NHL draft preview: What BU men’s hockey fans can expect

Boston University hockey fans have reason to tune into the NHL Draft when it begins on June 22 in Dallas.

After a successful freshman campaign with the Terriers, forward Brady Tkachuk is expected to go as high as third overall and is the second-ranked North American skater in the draft according to NHL.com.

Tkachuk has not ruled out returning to the Agganis Arena ice for another go-round in Hockey East, but being a top-five selection would make it difficult for the physical winger to return to college.

The 6-foot-3-inch, 197-pounder was one of the Terriers’ most active contributors on the offensive end all season. He led the team with 23 assists and 131 shots, the most of any freshman in the country. His +15 plus-minus was the second-best on the squad and his 31 points were the fourth-most.

His performance on the ice was rewarded following the season, as he was named a member of the Hockey East All-Rookie Team. Tkachuk was a prime example of former head coach David Quinn’s recruiting prowess. Quinn had seven players selected in the 2017 NHL Draft after seeing four of his pupils selected in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft.

 

Tkachuk serves as one of the final gems of Quinn’s recruiting legacy, one which concluded when he accepted the head coaching job with the New York Rangers last month. Quinn’s new hockey club holds the ninth pick, but Tkachuk will likely be swiped off the board by then.

The two-time Hockey East Top Performer could join former Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien in Montreal. The Canadiens have expressed interest and Tkachuk’s NHL-ready body provides him with the ability to assist a talent-depleted Montreal roster sooner rather than later.

Another potential landing spot for Tkachuk is Arizona. The Coyotes are another team in need of a boost, as they have not made the playoffs since 2012. Multiple Phoenix media outlets have conveyed general manager John Chayka’s interest in selecting Tkachuk, who would be joining former Terrier Clayton Keller on a club which accumulated the fewest points in the Western Conference in 2017-18.

Unlike past seasons, BU will not have a collection of players waiting to hear their name called on draft night. Funny enough, the majority of the Terriers front-line performers have already been selected in previous years.

In 2017, Cam Crotty was picked by the Coyotes, Kasper Kotkansalo was selected by the Detroit Red Wings, David Farrance by the Nashville Predators, Logan Cockerill by the New York Islanders, Shane Bowers by the Ottawa Senators and Jake Oettinger by the Dallas Stars.

A year prior, Chad Krys went to the Chicago Blackhawks while Dante Fabbro and Patrick Harper both landed with the Predators. Take away Tkachuk, and the Terriers still have loads of NHL-level talent projected to be on the 2018-19 roster.

In terms of the players who have not been drafted, there is not too much chatter surrounding Beanpot hero Ty Amonte despite his name being floated around in draft speculation last summer.

Future Terriers:

Joel Farabee:

BU will likely have another first round pick in addition to Tkachuk. Incoming freshman forward Joel Farabee is listed as a likely first-round pick. The Cicero, New York native is ranked number 12 among North American skaters and mock drafts have him within the first 15 picks.

 

Boston Hockey Blog Draft Prediction: Top 10-15 pick.

Jake Wise:

Farabee won’t have to look too far to see another future Terrier being drafted, all he really needs to do is look to his right as his linemate with the USDP Jake Wise. Wise is expected to be the second future Terrier and third Terrier overall being drafted this season.

Boston Hockey Blog Draft Prediction: Late first round

Jack Deboer:

BU has one other incoming freshman who might hear his name called. Ranked number 166 among North American Skaters is Jack DeBoer. Although he is the son of the head coach of the San Jose Sharks, he is not a lock to be drafted. For a point of reference, current Terrier senior forward and captain Bobo Carpenter was ranked 119 among North American skaters for the 2014 draft and went undrafted.

Boston Hockey Blog Draft Prediction: Undrafted

 

Former BU committ Ryan O’Connell commits to Ohio State

Former Boston University men’s hockey commit and Toronto Maple Leafs’ prospect Ryan O’Connell has committed to The Ohio State University.

Despite being a seventh-round pick in last years draft, O’Connell did not play for BU this past season, instead, he played for the Princeton Vees on the BCHL.

