Future Eagles: An Early Look at BC Hockey’s Freshman Class
By JD Biagioni
Last fall, after an early-season conference victory over Vermont, Jerry York sat in the media room of Conte Forum for his usual post-game presser. Somehow or another BC’s recruiting class got brought up. When asked to comment on it, York couldn’t reveal specifics, but he said it was shaping up to be one of the better classes in his storied tenure at BC. In the months since, as the class has begun to take shape, York’s comments have been validated, with three virtual first round locks and a solid supporting cast arriving this fall ready to shock BC out of a multi-year slump. While hockey season is still a ways away, here’s an early look at the Eagles set to hit the ice for the first time with BC in the fall.
Spencer Knight G
- Knight will make an immediate impact for BC, likely becoming the team’s starting goaltender as a freshman. Look just about anywhere and you’ll see Knight compared to Montreal star Carey Price. And he’s arguably the best goalie prospect since Price. He can handle the puck like Jordan Binnington (I know, as a Bruins fan it hurts to write that) and he’s as poised in net John Gibson. He’s smooth in net and will provide a seamless transition from Joe Woll. Knight went a ridiculous 32-4-0 with the USA U18 team this past season, one that included experience against college competition. Last October he stopped 36 of 37 shots against then No. 3 Notre Dame. He also fared well against Michigan, Harvard and Wisconsin.
Jacques Bouquot LW
- Not much information out there on the winger from Connecticut. Bouquot recorded 29 points in 36 games in the BCHL in 2018-19. He’ll likely serve as a depth forward for the Eagles.
Drew Helleson RD
- Helleson likely won’t be a first round pick like some other members of this recruiting class, but he may just be the most valuable. The Eagles will have to rely on him to bolster a blue line that loses two captains, Casey Fitzgerald and Michael Kim. At 6’3’’, the big-bodied defender will be the only BC defenseman standing taller than six feet. He skates very well for his size and offers the potential to become a first-pairing shutdown defenseman for BC in the future. Offensively, he’s limited. His shot is better than expected and he’s heady in knowing when to join the rush. He was called a draft sleeper with a “very sneaky skill set” by The Athletic. Matt Niskanen was his draft comp.
Marshall Warren LD
- Warren is the opposite of Helleson in a lot of ways. He’s left-handed, Helleson’s right. Warren is 5’1’’ and 168 pounds much smaller than Helleson. While Helleson has been a draft riser, Warren has fallen from late first rounder to a second or third round selection in the upcoming draft. If BC were to pair the two, however unlikely it may be, they’d be an intriguing combination, as Warren’s calling card is his ability to provide offense from the blue line. For any Bruins fans out there, Warren and Helleson have the potential to be BC’s lite version of Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo.
Mike Hardman C
- Hardman is Boston College’s most recent addition for the 2019-20 season, committing in January after decommiting from Union. The 6’3’’ center provides a big body up front and has blossomed as a scorer over the past year. After recording just 23 points in 56 games in the USHL in 2017-18, Hardman, a native of Hanover, finished third in the BCHL in points this past season with 72 in 58 games. His 39 goals was just two behind the BCHL’s leading goal-scorer and one more than soon-to-be teammate Alex Newhook.
Alex Newhook C
- Newhook enjoyed a breakout season with the Victoria Grizzlies, notching 102 points to lead the BCHL. He finished 18 points ahead of the second-leading point-getter in the league; his 64 assists were by far the most in the league. Newhook also averaged better than a point per game in his seven games as part of Canada’s U-18 team. When he turns on the jets, there aren’t many defenders who can keep up with him. As evidenced by the eye-popping asset totals, Newhook is an advanced playmaker, but he can score too. Newhook’s small size is his biggest negative. He checks in at 5’11’’ but does weigh a decent 190 pounds. Still, he’s touted as a hard-nosed player who isn’t afraid to play in traffic. Despite the recent success, some wonder if BCHL dominance will translate at the next level. Whoever drafts Newhook (he’ll be a first round pick this June) will undoubtably look to next season as a barometer, seeing how he fairs against improved competition in the Hockey East. Various scouts have compared him to Brayden Point, Tyson Jost, and BC alum Cam Atkinson. Here’s a recent feature Sportsnet did on the draft prospect who is seeking to become just the fifth first round pick from Newfoundland.
Matthew Boldy LW
- Boldy has a very real chance of being a top 10 pick in this year’s draft. Another local kid, the Millis native has been projected as potentially the consensus number three pick, but he’s slipped to the double-digit bubble in recent weeks. This isn’t a knock against Boldy, as many draft-eligible players have been late risers. Still, some scouts consider Boldy the best prospect outside of Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko. Boldy plays a strong 200 foot game and particularly excels in transition and below the goal-line. In terms of pure athletic gifts and hockey senses, Boldy is as good as it gets. Boldy is more of a goal-scorer than a playmaker, potentially leading to a nice line pairing with Alex Newhook. Skating and consistency are his biggest weaknesses. One scout said his skating is improved but still average. The innate skill should be more than enough to compensate for skating deficiencies. The consistency is more of a red flag, possibly lending to comparisons with Oliver Wahlstrom: a supremely-talented player who didn’t quite show up on a nightly basis. The same scout who dubbed Boldy the most talented 2019 prospect, excluding Hughes and Kakko remarked “The lack of consistency is surprising for a guy with such high-level tools.” Boldy draws comparisons to James Neal and Marian Hossa