1. Boston University
The Terriers, courtesy of Brad Schlossman, lost just 21 points off last year’s team (update: Joe Meloni says it was more, big thanks). Alex Chiasson is a first team all-conference guy, Matt Nieto had a great Freshman season, and Chris Connolly provides some great Senior leadership. But the guy I like most is Charlie Coyle, who only had 7 goals last year but was Team USA’s best forward at the WJC and has all the tools to be a superstar. An experienced blue line will protect Kieran Milan, who had a .919 save percentage last year.
The Black Bears have two guys who were named first team all-conference by the media, and they have a huge Junior class. On the blueline I am a huge Will O’Neill fan, and not just because he’s a Jets prospect. The Black Bears’ main problem is in goal, where their best goalie had a save percentage of .894
3. New Hampshire
UNH lost its four best scorers, but they do have a lot of talent back. In net, Matt DiGirolamo is arguably the best goalie in the conference, and he has Senior leadership to go with that talent.
4. Boston College
I’ll go ahead and admit right now that I don’t get the BC love fest. Brian Dumoulin is awesome and I love Chris Kreider, but other than those two BC doesn’t have any stars. One of the biggest questions will be whether Parker Millner is who he was as a Freshman (.909 save percentage) or Sophomore (.899), though for BC to win the league he’ll likely have to be better than both.
The Warriors lose Stephane Da Costa, but still bring back Karl Stollery, one of the best defensemen in the conference, and Joe Cannatta, who is the other guy with DiGirolamo in discussion for best goalie in the league.
Northeastern lost a lot of talent from last year, as Brodie Reid signed with the Sharks and Jamie Oleskiak went to the OHL, but they still have some guys I like, such as Mike McLaughlin. Chris Rawlings can steal some games in net as well.
Vermont isn’t a very offensive team – Jack Downing was their only double digit goal scorer – but Rob Madore has the ability to be excellent in net. Sebastian Stalberg looks primed for a breakout year and North Dakota transfer Brett Bruneteau adds some grit up front.
UMass lost basically nothing from last year’s team – they return 11 of their top 12 scorers – but they’ll have to replace star goalie Paul Dainton in net. Freshman Jeff Teglia had a .855 save percentage last year, so they’ll have to improve in a hurry.
Nate Leaman takes over a program fallen on tough times, and he’ll begin having lost 4 of the top 5 scorers off last year’s Friars. Look for Derek Army to potentially lead the team in scoring this year.
Lowell brings back its top four goal scorers, and they had 2 Freshmen goalies last year, so they shouldn’t be devoid of hope. But they were tied for 8th in offense and last in defense last year, so don’t have too much hope.