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Boston College Men’s Hockey: How Does Next Season’s Roster Look?

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Lots of forwards, needy on defense

Massachusetts v Boston College Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

Boston College’s men’s hockey season did not go very well in 2021-22, but Eagles fans can at least hope for an improved roster next season. Despite losing some of their top producers, and being at risk of losing more, the team is shaping up to have a lot more depth.

I’ve organized players into 4 categories:

  • Losses: Players that are out of eligibility or have already signed professional contracts
  • Flight Risks: Players that do not have to leave BC, but have potential to sign professionally or seek a transfer
  • Likely Returning: Players that do not have to return, but likely will return
  • Incoming: This year’s freshman class or transfers

Forwards

Losses: Jack McBain, Marc McLaughlin, Brandon Kruse, Sam Sternschein

Flight Risks: Patrick Giles, Nikita Nesterenko, Colby Ambrosio, Casey Carreau

Likely Returning: Liam Izyk, Gentry Shamburger, Trevor Kuntar, Matt Argentina, Jack Dempsey, Connor Joyce, Mike Posma

Incoming: Cutter Gauthier (C/LW), Connor Welsh (F), Andre Gasseau (C), Oskar Jellvik (LW/C), Will Traeger (C), Paul Davey (LW), Billy Norcross (C/RW), Tim Delay (RW)

Boston College is losing their top 3 forwards in Jack McBain, Marc McLaughlin, and Brandon Kruse. On top of that, Nikita Nesterenko, Patrick Giles, and Colby Ambrosio, their 4th, 5th, and 6th top forwards, are flight risks to leave for the NHL/AHL. A lot of this team’s offensive success will depend heavily what happens to those 3, as the Eagles do not want to rely so heavily on new producers. If BC is able to keep 2-3 of them, then Eagles fans should be confident that their offense will be at a competitive level next season.

Luckily, the Eagles are bringing in a boatload of talent, too. Especially compared to last year’s unimpressive freshman class. We will be releasing full profiles of the incoming freshmen later next week, but for now I’ll summarize by saying that players like Gauthier, Jellvik, and Gasseau are NHL prospects that will help this team rejuvenate its offense. Especially Cutter Gauthier, who is a top-20 prospect in this year’s NHL draft. They can’t do it alone, but with support from vets like Nesterenko (if he stays) and maybe some transfers, they should be able to do some serious damage.

Defense

Losses: Drew Helleson, Justin Wells

Flight Risks: Marshall Warren, Jack St. Ivany

Likely Returning: Aidan Hreschuk, Eamon Powell, Mitch Andres, Cade Alami

Incoming: Lukas Gustafsson, Nolan Joyce, Charlie Leddy

Defense is an area where BC needs a lot of help, but not a lot seems to be coming. After a very unimpressive defensive season, the Eagles are losing their Olympian Drew Helleson and they would not be surprised at all to lose Marshall Warren and/or Jack St. Ivany to the NHL/AHL. St. Ivany still has a year of eligibility left and Warren has two years, so it would be a huge boost if either were to stay at Boston College next year. The incoming freshmen are decent prospects (Leddy is projected as a 3rd round NHL pick, Joyce projected as a 7th rounder, and Gustaffson’s projections are all over the place), but they will not be nearly enough to both replace Helleson and improve the D to an NCAA tournament-level squad. Look for BC to find a couple vets in the transfer portal on defense if they lose Warren and/or St. Ivany.

Goaltenders

Given the play of Eric Dop as BC’s primary goalie this season, there’s a lot that could be improved upon. Despite his improvement down the stretch, Dop was a big reason for BC’s poor record over the course of the season. There are three clear transitions here for next season, but it’s unclear who will get the starting job...

Henry Wilder is the guy who’s been on the roster for a couple years now and has had time to learn while Spencer Knight and Eric Dop have started in front of him. While you can hardly blame Wilder for not winning the starting job over an elite college goalie like Knight, it does seem questionable that Wilder hardly ever got playing time while Dop was struggling this past season. Maybe Coach York was just sticking by his guy in Dop, but it’s also very possible Wilder was not performing at an acceptable level to replace Dop. The nail in the coffin for Wilder’s season was letting up 6 goals against Notre Dame in a January blowout in the midst of the BC losing streak. Wilder didn’t see the ice all season after that game, cementing his .890 save% on the year. He was at least performing at a decent .912 clip before that outing, although he wasn’t exactly playing against great competition when he did manage to see the ice.

Grant Riley is an incoming freshman that will be challenging Wilder for his spot in the crease. Riley is spending his time right now playing for the Chilliwack Chiefs, a BCHL team, and he’s played fairly well for them in his stint. Riley has played in 36 games and earned a very solid 23-10-1 record, posting a .907 save% and 2.53 GAA. The competition in the NCAA will be a bit tougher, though, meaning those numbers may come down and not look so good. But you should also expect a player like him to improve quickly with time. Just 2 years ago he was posting a very weak .714 save% in limited playing time with the Tri-City storm of the USHL, so he’s already shown massive improvement since then.

Finally, Dylan Silverstein is the top goalie prospect in Boston College’s pipeline right now. He’s ranked as the #3 North American goalie in his class and will be eligible for this year’s NHL entry draft. The problem is that Silverstein may or may not choose to attend Boston College this upcoming season! There will already be 3 goalies on the roster (Wilder, Moffat, Riley) and there likely won’t be room for Silverstein if none of those other guys decide to transfer. He’s 18-years-old and should be able to attend BC if he’s on track academically, but it largely depends on if there ends up being room for him. If he does wind up on the roster next season, I would not be surprised to see him start in net. Coach Jerry York in the past has had no hesitation with starting young goalies if he thinks it gives the Eagles a better chance to win.