puck, and they struggled mightily with that over the weekend.
Gränt: Apparently it’s still out of conference games... There’s no way this league should be this bad. But if that’s the case, then making headway on a national level might be a bit of a challenge.
Peter: Non-conference games will continue to be an issue for the team. Last year, BC was unable to clinch a single game against non-conference opponents and I predict that it will continue to be a hurdle for the team this year (maybe with Bentley being the sole exception).
Please include a GIF that describes how you feel this season will go:
(Ed. Note: I do not endorse Tiger Woods)