It sort of snuck up on us, but Boston College hockey season is just over two weeks away! The Eagles travel to Denver on October 7-8 for the IceBreaker invitational, and thanks to all the early departures and a massive freshman class, the team will look a lot different in Denver than it did in Tampa in April. As the team gets ready for their opener, what might the lineup look like on Day 1? I'll take a stab at projecting it here.
A couple caveats:
-I'm not at practice sessions and not seeing how they're using players right now in preseason camp.
-Additionally, most of the information I have on the freshmen and where they might fall in the lineup is second-hand.
-A number of BC's players are capable of shifting between center and the wing, and York could adjust his lineups accordingly depending on where he sees needs.
Let's take a crack at it!
Graham McPhee - Colin White - Ryan Fitzgerald
There's not a lot you can say for sure about this year's BC lineup, but I think one thing I'm pretty confident in is that on opening night you'll see White and Fitzgerald as C & RW on the top line. And instantly, this will be one of the best lines in Hockey East. White is poised to do big things with a year of experience under his belt, and Fitzgerald at this point is a proven scorer.
While BC could go in a number of different directions to fill out this line, my thinking is this is a good spot for a freshman to give him confidence right away by playing him with two guys who are going to put up a lot of points. As al left handed shot with experience playing LW, McPhee could slot in nicely here.
Chris Brown - Austin Cangelosi - Chris Calnan
Austin Cangelosi and Chris Calnan is another center/wing duo you're likely to see stay together from last season, with these guys anchoring line two. The question mark with Calnan is health; he's struggled with it throughout his time but when healthy he's a very good player who combines the size, strength and skill.
Chris Brown showed flashes of excellence last year. He's a versatile player who could help the Eagles at center or at wing. It comes down to whether York would rather "lengthen" the lineup by making it deeper down the middle, or try to load up his top lines with a little more experience.
Matt Gaudreau - David Cotton - Zach Walker
David Cotton is one of BC's most intriguing prospects. He comes in a little older at 19, and he's a big player at 6'1. A 6th round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes, Cotton comes in with some pedigree and expectation. His scouting report suggests he does well combining his size with high-end speed and good hands. His adjustment to Waterloo last year after stepping up from Cushing Academy was good, but not great, scoring 30 points in 48 games. Given his skillset and his age, I suspect he'll be a contributor, but it may take him a while to score enough for a top-six role.
Matt Gaudreau is a guy who's been Mr. Everywhere for BC, playing in a number of different roles. As a senior, it looks like he'll probably be called upon again to be in a top-9 role.
Zach Walker is another one of the freshmen BC is hopeful can contribute early. A big, 6'0'' right wing, Walker spent last year with the USNTDP and played at the U18 World Championships. Putting him on a line with Cotton would give this group a lot of size.
JD Dudek - Julius Matilla - Michael Booth
Julius Matilla could be a real x-factor player for BC this season. By all accounts he was a great under-the-radar pickup for the Eagles. He's worked his way through the Ilves ranks, a very good club team in Finland, and was very productive at the U20 level for them last year, scoring 56 points in 46 games. Rumblings out of camp suggest he could be an important contributor. We don't know much about him yet, but we'll learn.