Tag Archives: Mike Gunn

Luke Eibler to Leave Northeastern

April 24, 2012

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Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

The hits just keep on coming for Northeastern with the news that rising Junior Luke Eibler will not be returning to the team next season.  The news, which was first reported by Kristin Kim on Twitter, was confirmed to Husky Hockey Blog by a team source earlier today.   Eibler is 8th Husky to leave the program this summer.

Eibler, a Michigan native, came to Northeastern after a year in the USHL with the Youngstown Phantoms.  In his first year at NU, Eibler found himself paired with another freshman, Anthony Bitetto.   The two of them combined to put together a pretty impressive campaign.  Bitetto was the one who got the Hockey East accolades, but Eibler was a solid defenseman in his own right.  He managed 3 goals and 10 assists, but more importantly, he finished 2nd on the team with a +12 rating.

Eibler returned to NU for his sophomore season despite interest from the NHL, namely Washington.    During this past season, circumstances forced the coaching staff to break up the Bitetto/Eibler pairing.   The change did not slow down Eibler.    He had just 1 goal and 7 assists, but his +10 rating was again second best on the team. Down the stretch, it became clear that Eibler was the best defensive option on the team.  Losing Bitetto earlier this summer was unfortunate.  Losing Eibler is a catastrophe.   Northeastern has been hit with many losses this summer, but with the exception of Steve Quailer, none of those losses were extremely detrimental to the team.   This one is.   Eibler has been underrated in his time here and over the past 2 years has really developed into a solid defenseman.  The defense is now a gigantic question mark at best.

The Huskies have just 5 defenseman on their roster now, plus 4 recruits coming in.   Senior Drew Ellement is really the only sure thing.   Sophomore Josh Manson really came on in the second half of last season.  He should also be in the lineup every night.  After that the Huskies have  Junior Jake Hoeffler (4 career GPs), Sophomore Ben Oskroba (9 career GPs) and Sophomore Dan Cornell, who walked on to the team and played very well in the first half, but struggled towards the end of the season.  As far as recruits go, Mike Gunn should step right into the lineup.  After that, its anyone’s guess.   Former Lowell commit Colton Saucerman has missed most of this season with a torn ACL.  Then there are two kids coming from Canadian leagues that don’t typical put many kids in Hockey East.  Jarrett Fennell comes from the OJHL and Dustin Darou, who was once committed to Michigan, comes from the CCHL.   One thing all 4 of these recruits have in common is age. Darou and Fennell are both ’91s.  Gunn and Saucerman are ’92s.  All 4 will come with every chance of working their way into what has become a wide-open lineup.  Freshman defenseman generally struggle in Hockey East, but Madigan is hoping that he can buck that trend by bringing in some older guys.

One thing is for sure.  Its been a rough summer for Northeastern and we are only in April.  Next season can’t come soon enough.

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Madigan Throwing Darts at Canada, Adds Another Defenseman for 2012

March 8, 2012

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Jim Madigan and his staff are at it again.  For the 3rd time in 4 weeks, Northeastern has picked up a commitment from Canada.  First it was forward Mike McMurtry, a ’92, from the CCHL.  Last week, it was defenseman Dustin Darou, a ’91, also from the CCHL.  The latest pick up is another defenseman, Jarrett Fennell, a ’91, from the OJHL.

The big news from this is that the Huskies now have 4 defenseman slated to come in next season, joining the 6 defenseman that are returning (as of now).   While it hasn’t been officially announced, it is all but certain that Anthony Bitetto is leaving.  His not so cryptic tweet basically confirmed that.   Luke Eibler could leave, but there has been absolutely no talk of that so far.  The others should be back, unless they decided to transfer.

