Chris Dilks got me thinking yesterday with his All-Illinois Team what an All-Massachusetts Team would look like if the best college hockey players from the Bay State were put together in an all-star format. One rule I placed on the team was that a player had to have played at least one NCAA game so that eliminated Brown freshmen Max Willman and Tyler Bird, for example. Here's what this writer came up with:
Jimmy Vesey (Harvard) - Jack Eichel (Boston University) - Danny O'Regan (Boston University)
Ryan Fitzgerald (Boston College) - Mike Vecchione (Union) - Niko Rufo (Providence)
Mike Doherty (Yale) - Nick Roberto (Boston University) - Chris Calnan (Boston College)
Frank Vatrano (UMass) - Cam Brown (Maine) - Brian Pinho (Providence)
Matthew Grzelcyk (Boston University) - Anthony Florentino (Providence)
Noah Hanifin (Boston College) - Ryan Segalla (UConn)
Johnathan MacLeod (Boston University) - Danny Federico (Quinnipiac)
Steven Mastalerz (UMass) - Dave Cunningham (Amherst College)
The All-Massachusetts team would would have four NHL Draft picks patrolling the blue line with another, Noah Hanifin, expected to go very high in the 2015 draft. The rugged defense would be tasked with protecting a net that is short on depth. The only Massachusetts native who has started a Division I NCAA game is UMass' Steve Mastalerz. This writer threw in Amherst College (Division III) goaltender Dave Cunningham as the backup. He was one of the best tenders in the always-competitive NESCAC last season as a sophomore.
Up front, the first two lines are very intriguing. Jimmy Vesey, a power forward, could really do some damage alongside Jack Eichel. Both have tremendous reaches and could set up sharp shooting Danny O'Regan. The second line would re-connect Malden Catholic linemates Mike Vecchione and Ryan Fitzgerald. Five of the 12 forwards are NHL Draft picks with another, Eichel, a sure bet to be a top pick in 2015.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.