By: Matt Dresens
A casual onlooker may conclude that losing three players off of last year’s roster, all of whom have already played NHL games, would be crippling. That’s not the case for BU.
“It’s not about who’s leaving, but who’s staying,” stated BU Head Coach David Quinn. “We think with [Patrick] Harper, [Jordan] Greenway, [Bobo] Carpenter, and our goalie we have a really good core coming back.”
Charlie McAvoy, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, and Clayton Keller accounted for 23 percent of BU’s total offensive production last year. Keller was far and away the team’s leading scorer, posting 21 goals and 24 assists for 45 points, and was named National Rookie of the Year. The freshman phoneme signed with Arizona last spring, shortly after the Terriers lost in the NCAA West Regional Final to Minnesota-Duluth in overtime.
JFK played in one game with the Bruins last regular season, but had a strong training camp this summer, and could be in line to make the opening day roster for Boston.
McAvoy made an immediate impact with the Bruins last spring, dressing and playing in all six of Boston’s playoff games against Ottawa. He registered an assist on the game-winning, double-overtime goal scored by former Miami Ohio standout Sean Kuraly in Game Five.
“We’re going to try and carry the weight as a whole D-core,” mentioned senior captain Brandon Hickey. “We can’t ask one guy to make up for what Chuck brought. We’re going to have to do it by committee. If everyone picks up their game from where it was last year, I believe we can do a good job to fill the void with Charlie gone now.”
All that said, Patrick Harper was the second leading scorer on the team last year. Carpenter was just one point behind JFK, who finished third and Jordan Greenway was one point behind Carpenter with 31.
Carpenter played alongside Harper and JFK for the majority of the playoff run last year, and this season the junior forward will be asked to take on more of a leadership role.
“I have to be that player that everyone can come to and ask questions, make sure everyone knows what we expect when we come to the rink,” said Carpenter. I have to be that player who leads by example, and shows that’s what I can do best for the team.”
Leadership will be critical once again this season, as the freshman will be looked upon to make an immediate impact.
“We really feel good about our freshman class,” added Quinn. “I think they bring a lot of maturity for such a young class and they have a little bit of everything, from skill to size, to speed.”
There is a handful of freshman who can light the lamp, but most notable are Brady Tkachuk and Shane Bowers.
Tkachuk was recently projected as the number three pick in next June’s NHL draft by TSN. Last season in 61 games played for the United States Under 18 team (NTDP), Tkachuk posted 25 goals and 29 assists for 54 points. Brady is also the son of for Terrier legend Kieth Tkachuk, who played over a thousand NHL games and was a member of the 1991 BU team that lost in the National Championship, 8-7 ,in triple overtime to Northern Michigan.
Bowers, on the other hand, went 28th overall last June to Ottawa and is the highest drafted player in the freshman class. Last year for Waterloo in the USHL, the six-foot-two forward registered 37 goals and 47 assists.
Even despite the heavy losses, there is a lot of hype about this year’s team. Last week, BU was picked to win Hockey East in the annual coaches poll. In addition, the Terriers are ranked second in the nation entering opening weekend. It is their highest preseason ranking since the Fall of 2009, the season after winning the National Championship when they were also ranked second.