So it looks like NU will have 10 defenseman heading into next season:

  1. Luke Eibler, Jr.
  2. Drew Ellement, Sr.
  3. Drew Daniels, Sr.
  4. Josh Manson, So.
  5. Dan Cornell, So.
  6. Ben Oskroba, So.
  7. Mike Gunn, Fr.
  8. Colton Saucerman, Fr.
  9. Dustin Darou, Fr.
  10. Jarrett Fennell, Fr.

So what is Madigan doing?  It seems to me like he is just throwing darts and hoping one or two guys work out, kind of like Dan Cornell this year.  Or there is the scary possibility that Luke Eibler is leaving with Bitetto and NU is in need of bodies.   That would be very bad.  But there may be more to this.

Saucerman suffered an ACL injury around Christmas.  The fact that Madigan has picked up two defenseman since then makes it seem like Saucerman will not be ready for this season.

There is also the possibility that one of these guys moves to forward to even out the numbers.  The two candidates for that are Josh Manson and Drew Daniels.  Daniels, like his brother, originally came to Northeastern as a forward.   He played one game there this year when injuries left the Huskies with a shorthanded lineup.

Here’s the deal with Daniels: there is a reason he was moved to defense.  He put up 8 points as a forward freshman year.  He put up 9 in his sophomore season splitting time between forward and defense.  He had 7 this season playing only defense.  Basically, he is useless as a forward.  And he isn’t really the guy you are looking for as a 4th liner.   And the biggest thing with Daniels is that he has done really well since moving to defense.  Moving him back would weaken the D and not really improve the forwards.

Manson played forward a bit in Juniors, but like Daniels, he really took off when he moved to defense.  He got off to a rocky start in his freshman season, but besides the Beanpot game, he played much better in the second half of the season.  I think if he stays on defense, he will be much better next season.   But, he did show flashes of offensive talent once he got more confident towards the end of the year.

So this situation is definitely one to watch.  There is still the possibility that somebody else leaves.  But as it stands, there is going to be a logjam to get into the lineup.   As a whole, this defense doesn’t look that great.  Eibler is great.   Him and Bitetto formed a great partnership in there freshman season.   When they split up this season, things went in different directions for the two.  Bitetto was a mess and Eibler was the best defenseman on the team.   The Huskies need him next season.  Ellement and Daniels are solid defenseman.   Then its a huge question mark.   You have 3 sophomores, none very proven.   Oskroba got almost no time this season.  Cornell did, but seemed to fall off towards the end.  Manson is probably the only one you can pencil in the lineup for next season.   Then you have 4 freshman.   Freshman defenseman usually have a rough go of it in Hockey East.  If 1 or 2 can step up, that’d be great, but thats not something you want to be relying on.   Its a long way off, but defense may be a problem area for Northeastern next season.   But ideally, this would be the defensive pairings:

Eibler-Gunn

Ellement-Manson

Daniels-Cornell

Oskroba, Darou, Fennell

 

If Eibler leaves, disregard all of this and begin panicking.

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2012 Recruiting Class: Projecting Next Year’s Roster

February 23, 2012

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Incoming: 6

Jon Gillies, Goalie, Indiana Ice (USHL), 18 years old

Mike Gunn, Defenseman, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL), 20 years old

Colton Saucerman, Defenseman, Lincoln Stars (USHL), 20 years old

Cam Darcy, Forward, US National Team Development Program, 18 years old

Ryan Belonger, Forward, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) , 20 years old

Michael McMurtry, Forward, Gloucester Rangers (CCHL), 20 years old

This class is not without its question marks.   Jon Gillies will be picked in the NHL Entry Draft this summer and Patrick Roy’s QMJHL team (Quebec Ramparts) owns Gillies rights.  The team that drafts him could try to push him down that road.  But really it all depends on Chris Rawlings.  If he leaves, Gillies will be here next year to take over.  If he stays, Gillies will probably go the MJ route and Northeastern will miss out on one of the best goaltenders in this group.  Colton Saucerman suffered a serious knee injury in December and he is out for the rest of the season.   I have no idea if he will be ready for the start of next season, but I would guess no.   Since he is already 20 years old, Saucerman will be here next season, but he may be redshirted.   Cam Darcy is also eligible for the NHL draft, but he is a local kid and since he will probably be a later rounder pick, there won’t be much pressure from an NHL team to go MJ.   Ryan Belonger will definitely be here along with Michael McMurtry, who was recently announced.  Belonger will be a lower line guy most likely, but he will be in the lineup.  McMurtry is by all indications a recruited walk-on.

