Grading the Terriers: Top Six Forwards

By Sam Dykstra/DFP Staff

Normally, we dole out grades to the BU offense, defense, goaltending and special teams after games. Now that the Terriers’ season has come to a close, we’ve received requests to bring out our red grading pens again to assess how individual players performed during the 2010-11 season. Over the next week and a half, we’ll break up our individual grades into four different sections, so keep checking back to see the grades as they come in. But first, our marks for BU’s top six forwards.

Chris Connolly: B
Connolly had a chance to score 30 points again in 2010-11 after becoming the first Terrier to reach the feat in his first two seasons on campus since 1994, but fell just two points short of that goal. He missed five games from late November through December with a broken pinky finger and was never able to recreate his point per game average (12 points in 12 games before the setback) from the first of the year on. Still, he finished second on the team in points, led in both plus/minus (+8) and shots on net (120) and was praised all season long by BU coach Jack Parker for his leadership as a junior captain.

Alex Chiasson: B+
The sophomore led the team in points this season with 34 and was in fact the only player in scarlet and white to break the 30-point plateau this season. (For comparison’s sake, four players hit that mark in 2009-10 and eight did so in 2008-09.) His 14 goals and 20 assists both ranked second on the team. Chiasson’s ability to control the puck down low and at times simply dominate defenders when he had possession led to those statistics and a spot as a Hockey East Honorable Mention All-Star. If he returns for his junior season, Chiasson could jump into the upper echelon of offensive talent in the conference, but he’ll have to work on both keeping his cool (75 penalty minutes as well as a one-game suspension from Parker for a stupid infraction) and his abilities in his own zone (third-lowest on the team in plus-minus at minus-5).

Corey Trivino: B
Trivino began the transformation from defensive specialist to a better two-way player this season, and the results for the most part were there. His 28 points this season were just one shy of the total he’d put up in two years at BU, and his 20 assists were nine more than he’d ever tallied at the collegiate level. Still, are those numbers what you’d expect from a center drafted in the second round of the NHL Draft? No, not really. Luckily for Trivino, he’ll have another year to grow and develop before entering the professional ranks. But if he can maintain this upward trajectory offensively while continuing to be the best center on faceoffs, the future could be much brighter for him than it looked just a few months ago.

Matt Nieto: B
Nieto was once regarded as a potential first-round pick before the season began. But the freshman left-winger struggled mightily from the get-go, scoring just two points in his first 11 games as a collegian. He kicked his play into another gear in the remaining 28 games of the season, though, as he raced to 23 points during that span, including scoring 13 points to round out the final 11 games of the season. His speed proved to be his biggest asset – yes, thus the gear pun in the last sentence – but like Chiasson, he could use some work defensively as he also ended the season with a plus-minus rating in the red.

Sahir Gill: B-
Unlike Nieto, Gill rocketed out of the start and looked like a serious contender for Rookie of the Year. His eight-game points streak from Nov. 12 to Dec. 8 was the longest for any Terrier. But that was followed up by a streak of 10 games where he didn’t register a single point. Even when Gill was doing well on the stats sheet, there were still times when he would go relatively unnoticed on the ice. Although his forte comes from his passing ability, his 54 shots were still the second-lowest among forwards who played in more than 30 games, only beating out Ryan Santana’s 26 shots in 31 games. His .402 winning percentage on faceoffs also was nowhere near noteworthy. Even though Gill rode out the season with six points in the last seven games, consistency will be the buzz word for him come the start of next season.

Charlie Coyle: B
Coyle won the conference’s Rookie of the Year and for good reason – at least according to me (my other BHB cohorts may disagree slightly). He led all Hockey East freshmen in assists and scoring with 15 helpers and 21 points in conference play. That was a direct result of his strength, especially in the corners and behind the net. However, that brute strength rarely found its way directly in front of the net where it was arguably most needed. After posting a hat trick in the team’s only preseason exhibition against the University of Toronto, Coyle only posted seven goals this season and not one after Jan. 22. It could be argued that he ran out of steam after playing in the World Junior Championships for Team USA during winter break, but the team could use a little extra power from the 19-year-old next year in his second year on campus.

13 thoughts on “Grading the Terriers: Top Six Forwards”

  1. LOL at Coyle.

    He played more than most of the freshman in Hockey East because his teammates were so pathetic so so it was likely he would have the most points.

    The shocker is that he didn’t get more points since he was on the ice so much. He’s one more player that better leave BU before he gets exposed as someone who’s not that good.

  2. Since Chris Connolly is already 24, there’s not much room for improvement unless it’s in the area of maturity.

    When will he mature are realize that being a 25 year old senior means that he has no direction or goals in life?

  3. Anonymous Gilroy poster is likely the one and only TimP, who is of the belief that Matt Gilroy can’t play defense.

  4. Matt Gilroy…another mental midget recruited by Jack Parker because no one else wanted to play for BU.

  5. Unlike the rest of these guys, Gill played wing on the third line until after the beanpot and still put up 25 points. Looked strong in the NU series when it mattered. I would expect bigger things from him next year.

  6. Gill put up most of his points early in the season when he was on the top two lines then died as the season progressed and his poor play got him demoted.

    I don’t expect too much from him in the future.

  7. Clendening and Noonan will be studs next year. Played a ton as freshman and will be the #1 pair next year with 1 year under their belt together already.

  8. Noonan deserves it, Clendening is a defensive nightmare way overhyped. He can skate for goodness sake. watch him.. send him for 2 years of power skating lessons, then teach him how NOT to make major mistakes in every game he plays…

  9. Brass

    Are you serious? Gilroy helped his BU team in a senior season to the IceBreaker, The Denver Cup, The Beanpot, The Hockey East Regular Season Title, The HE tourney title, & the NCAA Title and the Hobey for good measure.

    Gilroy is probably the only player in the country who would not have shot a one timer with the deficit cut to one but instead deke goalie Reichart, and pull puck back and make a perfect tape to tape pass for Bonino’s tying goal that set the stage for Colby Cohen’s heroics in OT.

    Also, many forget that when BU won the Denver Cup (Incidentally, the last time that was played as a true tournament instead of automatically placing Denver in the pre-determined games against opponents their coaches feel they match up best against) BU was without Shattenkirk and Wilson, who were with the U20 team at the time.

    Gilroy was the anchor of a once in a generation senior class ALL of whom came back – so much so that most barely noticed the loss of BUs two most prolific goal scorers from the prior season – Boomer Ewing & Peter MacArthur – by the time HE rolled around as BU had a perfect record on the entire season including post season in Gilroy’s final year in non-conference games. That BU team was five deep at NHL defensemen and at least seven deep at NHL forwards and probably the best collection of players to play a season together in the modern era of college hockey. Most impressively, they won and continued winning when they were struggling down the HE stretch, into the HE tourney, and thru the NCAA finals. Most will tell you the mark of a great team is that they find a way to win when they are struggling, and that is exactly what Gilroy and his teammates did in the Winter & Spring of 2009 in delivering a National title with the lamp lighting of Joey Lawrence and the skill of forwards Brandon Yip, Jon McCarthy, and Colin Wilson among others on their way to the greatest final minute of play and most exciting title in NCAA hockey history.

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