Thursday, June 29, 2023

UPDATED Draft Day 2: Four Terriers picked; Twin forwards transfer to women's team; Mattivi returns

On the second day of the NHL Entry Draft, four future Terriers heard their name called, for a total of fivesecond most among NCAA schools. In the third round, 2024 recruit Brandon Svoboda went at #71 to San Jose and Gavin McCarthy was picked #86 by Buffalo. Aiden Celebrini was selected by Vancouver at #171 and Jack Harvey was the first pick of round seven, #193, by Tampa Bay.

Swedish defenseman Tom Willander had been selected at #11 by Vancouver on day one, becoming BU's 23rd first-round pick.

Svoboda, a 6'3", 210 lb., center from Pittsburgh, helped Youngstown--along with 2023 BU recruit Shane Lachance--win the USHL's Clark Cup championship last month. Sharks GM Mike Grier traded two draft pick to Carolina to move up to the 'Canes' third-pick and take Svoboda, a strong skater who plays a 200-foot game. He had a 16-10-26 scoring line for the Phantoms and will return to Youngstown for one more season. (Elite Prospects Page with Draft Profile) Svoboda previously played for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite organization.

McCarthy, the younger brother of BU fifth-year senior and 2023-24 captain Case McCarthy, is from Clarence Center, N.Y., and was a hometown choice by Buffalo. He spent the past two seasons with USHL Muskegon and last year had an 8-19-27 scoring line despite missing two months due to a leg injury suffered while playing for Team USA in the World Junior A Challenge. Last summer, McCarthy played for the U.S. in the Hlinka-Gretzky international tournament. His youth organization was the Buffalo Junior Sabres. (Elite Prospects Page and Draft Profile)  
Sabres GM Kevyn Adams was very familiar with McCarthy who grew up in the same Buffalo suburb neighborhood and went to kindergarten with Adams' daughter.

Celebrini, the older brother of Macklin Celebrini, is a 6'1" right-shot defenseman who played for AJHL champion Brooks. Like McCarthy, the North Vancouver native was a hometown pick who will join Willander at Canucks development camp before they head to BU. He scored five goals and added 11 assists for the Bandits a year after playing on Shattuck St. Mary's prep team with his brother. Both Celebrini brothers will be freshmen in September. (Elite Prospects Page

Harvey, a 5'10" left-shot forward, had a breakout season with Chicago Steel, generating 40 goals and 76 points. He was often on a line with Macklin Celebrini, the only USHL player with more goals (46).  The Stacy, Minn., native was a second team USHL All-Star and played in the past two BioSteel All-American All-Star games. He also has suited up several times for the NTDP U18s. (Elite Prospects Page and Draft Profile)

● Four Terriers Taken on Day 2 of 2023 NHL Draft

● Interviews: Svoboda, McCarthy

● Tribune Live Svoboda Taken in Third Round

● Die by the Blade Sabres Pick Gavin McCarthy

● Canucks Army Canucks draft Aiden Celebrini

● Lightning Take Harvey to open 7th round

Women's Team

As BU moves toward its first season under new head coach Tara Watchorn, the Terriers received a significant infusion of talent.  Twin sisters Lilli Welcke and Luisa Welcke, forwards from Heidelberg, Germany, have transferred to BU from Maine after both earned spots on the Hockey East All-Rookie team. Luisa was second in scoring for the Black Bears with an 8-14-22 line; Lilli was a point behind with 6-15-21.

The sisters represented Germany in the 2022 and 2023 IIHF World Championships and won a gold medal in the IIHF Division 1 with the national U18 team.

More good news : 2022-23 captain Nadia Mattivi will return for a fifth season as a graduate student. Last season she had a 6-11-17 scoring line and her four-year total of 14 goals and 32 assists. 

A longtime member of Italy's national team, she named top defender at the IIHF Division 1 championships each of the past two years.

Willander selected at #11 by Vancouver; Four recruits earn spots on Hlinka-Gretzky camp roster


Incoming freshman defenseman Tom Willander was selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft--#11 overall--by the Vancouver Canucks. The 6'1" 180 right shot is the 23rd Terrier selected in the opening round and the first since Trevor Zegras in 2019. The last BU defensemen drafted in the first round were Charley McAvoy (#14) and Dante Fabbro (#17) in 2016.

