October 9, 2020 by Chad Jones
Boston University Terriers are always on the radar of National Hockey League (NHL) organizations. The 2020 rendition of the NHL Draft was no different. Two Boston University freshmen were drafted in the second round, while another was chosen in the third round.
The first Terrier off the board was goaltender Drew Commesso, who was taken by the Chicago Blackhawks with the 46th pick. With the very next selection, the Montreal Canadiens chose left winger Luke Tuch. In the third round, the St. Louis Blues selected center Dylan Peterson 86th overall.
Commesso is a six-foot-two, 181 pound 18-year-old from Norwell, Massachusstes. In 27 games for the 2019-2020 United States National U-18 Team, he put up impressive numbers. Commesso posted a goals against average of 2.05 with a .920 save percentage.
“(I had) a lot of zoom interviews right after I got picked,” Commesso said. “It’s definitely different than being in person, but I still enjoyed it.”
The Chicago Blackhawks goaltending situation is interesting. Corey Crawford was an integral part in Chicago winning the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015. However, he has had trouble staying on the ice and consistently producing the last few seasons. The Blackhawks announced Thursday that they will not be re-signing the 35-year-old Crawford in free agency.
Chicago’s second goaltender in 2019-2020, 26-year-old Malcolm Subban, is also a free agent. 26-year-old Collin Delia and 25-year-old Kevin Lankinen are the goaltenders remaining on Chicago’s roster. Delia has appeared in 18 games with the Blackhawks, while Lankinen has not yet made his NHL debut. If Commesso continues to improve, do not be surprised to see him competing for the starting job once he leaves Boston University.
Tuch is a six-foot-two, 203 pound 18-year-old from Baldwinsville, New York. The left-shot winger was also able to produce for the U.S. National U-18 Team in 2019-2020. In 47 contests, he compiled 15 goals and 15 assists. His 30 points were good for fourth on the squad.
“I think the past couple of months we’ve been waiting for this moment,” Tuch said. “Today was definitely really weird how it went down in the hotel instead of in person, but I couldn’t be any happier to share it with the people that helped me along the way.”
Tuch, whose older brother, Alex, is currently on the Vegas Golden Knights, was selected by a Montreal organization on the rise. The Canadiens have struggled since 2015. Between 2016 and 2019, they made the playoffs one time and were knocked out in the first round, but they were able to pull off a massive upset in the 2020 play-in tournament by besting the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Canadiens have shown a willingness to plug young talent into their forward group. Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki, both younger than 22, really stood out in the NHL bubble. Tuch has a real chance to wear the famous Montreal sweater in a few years if he continues to develop his offensive and defensive game.
Peterson is a six-foot-four, 192 pound 18-year-old from Roseville, California. The right-shot center was another Terrier playing for the 2019-2020 U.S. U-18 Team. In 45 games, he tallied eight goals and 17 assists. He was their sixth-highest scorer with 25 points.
“Usually (the draft is) a lot different, but it’s such a cool experience to talk to all these guys after you get selected,” Peterson said. “It was weird but nonetheless it was still a great experience.”
Peterson was selected by the Blues, who are just 15 months removed from winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. However, new uncertainty surrounds the organization with Captain Alex Pietrangelo reaching free agency. Also, after a terrific 2019 postseason, goaltender Jordan Binnigton had an abysmal time in the Edmonton bubble.
There are a lot of questions St. Louis needs to answer this offseason. Regardless of the direction this organization goes, young forwards with an edge to their game are always a valuable asset for an NHL team. If Peterson can concentrate on refining his overall skillset, chances are he will eventually crack the Blues forward group.
While the start date for the Hockey East season has yet to be determined, Terrier fans can take solace knowing these three talented freshmen will be a part of Boston University’s 2020-2021 campaign.
(Quotes provided by Brady Gardner /BU Today and Patrick Donnelly/ WTBU Sports)