Bruins Prospects Season Recap

Stanley Cup of Chowder

NCAA

Matt Benning (Northeastern University)

Being a season ticket holder for Northeastern University, I got to see a lot of Matt Benning this season. His offensive abilities were evident from the start, but what was most impressive by Benning was his improved defensive play during the season. By season's end he was probably Northeastern's best d-man. With Josh Manson gone, he'll be relied upon next year as the Huskies try to make defense less of an albatross. It should also be noted that Benning registered points in just nine of his 33 games and only had five points in league play. His scoring was down from his previous averages, so hopefully that improves.

Season:

GP G A Pts PIM
33 3 10 13 28

Brian Ferlin (Cornell University)

Ferlin capped off his Cornell career with a team leading 13 goals and 27 points, including a run of 19 points in 18 games stretching from November through January. Though his scoring went a little cold down the stretch, his offense put Cornell in a position to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament. Ultimately, they fell short after losing to eventual national champions Union College in the ECAC tournament, but they might've gotten there anyway were it not for a canceled game earlier in the season. After signing an entry level deal with the Bruins, he'll begin his pro career where his size, his intelligence and his two-way game could make him a bottom six player.

Season:

GP G A Pts PIM
32 13 14 27 26

Ryan Fitzgerald (Boston College)

Ousted in the Frozen Four by Union College, BC's season ended earlier than they would have liked. Even for BC's lofty expectations, a Beanpot, a Hockey East regular season title and a Frozen Four makes for a winning campaign. As anyone who watched BC can tell you, the Eagles were fueled by their top line of Gaudreau/Arnold/Hayes, but that's not to say they were the sole contributors. Fitzgerald found himself alternating between 2nd line winger and 3rd line center for much of the season, eventually settling in on Pat Brown's line. He finished fifth in the team in scoring, but finds himself the leader in returning players. All signs point to Fitzgerald slotting in on BC's top line next season which offers a tremendous opportunity and spotlight for him.

Season:

GP G A Pts PIM
40 13 16 29 22

Zane Gothberg (University of North Dakota)

North Dakota's season ended in the cruelest way possible. On a power play in the final minute of regulation in a tied game, Minnesota scored to go ahead with 0.6 seconds to play. Losing out on a spot in the national championship game is one thing, to do it against your arch rival that you're playing for the one team that year due to conference realignment is another. When I saw North Dakota play at Boston University in November, the team was sub .500 and looked lost. In net, Gothberg was rotating with Clarke Saunders without any clear number one. Then Gothberg took the reigns and didn't let go. From the end of November to March, North Dakota went 12-0-1 with Gothberg in net and he allowed three goals in only one of those contests. After starting 2-5-2, Gothberg went on a tear, ending the season 20-10-3, posting a .926 save percentage (good for 13th in the nation). North Dakota's 180 was due in large part to the impressive play by Gothberg. The Bruins have a stacked pipeline in net and Gothberg is going to be right there with other prospects.

Season:

GP W L T GA GAA SV SV% SO
33 20 10 3 64 1.99 800 .926 3

Matt Grzelcyk (Boston University)

The best description of Matt Grzelcyk's season would probably be disappointing. That's not to say that Grzelcyk, himself, was at fault, as much as he was a victim of circumstance. His season ending injury did not allow him to capitalize on a strong WJC tournament and limited him to only 19 games. His shortened season was also hampered by a poor shooting season from BU. Though he led the team in shots, his point total did not necessarily reflect that. BU has an absolutely loaded recruiting class coming to campus in the fall (including American Hero Jack Eichel) so expect Grzelcyk's numbers to rebound in a huge way. Just save the narratives, please.

Season:

GP G A Pts PIM
19 3 8 11 14

Colton Hargrove (Western Michigan University)

Hargrove had a great sophomore campaign in which he more than doubled his point total from his freshman year and finished fourth on the team in scoring. Even more impressive might be how frequently he scored, never going more than three games without recording a point. Hargrove will return to Western Michigan for his junior season in the fall. If he can continue to develop a scoring touch, it'll nicely compliment his physical game.

