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Am I jumping the gun a little bit?
Should I wait until he officially locks up the Hobey Baker?
Will I be crucified if he somehow gets injured before the end of the year?
But when you are dealing with a once in a lifetime player like Johnny Gaudreau, it’s never too soon to speculate. Especially since this is probably his last year in the Maroon and Gold.
So I pose the question: Is Johnny Gaudreau the best BC hockey player to skate under Jerry York?
I picked Jerry York’s tenure for mostly selfish reasons. I was born in 1989. I can read a stat book that tells me Dave Emma was other-wordly, but I never saw him play. My analysis would be the same as Wikipedia’s. Plus, it has been during Coach York’s tenure that BC has gone from the fringe contender to the indisputable best college team in the nation.
I came up with 5 serious candidates.
Scott Clemmensen: While recent BC grads might give a bit more love to Schneider or Muse, I think Clemmensen is the best goalie in the history of Boston College hockey. 4 year starter at BC only losing more than 10 games once. A strong 2.13/.914 in BC’s championship year of 2000-2001. I am certain his 99 wins are the most under York and I believe in BC history? (If someone finds me a website with comprehensive all-time College Hockey stats, you win all of my internet dollars). Most importantly, he was the goalie when this happened. 3 National Championship games (1 win) and 4 frozen fours!? Easily makes his way onto the top 3 of this list.
John Muse: The only player on this list with 2 National Titles. 3 Beanpot Championships. 2 seasons over a .920 save percentage. He definitely wins the “eye test.” His final 2 years at BC, Muse made countless acrobatic saves, especially in the games that mattered. His major knock was that when he was bad, he was really bad. Horrific performance against Northeastern in 2009 Beanpot. Inconsistent and average Sophmore season. His championships during his Freshman and Junior year and his stellar Senior year (27 wins, 2.30/9.20) definitely put him in contention but probably just a slight notch below Clemmensen.
Mike Mottau: 2000 Hobey Baker award winner. BC’s all time assists leader (130). His final year, he was undoubtedly the best defensive player in college hockey and one of the greatest I have seen at any level. He was not the biggest player in the world (6 foot 1) but between him and Clemmensen, those late 90s BC teams were the best defensive hockey teams in York’s history. A pity he did not win a National Championship. Definitely loses points for never winning a Beanpot.
Brian Gionta: BC’s all time leading goal scorer. 3 30 goal seasons (and a 27). The famous “5 goals in his first 5 shots” game against Maine. 62, 60, 56 and 54 points respectively in his 4 years. BC’s best player on BC’s most important (and some would say best) team. He gets the nod over many other BC greats because he played all 4 years and he was great in every one of them. 3 time All Hockey East 1st team. Like Clemmensen, played in 3 National Championships and an astonishing 4 frozen fours (and was BC’s best player not named Mike Mottau for almost all of them). Gionta’s best season won’t be as good as Gaudreau’s and he never won a Hobey, but his teams’ success and consistency cannot be ignored. Easy shoe-in for the top 3.
Johnny Gaudreau: Barring injury or major reduction in production, will be a Hobey Baker award winner later this year. Although his offensive production was not as prolific as Gionta in his Freshman year, his play in the Beanpot and National Championship game boosts his resume. I mean, he did have
“The goal.” (Sidenote: Gary Thorne calling hockey games is the way life is meant to be lived.) NCAA all-first team and Hobey Baker finalist in his Sophmore year. While it is unlikely he will return to BC for his Senior year, his Junior year will go down as the most prolific offensive year in the history of Boston College (27 goals and 61 points with about a dozen games left to go). A quick glance at his statistics (only 44 and 51 points in his first two years compared to 62 and 60 for Gionta) would seem to place him a bit below the top 3. But given his contributions to BC’s national championship team in 2012, his NCAA all-first team season last year and his eventual Hobey Baker this year, his name definitely belongs in the conversation.
With apologies to other deserving BC greats like Nathan Gerbe, Marty Reasoner (73 points in 97-98), Cory Schneider and others, these 5 are the only ones who can lay claim to being BC’s best under York. Right now I would say…
Johnny has been great, but Gionta’s 4 seasons of consistency give him the nod. Right now.
If Jonathan Hockey can lead BC to a national championship this year and/or come back for another record-breaking season, I think he will surpass Gionta. So no, Johnny Gaudreau is not the best BC hockey player to skate for Jerry York.