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2023-24 Boston College Men’s Hockey Preseason Roundtable

Thoughts and predictions about this year’s team!

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

What is your overall prediction for this season?

Laura: I know I’m always the optimist about this team, but I genuinely believe they’ll make it to the Frozen Four. It might take a few games for the team to really get into the swing of things just because a lot of the top tier talent is in the freshmen class, but I think the Eagles have a lot of offensive skill with the freshmen as well as returning players like Cutter Gauthier and Andre Gasseau and Colby Ambrosio, strong defense (again with some great freshman additions), and more solid goaltending than they’ve had in a while.

Curtis: I’m predicting a top-3 finish in Hockey East and an NCAA tournament berth. I’m not going to get my hopes up for anything beyond that, but it’s definitely possible they could do even better.

Maithri: Overall I think that the team will be much better than they were last year. I certainly would love for them to win non-regular season trophies, but I can’t really say I predict that (maybe I’m just protecting myself from high expectations, lol).

Steven: This is going to be a super fun team to watch and one that should win a whole bunch of games. I think they’re going to score a ton of goals and end up right at the top of Hockey East at the end of the year with a real chance to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

What is the baseline that would make you count this season as a success?

Laura: They need to win a tournament trophy. I don’t care if it is the Beanpot, the Hockey East Tournament, or the NCAA Tournament, but this team has too much talent to be considered a success if they can’t win something big.

Curtis: They need to make the NCAA tournament. I’m not expecting a deep postseason run with a bunch of young guys, but they at least have the talent to take care of business in the regular season. Picking up a trophy would be good, too, especially the Beanpot.

Maithri: A winning record, at the very least. I’d also want to see a lot of the players that were on the upswing at the end of last year take bigger steps in their development this year.

Steven: A real postseason run and at least one of the big trophies that we care about.

Thoughts on the Hockey East writers picking BC as second in the preseason poll instead of first?

Laura: Listen, I know I’m biased but this reeks of “well, BU made it to the Frozen Four last season, so I’m just picking them first because both BC and BU should be good.”

Curtis: I’m fine with it. BU has proven themselves to be legit, while this BC team is coming off of a subpar year and will be relying on more freshmen. The Eagles can go out and prove themselves.

Maithri: I feel like — of course, I’m really biased — maybe they were affected by recency bias with BU having just won the Hockey East championship this past season. It’s natural to have some reservations given how big BC’s freshman class is and how much the season will depend on the freshmen adjust to college hockey, but overall I think that BC has the upper hand - or at least will have the upper hand once the underclassmen settle in.

Steven: I’m fine with it. BU was a lot better than BC last year and they’re bringing back a pretty loaded roster, so I get putting them first. I think BC is going to end up in first by the end of the season but I’m not super angry about them being second in the preseason poll.

Who is your predicted MVP?

Laura: Cutter 4 Hobey, start the campaign now.

Curtis: Cutter Gauthier, even as just a sophomore, is going to be a veteran leader and scorer for this team that can lift them up on a consistent basis. He was already their best player last year and I expect him to have another great season, especially now with a better offense around him.

Maithri: Cutter Gauthier. Everything I’ve heard and read about him from this offseason suggest that he’s on a mission this year. He took a huge step in play-making at the end of last season, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him develop into the player that can just take over games as needed - whether it’s in scoring or assisting.

Steven: Cutter Gauthier for the second season in a row.

Who do you think will be the most improved returning player?

Laura: I have really high hopes for Andre Gasseau. He showed a lot of improved as the season impressed, and he has quite the shot. I think he’s going to be a huge offense power for this team, especially as Will Smith/Ryan Leonard/Gabe Perrault settle in.

Curtis: Give me Charlie Leddy! To be honest, I was pretty pessimistic about him after watching his performance in the first half of last season. He was slow and wasn’t making smart choices on defense. But he got so much better in the back half and I’m very interested to see how he’s going to progress in his sophomore year.

Maithri: Andre Gasseau - we started to see flashes of how good a player he can be at the end of last season, and I think he will only be better this year.

Steven: I’m really excited to see what Andre Gasseau looks like in year two. I thought he had some really impressive stretches in the second half of last season and I think he keeps that going as a sophomore

BC has a highly touted incoming class - which freshman are you most excited to watch?

Laura: I already know that Ryan Leonard is going to be my favorite freshmen to watch. He has the offensive skills and will score a lot of beautiful goals/set up some great plays, but he also has a reputation for playing a little rough and taking penalties, which (unfortunately) is the type of hockey I like! He has gotten more disciplined as a player, but he can still be counted on for a healthy mix of offense and toughness.

Curtis: Will Smith is the obvious answer in terms of pure skill, but I think Ryan Leonard is going to be the fan favorite. He’s highly-skilled himself and brings a certain toughness that BC has been lacking sometimes over the past few years.

Maithri: I feel like Smith/Leonard/Perreault are the obvious answers, so I’ll go with Jacob Fowler for this one.

Steven: The numbers that Will Smith put up last year were insane and I’m so excited to see him as an Eagle.

Where do you hope to see the biggest improvement for the team this year?

Laura: Honestly just having more depth on both offense and defense is going to be huge. So I would say I just want to see the sophomores and upperclassmen continue with the improvement we were seeing from them as the end of last year and I want to see this year’s freshmen adjust a little quicker than last year’s did.

Curtis: I’m hoping that the defense is able to take a step up. They were inconsistent and largely inexperienced last season, but they’re returning a lot of players and there is some real potential there. They could have a really great top two pairings between Powell, Hreschuk, Gustafsson, and Bengtsson.

Maithri: BC should easily be able to roll two scoring lines if not three, which is something they struggled with last year, so I’m hoping to see a step up on offense. It’d be nice to see the team spending more time in the offensive end so that the defense isn’t pinned in their end as often as they were last year.

Steven: They’re adding three extremely talented forwards, they should put up a whole lot more goals than they did last season.

What do you think will be BC’s biggest strength this season?

Laura: Goal scoring, but also this team already seems very close, so I think good vibes and resilience will also be a huge strength because of the POWER OF FRIENDSHIP

Curtis: Top line scoring. On top of returning Cutter Gauthier, Colby Ambrosio, and Andre Gasseau for the first line, BC is bringing in an elite freshmen scoring unit with Will Smith, Ryan Leonard, and Gabe Perreault. Either one of those groups could be a top line on a great team, and we have TWO of them.

Maithri: Ugh, I don’t know if I can pick between offense & defense. Given that there’s more experience on the defense and it’s one of Brown’s strengths as coach, maybe them - especially as the freshmen forwards adjust to college hockey. Actually! I could also see the special teams, specifically the power play, being a strength of BC’s this year with so many players that have the ability to score. I’m really interested to see what the power play units look like this season!

Steven: Absolutely should be their offense. Having four recent first round picks among the forward group should make for a very fun viewing experience.

Please link to a song that describes how you feel heading into Greg Brown Season 2:

Laura: Shots by LMFAO because a) this team has the same vibes as the teams when I was in college and this song was popular and BC was winning everything and b) because this team is going to get so many SOG (But also I second Maithri’s choice because that is the anthem of the year)

Curtis: Teenage Dream by Katy Perry. These teenagers are going to be damn good!

Maithri: SAD B!TCH by Anne-Marie - of course it’s this, specifically the “being sad is so last year” line

Steven: Dog Days Are Over by Florence + the Machine