J.J. Piccinich to depart BU, play for London Knights of OHL

J.J. Piccinich will leave Boston University and play for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, the Knights announced on Wednesday.

Piccinich had been rumored to be on the move for weeks, with reported destinations such as Londonand his former USHL team, the Youngstown Phantoms.

A fourth-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Piccinich received limited playing time in his BU career. In 25 total games played, Piccinich recorded just one goal and three assists.

Perhaps Piccinich’s biggest moment as a Terrier came in the NCAA regional final matchup against the University of Minnesota Duluth. Three-and-a-half minutes into the second period of that game, he dished off an assist to forward Matt Lane for a tie-breaking goal. BU eventually won that game, 3-2, to advance to the Frozen Four.

38 thoughts on “J.J. Piccinich to depart BU, play for London Knights of OHL”

  1. What is going on here? Why are we losing so many players? Sarah, we need you more than ever !!!!!! Can you get some inside info especially from coach Quinn ? Thanx .

    • I think Tom pretty much hit the nail on the head with his comment. I don’t think it’s really too many people leaving, it just seems like a lot given the back-to-back-to-back nature of it. MacTavish/Piccinich (and Kevin Duane, if you wanna loop him in) were very unlikely to get much playing time, and almost certainly knew that, and aren’t huge losses in that regard. Letunov is the only one that caught us (meaning me, Andrew, Judy, and I’m sure all of you BU fans as well) off guard, but as was pointed out, that was reportedly an admissions issue. Coach Quinn can’t really comment on recruits or the admissions process, and it’s hard to get much out of admissions because of various privacy laws. But as Tom said, I don’t sense anything fishy, just various circumstances that led to this point, with some weird timing. But if everyone returned who was eligible to from last year’s team, plus if all of the recruits that were supposed to show up did, then we’re talking well into the thirties in terms of roster size. Cuts would’ve had to have been made. People leave every offseason, and we aren’t talking several huge names leaving for mysterious or obscure reasons, so no real reason for alarm here, in my opinion.

  2. I can understand Piccinich leaving BU. He likely was not scheduled for a great deal of playing time this year. He turned out to be a marginal D1 player. Even a journeyman 4th line forward should get more than 1 goal in 25 appearances. 25 games is an adequate opportunity to show that you are in the mix. We should wish him well in his future endeavors.

  3. Piccinich showed great potential last year, but it makes sense that he would leave as he wants to get playing time. I really don’t think there’s anything “going on here” as these things are all for different unforeseeable reasons. Letunov, the fault fully lies with the admissions office for dropping the ball. Piccinich needs playing time in order to develop, and he might not have been able to crack the lineup on a regular basis. Same with MacTavish. Sometimes things just happen.

  4. I agree with Sarah. We should not be overly concerned. Letunov is the only situation that aggravates me. Sarah – don’t you think that this could have been avoided via better communications with admissions? Shouldn’t admissions have known all along as to his HS course material and communicated back to athletics as to whether his courses were sufficient for him to enter his freshman year?

    BTW, we are not the only ones who have had bad news. BC lost Hannifin to an early jump to the NHL and Alex Tuch suffered a knee injury (of unknown severity) at the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp.

    • Yeah, I think the only debatable part of this is why the admissions situation wasn’t noticed earlier in the game. But BU’s academic standards are only getting stricter — the grades and test scores that got me in three years ago might not get me in today. So I’m not going to make any calls about whether anyone on either side handled it improperly, since I don’t know if it could have actually been resolved at all even it had been noticed earlier. Disappointing for BU fans, certainly, but at the end of the day, standards are standards. I’m willing to guess the timing is more what’s disappointing for fans than him being forced out, but that’s up for you guys to debate, not me.

      You make a good point about BC also. Everybody has lost some pretty big people, and BU is no different.

  5. I respectfully disagree with your comments regarding admissions as he was allegedly accepted well over a year ago. Also it appears the issue is about academics that occurred in Russia that should have been properly evaluated prior to acceptance of his scholarship. I do not believe his rejection is about his current academic standing which in my opinion is wrong. He at least deserved a chance. It has been clear that this administration is anti-athletic ! I am surprised they let in Eichel ! I believe if he was not on scholarship and paying full tuition , he would have been admitted. It certainly will impact B.U.s’ chances this season. No one can lose a top six forward at this time.

