Getting the casual hockey fan to care about college hockey is difficult, but it should not be for Friday's second Hockey East Semifinal between Boston College and Northeastern.
When the two teams meet at approximately 8 p.m. on hallowed ice of the TD Garden, 18 NHL Draft picks will likely be dressed between the two teams, including two whose rights are owned by the Boston Bruins.
BC's leading scorer Ryan Fitzgerald was a fourth round selection by the Bruins in the 2013 NHL Draft. The former Malden Catholic scoring sensation is the son of New Jersey Devils Assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald, who played in the NHL after starring at Providence College.
Fitzgerald, whose uncle is the Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting for the Bruins, is undersized, but has developed nicely while under the tutelage of Jerry York. After scoring 29 and 25 points as a freshman and sophomore, respectively, Fitzgerald has 43 points this season, including 22 goals.
Northeastern junior Matt Benning, the team's top defenseman, is also property of the Bruins. Picked in the sixth round of the 2012 draft, he has five goals and 13 assists for Jim Madigan's club. His footwork has sometimes been questioned, but it has gotten better. He logs a ton of minutes for the Huskies.
His uncle was the Assistant GM with the Bruins when he was selected, but the elder Benning, Jim, is now the General Manager of the Calgary Flames.
In addition to the two Bruins picks, BC is loaded with future pros. Juniors Steve Santini (New Jersey Devils) and Ian McCoshen (Florida Panthers) are two future NHL blue liners while forwards Miles Wood (NJD), Colin White (Ottawa Senators), Alex Tuch (Minnesota Wild), Zach Sanford (Washington Capitals) and Adam Gilmour (Minnesota Wild) all have an above average chance of making it to the big time. BC goaltender Thatcher Demko is a second round pick of the Vancouver Canucks.