The Canucks, whose Director of Player Personnel is Terrier standout and former BU Director of Hockey Operations Scott Younghad been rumored to have strong interest in the Swedish blueliner who played for Rögle BK as an eventual defense partner for Quinn Hughes. 

BU Head Coach Jay Pandolfo and Associate Head Coach Joe Pereira joined Willander and his family in Nashville. In his interview with Rinkside Reporter Kate Pettersen, he referred to them as "next year's coaches."

                                Screen grab by BurntBoats

Discussing the Canuck's pick, Pereira told The Athletic, “You’re getting a guy that defends at an elite level that can skate, has power, and I think he’s the best transition D in the draft. I think you’re getting a great kid that wants to be a top-four guy and play in the National Hockey League.”

In his media availability (see link below), Willander explained that after BU contacted him, “I quickly understood that BU was a really good school, so I wasn’t interested in going to other places.”
The Athletic: 
"The pitch from BU was simple: Come play in a big hockey market at one of the top men’s hockey programs in the country with a track record of attracting NHL talent (Jack Eichel, Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk), under coach Jay Pandolfo, a two-time Stanley Cup champion as a player with five years of NHL coaching experience under his belt."

● BU Men's Hockey Twitter Willander Media Availability (discusses choices of NCAA and BU)

● Willander Selected #11 by Vancouver (draft videos)

● video (Selection by Vancouver, analysis, mentions BU)

Canucks GM Press Conference (Discusses Willander playing college hockey)

The Athletic (subscription) How Willander became one of the 2023 draft's biggest risers

● The Hockey News Canucks select Tom Willander at #11

● Willander's rise from B prospect to early draft pick  

In addition to the BU-connected execs mentioned in our previous post, draft selections were announced by Nashville Assistant GM Jeff Kealty and New York Rangers Director of Amateur Scouting John Lilley. Kealty himself had been a first-round draft pick by Quebec in 1994.

The draft resumes Thursday with Gavin McCarthy and 2024 recruit Brandon Svoboda among those likely to be selected.


BU got a bit ahead of itself, Tweeting this video on Tuesday. But today, Thursday, it's 100% spot on.


Looking ahead

Zellers, a 2024 recruit, tied for second in scoring at the Select 17 tournament with nine point (3G,6A). Hughes, also a 2024, had four goals. McNelis, a 2025 recruit, had six points (4G,2A). Defenseman Keefe, a 2024 recruit, had a goal and two assists. 

Monday, June 26, 2023

UPDATED Draft Day Approaches; A few schedule dates; Looking ahead

                                                 NHL Draft Logo Primary Logo (2022/23) - The 2023 NHL Draft logo in Nashville shows an abstract sound hole (their words) in navy blue with six gold guitar strings over it. On three of the strings are stars representing the state of Tennessee. A gold bar containing the word DRAFT in navy blue is a guitar pickup. The 2023 NHL Draft is held over two days, from June 28 to June 29, 2023, at Bridgestone Arena. SportsLogos.Net

The NHL Entry draft is set for this Wednesday and Thursday in Nashville. Three future Terriers should hear their names called: 2023 recruit Tom Willander is expected to be a first-round pick. 2023 recruit Gavin McCarthy is likely to go in the second or third round while 2024 recruit Brandon Svoboda is projected for the fourth or fifth rounds. Two overagers, 2023 recruit Jack Harvey and rising sophomore Jeremy Wilmer, also could be late picks.

For an EP Rinkside profile, Russ Cohen spoke with Willander about where he want to improve his game and what he’ll bring to the Terriers next season.

Willander's physical game is on point.

“I’d say strong. Mainly around the boards,” Willander divulged. “I feel like I am very competitive and will win a lot of puck battles.”

Willander sees a lot of his game in a top-line Dallas Stars defenseman. I don’t think it’s apples to apples, but there are some similarities for sure.

“I really like how Miro Heiskanen plays. His two-way game is really good. He’s strong with his skating. I feel like his transition game is super good. Not too flashy but very effective in the offensive zone,” Willander added.

His freshman season won’t be his first time playing in North America. In 2015, Willander played for Team Alberta in the Brick Invitational Youth tournament in Quebec. His father is a skills development coach for youth hockey and, for a while, the family lived in Canada.

