With New Years upon us, we are not only going to see the end to the year 2019, but the end of the 2010s decade as well. So, in the spirit of the new year and the new decade, here is my all-decade starting lineup for the Boston University men’s hockey team. All opinions are my own.
Danny O’Regan – Jack Eichel – Evan Rodrigues
Comprising David Quinn’s top unit during Eichel’s lone season with the team (2014-15), this line set the world on fire that year. These three were instrumental in helping BU win the Beanpot and Hockey East before falling just short in the National Championship.
Sure, Eichel had one season, but the now Buffalo Sabres’ captain posted 26 goals and 45 assists for a ludicrous 71 points, the fifth-highest single-season number in program history, en route to joining Matt Gilroy and Chris Drury as the only Terriers to have won the Hobey Baker Award.
O’Regan was productive in all four of his seasons for BU, totaling 38, 22, 50, and 44 points. His numbers during his junior season (23-27-50) were certainly boosted by his linemates, but O’Regan, who posted 154 career points, still would have had no problem reaching the 100-point plateau without his impressive junior season.
Rodrigues, like O’Regan, enjoyed the fruits of playing with Eichel as he had 21-40-61 totals that season. Another Terrier in the 100-point club (121 total), Rodrigues was especially productive for BU during his sophomore and junior seasons, and, like O’Regan, earned an ‘A’ on his sweater during his senior campaign.
Honorable Mentions (Forwards):
Ahti Oksanen – Clayton Keller – Bobo Carpenter
Oksanen showed a lot of growth on the offensive end over his four-year tenure. A net-front presence on the power play, the rangy Finn improved his point total each of his first three seasons, putting up 25 goals and 13 assists for 38 points during his junior season: his most productive year at BU. With 115 career points, he’s worth mentioning among the best of the 2010s.
Keller only played one season for the Terriers, but still managed to lead the team in scoring as a freshman and was an integral part of the team’s attack. With 21-24-45 totals during the 2016-17 campaign, Keller was a key contributor in helping the Terriers earn a spot in the national tournament.
A four-year Terrier and senior captain, Carpenter was among the heart and soul of the Terrier lineup and another skater who improved his production each year before injuries forced him to miss 11 games in his final season. Another member of the 100-point club, Carpenter deserves recognition with this decade’s top dogs.
Matt Grzelcyk – Dante Fabbro
Grzelcyk and Fabbro were both captains during their junior seasons, with Grzelcyk returning to wear the ‘C’ for his senior season as well. Fabbro, a highly-touted prospect for the Nashville Predators during his time at BU, improved in both the eye-test and box score over his collegiate career, seeing his point totals go from 18 to 29 to 33 before signing his NHL contract after his junior season. With 80 career points in three campaigns, the door was certainly open for the d-man to hit the 100-point mark had he stayed for a fourth year.
Grzelcyk was a staple on the blueline for the Terriers during his four seasons, coupling steady play in his own end with solid offensive production. The Charlestown, Mass. native notched 95 points in his NCAA career, made even more impressive after an injury-plagued sophomore season.
Honorable Mentions (Defense):
Brandon Hickey – Charlie McAvoy
Hickey never blew anyone away offensively as his best season on that front featured 6-11-17 numbers. However, his impact was strongest in the defensive zone and in the locker room, providing steady defense and earning the captaincy his senior season.
McAvoy was strong in both ends for the Terriers during his two seasons under Coach Quinn. Finishing with totals of 3-22-25 in his freshman campaign and 5-21-26 during his sophomore year, McAvoy showed flashes of the all-around force on the back end that Boston Bruins brass and fans hope he will become.
Oettinger’s undeniable ability and consistency through his three seasons earn him the starting spot for the all-decade lineup. The Dallas Stars prospect was nothing short of dominant during his freshman season (.927 save percentage and 2.11 goals-against average) and kept the bar high in his junior campaign (.926 save percentage and 2.45 GAA). Part of what made Oettinger’s junior year so impressive was his strong play behind a sub-.500 Terrier squad that was clearly experiencing growing pains. Oettinger helped take BU to two Beanpot finals during his tenure, and the now-21-year old netminder helped lead the Terriers to a Hockey East title.
Honorable Mention (Goalie)
O’Connor was a key cog for BU, especially during his junior season where he posted a phenomenal .927 save percentage and 2.18 GAA in 35 appearances, helping the Terriers to a Beanpot and a Hockey East title. However, with Oettinger’s consistency and the way O’Connor’s stint on Comm. Ave ended – which we would all rather forget – he gets nudged out of the starting lineup.