Definitely Outgoing: 1

Mike McLaughlin, Graduation

The Captain is the lone senior on the team.   He will graduate in May and plans on attending Grad School.  McLaughlin has been named to the Hockey East All-Academic in all 3 of the previous seasons.

Possibly Outgoing:

Steve Quailer, Graduation

Alex Tuckerman, Graduation

Vinny Saponari, Jets

Anthony Bitetto, Predators

Ludwig Karlsson, Pros

Chris Rawlings, Pros

Luke Eibler, Pros

Braden Pimm, Pros

Joe Manno, Pros/MJ

All of these guys are not leaving, but its pretty likely that some of them will.  Thats just the way it goes in college hockey.  You could put almost the whole team on this list, but I would say these are the guys that are the most likely to either receive offers/consider offers.

Quailer and Tuckerman are an exception however.  Both have only used 3 years of eligibility due to missing a full season with an injury.  Both should be graduating this May, which leaves them with a decision.   They could stay and enroll in Grad School in order to play one more season or they could just get on with their careers.   Quailer is a Canadiens draft pick. And if the Canadiens do not sign him this summer, then they will lose his rights.   Quailer has been much better this season and the Canadiens are probably going to want him.  So while he is not officially gone, it seems like a near certainty.   Tuckerman, on the other hand, is not drafted by any NHL team.  If he leaves he will likely find himself playing in the ECHL, so there is a chance he stays and enrolls in Grad School.

Bitetto would be a Junior next year, but he could probably play in the AHL next year if he wants to. The soon to be 22 year old has had an up and down, but the Predators like him and he did attend their Rookie Development camp this past summer.  If he does go, lets hope he takes his buddy from Comm Ave, Garrett Noonan (also a Predators draft pick), with him.    Saponari is the other guy on the list that has already been drafted.   The Georgia native was drafted by his hometown Trashers, but they now moved to Winnipeg.  This is his first year at Northeastern after playing two at BU, but he is already 22, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he were to begin his pro career after this season.  That said, he may have unfinished business in the NCAA and he worked hard to return to Hockey East after getting kicked out of BU, so he may stay and finish his degree/eligibility.

The next group is a little different.  None of them were drafted but all could sign with any NHL team as a free agent if they want.  Rawlings, 23, seems most likely to leave.   There was been speculation after each of his first two season that he would leave and sign a pro deal, but each time he has returned.  The rumor mill suggests that he stayed this year since his girlfriend was still in school.  She is graduating this year and it seems like this is the year Rawlings finally makes the jump after attending multiple NHL summer training camps the past couple of season.  Next is Karlsson, who just turned 21.  The Swede has had a tremendous freshman season that will have likely earned some offers.  The situation will remind fans of Brodie Reid and Jake Newton, who both left after good freshman campaigns.   Karlsson has been much better than Reid was, and Reid’s stats were boosted by his great play on the PP unit.  Karlsson will get these offers, and since he is unlikely to stay 4 years and graduate at 25, he will be seriously considering those offers.  Eibler would be a 22 year old Junior next season.  The Capitals were interested in him last summer, but he decided to stay.   He has been a solid presence for Northeastern and I wouldn’t be shocked if he decides to leave.   I wouldn’t consider it very likely though.   Pimm would also be a Junior next season, and he is already 22.  He has been great so far this season and I am sure a few teams will be interested.  Pimm is a bit of a wild card on and off the ice, so there is no use in speculating what he may do.  But he will be given the chance to leave, if he is interested.

