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Looking Ahead At The 2016-2017 BC Women's Hockey Season

A drop off from 40-1-0 is inevitable

Kurt Zwald

The class of 2016 is easily the most talented group of players to come to the Heights.

BC will lose six skaters over this offseason, and all six were massive contributors this past season. Two, Alex Carpenter and Haley Skarupa, are virtual locks to make the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Two more, Dana Trivigno and Lexi Bender, have a legitimate shot to make it as well. Kaliya Johnson was one of the team's top defensive defensemen over the last four seasons, and Meghan Grieves exploded onto the scene in her senior year as a high producer on the top three lines after working her way up the ranks over four seasons.

You don't lose that much talent and not have a significant drop in production.

The BC women will not run the table next season. Other teams, such as the Gophers, lose a lot of talent as well, but the Eagles take a bigger hit than anybody else.

But having said all that -- there is certainly no need to jump off the bandwagon just yet.

The Eagles will have a well-structured team next season. Anchored by rising seniors Kristyn Capizzano and Andie Anastos, BC will have a veteran presence on the top lines, with Haley McLean looking primed for a big jump in playing time as well.

Below the seniors, the Eagles have a very, very solid young core of players that will continue to develop. Last year's very impressive recruiting class will be juniors next season, with two Frozen Four runs under their belt already and a wealth of talent still developing. Makenna Newkirk was the nation's top freshman goalscorer and looks to be one of the team's elite threats in the coming three seasons.

The big key for BC's success next year will be in the incoming recruiting class. Five skaters have signed on to come to the Heights next season and with the large graduating class, they'll be looked to almost immediately for production.

Caitrin Lonergan is the jewel of the incoming class, a two time member of the USA U18 team, and this year's New England prep hockey division 1 player of the year. Lonergan decommitted from Harvard last year to join the Heights, and while predicting freshman success is often a fool's errand, how much she can produce in her first year will go a long way toward bringing the Eagles to another Frozen Four.

Defensively, the Eagles will be anchored by Katie Burt and Megan Keller for the next two season, so even with the changing supporting cast, BC will be able to adapt to the future on the blueline.

With Hockey East potentially even weaker than this season, it's hard to imagine a situation where the Eagles fall all the way out of the NCAA tournament picture regardless of how much production they lost. BC will likely be the preseason #1 pick in Hockey East.

It was an impressive season for BC, and while it will be difficult to adjust to life without the six seniors who led the way this year, there is certainly optimism for the future.