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What does Boston College hockey's lineup look like post-Bracco?

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The Eagles have lost a top recruit, but they have a class of freshmen that have shown they're ready to step up.

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Jeremy Bracco was a highly touted recruit with great offensive potential. He had struggled to find his feet in his first few games at BC, but picked up 3 assists in his second to last outing as an Eagle and would have settled in and found his groove if he'd stayed at BC. But regardless of how we all feel about it, Bracco is gone and it's time to move on with the rest of the season.

Bracco's departure shouldn't affect BC's top two lines, which will likely remain as follows:

Line 1: Wood Cangelosi Calnan
Line 2: Sanford Gilmour Tuch

The Wood/Cangelosi/Calnan line has great chemistry, and Wood is exceeding expectations. The first line accounts for a quarter of BC's goals this season, and they have 9 assists between them.

The second line also showed solid chemistry against CC, and Sanford (who I have said from the beginning would be one of BC's most improved players this year) is having a stellar season so far. Sanford has racked up 4 goals and 2 assists to lead the team in goals and to tie Wood as the points leader. Tuch should be ready to play on Friday after suffering an upper body injury in Colorado - staying healthy will be huge now that we're one player down.

The third line is where things start to change. In BC's last game, (Ryan) Fitzgerald, White, and Bracco made up the third line. Without Bracco, it is likely that JD Dudek will move up from the fourth line. Losing Bracco is a blow, but his former linemates are both having great years so far. White is another freshman who, like Wood, has exceed expectations, and he'll only get better as he settles in. Fitzgerald started off the season with 3 goals and 2 assists, and should have another offensively productive year. He also just looks more confident than he did last season, which can only be a good thing.
JD Dudek might not have the innate hockey sense of Bracco, but he's known for being a hard worker that is willing to fight for the puck and put in effort off the ice to get better. As Dudek settles in (and puts on a little more muscle with some help from the BC trainers) that willingness to take those battles could help him to create situations where he can set up Fitzgerald and White to score some great goals.

With Dudek moving up from the fourth line, the final spot, alongside Gaudreau and Brown opens up to one of the other forwards: McMullen or Shero. (Brendan Silk out indefinitely with a separated shoulder, but will likely get 4th line time once he's back in the lineup.) McMullen played in 10 games last season, and has recorded 1 point (an assist) in his career at BC. Shero, a freshman, spent last season with the South Shore Kings, recording 3 assists in 31 games. Ideally we'd have a fourth liner with a little more offensive potential or a little more grit, but Shero could surprise us and McMullen has shown some solid defensive skills in past years.


Gaudreau and Brown will both have to step up in Bracco's absence - we don't need a lot of points from the fourth line, but BC always has its best seasons when each line can contribute to scoring (#HotTake). Brown has recorded 1 goal and 1 assist already this season, and is projected to be similar to his older brother in that he's strong defensively but also has the ability to score. Brown has also been praised for his leadership by past coaches, so if he can take on that role for the fourth line he could really help BC to rebound from Bracco's loss.

Overall, losing Bracco does hurt BC. But with a strong freshman class and upperclassmen that have solid work ethic (and also a healthy Thatcher Demko), we should be fine. Having great speedy scorers like Gaudreau or Gerbe has certainly helped BC, but you don't win games just because of one player. Bracco's offensive skills would have made the road to winning easier, but if he didn't want to be here his attitude would affect line chemistry and his own performance. Bracco's departure is tough, but ultimately it isn't a make it or break it moment for the season.