Hockey East: Four players to watch out for this season

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 13: Alexander Kerfoot
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 13: Alexander Kerfoot /

As part of our effort to better cover college sports in the Boston area, I thought I’d put together a list of four Hockey East players to keep your eyes on this season.

Hockey East is one of, if not the, best college hockey conferences in the nation. With legendary programs such as Boston University and Boston College, it’s no wonder the league is full of NHL prospects. After doing some research I found four guys that everyone should be watching out for this season.

After doing some research I found four guys that everyone should be watching out for this season.

Brady Tkachuk – Boston University

Yes, the brother of the former 6th overall pick, Matt Tkachuck. While the two both grew up playing in the same youth program, they decided to take their developments in different routes. Matt went and joined the London Knights of the OHL, and Brady decided to take his talents to Boston University.

While perhaps not quite at his skill level, I see a lot of similarities between Brady and Jack Eichel. Both are smooth skating centers with similar bodies, and on top of that, they’re both old for their draft years. I think these similarities could be what drove Tkachuk into making his commitment to BU.

As far as what to expect from him? Let’s see. Considering he’s rated as the 4th best prospect by, he should be playing a somewhat large role for the Terriers. Especially considering how they’ve become more reliant on stud prospects. It’s not as extreme as a Kentucky basketball one and done model, but they trust youngsters a good amount.

The main point is, when the Draft rolls around next summer, you can expect Brady’s name to be called in the top five.

Dylan Sikura – Northeastern

Even though he’s in a different situation than Tkachuk, Sikura should be a big deal in Hockey East this season. He didn’t get the same buzz during the recruiting process as most of the other players on the list, and he only had 7 points during his freshman season.

However, every year he has shown growth and this past year, his junior season, he was the third highest scorer in the conference, putting up the third most points in Hockey East with 57 points in 38 games played.

He was drafted in the sixth round by the Chicago Blackhawks back in 2014, but could become a highly sought after free agent depending on how this year goes.

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Shane Bowers – Boston University

Bowers is starting his freshman season this fall after being drafted in the first round by the Ottawa Senators last June. He’s a Canadian player who decided not to take the major junior route, as so many do, and instead joined the USHL. This allowed him to keep his NCAA eligibility.

While not quite the can’t miss prospect that Tkachuk is, he should be able to contribute for BU this season. I expect him to follow a similar path to Trent Frederic, the Bruins prospect at Wisconsin. Play at least two years in the NCAA before moving on to the pro ranks.

Right now he’s slightly undersized at 6’1″ and 183 lbs. Give him some time to bulk up in college and he should be a very solid NHL player down the road.

Patrick Harper – Boston University

Yeah, that’s right another BU forward. I’m sorry BC fans, but there’s a lot of talent on Com Ave this season.

As a freshman, he made a name for himself by putting up 37 points in 38 games for the Terriers. That was good enough to be the second highest scoring freshman in Hockey East. The only man to beat him? Teammate Clayton Keller, who will be a playing for the Arizona Coyotes this year. It’s safe to say that’s pretty good company.

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As far as his NHL future is concerned, Harper is currently property of the Nashville Coyotes. They drafted the small, yet skilled, forward in the fifth round back in 2016. At 5’9″ and 161 lbs, there are definitely some question marks around how Harper’s game will be able to transfer to the next level.

If he can further improve his game, he could potentially become the next Martin St. Louis or Johnny Gaudreau.