Ryan Fitzgerald comes from quite the hockey family. His father, Tom, played hockey at Providence College before embarking on a 17-year NHL career. His younger brother, Casey, is also a defenseman at Massachusetts high school hockey powerhouse Malden Catholic.
Both younger Fitzgeralds are committed to playing college hockey for Coach Jerry York at Boston College. Their father scored 139 goals in over 1,000 NHL games, but many observers think Ryan might have more of a scoring touch. The elder Fitzgerald is currently an assistant to Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Ray Shero.
Ryan Fitzgerald played on a line at Malden Catholic along with Boston University recruit Brendan Collier and Union College recruit Mike Vecchione. The trio helped the school to the first two of three consecutive Massachusetts Super 8 Tournament Championships. At Malden Catholic Fitzgerald played for the late Chris Serino, the former Merrimack College head coach and UNH assistant.
Fitzgerald spent this past season playing for Andy Heinze's Valley Warriors in the Eastern Junior Hockey League. The North Reading, Mass. native had 17 goals and 19 assists in 32 games played.
What Fitzgerald lacks in size, he makes up for in speed, craftiness and hockey smarts. It is easy to see that the son of an NHL veteran spent many hours around the rink, playing and watching the game.
Fitzgerald has the hands to stick handle through traffic and the speed to get open. More often than not, he ends up being in the right place at the right time because of his keen sense of the game.
Fitzgerald will be at the NHL Draft Combine from May 27-June 1. The future Eagle fell 10 spots from the Mid-Term Rankings, down to 56 in the NHL Central Scouting Bureau's Final Rankings. His small frame, standing at five-feet-nine-inches, might prevent him from going higher in the draft than he might otherwise.
Fitzgerald will be one of the top freshmen in the country when the college season starts this fall, and whatever NHL team drafts him will have the luxury of watching him develop in a winning environment at BC with Coach York.