Offseason Outlook: Players Moving On
With Northeastern’s season coming to an end, it’s time to look forward to next year. And lately the only thing worse than the thought of the off-season for Northeastern fans has been the thought of the season itself. Last summer, the Huskies lost 8 players, including 2 transfers and 5 players signing pro deals instead of using up the remainder of their NCAA eligibility. And if that wasn’t enough, the Huskies also saw Jon Gillies decommit and end up at Providence, where he does things like this. The summer before last, the Huskies lost their best defenseman and what would have been their best returning scorer. The kicker that year was losing their head coach and all of the promising recruits that had committed, including Johnny Gaudreau (Have you heard of him?). So if you look on the bright side, this will be the best off-season for Northeastern in years, by default.
For a look at next year’s roster and years beyond, we have created a Google Doc with all of then info you need.
Note: These are educated (or not so educated, maybe) guesses
Hit on most of these guys in Dump and Chase last week, but here is the full rundown. If these players do get deals, they will likely report immediately and return to finish their degree in the summer.
Vinny Saponari (Winnipeg): Saponari was a 4th round pick in 2008. He has attended their rookie camps every year since being drafted. The Jets have the room to sign him to an Entry Level Contract. Saponari will likely sign with the them next week and report to their AHL team, the St. Johns Ice Caps. Saponari is the only member of this class with a serious NHL chance. His vision and two-way game could eventually make him a 3rd line guy in the NHL. I truly believe he will be the next Husky to make it to the NHL.
Chris Rawlings (Undrafted): Rawlings is free to sign with any team once the season ends, but he may have trouble finding a suitable offer. He has attended prospect camps for the Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils and Phoenix Coyotes and done pretty well at them by most accounts. But he returned to school this year after he was unable to get any offer last season. His play this season has definitely brought his stock down, but someone will take a chance due to his size. An ECHL deal is probably the best he will do.
Garrett Vermeersch (Undrafted): Vermeersch’s situation is a little different as he recovers from a high ankle sprain. He attended development camp with the Chicago Blackhawks after his freshman season. His health will likely determine when he signs. If his ankle isn’t fully healed, he will probably finish school and begin his pro career next year. Vermeersch never had impressive stats during his career here, but I think he could end up as an AHL guy. He is unlikely to get an ATO with an AHL team this season, so he may have to start his pro career in the ECHL.
Robbie Vrolyk (Undrafted): Vrolyk’s speed will likely earn him some interest at the ECHL level. At the same time, he has dealt with injuries his entire Northeastern career and there is always the chance that he chooses to hang up the skates. Last year’s captain Mike McLaughlin could have played minor league hockey, but choose to give it up and get his masters instead. Vrolyk could also look overseas, where former Huskies Dennis McCauley, Louis Liotti and Ryan Ginand have found success in recent years.
Drew Ellement (Undrafted): Like Vrolyk, Ellement will be able to find a team if he wants to continue his career. The ECHL is littered with Hockey East alums and former Huskies. Justin Daniels, Alex Tuckerman and Chris Donovan are all playing there right now.
Steve Morra (Undrafted): Morra’s hockey career is likely over. He will finish his career with over 50 games played. According to his GoNU bio, he hopes to become a state police officer.
Drafted Player and Others Who Could Leave Early
Kevin Roy (Anaheim): Nothing scares Northeastern fans more than the thought of Roy leaving early. Its not likely this year, but it obviously could happen. He still needs to add some muscle and refine his defensive game, plus his brother is here. Also the Ducks don’t seem likely to push him too hard since they were prepared to let him play at Brown, if he wanted to. Another major factor is that the Ducks are at 49 contracts, so they may not have the room to sign him due to the 50 contract limit. On the flip side, he is turning 20 soon and he has proved himself at this level. He could handle the AHL next year, but he could also use at least 1 more year in college. My guess is that he stays next year.
Josh Manson (Anaheim): Drafted players are always a flight risk, but Manson leaving would be a real shock. He is still learning how to play defense and he couldn’t possibly get more ice time anywhere else. The Ducks don’t have the room to sign him and there is really no reason for them to rush him along.
Cody Ferriero (San Jose): Ferriero has had a great year but its hard to see him leaving this summer, especially with his brother set to join the team in the fall. Ferriero’s older brother, Benn, stayed all four years at BC before signing with the Sharks. The Sharks are at 47 contracts, but own the rights to a lot of NCAA players, including BU’s Matt Nieto. Like Manson, Ferriero should be back next year.
Braden Pimm (Undrafted): Pimm is undrafted but did attend San Jose’s rookie camp with Ferriero last year. He is one year away from his degree, but he is also 23 years old already. He doesn’t have the huge goal numbers that would get him a big money contract, but his overall game will draw some interest. I expect Pimm to return next year, but an AHL offer would obviously be tempting for anyone.
Ludwig Karlsson (Undrafted): Karlsson got a ton of interest last summer and was rumored to have multiple contract offers. He attended Anaheim’s rookie camp with Manson and Roy, but did not sign. His injury, and the drop in production before the injury, probably eliminated any chance he had of leaving. He too should be back next season, but he is the most likely to leave early.
At first glance, this summer looks to be a lot less painful for Northeastern, but you really never know. No one expected guys like Brodie Reid or Jake Newton leave when they did, but sometimes players just want to cash in while they can or they just don’t want to deal with going to classes anymore. With Madigan and his staff still relatively new, there is also a chance that players who are unhappy with the new regime will sign early or transfer away from the program.
We will be posting incomings/outgoings for all of Hockey East and previewing Northeastern’s recruits throughout the summer. But in the meantime, no news is good news during the offseason.