The NCAA season is still off in the distance but as we move through the final weeks of the summer, I wanted to take a look at some possible questions and concerns about the Devils college prospects. I pose a few open questions and give my thoughts. Let me know what you think in the comments.
C Alex Kerfoot (Harvard - JR)
Will Kerfoot stay healthy all season?
On one hand, last season was very successful for Kerfoot as he essentially doubled his offensive production from his freshman season. He was able to earn the center spot on the top line with Jimmy Vesey and Kyle Criscuolo and will be able to have the same role again this upcoming season as all of the players are returning to school. 20 of his 30 points were primary and he was productive at even strength (17 points) and on the power play (8 points). The only downside is that for the third straight season, Kerfoot missed a fair amount of time due to injuries.
A shoulder injury that required surgery shut down his final BCHL season in 2012-13 after just 16 games. In his freshman season at Harvard, he suffered another shoulder injury that would have him miss a handful of games. Last year, he once again had his recurring shoulder issues pop up and cause him to miss a few games. He was listed at just 5'10, 175 lbs. last season, so I'm interested to see if he has bulked up over the summer. Hopefully added muscle mass can help prevent the injuries that have plagued him the last 3 seasons. There is no doubt that he has some nice offensive skills when healthy.
D Steve Santini (Boston College - JR)
Is this Santini's final season at Boston College?
Santini doesn't turn 21 until March, but you have to imagine this will be his final season in college before turning pro. If it wasn't for a wrist injury that required surgery and cause him to miss half of last season and the WJC, he may have gone pro this summer. He already has the size at 6'2, 208 lbs. to go along with his high "hockey IQ". The defense first defenseman understands how to read the play, where to position himself, and is capable of either skating or passing the puck out of danger when in possession. He doesn't have a great shot, so his basic numbers won't pop off the page, but he does a lot of the little things right that help keep the puck away from his goal and help his team win. Another season in college should help him round out and further fine tune his game before moving on to the next level.
C JD Dudek (Boston College - FR)
What role will Dudek have as a freshman on Boston College after a disappointing USHL campaign in 2014-15?
Dudek's lone USHL season did not go according to plan as he had just 18 points in 54 games and was at times a healthy scratch in Dubuque. A trade late in the season to Chicago did help re-ignite him as he had 6 points in 13 games in a more substantial role with the Steel. Still, I think we all were hoping for a bit more from the play-making center when we found out he would be spending his post draft year in the USHL. The good news is that season is now a thing of the past and Dudek will get a fresh start at Boston College. How much playing time and what role can we expect him to have as a freshman?
According to Elite Prospects, Boston College currently has 13 forwards on the roster going into next season. With a number of returning top 9 players to go along with some more highly regarded recruits, it appears that Dudek will be in the competition for a 4th line spot to start his college career. There is nothing wrong with this as BC has a number of quality forwards and Dudek is a bit of a long term project for the Devils. Hopefully this role will help him acclimate to college and set him up to move up the depth chart in the future.
LW Miles Wood (Boston College - FR)
Wood will also be making his Boston College debut. What type of role can we expect him to have?
After years of waiting, Miles Wood is finally entering the world of college hockey with Boston College. The offensively skilled forward turns 20 in a few weeks and will look to jump right into the middle 6 of Boston College's line up. Everyone knew that he could dominate prep hockey but he did well last year to earn a spot on the USA WJC team in which he was used in various roles throughout pre-tournament and tournament games. He showed that he is able to use his size and skating to his advantage in winning puck battles as well as solid offensive instincts when attacking the opponent's goal. This season will really help us get a good idea of what type of prospect Wood is as we see how his game translates to this level. He is one of those more highly regarded recruits that I mentioned above when talking about Dudek and should have a great opportunity to earn some consistent minutes with Boston College this season.
LW Brett Seney (Merrimack - SO)
Was Seney's freshman season a fluke?
Seney had an impressive freshman season for Merrimack that lead to the undersized winger being drafted by the Devils in his second year of eligibility. He was one of the few bright spots on a Merrimack team that struggled to score goals and win games. He ended up finishing tied for 2nd in goals, 1st in assists, and 1st in points on the team. He had 23 points over his first 25 games. He tried to play through an injury but eventually missed a few games in the second half of the season and had just 3 points in his final 9 games. Overall it was a successful season as he finished in the top 10 for points per game for freshman (0.76).
I do have some concerns about him being able to replicate and improve upon that season though. He shot at a really high 19.64% which is due to regress and only put up 1.65 shots per game. Ideally, I'd like to see him get more shots at goal this upcoming season but that will obviously be hard given the team he plays on. The good news is that despite not playing on a good team, he came in was instantly their best player as a freshman. I also love his plus speed and tenacity which helps alleviate some of my concerns. It will be interesting to see what this upcoming season brings for him.
How do you feel about these prospects? Which player(s) intrigue the most for this upcoming season? What are your thoughts on the questions I posed about these prospects? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!