Preseason Top 16: #15 Boston College
Howdy, folks. It’s that time of year again. Every so often The College Hockey Blog will be unveiling our Preseason top 16 teams, one by one. If you want to see the top 16 in order, and links to each individual preview, click the tab at the top of the page. Today’s team is #15 Boston College
Like #16 Northern Michigan, there were a lot of teams I flirted with putting in this spot, but in the end I went with the Eagles. Although leading scorer Brock Bradford (2nd nationally with .68 gpg) graduated, the Eagles had so many guys that took a step backwards last year that I am banking on it being just an aberration. For example, John Muse went from a 2.20 GAA to a 2.72 mark, and a .921 save percentage to a .904%. Ben Smith (25 G, 50 pts to 6 G, 17 pts), Joe Whitney (11 G, 51 pts to 7 G, 15 pts) and Brian Gibbons (13 G, 35 pts to 9 G, 28 pts) were all guys who took huge steps backwards in 2009. The talent level was still there, but the production was not.
Last year was a nation wide Sophomore slump for goalies as Alex Kangas, Richard Bachman and John Muse all took huge steps backwards. Muse is the lynchpin to this year’s Eagle team and has to play better if BC is going to improve on their 6th place finish in Hockey East. I like some of the defensemen who will be helping him out, most notably Carl Sneep who will have to show some leadership in his final season on Chestnut Hill.
There isn’t much that needs to be said offensively for the Eagles, they just need guys to step up. They don’t necessarily have to play at the level they did when they won the national title, but they have to be closer to 2008 numbers than 2009 numbers. BC will have to wait until 2010 for highly touted recruit and likely 1st round pick Chris Kreider, but some good depth will be in, like Kenny Ryan who played well for the USNDTP and yet another Whitney. Steve, who starred at Lawrence Academy.
It should be an improved year for the Eagles, who allowed more goals than all but 3 Hockey East teams last year. I think they’ll get back to being a home ice team in the playoffs, and barring some type of collapse, find their way back into the NCAA tournament.