Friday, September 12, 2014

Elite Playmaker Adds More Skill to 2016 Recruit Class [UPDATED]

                                                       Photo by Dan Hickling
Terriers have added another highly-skilled forward to the 2016 recruit class. Avon Old Farms center Patrick Harper tweeted his verbal earlier today. A 5-8, 145 left-shot from New Canaan, Conn., Harper is regarded as an “elite playmaker” with a high hockey IQ. 

This will be Harper’s first season with the Winged Beavers. Until the prep schedule begins, he’s been skating up a level with the Mass Tier 1 18U Neponset Valley River Rats and leads the team in scoring with a 6-10-16 line. Following the River Rats’ victory in the Tier 1 Labor Day Faceoff’s championship game, gave Harper a “can’t miss” rating and added:

In-season with Rockets U-19 and Select 16's in Durham, June 2014: Elite playmaker who makes other players better with his enterprising hockey mind despite loving to have the puck. Slick player in all three zones: great hands, great feet and great offensive feel for the game. His hands are probably his most notable asset: capable of turning defenders inside out, but also capable of retaining possession as the play develops. Not the biggest player on the ice, but able to shift his weight and get off the center line when defenders try to take him out with a body check. Because of his quick stride, when he winds it up it can be tough to catch him. Good vision as a center – distribution is an under-appreciated aspect of his game because he does so much by himself.

Tier 1 Faceoff, September 2014: He looked like a premier talent within his own age group and retained that title playing against opposition two years his senior. At times, he dominated the game and left defenders scratching their heads at how he did the things he did. Went up against taller and stronger players but still found ways to emerge from scrums with the puck. Was tasked with playing center here and had no problems keeping up with the pace of play, even getting ahead of it at times. He’s a player, this one.

Last season, Harper played up with the New Jersey Rockets 19U squad, producing 13 goals and 16 assists with 2 PIMs and a +23 in 24 games. In 2012-13, he skated for the Connecticut Oilers 16U team where he was a teammate of fellow 2016 recruit Johnny McDermott. Rockets'  Head Coach and Director of Player Development Bob Thornton points out:

"Harper is a slippery-fast, elusive and skilled forward with great control of the puck and a nose for finding the net. He had great chemistry on our first PP unit with (A.J.) Drobot, (Ryan) Swain, (Chad) Krys and (Cam) Dineen. Because of his vision and speed, he has the potential to be a very good player for BU. He also has great upside and will only get better over the next few seasons before he sets foot onto the BU campus."

At the Fall 2013 College Cup event, USHR rated Harper as the fourth best performer, one spot behind McDermott.

4. Patrick Harper, F, 5-7/135 (Stamford Sharks) ’98 – The only ’98 birth year on a strong Sharks team, Harper lets his hands and vision speak for themselves.  Scored a creative breakaway goal with a Patrick Kane-like stop move to open the scoring against the Gulls.  Despite his size he wins his fair share of battles because of his IQ and understanding of body positioning. Will have a nice list of schools to choose from in the near future.

Harper's verbal brings the 2016 recruit class to six. He joins McDermott (Westminster School), Clayton Keller (NTDP U17s), Hank Crone (Omaha Lancers), Kieffer Bellows (Edina HS) and Vas Kolias (Youngstown Phantoms).

● Elite Prospects card
● SB Nation report
Boston Hockey Blog report

Freshman Jack Eichel and 2015 recruit Jordan Greenway will skate for Team Grier in the All-American Prospects Game. Team rosters were announced for the game that will be played in Buffalo on Sept. 25.  Head coach Mike Grier was an All-American forward at BU, member of the Terriers' 1995 national championship team and played 15 seasons in the NHL.  He'll be assisted by Don Granato, who is the head coach of the NTDP U-18's.  Eichel heads the list of top Division 1 freshman skaters compiled by The Hockey Writers.

►BU has released an updated game schedule with puck drop times listed.

Looking ahead
2015 recruit Charlie McAvoy didn’t make the score sheet in either of the NTDP U-18's games against USHL teams in last weekend’s USHL Atlantic Challenge.  But he made a strong impression with his play on Team USA’s blueline. SB Nation’s Jeff Cox opined:

"McAvoy was on the first defensive pairing along with Penn State recruit Steve Ruggiero in both games for the NTDP. He's a fluid skater who really moves well in all three zones. He's aggressive and challenges opposing forwards. He's physical, but doesn't take himself out of the play to make unnecessary hits. He has tremendous vision, which allows him to start the breakout as well as whip the puck around the offensive zone on the power play. He and Muskegon defenseman Joe Cecconi (Michigan recruit) were by far the two best defensemen present at the USHL Atlantic Challenge."

Looking back
Last year’s Terrier captain, Garrett Noonan is on the Predators roster for the 2014 Nashville Rookie Tournament. Squads from the Bruins, Panthers and Lightning will also participate in the event beginning Sept. 13.

Former Terrier blueliner Ryan Whitney (photo) told The Patriot Ledger that he’s open to playing overseas this season. Last year, the Scituate native spent most of the season with the San Antonio Rampage, the Panthers’ AHL affiliate. 
● Career stats

The San Jose Sharks will be looking for Matt Nieto to build upon his strong rookie season (10G, 14A), according to Blades of Teal and  (with Nieto slide show)

Hockey Buzz has compiled a list, by school, of all college players who have played for Stanley Cup champions. Six former Terriers have raised the Cup on the ice.  Both newly appointed BU Director of Hockey Operations Scott Young (1991 Penguins, 1996 Avalanche) and Jay Pandolfo, recently named by the Bruins as a player development coach, (2000, '03 Devils) have their names on the Cup twice. The other four: Shawn McEachern (photo) (1992 Penguins), Ed Ronan (1993 Canadiens), Chris Drury (2001 Avalanche) and Joe DiPenta (2007 Ducks).

Women’s Team
Kerrin Sperry, a four-year standout in goal for BU and the backbone of three Hockey East championship teams, remains at BU while pursuing a Master’s degree. She’s also still wearing Scarlet as a member of BU’s field hockey team. Details from The Daily Free Press.

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