The last guy on the list is Joseph Manno.   Manno is draft eligible this summer.  He has had a quiet season, but he projects to be a late round pick this summer.  Depending on who drafts him and how he has enjoyed his first year of college, Manno could choose to return home to his native Canada to play Major Juniors.   After decommitting from UMass last summer, he went that route and he has many friends that play there.   NU fans will be hoping he stays though, as he has shown some potential this season and could be in line for Top 6 time next season.

2012 Projections

Theses are purely speculative.  Everything I know and have heard is written above.  These are just my guesses/gut feelings.

Goalies: Gillies, Witt, Mountain

Defenseman: Eibler-Manson, Ellement-Daniels, Gunn-Cornell  (Oskroba, Hoeffler)

Forwards: Saponari-Daniels-Manno, Vermeersch-Pimm-Ferriero (when healthy), Vrolyk-Darcy-Reid, Dongara-Stone-Belonger (Morra, McMurtry)

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Recruit Update

January 11, 2012

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Cam Darcy, F, USNTDP, 2012: Husky fans who made an appearance at the exhibition against the USNTDP Saturday night were given the opportunity to see Darcy in action. It was a homecoming of sorts for the Boston native, with family and friends in attendance. Darcy played well and received a nice Matthews Arena welcome (“We want Darcy!”). Darcy is a heady player and is an effective penalty killer for the team. A lot of young players don’t play the puck effectively nowadays. It’s nice to see that the Huskies have someone who does that well coming their way. Team USA won the bout 7-4, and Darcy centered a line with two BC recruits on his wings with Frankie Vatrano and Brendan Silk.

Ryan Belonger, F, Youngstown (USHL), 2012: Belonger finds himself on a team fighting for wins, but the forward continues to have an impressive season with 10 goals and 21 points in 29 games.

Mike Gunn, D, Youngstown (USHL), 2012: The 6’3″ defenseman finds himself +14 for the season, and appears to have assisted on a couple of Belonger’s goals. The chemistry is encouraging.

Jon Gillies, G, Indiana (USHL), 2012: Gillies is having one heck of a year. The Ice are 8-0-2 in their past 10 games. Gillies, who is one of the headliners in a showcase of USHL talent coming up, was named USHL goaltender of the week last week. He is 17-5-4 on the season with a .928 save percentage and a 2.28 GAA, and could be looking at the top two rounds of the NHL draft in June if he keeps it up. The young tender has stated that he is “100% committed” to Northeastern recently. If this stays the case, he would be a heck of an addition to an already promising program.

Colton Saucerman, D, Lincoln (USHL), 2012: Saucerman is undersized for a defenseman, but he makes up for it in his excellent offensive production, with 14 points in 24 games and a +11 rating.   His season however has been cut short due to a torn ACL he suffered last week.  He will the rest of the season and it will be interesting to see how this affects next year’s plan.   Saucerman turns 20 in May, so he will likely be here next year, even if he has to redshirt or miss part of the season.

Zachary Aston-Reese, F, Lincoln (USHL), 2013: Saucerman’s younger teammate was selected to join Jon Gillies for the USHL showcase. He has 11 points in 28 games.

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Recruit Update: 12/14

December 14, 2011

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No major news for Northeastern in terms of recruits.  Ryan Renz officially won’t be joining the Huskies, but that was obvious when he didnt come this fall.  Not really a loss since NU has already picked up better defenseman and Renz has not committed anywhere else.  No incomings either.  Next season’s class is pretty much set barring a major change.  So Madigan and his staff are probably focused on 2013 and beyond now.  Here is who all of the current recruits have been doing this year:

2012

Jon Gilles (G, Indiana Ice) continues to impress. This past week, he won USHL Player of the Week.  With all signs pointing towards a Rawlings exit, Northeastern cannot afford to lose Gillies to Major Juniors.  This radio interview makes it seem like he will probably be here, but MJ is probably going to come after him pretty hard and who could blame him for taking the chance to play for Patrick Roy’s team?  He has a 2.50 GAA (6th in USHL) and .922 SV Percentage (2nd) through 20 games this year.  He has played all but 2 games for his team.

