COLLEGE HOCKEY PREVIEW | Boston University rocks with four NHL Draft first-rounders
We’ve put together games and dates to circle on your calendar along with players and teams to watch this season. Check it out every day this week. Today, Dave Dondoneau looks at three teams to watch:
BOSTON'S ROCK AND ROLL BAND
With four first-round picks on its roster from this year's NHL Draft, Boston University might be the city's biggest rock stars since, well, Boston.
Adding to the beat is incoming freshman goalie Jake Oettinger, who resembles former Boston College goalie Thatcher Demko.
Oettinger is 6-4, which NHL teams love, and he backstopped the U.S. National 18-under team last season. The Terriers' roster is dotted with seven players who have competed on the 18-under squad, including a candidate for rookie of the year in Clayton Keller. He’s listed at 5-10, 175-pounds and is lightning quick with great hands.
Kieffer Bellows, whose dad Brian was an NHL All-Star and part of the 1993 Montreal Canadiens team that won the Stanley Cup, is a pure goal scorer. He was drafted 19th overall by the New York Islanders. Defenseman Dante Fabrro, selected 17th overall by the Nashville Predators, loves to move the puck up ice and is like an extra forward.
He could be paired with Charlie McAvoy, taken 14th overall by the Boston Bruins in the same draft. McAvoy led all Terriers defensemen last season in scoring.
Not enough? Well, there are some who believe incoming freshman Chad Krys, chosen 45th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round, may be their best defenseman.
The big question is not only how this talent will come together, but also how teams respond to playing a team with all this hype.
» Watch them on ASN: Jan. 16 at Boston College, Feb. 17 vs. New Hampshire and Feb. 24 vs. Notre Dame
GOLDEN (GOPHER) LESSONS
The last time a college team had four players selected in the first round of an NHL draft was 2006. That Minnesota Golden Gophers squad won the WCHA title, but lost 3-2 in overtime in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals to North Dakota. UND, incidentally, is the only team picked ahead of BU in the ASN Elite Eight.
Yes, because Wisconsin might be back as a national power quicker than some think.
When Wisconsin fired longtime coach Mike Eaves after going 12-45-3 over the past two seasons, the Badgers didn’t use just one coach to replace him. They brought in three alumni. Head coach Tony Granato and associate head coaches Don Granato and Mike Osiecki have been recruiting fiends during the offseason in an effort to speed up the Badgers’ return to prominence.
“I think the expectations for our program have always been the same. It’s to be a national contending team,” Granato told ASN's College Hockey Now (below). “It’s to be a top, elite college hockey program.”
They already had a great starting point in sophomore Luke Kunin (below), who was drafted 15th overall by the Minnesota Wild after his freshman season. They also have incoming freshman Trent Frederic, the 29th overall pick by the Boston Bruins.
» Watch them on ASN: Dec. 2 vs. Omaha and March 4 at Penn State, 8 p.m. ET
ASN'S COLLEGE HOCKEY PREVIEW
• Tuesday: Who's gonna fill their skates? Scorers to watch
• Wednesday: Who's gonna fill their nets? Goalies to watch
• Thursday: What to watch? Can't-miss games
• Friday: Who's No. 1? ASN's Elite Eight
Above: Chris McAvoy led all Boston University defensemen in scoring last season, (Courtesy ASN's College Hockey Now)
Middle: Wisconsin's Luke Kunin who was drafted 15th overall in the NHL Draft by the Minnesota Wild. (Courtesy ASN's College Hockey Now)