In part one of this feature, I covered the ups and downs of the Boston University Men’s Hockey team focusing mainly on last season. Now I’ll be looking into the future to discuss the same details but with our new recruits in mind. All opinions are my own.
The 2019-20 Terriers had a massive freshmen class, consisting of 13 new players. While some had played together in the US National Team Development Program, many had never taken the ice together. With the exception of Trevor Zegras, this cohort of freshmen now has a year of NCAA experience under its belt. Heading into their second year at Agganis, the team has likely gelled together, allowing for smoother plays overall.
With that being said, the Terriers will add eight players this upcoming season. Players like Luke Tuch, Drew Commesso, and Dylan Peterson spent several years playing together for the NTDP; Cade Webber and Jay O’Brien played together with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. Starting the year with these connections has proven successful in the past, and will hopefully continue into the next season.
Looking at specific players, I’m really excited to see what Jay O’Brien and Drew Commesso will do on the ice. After leaving Providence College and heading to Canada with the Penticton Vees, O’Brien earned 66 points in 46 games in the BCHL. His growth after one year in juniors, especially after an underwhelming freshman year with the Friars, really shows the value he’ll add for the Terriers.
The player I’m most looking forward to seeing in a BU jersey though, is Drew Commesso. Commesso was the starting goalie for the NTDP, and I think that he will be a massive asset to the team. NHL.com ranked Commesso third in a listing of the top 10 goalie prospects for the 2020 draft. With the second-lowest GAA (2.05) and sixth-highest save percentage (.920) Commesso could fill the hole left behind by Jake Oettinger’s departure in 2019.
I think that one of the biggest issues the Terrier’s faced last season was the lack of a solid starting netminder. The season switched between Graduate Sam Tucker, and mid-season addition, Ashton Abel. With three goalies to choose from next season in Commesso, Abel, and incoming freshman Vincent Duplessis, the coaching staff will be able to choose between three viable candidates.
Because this is more focused on the incoming class I don’t have many “bads.” Despite that, I will say I’m a bit shocked to see Cam Crotty forego his senior season. Crotty had a huge presence on the blueline and was a strong leader on and off the ice, wearing an “A” last season. Even though Crotty will be missed, I imagine that rising senior Kasper Kotkansalo or rising sophomore Domenick Fensore will fill his spot.
In a more general sense, I unfortunately imagine a January start to the season. The Patriot League, in which all other BU sports participate, has cancelled fall sports as a result of the Coronavirus. While hockey is a winter sport, we all know that the season really begins in mid-October. With that comes uncertainty about fans, conference setups, and travel restrictions.
Next year will be the first year where the majority of players have been coached by Albie O’Connell. This year’s graduating class began their career under David Quinn and switched to O’Connell halfway through; now the team has really acclimated to O’Connell’s style of play.
Despite everything that’s still in question, I’m optimistic about next year’s squad. Our incoming recruits will fill holes left empty by seniors and those who left early, and having a clear starter in goal, one of the best in the country at that, will turn BU into a force to be reckoned with. With an impressive new lineup, I’m excited to see what we achieve on the road to six.