Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Look at 2016

It's been a few months since the debacle in the third period of the National Championship and a lot has changed. For one, the most obvious, Jack Eichel is gone and so is Even Rodrigues. That's a combined 132 points for anyone keeping track. Matt O'Connor has also departed, leaving a hole in net (more on this later).
Matt Grzelcyk, Matt Lane, and Danny O'Regan are the 2016
Terrier Captains.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Not all is lost, though.

Dave Quinn has once again recruited a rock solid class of freshman. There is no stand alone phenom like Eichel last year, but come on. We all know that was a one time deal. That's not to dump on these new guys.

Jordan Greenway, #18
Greenway played 53 games for the USA-U18 team last season and posted 9 goals and 35 assists. He is an enormous 6-5, 223lb left hand shot left wing from Canton, New York. This past June he was a second round pick (50th overall) by the Minnesota Wild in the NHL Entry Draft.

Shane Switzer, #2
Last year the 6-2 defenseman split time between the Brooks Bandits and the Lloydminster Bobcats which are in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. In 52 games he racked up 8 goals and 26 points. Switzer was born on November 13, 1995 and calls Bloomfield Hills, Michigan home.

Ryan Cloonan, #8
Cloonan was a member of the dominate Boston Jr Bruins in the USPHL Premier division. In 50 games last year, he put up 20 goals to go along with 45 assists for 65 points, good for 5th in the USPHL. In 2014 he played nine games for Waterloo in the USHL, but returned to the Bruins later that season. Cloonan is from East Longmedow and is a July 1995 birthday.

Charlie McAvoy, #7
The Long Beach, New York native is widely considered one of the top prospects in the 2016 NHL Draft. He was ranked 6th overall by Hockey Last year with the USA NTDP, the defenseman recorded 7 goals and 33 assists in 63 games played.

Bobo Carpenter, #14
Robert the son of long time NHL standout Bobby Carpenter, played for the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL. In 60 games, Bobo notched 35 goals and 28 assists for 63 points. For both the 2013 and 2014 season, Carpenter played at Austin Prep.

Jakob Forsbaka-Karlsson, #23
JFK for short (still wondering how they are going to fit his name on the back of a jersey) played two years in the USHL with Omaha after coming over from his native land of Sweden. Last year in 50 games with the Lancers, he scored 15 goals and added 38 assists for 53 points. Forsbaka-Karlsson was a member of the Swedish U17 and U 18 National Teams in 2013. This past June he was selected 45th overall by the Boston Bruins in the NHL (Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that was one of the Doug Hamilton picks). According to Elite Hockey Prospects JFK "can be an offensively effective center; possesses a high level of hockey intelligence and plays with intensity. A smooth, yet not dynamic skater. An excellent passer; can turn a "nothing doing" play into a scoring chance"

Max Prawdzik, #1
A lanky 6-2 goaltender rounds out this year's recruiting class. Prawdzik played at the Brooks School, a member NEPSAC, where during his senior year they won the Large School league championship. He had a 1.39 goals against average and a strong .943 save percentage to go along with a 19-5-4 record.

And Starting In Goal For the Terriers...
Gone are they days of seeing John Curry and Kieran Millan and even Matt O'Connor last year play night in and night out. This year there will certainly be a goalie rotation between Sean Maguire, who is back after taking all of last year off due to injury and Connor LaCouvee. LaCouvee saw action in eight games and posted a solid 2.58 GAA and .913 sv%. Maguire last saw action in an NCAA on February 28th, 2014 against Northeastern, but was arguably equal if not better than Matt O'Connor. Lets not forget in 2013 he carried the team through the end of the year and into the Hockey East playoffs all the way to the finals before losing to Lowell 1-0. O'Connor suffered a season ending injury in middle of the 2013 season and once Maguire was the full time goalie he was locked in. He won 5 games in a row twice that year and in the middle of both of those streaks he recorded back to back shutouts.
Sean Maguire squares up a shot in a game at Michigan State 
in october of 2013.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
To start the 2016 season I fully believe there will be a goalie rotation between Maguire and LaCouvee, but I would not be surprised in the least if Maguire takes over and runs with the starting job come Beanpot time and into the playoffs. I just don't see Prawdzik in the mix this year. He is young (97 birth year) and has to fill into his frame at 6-2, 165. Could he jump out of no where like Curry did in in 2005? Sure. I don't see why not, but I just think there are two guys much more established that are in front of him.

Matt Grzelcyk
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Matt Lane, Danny O'Regan and Matt Grzeclyk are your captains this season. Grzeclyk will be out for sometime to start the year due to ACL surgery that he underwent during the offseason. There is no set timetable for his return and he was unable to skate all summer. He has since been on the ice, but in a limited manner.

"We’re going to take our time with it, though. There’s certainly no rush getting him back. We’re going to err on the side of caution. When they think he’s ready, I want to wait another few weeks", said coach Quinn in recent article from College Hockey SB Nation.

As for the rest of the defense, the team should be fine. Assuming everyone makes the natural progression from one year to the next guys like Brandon Fortunato, John MacLeod and Brandon Hickey will all be impact players. The Terriers lost not one (zero) member from one of the best defensive corps in the country, last year. Until Grzeclyk returns, Doyle Somerby will be the senior member of the back end. Freshman Shane Switzer and Charlie McAvoy will certainly will be in the mix, too. Brian Diffley could be the odd man out this year, but much like the goalie situation, there could be a rotation of sorts, at least until Grzelcyk comes back. Diffley did have a strong finish to last season and it will very interesting to see who gets the ice time night in and night out. It's a nice problem for Quinn to have, considering everyone of the eight defenseman on the roster can play at a high level.


The offense is a little more fuzzy than the D. It was said before and if anyone needs a reminder, Jack Eichel and Even Rodrigues are in Buffalo now. Guys are going to need to need to step up to even attempt to make up the points those two put up a year ago. The offense is going to run through Danny O'Regan and Lane, Mike Moran and Nick Roberto will play their same type of role and that' fine. It's the now sophomores that need to come up big such as Nick Olsson and Chase Phelps. I would not be surprised in the least bit to see Ahti Oksanen back on the top line like he was to start last year. He will be the finisher on the team because that is the only thing he knows how to do. Also, it doesn't hurt that he can shoot the puck a billion miles an hour. AJ Greer was mentioned in USCHO's Top 10 Forwards to Watch This Year article and I can' disagree. His goal against North Dakota in the Frozen Four was unreal and he really looks like he could break through and have a huge this year. The freshman will work their way in and I fully expect all of them, especially JFK and Greenway to have an immediate impact. Also, don't sleep on Robbie Baillargeon, the kid quietly just puts up points. Nothing too flashy, but gets the job done.

No comments:

Post a Comment