Ryan Belonger (F, Youngstown Phantoms) is leading his team in penalty minutes with 44 in 21 games. But, 31 of those 44 have come in 2 games due to fights and misconduct.  He is also 3rd on his team with goals with 9 and 4th on his team in points with 15.

Mike Gunn (D, Youngstown Phantoms) is a +13 through 21 games, which is the 8th best in the entire league.  Gunn was a -13 last year in a half season with Chicago, so clearly the move to Youngstown has been a good one for him.

Colton Saucerman (D, Lincoln Stars) may be just what Northeastern needs on the Power Play.  Through 20 games he has a 3-8-11 line.  All 3 of those 3 goals, along with 3 of the assists have come on the Power Play.  His 11 points have him tied for 8th among defenseman.    Saucerman has just 10 penalty minutes on the year, which is extremely low for a defenseman.

Cam Darcy (F, USNTDP) has a 2-5-7 line in 26 games in all action.  Remember that since he plays for the USNTDP team, these games are not only against USHL opponents, but also some exhibitions against college or international teams.   Darcy and the USNTDP will visit Matthews Arena January 7th, so be sure to check him out. The talent is there.

2013

Garrett Cockerill (D, Muskegon Lumberjacks) has only appeared in 2 games for Muskegon this year.  He has spent most of his team with the Compuware U18 team that he played for last year.

Zach Aston-Reese (F, Lincoln Stars) has gotten off to a slow start.  He has a 3-6-9 line in 21 games for a Lincoln team that is currently in 1st place.  He finished last year with just 5 points from 25 games with Lincoln.

Nathan Ferriero (F, Governor’s Academy) has just begun his Junior year at GA, who play in the ISL.  The plan appears for Nate to come right from prep school, just like his brothers Cody and Benn (at BC) did.  Its rare that a kid doesn’t spend at least a year in juniors.  Cody struggled in his first year here as an 18 year old, but really has turned it on this year.  It will be interesting to see if Nate will take a similiar path.

Ross Olsson (F, Williston Northampton) has also entered his Junior season in the Prep League.  He picked up a goal the other night, but his team is 0-4 on the season.

2014

Dylan McLaughlin (F, Sioux Falls Stampede) has appeared in 11 games in his first USHL season.  He has an 0-2-2 line.  McLaughlin is just 16 years old, so he has plenty of time to develop and grow.

Daniel Whillet (D, NJ Rockets) has split time between the AJHL and the MJHL teams for the Rockets organization.  He is currently in the lower of the two leagues, the MJHL, where the 15 year old has spent much of his time this season.

2016

Cam Askew (F, Valley Jr Warriors) is absolutely tearing it up in the EJHL.  He has 21 points in 12 games. which is 3rd best on his team.  Askew, who is just 14, is seeing action as a freshman for St. Sebastians as well.  He picked up a hat trick against Milton Academy earlier this month.  The game also marked his first varsity goal.

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Cam Askew Commits to Northeastern, plus Recruit Updates

November 21, 2011

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There is nothing wrong with planning ahead and thats exactly what Coach Madigan has done by getting a commitment from Cam Askew.  Askew, a forward, is currently in 8th grade at St. Sebastian’s.  He is a ’97 birthdate and is planning to be here for 2016.

It is interesting to say the least.  Askew is apparently one of the best in his age group and its great to see Madigan and Northeastern getting a local kid before BC or BU can get their hands on him.  But its hard to get excited over someone 5 years away.  There is plenty of time for him to change his mind or go the Major Juniors route.  And there is no guarantee that he continues to develop like he has. So kudos for getting the commitment, but lets not get too excited yet.  We just hope it doesnt end up like the Chris Student situation.