  6. Not sure if we can consider Letunov to be a top-six forward … as he hasn’t shown anything yet at this (NCAA) level. Perhaps Carpenter will be such a player. Nobody seems to be talking about him … even though he scored 35 goals in the USHL last season. I can also envision Greenway and JFK being top-six forwards.

    • I believe Max had more points then Carpenter , is 6 foot 3 and skates like the wind. He was a second round draft of the Blues. In my opinion he might have been the best incoming forward. He is the best recruit to ever go to UConn. A major loss that at this late date thatt could adversely effect this season. I hope Carpenter is as good as you think. He went undrafted and in my mind his impact on this year team is unknown.

  7. There is no doubt Letunov is a significant loss. He is a quality recruit and will probably be an excellent player for UConn. The admissions snafu is very upsetting. On the other hand, we are lucky to have Bo Carpenter. A lot of teams, including our neighbor to the west, wanted him. He too is a quality recruit and should help BU from the get go and for more than one year. Glad to have him in scarlet and white. Welcome to BU Bo.

  8. Larry,

    I could not agree with you more. I have personally talked to the coaches about this kid and they raved about him. Needs to put on some weight, but other than that, this kid was the real deal. Anyone who tries to rationalize otherwise either is in complete denial or does not know what they are taking about


  9. Of course Letunov is a significant loss. Still, we have a boatload of offensive talent without him. We will have four guys coming in this year and next who will be first round NHL picks. At this point, the loss of one recruit will not be a huge loss for us. Don’t forget we are returning all three defensive pairings … and adding McAvoy. That’s pretty much unprecedented.

    • I believe that B.U. has two areas of concern for the upcoming season, goaltending and scoring. The goaltending is unproven. It as the most important position on the team must be above average for B.U. to compete in the league and at a national level. The offense will be without the best player in the nation and the second leading scorer in the country. Replacing Eichel is impossible and his effect on the entire team will be noticed. Teams were so concerned with his line that it allowed other lines to prosper against other teams second, third and fourth line talent. Also the Eichel effect on the power play and penalty kill cannot be replaced. It would not surprise me if the team took a step backward this year and losing Letunov is not going to help matters, comparing him to Carpenter is not fair to Bobo. I hope that I am wrong and B.U continues what last years team started.I agree the defense should be the strength of the team, but I am concerned about the recovery of Matt G.

      • Larry, while those are two viable concerns, the strength of the defense will certainly have an effect on both scoring and goaltending. No defensemen were lost to graduation and you’re adding in a player like Charlie McAvoy who is a first round pick for the 2016 draft. This unit allowed the 15th-fewest goals per game in the country and they will only be better this year, which relieves some of the pressure on two younger goalies and one who is returning from injury and won’t make it necessary to score five or six goals a game, though they are still likely capable of at least three or four. So while yes, obviously losing Letunov is a big deal and obviously no one on the team or probably in the nation is going to be able to replicate Eichel’s production, there is still a lot to a very young team that has gained an immense amount of experience from the past year. The record will probably not be the same, but this is still a strong team. I don’t think anyone is discounting the impact of Letunov’s departure, but it’s not the end of the world. In terms of Grzelcyk, there are a couple exhibition games in the first month of the season and the team’s defensive depth will help shoulder the load until he returns.

        • Please do not under estimate the Eichel factor, he was generational type player that made everyone around him better. If you remember the year prior to his arrival both his line mates had,in my opinion, had below average seasons. Although I agree the talent level has improved , Hockey East is a very competitive league. There is not a wide variance from top to bottom.Most of the time depending on freshman is not a formula for success.It is huge step up in competition. B. U. was fortunate that many of last years group adapted to the league. Until you see them on the ice no knows how quickly or how many of this years group will become a factor. We will soon find out!

  10. and Larry … Letunov did have one more point than Carpenter … 64 versus 63. Still, his 35 goals had him tied for the USHL lead for 2014-2015. That’s got to count for something.

    • Exactly my point. It does not mean he will not be a good player , but the N.H.L scouts cannot all be wrong. A top six forward this year , may be a reach. However a bottom six forward and contributor certainly should be expected.

