It feels like many, many months ago that Boston College men’s hockey’s season came to an end at the hands of St. Cloud State in the NCAA quarterfinal, followed by the sad but not necessarily surprising departures of top players like Spencer Knight, Matt Boldy, Alex Newhook, and Mike Hardman.
With senior graduations, early departures, and transfers in and out progressing, we take a look at the BC hockey projected roster for 2021-22.
Matt Boldy (NHL)
Mike Hardman (NHL)
Alex Newhook (NHL)
Logan Hutsko (Graduation)
Danny Weight (Transfer portal)
Gentry Shamburger (forward/defenseman)
Andre Gasseau (freshman)
Paul Davey (freshman)
Jack Dempsey (freshman)
Connor Joyce (freshman)
Mike Posma (freshman)
Will Traeger (freshman)
Matt Argentina* (freshman) (listed as 2022 arrival on EliteProspects)
Brandon Kruse (transfer from Bowling Green)
Sam Sternschein (transfer from Penn State)
*Freshman arrivals are based on College Hockey Inc website and have not been confirmed by Boston College at this point in time
BC only loses three forwards who were getting regular key minutes at the end of the season... but they happen to be the entire first line. So that’s not good.
The good news is that rising sophomores like Nikita Nesterenko and Colby Ambrosio look to be solid, emerging talents. Marc McLaughlin’s game elevated to the next level this past season, and Jack McBain and Patrick Giles are two veterans who have always shown the ability to be big players at the collegiate level; the pressure will be on them now to up their production.
The best hope for replenishing what was lost (beyond roster players stepping up) likely comes from transfer forward Brandon Kruse, the top scorer on the transfer market this summer. Kruse is going into his grad year and has 142 points in 151 games with Bowling Green, and will be expected to be a big point producer and experienced leader up front for BC.
Should he arrive in fall of 2021 as College Hockey Inc’s commitment tracker projects, a hope for early production potentially comes from Andre Gasseau, a 6’4’’ draft-eligible prospect who was on the USNTDP this past year and is likely to be a middle-round pick in the NHL Draft. He’s not necessarily expected to come in and be instant offense like a Newhook or a Boldy, but he’s a solid prospects. Gasseau’s reputation is as a two-way forward who is responsible in his own end, so you may expect more contributions in that sense than on the scoresheet.
Most of BC’s other incoming freshmen are older and BC will be hoping that like Mike Hardman, their additional experience pre-college will allow them to come in ready to produce.
Sam Sternschein also adds experience for BC, a big-bodied fifth year transfer from Penn State who is projected to add size and depth to the bottom six.
Something to keep an eye on is whether some of BC’s projected 18-year-old freshmen like Paul Davey and Matt Argentina, or perhaps even 19-year-old Will Trager, are held back a year. With 5 guys leaving but 9 projected to arrive according to College Hockey Inc., that could create a playing time logjam. Nothing is official until the classes are announced by the schools and this could be a particularly hefty year of deferments, last-minute changes, etc. given the roster logjams across the nation being caused by the extra year of eligibility and the large number of players in the transfer portal.
That said, we can only go by what’s on the commitments list maintained by College Hockey Inc, so we’ll try to stick with that for now until we hear otherwise.
This is speculation but this set of arrivals and returning players could leave a forward depth chart looking somewhere along the lines of:
Kruse - McLaughlin - Ambrosio
Nesterenko - McBain - Giles
Kuntar - Gasseau - Sternschein
Roy - Posma- Izyk
Joyce / Shamburger / Dempsey / Davey / Traeger
Basically - no superstar lines per se, but a few solid ones at the top of the lineup with some upside, and a number of experienced options for the bottom six.
Jack Agnew (transfer portal)
Tim Lovell (transfer portal)
Michael Karow (transfer portal)
Jack St Ivany
Justin Wells (transfer from Bowling Green)
Cade Alami (freshman)
Aidan Hreschuk (freshman)
The blue line is where BC remains both young and rife with returning talent. Warren, Helleson, St. Ivany and Powell are all very good, especially going forward and contributing to the attack. If they can continue to shore up the play in their own end they will be among the best blue line groups in Hockey East.
Justin Wells adds size and experience (a theme with BC’s additions this offseason), a 6’4’’ left shot D with over 100 games played at Bowling Green. Wells was getting 2nd-pairing minutes for BGSU, a borderline tournament team, so will probably project to be in that realm for BC.
Aidan Hreschuk is the top NHL prospect in this year’s class and could go toward the end of the first round or early in the second round; he’s another smooth-skating, adept puck-handling two-way defenseman from the USNTDP and so will likely come with a similar skillset and growing pains as we saw from others fitting that profile.
Cade Alami also should be a factor for BC, a 6’7’’, 20-year-old defenseman who was previously committed to Providence.
This means that BC will once again see fierce competition for playing time on the blue line - Mitch Andres will again have to battle for his spot, and this certainly helps explain why Agnew, Lovell, and program veteran Karow are seeking out opportunities elsewhere.
BC was regularly using their extra skater to roll 7 defensemen so this will likely continue in 2021-22.
Potential projected depth chart:
Warren - Helleson
Hreschuk - Powell
Wells - St. Ivany
Alami / Andres
Spencer Knight (NHL)
Eric Dop (transfer from Bowling Green)
Well, we know the drill here; BC lost one of the best goaltending prospects to ever come through college hockey, someone who is already making a splash in the NHL in a short period of time. He will be irreplaceable.
Eric Dop, the senior transfer from Bowling Green, will likely carry the load. His career save percentage is a fine .911, but he backstopped BGSU to tournament contention in 19-20 and 20-21 and played just about every game, posting a .923 save percentage this past season. A similar performance would make him an upper-middle tier goalie in Hockey East.
Henry Wilder played pretty well in limited appearances during Spencer Knight’s trip to World Juniors and may see some time too. Jack Moffat has played limited mop-up duty to this point in his career.