Season:

GP G A Pts PIM
39 11 13 24 38

Rob O'Gara (Yale University)

Yale was unable to capture the magic of last season's national title run in the follow up season. They finished sixth in conference play and were swept in the quarterfinals of the ECAC tournament by Quinnipiac. Though not an offensive-minded d-man, O'Gara improved upon his freshman year point total and scored his first collegiate goal (four, in fact). O'Gara spent much of the season alternating between the top and second pairing, so expect him to solidify himself as Yale's top d man for his upperclassman years.

Season:

GP G A Pts PIM
33 4 7 11 30

Ben Sexton (Clarkson University)

Clarkson came out strong early in the season but sputtered in the second half before losing to Cornell in the quarterfinals of the ECAC tournament. For a recap of Sexton's season and career at Clarkson, be sure to check out what I wrote on him when he signed his ELC with the Bruins.

Season:

GP G A Pts PIM
35 6 22 28 88

GOJHL

Mitch Dempsey (Kitchener Dutchmen)

There's really no way of getting around it, Dempsey's 2013-2014 season was marred by an inability to get into the lineup on a regular basis. He played 20 games this season between the OHL and GOJHL but I had to go back in check because it didn't seem like he even played that much. Granted, he's still 19 and could straighten things out, but he's already been on three OHL teams and a Junior B team. Next year will be a matter of getting regular playing time, it's as simple as that.

Season:

GP G A Pts PIM
20 0 6 6 40

Europe

Linus Arnesson (Djurgardens)

Djurgardens won promotion to the SHL after a two year stint in the second tier of Swedish hockey. Though they didn't win the season, this was the ultimate goal. Arnesson's offensive output would suggest a lackluster season, however, that's not really his game. He plays shutdown d and starts the play the other way. This year he alternated between the first and second pairing performing in that role. It would be nice to see him increase the offense, of course, but the bar hasn't been set tremendously high. Regarding next year, it remains to be determined. Before the year began, I fully expected him to come over to the AHL following this year because he'd outgrown second tier Swedish hockey. With a spot in the SHL secured, he might want to stay. And I think I'd be okay with that. The Bruins wouldn't have him taking up a roster spot and he'd be able to develop further in Sweden where he'll be able to enjoy the fruits of his hard work.

Season:

GP G A Pts PIM
50 1 5 6 38

Anton Blidh (Frölunda)

Blidh was granted opportunities to play at higher level this year playing at the senior level in Swedish hockey both in the second and first tier, demonstrating the promise he possesses. He struggled to score in the SHL, though, indicating he's still got room to grow. He also found playing time was not guaranteed at that level. The good news is that he's demonstrated that he's grown out of age capped hockey and should remain playing senior level in the future. It's just a matter of him adapting to it and contributing.

Season:

GP G A Pts PIM
68 13 22 35 28

Peter Cehlarik (Luleå)

What I said about Anton Blidh would also apply to Cehlarik. He also found himself given increased opportunities to play at higher levels of hockey, though they were not without growing pains. Cehlarik, though, found himself in the SHL more often and he's still only 18. That could be due in part to the roster his team had to work with and I'm not particularly knowledgeable on that. Cehlarik was also part of Slovakia's WJC team, an opportunity likely not as realistic for Blidh, who has more competition in Sweden. Having seen Cehlarik play in that tournament, I saw the raw talent he possesses. It will need to be refined, but he can play.

Season:

GP G A Pts PIM
56 12 12 24 10

Maxim Chudinov (SKA Saint Petersburg)

Chudinov's point total has fallen from what it has been from the past few years but his time on ice improved after a dip last year. He finished 23rd in the KHL in defensive scoring and was a top d man on a team that finished sixth in goals against. Chudinov's shown he has the skills to play as a two way d man, but he's a bit small at 5'10''. Now 24, Chudinov is a six year veteran of the KHL. Whether he comes over to America for pro hockey remains to be seen.

Season:

GP G A Pts PIM
60 7 12 19 55
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