Hockey East Preview: Boston College Eagles

250px-BostonCollegeEagles.svgCoach: Jerry York (24th season)

Last Season: 20-14-3 (18-6-0 in Conference, 1st) Lost Conference semifinal to Boston University

Losses: D Kevin Lohan, F Casey Carreau

Additions: F Jack McBain, F Oliver Wahlstrom, D Adam Samuelsson, F Patrick Giles, F Marc McLaughlin

Projected Finish: 1st

by Joe Barbito

With an 18-6-0 Hockey East record, the Boston College Eagles took home the regular season title in 2017-18, edging out the Northeastern Huskies by 3 points. Head Coach Jerry York piloted a younger Eagles team to a TD Garden appearance before losing at the hands of Boston University in the conference semifinals.

The Eagles failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament, however, due in large part to their winless out of conference record. It was quite the enigmatic year for the Eagles who dominated Hockey East opponents yet found themselves struggling against teams like Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan and Harvard.

It was a particularly unimpressive year for nearly everyone in the red and gold – Logan Hutsko lead the team with 12 goals and 19 assists, making him the only 30-point scorer on the team. Julius Mattila paced the Eagles with 13 goals on the season, and the only other double-digit goal scorer was Graham McPhee. Joe Woll also slipped a bit, ending the season with a .916 save percentage after what was a promising freshman campaign.

If nothing else, last season will go down as a testament to Jerry York’s ability to get the most out of his players.

There will still be many on Chestnut Hill who feel that the 2017-18 season was disappointing, especially given the lack of an NCAA tournament berth. What should make those fans feel better is the improvements that will likely come for 2018-19.

Oliver Wahlstrom will be joining the Eagles after a ridiculous 17-18 season in the USHL and USDP. In 26 games playing for the National Team Development Program, he scored 22 goals and 23 assists. With the US National U18 team, he scored 48 goals and 46 assists in 62 games. Wahlstrom was drafted 11th overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders, and is a likely contender for Rookie of the Year in Hockey East. He will bring a much-needed scoring touch to Boston College, and provides some star power that was severely lacking last season.

Jack McBain had a successful season in the OJHL last year totaling 58 points in 48 games. Standing at 6’3” and just over 200 lbs, McBain will provide a decent amount of size to the Eagles forward group. McBain was drafted in the 3rd round (63rd overall) by the Minnesota Wild in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

Another notable addition in the freshman class this year is Adam Samuelsson, who is mostly noteworthy for his monster stature. Samuelsson is 6’6” and 240 lbs and may just be one of the largest skaters in the conference. Not necessarily known for his scoring touch (4-20-24 in 62 US U18 games last season) Samuelsson will be a tremendous asset in front of Joe Woll. A solid stay-at-home defenseman is hugely important in a conference like Hockey East, so Samuelsson will likely find himself a decent amount of playing time going forward.

Rounding out the freshman class this season will be Patrick Giles and Marc McLaughlin, two depth forward who will likely compete for bottom six minutes.

Bottom Line: Never sleep on Jerry York. He is consistently able to make the best out of the worst situations and even if the Eagles failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament this past season, their season was one most team would have been ecstatic to have. Gaining Oliver Wahlstrom is a big enough boost to this team that they should be able to compete again for a top four spot in Hockey East. The real question is whether or not they can turn around and win enough out of conference games to earn themselves a spot in the NCAA tournament.

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