Boston College sophomore and Hobey Baker finalist Johnny Gaudreau has a bright professional hockey future ahead of him. It’s just a matter of when it begins.
If you ask folks at BC, they’d prefer it not happen any time soon. If you ask Gaudreau himself, well, that’s a matter of debate:
“I know I really enjoy it here at BC,” said Gaudreau, a fourth-round pick, 104th overall, from the 2011 NHL draft. “I know Calgary is a really awesome place to be, a really fun hockey city. So both of my options are win-win. But I really want to get education, so that’s something I’m really taking into consideration. But I’d really like to get a chance to play for the Flames.
“So I’m not really sure right now. I’m just kind of playing it by ear.”
That quote sent Eagles fans into a near-panic this past week. In terms of recent history, there isn’t much Boston College precedent for a player to bounce after just two seasons: Chris Kreider, Brian Dumoulin, Cam Atkinson, Nate Gerbe, Jimmy Hayes, Cory Schneider, and Brooks Orpik all lasted three years. Philip Samuelsson was a two-year player, and was one of the few in recent memory.
Gaudreau could be the one to break with tradition, as well as freshman defenseman Mike Matheson, the first-round NHL draft pick who is also reportedly toying with his options. On the other hand, Gaudreau has a brother, Matt, on his way to BC, and there is apparent interest on the elder brother’s part in playing college hockey with his younger brother.
Players like Gaudreau are entitled to make whatever choice they’d like, and it probably goes without saying that either way, he won’t be at BC beyond the spring of 2014. Nevertheless, while Gaudreau is an extremely talented player, he could still use a bit more time seasoning at this level before going pro. For one thing, he’s a small-framed young man; it might do him good to add some extra size before facing the punishment of hard checks in major hockey. Further, and this is a critical point for him, if Gaudreau lasts a third year, it will make it that much easier for him to finish his degree later.
So, Johnny, someday you’re going to make a lot of bank playing hockey while I’m still writing on some blog. It’s not going anywhere; come back one more season, why don’t ya?