BU graduated three defensemen this past May in Brien Diffley, Jonathan MacLeod and captain Brandon Hickey.

Former Terrier commit Tyler Weiss commits to Nebraska

Former future Boston University Terrier Tyler Weiss has committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha. In April, rumors started to circulate about Weiss potentially playing in the NCAA elsewhere. For those keeping score at home, these rumors started while David Quinn was still the head coach and the announcement to attend UNO came before Albie O’Connell had been named the new head coach.

Weiss is ranked number 90 of the North American Skaters for this year’s upcoming draft.

 

Albie O’Connell named head coach

BU announced Tuesday that David Quinn’s associate head coach Albie O’Connell will take over as the patriarch of the hockey team. Matt is currently working on an article and BU will have a press conference Wednesday to introduce O’Connell.

Here are our thoughts:

Liam: This is a smart hire. The coaches cabinet is familiar with O’Connell and he’s someone the fan base and new recruits can trust.

Eddie: A lot of what Liam said. familiar with winning traditions at BU. He played under Jack Parker and worked alongside Quinn so he has elite knowledge of what it takes to recruit and develop young talent. I am interested to see how much Parker or Quinn rub off on him in terms of coaching style.

Matt: I’m on the same page as Liam and Eddie. I always felt O’Connell was the best person for the job. He’s familiar with the program from both his playing days and coaching. Moreover, reportedly the players liked this news. I am interested to see what his coaching style is like and how it differs from Quinn.

A look at potential head coaches

It’s been a few weeks since the “David Quinn Era” ended on Commonwealth Avenue and the Terriers are still without a head coach.

Obviously, there are some rumors going around about who is in the running and who is not in consideration for the job.

Current Boston Bruins’ assistant coach Joe Sacco had been linked to the job, but according to Mike McMahon of College Hockey News, he is no longer pursuing the gig.

Current Union College coach Rick Bennett had been rumored to be in consideration, but per Jeff Cox, he is staying at Union.  It would have been interesting to see how the BU faithful would have reacted to a coach coming from outside.

 

Cox also outlined Shawn McEachern and current BU associate head coach Albie O’Connell as the front-runners, so let’s take a closer look at them.

We would like to preface this by saying this is an unconfirmed candiates list and that this is just what we have heard on the rumor mill.

Shawn McEachern 

McEachern is currently the head coach at The Rivers School in Weston, a position he has held since the 2010-11 season. Prior to his current position, he was an assistant coach at both Northeastern University and UMass Lowell.

McEachern skated three years for BU and is sixth all-time in points (186), eigth in points (107) and ninth in goals (79). After his time wearing the scarlet and white, he spent 13 years in the NHL and scored 579 points. He won a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburg Penguins in 1992.

Albie O’Connell 

O’Connell is currently an assosicate head coach on BU, a post he has held since since the 2015-2016 season. Prior to joining the Terriers’ coaching staff, he spent time as an assistant coach for Colby College, Niarga University, College of the Holy Cross, Merrimack College, Northeastern University and Harvard University.

O’Connell is also recognized as one of the top recruiters in the county.

In his four years playing for BU, O’Connell won four Beanpots and scored 108 points. He captined the 1998-99 team for BU.

In addition to those names, McMahon has also listed the following as being linked to the position.

Steve Greeley 

Steve Greenely currently is the Buffalo Sabers Assistant General Manager but he is not a stranger to coaching at BU. Greeley left his position as an assitant coach for Quinn’s Terriers after the 2014-25 season to take a job in player personal for the New York Rangers.

Greeley has been linked to NHL GM postions, so it seems unlikely that he will get the position.

Jay Pandolfo 

The former Terrier captian is currently an assitant coach for the Bruins. Pandolfo played for BU from 1992-96, highlighed by a Nationa Championship in 1995. His winning ways followed him the the NHL where he won two championships with the New Jersey Devils.

Pandolfo has only been an asstiant coach for two seasons and has the smallest coaching resume of any of the candiates listed here.