2012

Jon Gillies has signed his National Letter of Intent to come here next season. Which probably means Rawlings will be leaving for the pros.  Gillies is 7-3 with a 2.44 GAA and a .913 SV % so far this season with the Indiana Ice of the USHL.

Cam Darcy and the USNTDP U-18 won the Four Nations tournament in Switzerland last week.  Darcy had an assist.

The other forward from next year’s class, Ryan Belonger has racked up 39 Penalty Minutes in just 15 games.  He also has 6 goals and 6 assists.  We can only hope he is the second coming of Dennis McCauley.

Defenseman Mike Gunn, who plays with Belonger for Youngstown, has a 1-4-5 line through 15 games.   He is also a +13 on the season.  With Gunn and Colton Saucerman (1-5-6, +3) coming in next season and no defenseman graduating, it could be a real battle for lineup spots on the blue line.  It will be interesting to see how that situation plays out.

2013

Defenseman Garrett Cockerill is making the jump up to the USHL this year with the Muskegon Lumberjacks.  In 2 games, he has yet to register a point but he is a +3.

Forward Zach Aston-Reese is off to a slow start with just 2 goals and 2 assists in his first 12 games.

Ross Olsson, who is from Billerica, is playing with the Eastern Mass Senators U18 team this season.

Nathan Ferriero is playing for the Governor’s Academy.

2014

Daniel Whillet has 5-9-14 line in 15 games for the New Jersey Rockets in the Atlantic Metropolitan Hockey League.

Dylan McLaughlin has joined the Sioux Falls Stampede for his first season in the USHL.  Through 5 games, he has 2 assists.

Overview

So no real big news with any of the recruits in terms of stats.  Its good to see McLaughlin and Cockerill playing in the USHL at such a young age.  And its really good to see some local kids commit.  Olsson, Darcy and Askew are all from Massachusetts.  Obviously you want the best players available, but its always good when you get local talent.  This year’s team has 5 players from Massachusetts (Tuckerman, Dongara, Vrolyk, Ferriero and Cornell) and it’d be nice to keep that going.

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Huskies Add Another Defenseman For Next Season

November 1, 2011

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Colton Saucerman, a defenseman from Colorado Springs, has committed to play for the Huskies next season.  Saucerman was previously committed to Lowell for this season, but decided not to go after the coachingchange.  He didn’t “feel like he meshed with the new staff”.   So instead, he is spending a year in the USHL with Lincoln, where he plays with another Husky commit, Zach Aston-Reese.  He also plays with Mike McKee, the defenseman who recently decommitted.

In 68 career games in the USHL, he has a line of 3-6-9 and he is a -15.   He spent most of last season in the NAHL where he was a -13, but he did have 34 points in 39 games.

This should just about wrap up the Huskies recruiting for next season.   It doesn’t look like Ryan Renz will be coming.  This also shows that Madigan is not happy with the defense.   Drew Ellement and Drew Daniels will be seniors.  Anthony Bitetto (if he comes back) and Luke Eibler will be Juniors.  Josh Manson, Ben Oskroba, and Dan Cornell will all be Sophomores.  Jake Hoeffler will be a Junior, but he is unlikely to ever see the ice.

So if everyone comes back thats 7, not counting Hoeffler.   Mike Gunn and Saucerman will make that 9.  So Madigan appears to be preparing for a possible early departure by either Bitetto and Eibler.   Bitetto was drafted by the Predators.  Eibler was undrafted but did draw some NHL interest last off-season, especially from the Capitals.  If they don’t go, it could be a logjam back there.   But the performances  so far have been anything but reassuring, so kudos to Madigan for acting quick and making sure everyone knows their spot isn’t guaranteed.  A little competition is good for everyone.

To keep up with Saucerman’s progress this season, as well as all the other incoming recruits, go to our Future of NU page.

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