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.