Rogle GM Chris Abbott on Tom Willander: “Probably not under the radar at this point but he’s very good. He’s an incredible skater, he’s very confident, he’s physical. He’s got a lot of high-quality attributes. We haven’t seen high-end offensive instincts from him yet but he’s got all the rest

In the mock draft, Mike Morreale has Willender selected by St. Louis at #10, while Adam Kimmelman projects he'll go to Vancouver at #11. interview with Willander  ; Mock Draft has Willander at #11

The Athletic's Cory Pronman included McCarthy, who missed two months last season due to an injury, in his final pre-draft thoughts:  

McCarthy didn’t post huge numbers in the USHL this past season, but I see a lot of tools that could translate into a solid NHL defender. He has good length, he skates well, he’s quite physical and has an edge in his game. McCarthy played a big role on the USA Hlinka team and showed at that level, in the USHL and with USA’s U19 team that he can at least look competent on a power play even if it’s not his strength. I look at him and compare him to Maxim Strbak, who could be a late No. 1/early No. 2 type of selection, and I don’t see a ton of differences.

Some former Terriers and BU-connected folks will be doing the drafting as well. Rangers President and GM Chris Drury and Sharks GM Mike Grier are pictured here with new Philadelphia GM, Daniel Briere.


In addition, Jamie Armstrong’s dad, Doug, is the Coyotes’ GM. New Terrier Jack Hughes’ dad, Kent, I the Canadians’ GM and 2024 recruit Jack Pridham’s dad, Brandon, is the assistant GM at Toronto.

 ►A few facts about new Terrier Jack Hughes, who is transferring from Northeastern:

1.He scored five goals last season for Northeastern and one of them was a lacrosse goal. Wilmer Skoog has departed, but we could very well see his signature move performed again next season.

2.A 2022 Los Angeles second-round draft pick, Hughes was a standout at that year’s combine. He ranked first in pullups (19), third on the pro agility test going left, and sixth on the bench press. 


few more 2023-24 schedule dates have become available: 10/7 @ Bentley, 10/13 @ UNH, 10/27 vs. UMass, 10/28 @ UMass, 11/3 vs. N.Dakota, 11/4 vs. N.Dakota, 11/10 @ Lowell, 11/11 vs. Lowell, 1/13 vs. UNH and 2/2 @ UNH.  A Division 1 schedule grid is available here.


Update: According to a number of sources, a Thanksgiving Week match-up with defending national champion Quinnipiac at Agganis Areba may be in the works. Stay tuned!

Looking ahead

Goalie Max Lacroix, a 2024 recruit (previously reported as 2023), will spend next season with the new NAHL franchise, the Colorado Grit. He was one of the Grit's first players tendered. A Colorado native, he's the son of former Avalanche forward and later team executive Eric Lacroix. His grandfather, Pierre Lacroix was the Avs' general manager when the team won two Stanley Cups--including 2001 with Drury--and later was team president. Lacroix played the past two seasons at The Governor's Academy under Coach Brian McGuirk, a former BU captain.

● Incoming Grit goaltender realizes “dream come true” with BU commit

2024 recruit Callum Hughes is moving from the East Coast to the West and will skate in the BCHL next season.  The 6'1" center, a Basking Ridge, N.J. native, scored 56 points (14G,42A) for Mount St. Charles 16U last season. He's set to play for the Chilliwack Chiefs next season along with fellow 2024 recruit Pridham, a 6'2" right wing who had a 35-37-72 line for St. Andrews College in 2022-23.

● Warriors add four new recruits

Hughes is playing for Massachusetts in USA Hockey’s Select 17 tournament and has three goals in four games. Fellow 2024 recruit Will Zellers has a 2-4-6 scoring line for Minnesota. 2025 recruit John McNelis has three goals and two assists for Southeastern District. 2024 recruit defenseman Owen Keefe has one assist.  

Looking back

Shane Bowers was traded by the Bruins to the Devils. The 23 year-old center was acquired by Boston from Colorado last season. Originally an Ottawa draft pick, he played two seasons at BU with a combined 53 points (28G,25A) and was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie team in 2017-18.

● Bowers acquired by Devils

Elite Prospects Page


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