D / Boston Bruins
Born: Sep 12, 1989 (Age 23)
Drafted: 2007 2nd Round (35th Overall)
2012-2013 Numbers: Providence Bruins, 42 gp, 1-10-11; South Carolina Stingrays, 24 gp, 6-13-19. 12 playoff gp, 0-3-3.
After playing four years for BC, Cross made the permanent jump to professional level hockey last year, spending 2/3 of the season in Providence and the balance of the time with the B's ECHL affiliate, the South Carolina Stingrays. A big defensemen who put up strong numbers at the college level (5-19-24 in 44 gp in his senior year at BC), Cross plays a shutdown roll with some offensive capability. Alas, he's been plagued by a knee injury for most of his career, which leads to questions about his durability.
Said injury (and resulting consistency issues) also might partially explain his shuffling between Providence and South Carolina (where he was the leading scorer while there). Nonetheless, Cross led the PBruins in +/- (take that for whatever it's worth), and Providence Coach Bruce Cassidy has noted he has "Lot of composure. Makes plays offensively, gets his shot through. Played his off-side pretty well" (credit to Mark Divver for the quote).
Kirk Luedeke had this to say about Cross in May:
Upside: When it comes to leadership and intangibles like work ethic and selflessness, they don't make them much better than Cross. Good size, a big point shot and shutdown ability round out the former BC captain and two-time NCAA champion's package.
Downside: A major knee injury suffered the week he was drafted in 2007 has kept Cross day-to-day for life, as his durability will always be a question mark.
Outlook: Lacking in pure skill and offensive upside, Cross might have a shot in Boston as a bottom-pairing defender, but is not a sure thing to develop into an NHL.
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The consensus among many reporters is that Cross fits into the 'project' category, and our rankings indicate we agree (though we differ on just where his ceiling his). Regardless, it'll be interesting to see how Cross progresses in a second full pro season. By all accounts, the stint in the ECHL did him good, and with some of Providence's big defensive guns potentially making the move to Boston, Cross might have more of an opportunity to show what he can do - provided he can stay healthy.
Here's hoping for some more games like this one, eh? (Last minute heroics at about 1:45)