  11. Can we just wait and see how the season will go before rushing to judgement. . We still have a very good team and added a top notch defenseman and with a healthy Sean maguire back in net we we be fine …let’s go terriers!! Ty…big roy

  12. People talk as if we lost Letenov and then brought Carpenter in to fill his vacant spot. Fellas, we had them both and now the better one is gone

    I blame the haughty anti-sports BU admin. Wannabe elite university. Not even in Forbes top 50. don’t get me started

  13. Funny how Sarah et al seem to support the administration in the Letunov situation. Why do you guys just accept this “privacy” thing as not being able to get the real story ? You guys are really great writers and do a great job in and out of season but there are ways of getting the facts. It is a great deal when you lose a top center and will now make return to the championship game a long shot. Look at what happened in the last years of Parker’s career and the lack of academic accountability in many cases. To say we lost Letunov because of “standards’ is ludicrous. Does anyone think all the Harvard Hockey Players are Phi Beta Kappa’s ? I KNOW that many are far from scholars.

  14. The real story is the chicken little mentality of the admissions department that is fully supported by an anti athletic administration. Combine that with a weak athletic department and development office that never makes waves and this is the result. Can you imagine have one of the greatest player ever in college hockey and only selling out two out of eighteen games!

  15. “Wannabe Elite University”? That’s a pretty clueless statement. Troll detected. As for the potential of Bobo Carpenter, the guy lead the USHL in goals scored. How does that translate to being a bottom-six forward at the college level? It’s not like his goals were all empty netters. Obviously the NHL scouts see things they don’t like. Still, what is there about his game that would cause his prolific goal production to drop off so severely?

  16. Carpenter is a hard driving skater with a terrific shot. If I am correct he is going to be a power forward that will score. We all should be happy we have him. I wish we had both Carpenter and Letunov. Yes, we have to get over losing Letunov, but right now it still sticks in my craw and I blame an inconsistent admissions department that had a point to make.

    • It is more disappointing news that Steve has left the program. He did a great job recruiting. I hope it is a better job opportunity and not a lateral move. He was a scout for the L. A. Kings prior to his employment as associate head coach at B.U. It would be awful if his departure was influenced by the admissions department not allowing Max to attend B.U.. A comment or update or any communication on any of the preceding by Coach Quinn would be appreciated.

    • As proven the first year, the coach must have talent to compete and win in this league. Also one of our Coaches just left for an assistant personal job. is this a lateral move or a promotion?

  17. It was a promotion, almost double what he was making at Boston University, and he has a family with 2 small children I believe. I agree, the talent must be available to the great Coaching staff assembled at BU,and I believe that the talent is there /coming. I am as upset about losing a 2nd round draft pick freshman as well, all the other departures were due to the Coach being honest with the players and telling them that they would not see much ice time. I don’t know if there will ever be a player like Eichel, well,not anytime soon. So relax everyone, I think the team will be fine.

    • Congratulations to Steve on doubling his salary. I hope you are correct but it is tough to lose Max at this late date with no legitimate replacement. Not having #9 means upperclassmen must get better and freshman must prove they can adapt quickly to Hockey East, not an easy task.

      • I agree completely, and I personally am friends with the a couple of the bench bosses at BU HOCKEY, so trust me,it was a no brainer for Steve to leave for the NHL,I also heard that Max had a couple of “issues” that the school and Coaches were concerned about….

        • Every potential scholarship athlete has issues. If he was not qualified then do not grant a scholarship. In my humble opinion he deserved an opportunity to succeed. In order to be successful at this level both the administration and admissions must be on the same page as the coach. Clearly in this case they were at the opposite ends of the spectrum. In my opinion Coach Quinn will not stay if admissions continues to deny top end talent that have issues. I know from personal knowledge how difficult and unreasonable admissions can be in evaluating potential students.

  18. Well Larry, I think one thing we can all agree upon is that we who support the hockey program have a right to know … maybe not every single detail but much more than we now know … as to what happened with this recruit and why the timing had to be the way it was. Whether it is Quinn or admissions or administration, there should be A LOT more clarity than has been provided to this point. Of course I know it’s summer break now; so I will give it a little more time.

    • They will not reveal any real information. I have to call student accounting and answer questions before they will send me an invoice to pay tuition for my son. I think you are unrealistic about how B.U. operates.

  19. I think BU operates like an outstanding institution, perfect? Definitely not, I am just as angry as anyone else about Max going to UCONN.Classes have already started for the freshman at the beginning of the summer, why didn’t they know then??

  20. I agree that you receive an outstanding education, ready to meet the challenges of the real world. However I disagree with many aspects of how they operate. They fail to recognize that a premier Hockey program has a very positive impact on the University. In my opinion the almost want to make sure that it is not something that is special.

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