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

 

Culver Academy’s Dominic Vidoli commits to BU

The Boston University men’s hockey team just added a stellar find to their 2018 recruiting class as Culver Military Academy Prep defenseman Dominic Vidoli announced his commitment to join the Terrier family.

Vidoli is a grinder in a 6’0”, 170-pound frame, a force when it comes to corralling loose pucks and a terror on the boards. The Strongsville, Ohio native is willing to put his body on the line to stop a puck from sailing towards the net and should be someone Terriers head coach David Quinn can rely on to make sound decisions in the defensive zone.

In his first full season with Culver Academy in 2016-17, Vidoli logged four goals and four assists while compiling a +16 plus-minus rating in his time on the ice.

Vidoli improved his puck-handling and passing skills over the summer, and it has showed in the first 26 games of this season. The left-hander has poured in nine goals and 25 assists, becoming a staple of the Culver offensive attack.

With the likes of defenseman Brien Diffley and John MacLeod graduating, expect Vidoli to get a chance at filling in the minutes that these two will void. Should he impress over the summer and gel with his fellow defenseman, Vidoli could become a common member of the defensive third line in 2018-19.

 

 

Men’s hockey heads west for bout against Arizona State

After knocking off Merrimack College in consecutive nights last weekend, the Boston University men’s hockey team heads into the final weekend of January with fresh experiences on the horizon.

For the first time all season, the Terriers (11-11-2, 9-7-2 Hockey East) enter a weekend series having swept their previous opponent. Not only that, but this weekend’s foe is not just any ordinary Hockey East competition, as BU visits the Valley of the Sun to face Arizona State University.

The Terriers touched down in Arizona Wednesday evening, set to face off against the Sun Devils (7-14-5) twice this weekend. Friday night’s contest will be held at Gila River Arena, just across the street from the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale where the New England Patriots trumped the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in Super Bowl XLIX.

On Saturday, the two teams will head 30 minutes southeast to Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe for the series finale.

Facing Hockey East competition is nothing new for the Sun Devils. In fact, their last two weekends have been spent hosting teams from New England.

Being that the Pac-12 Conference does not have a men’s hockey division, Arizona State is an independent hockey program, allowing them to schedule series against teams from across the country.

In October, the Sun Devils split a two-game series with the University of Massachusetts Amherst. They met up with then-No. 11 Providence College last month at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Classic and were trumped 6-0.

Most recently, Arizona State hosted the University of Massachusetts Lowell and another New England troup, Quinnipiac University.

The matchup against the River Hawks (14-11, 9-7 Hockey East) yielded mixed results, similar to how the Terriers fared when they faced Lowell the second weekend of December.

The Sun Devils fell 4-0 in the first meeting before flipping the script and hammering the River Hawks by the same margin the subsequent evening.

Men’s hockey begins second half of season against Maine after busy break

A long layoff became longer when Friday’s game against the United States National Under-18 team was cancelled due to a snow storm. The Terriers will take on the University of Maine for a third time this season, looking to take the season series. Check out Liam’s preview for The Daily Free Press.