With captain Teddy Doherty graduating, three early departures already, and potentially more to come, there will be pressure (as always) on freshmen to contribute to the 2016-17 BC hockey team. All in all, this class doesn't project to be a "monster class" like the last couple of years', but likely has a number of solid contributors who will be expected to contribute right away. Here's a first look at who's coming in.
We start in Part 1 today by looking at the forwards. Given that BC may well lose a huge number of forwards by the time the bloodletting is all said and done, there's a chance BC could try to either accelerate a 2017 recruit, snatch up any uncommitted talent that wasn't planning on enrolling for next year, or perhaps be on the lookout for any late decommits from other programs. We'll keep an eye on those possibilities.
We'll have a more in depth look at each player later in the offseason.
Part I, the Forwards
McPhee is a 5'11'' left winger from Maryland who is eligible to be selected at this summer's NHL draft. He's rated as the 92nd-ranked North American skater according to Central Scouting, so look for him in the mid to late rounds of the draft.
McPhee was a prolific scorer at Shattuck St. Mary's but has not been a big point scorer at the USNTDP, scoring 19 points in 43 games for the U17s in 14/15 and 13 points in 51 games for the U18s this year. In scouting reports, McPhee is hailed as a solid three zone player with a high level of intensity and ability to play in lots of situations, so he could project out as a good bottom 6 forward.
He was drafted by the Sarnia Sting in the 9th round of the OHL draft but is considered likely to take the college route. His dad, George McPhee, played for Jerry York at Bowling Green and is now GM of the Washington Capitals.
A 6'3'' center out of Texas, Cotton is a player many are excited about entering this season. An 18 year old, he was drafted in the 6th round last summer by the Carolina Hurricanes.
After ripping it up at Cushing Academy for two seasons, Cotton moved on to the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL this past year, scoring 15 goals and adding 15 assists in 48 games played. His EliteProspects scouting report calls him a smart and skilled two way center with high end speed to go with his size; he's also lauded for his shot and for his ability to make tricky passes look easy.
Cotton will be 19 by the time he arrives on campus this fall, so he's not really a flight risk to the CHL. He is someone we're pretty excited to see get to BC. If White, Sanford and Cangelosi all return, BC could either roll out 4 very good centers or move one of them to wing. It's so important to be strong down the middle and Cotton should help ensure that BC will be.
Walker is another draft-eligible forward who probably projects at the next level as a bottom six depth winger. He's rated as the #163 North American skater by NHL central scouting so if he's selected at the draft it will probably be in the later rounds. At 6'0'', 198 he has pretty good size. For the US U18s this year he had 9 points and 34 penalty minutes in 57 games played.
Walker dealt with injuries during his first season at the USNTDP on the U17s, which limited his production. He bounced back with a better season this past year. Walker has top end speed and a lot of skill according to scouts, and he is looking to really develop and help take his game to the next level.
Formerly committed to Cornell, Michael Booth is a 5'11'' center/winger who will be 20 when the puck drops this fall. Booth struggled to find his footing in his 16 & 17 year old seasons with the USHL, but relocated to the USPHL with the Bay State Breakers as an 18 year old and found more success, scoring 40 points in 45 games to lead the team. He added 42 points in 44 games this year with the South Shore Kings. BC has had success with kids from the USPHL programs in the past and he'll come in with some seasoning that could help him contribute right away.
Booth is another guy who might not be projected to immediately come in and play a huge role, but could be a late bloomer who develops in to a solid four year contributor. According to the BC Hockey Blog, Booth was also being pursued by UNH and Harvard after standing out with South Shore.
There's no Colin White or Alex Tuch in this class, but all four forwards should help BC right away next season and be in the mix to get lots of playing time. Ideally, they'd all be depth additions rather than trying to replace a ton of points, but the status of White and Tuch and other potential flight risks will go a long way toward determining how much pressure there will be on these guys to contribute.
Come back tomorrow for a look at the defense and goaltending commits.