Boston College Hockey gets underway for real on Friday when BC takes on Air Force in the IceBreaker tournament. Having already taken a look at the defensemen last week, this week we learn about the new forwards.
There are quite a few. Let’s get right to it.
#12 Mike Booth
Mike Booth, a native of Carey, Ill., played on what was deployed as BC’s fourth line on Sunday in the exhibition against Carleton, and projects as a bottom-6 forward who can bring some “veteran” presence even as a freshman to a young team. Booth comes in a little older at 20, with two years of experience with the USPHL South Shore Kings.
Booth scored 46 points in 48 games last year at the USPHL level. Originally a Cornell commit, Booth struggled in the USHL before finding his way back east. Harvard and UNH were among the teams that showed an interest in Booth this time around, before he committed to BC.
#14 Zach Walker
Walker is an intriguing prospect for BC who is going to add some size (6’1, 200) to the roster early on. Walker is fast, especially for someone his size, and showed signs on Sunday of being someone who could be an important part of a third or fourth line using his size and speed.
An Idaho native, Walker stood out in his younger teen years, earning an invite to the US National Team Development program. Walker battled through injuries which limited his productivity with the USNTDP, but if he can find the scoring touch that eluded him there, he could be an x-factor for BC in the coming years.
#17 David Cotton
Cotton is the tallest incoming freshman forward at 6’3’’ and has been described throughout his junior career as a strong, two-way playmaking centerman. He is a 6th round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes and a prospect who’s been on BC’s radar for quite some time.
On Sunday, Cotton played on the wing for BC, but he can play center as well, so he’s someone who could be a versatile part of the lineup depending on how quickly he adjusts to the pace of the collegiate game.
He didn’t put up huge numbers in the USHL - 30 points in 48 games last year - but that was his first season at that level after being a dominant force in the prep school ranks at Cushing Academy. He obviously has the skill to be a good player at this level but might be more of a project than some of the first- and second-round picks who have come in as freshmen in recent years.
#20 Mike Merulla
Merulla was added to the freshman class this summer as a depth addition for the Eagles.
Last year, Merulla played for the Aston Rebels of the North American Hockey League; he also comes in a little older as a '96 birth year. Last season, Merulla put up 55 points in 48 games in the "Tier II" league, a common source of late bloomers for programs around college hockey.
He's described as an intense and hardworking player and seems like someone who could develop in to a solid role player for BC.
#26 Julius Mattila
The Mattila brothers are one of the intriguing storylines surrounding BC this season. The Eagles rarely recruit Finns but have three coming in over the next two seasons, including these two brothers.
While Julius’ brother Jesper, an incoming BC defensemen, got a little more press given his inclusion on the Finland U-20 team at last year’s World Junior championships, Julius could also be a factor for BC this season.
Mattila played third-line center on Sunday and also got significant time on both the power play and the penalty kill, and demonstrated himself to be a hard worker, a good skater, and a smart, strong player.
Originally a commit of Western Michigan before his brother committed to BC, Mattila played for the Ilves U20 team last season, one of Finland’s top clubs.
#27 Graham McPhee
Graham McPhee, the son of the Las Vegas NHL team’s GM George, is one of BC’s top forward prospects this season. He showed a flash of what he can do on Sunday, scoring a really nice unassisted goal to give BC a second period lead.
McPhee was an elite scorer for Shattuck St. Mary's, one of the nation's top high school programs. He then moved on to the USNTDP, but struggled to put up the same numbers there, scoring 13 points in 51 games last year for the US U18s.
McPhee is noted by scouts for having a high hockey IQ and a great work ethic. He's pretty big and strong (6'1'', 174) and played with poise and confidence in BC’s exhibition playing alongside Austin Cangelosi and Chris Brown on the #2 line.
#28 Ron Greco
Another late addition to the recruiting class, Greco committed to BC in June after spending time with the Philadelphia Flyers Elite USPHL team. Last year in the USPHL he scored 57 points in 44 games, finishing fourth in the league in points and second in assists.
Greco centered an all-freshman line with Booth and Cotton on Sunday.