Top Story, Men's Hockey

Florida Panthers Take Hutsko With 89th Overall Pick in NHL Entry Draft

After, at one point, going two months without finding the back of the net, Boston College men’s hockey forward Logan Hutsko recorded a pair of goals in a Feb. 9 matchup against Massachusetts Lowell—the second of which came with just 6.8 seconds remaining in overtime. Three days later, the freshman notched the first hat trick of his collegiate career, stringing together a trio of goals in the final period of the Eagles’ loss to Harvard in the Beanpot Consolation Game.

Hutsko tallied 11 points over the course of the final eight games of the 2017-18 campaign, en route to Hockey East Rookie of the Year honors. The Tampa, Fla. native’s first season on the Heights garnered national attention—not just from the conference, but also the NHL. On Saturday afternoon, Hutsko was selected by the Florida Panthers with the 89th overall pick in the third round of the NHL Entry Draft at the Dallas Stars’ American Airlines Center.

The second-year skater joins Michael Matheson (2012) and Ian McCoshen (2013) as the third player in BC history to be drafted by the Panthers.

“It’s so surreal,” Hutsko told reporters, per BC Athletics. “I never thought I’d be here after my last two years. To be here and be drafted by the Panthers and be going back home to Florida and see my family and all that is going to be really special.”

Hutsko, who has a number of relatives on the west coast of Florida, didn’t hear his name called in last year’s draft, partially due to a season-ending injury that he suffered nine games into his 2016-17 campaign with the U.S. National Team Development Program. But after taking Hockey East by storm this past season, it was all but expected that the 5-foot-10 forward would be selected on Day Two.

When all was said and done, Hutsko finished the year atop BC’s leaderboard with 12 goals, 19 assists, and 31 points—at least three more than every other player on the roster. As far as Hockey East rookies are concerned, he ranked second in both scoring and points per game (0.84). His 31 points were also good for eighth among all NCAA freshmen.

Hutsko wasted no time making a name for himself at the next level, recording three points in the season opener and six total through the first four games of play. Although he only lit the lamp twice in the next 17 contests, he continued to make plays on the offensive end of the ice, frequently setting up his linemates in the opposing zone. When February rolled around, he didn’t just end his scoring drought, he exploded onto the scene as the conference’s Rookie of the Month, compiling seven goals and six assists for an impressive 13 points.

While the Eagles missed out on the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight season, Hutsko was at the forefront of a underclassmen-heavy roster—one that’s likely adding even more young talent in the coming months.

It all starts with Oliver Wahlstrom, the newest member of the New York Islanders. The 18-year-old BC commit was taken with the 11th overall pick in this year’s draft. At 6-foot-1, the powerful forward can score from anywhere on the ice. Wahlstrom spent last year with the U.S. National Team Development Program and racked up 40 goals in just 54 games. According to the Islanders’ team website, the highly-touted prospect wants to compete for a spot on the team—if he falls short, though, he’ll be headed to BC, a team that ranked 25th in scoring a year ago.

Jack McBain, on the other hand, is a surefire bet to join head coach Jerry York and Co. this coming fall. The 6-foot-3 center was chosen by the Minnesota Wild with the 63rd overall pick on Saturday, clocking in 26 picks before Hutsko, his future teammate. Renowned for his stick-handling ability, McBain is also the son of Andrew McBain—a wing who spent most of his 10-year NHL career with the Winnipeg Jets.

BC needs all the firepower it can get. After all, the Eagles were held to one scoring play or less on seven separate occasions this past season and only averaged 2.92 goals per game—0.38 ticks below their 2016-17 average.

Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Staff 

June 23, 2018