This was in the hockey section of the Boston Globe Sunday 5/21/17. Take it for what is is worth:
STAYING POWER Players are in no rush to leave Irish
Boston College and Boston University repeatedly recruit some of the world’s best teenagers. The drawback, if you can call it that, of landing top talent is acknowledging their professional flight risks. Clayton Keller signed with Arizona after his freshman season. Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson became Bruins after staying at BU for two years.
After the 2015-16 season, BC coach Jerry York watched freshmen Zach Sanford and Miles Wood turn pro. Alex Tuch, who has completed his sophomore season, signed with the Wild.
Such first- and second-year departures have not been common at Notre Dame, the school that Anders Bjork might return to for his senior season. It is partly by design.
Fighting Irish coach Jeff Jackson targets recruits lower on the food chain such as Bjork and goalie Cal Petersen, fifth-round selections of the Bruins and Sabres, respectively. Their draft position is one reason neither player considered turning pro earlier in their college careers.
“Bjork’s not a first-round pick. Petersen’s not a first-round pick,” Jackson said of his 2016-17 co-MVPs. “That’s probably the biggest reason. I’m getting guys who are fourth- and fifth-round picks. A guy like [Stephen] Johns was a second-rounder, but we’re about getting guys who are a little bit less high-profile but still have the drive and determination to be players, and we try to develop them.”
One advantage of recruiting second-tier players is the likelihood of them staying in school longer. NHL teams are not as anxious about turning lower-round selections pro.
The Penguins, for example, watched 2010 third-round pick Bryan Rust stay at Notre Dame for four seasons before welcoming him to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. But Beau Bennett, Pittsburgh’s 2010 first-rounder, signed after his sophomore season at the University of Denver.
The longer players stay in school, the deeper connections they usually make with their programs. It’s possible Bjork and Petersen have something to prove before moving on. In Notre Dame’s last game of the season, Denver laid down a 6-1 hammering in the Frozen Four semifinals. It was similar to Notre Dame’s 5-1 loss to UMass Lowell in the Hockey East semis. Nine days later, the Irish qualified for the Frozen Four and won their revenge by ending Lowell’s season with a 3-2 overtime decision.
“I wouldn’t say we would have beaten Denver. They looked like a team of destiny,” Jackson said. “But I think our team was embarrassed by that game before a big crowd of family, friends, and fans. I would certainly hope they learn from that experience and grow from it . . . Frankly, we’re on the same course as what Denver was on four years ago. They didn’t make the tournament four years ago. They made it three years ago. We got knocked out in the first round last year. This year, we made it to the Frozen Four. This class of upcoming seniors, which Cal and Anders are both part of, it’s had the same trajectory Denver had. The big thing is Denver kept their seniors around. They kept guys like Will Butcher around. That certainly bodes well for any team that moves in that level.”
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