Hockey, Men's Hockey, Sports

Brennan: Boston College Men’s Hockey’s 2023-24 Projected Lines 

Boston College men’s hockey is a storied program with a rich legacy of success—that’s no secret. No matter what metric or accomplishment you look for in evaluating a great college hockey program, the Eagles are at—or near—the top. 

If you just watched the last two seasons in a vacuum, however, that may not be so obvious. Within the past two seasons, Jerry York, the winningest coach in college hockey history, left BC’s bench for retirement, and former assistant Greg Brown stepped into his seemingly unfillable shoes. 

Brown’s first season in 2022–23 had glimpses of greatness, with sprinkles of great individual performances from some players, but the Eagles’ 14–16–6 record really wasn’t what most fans would expect out of a BC men’s hockey season. 

But Brown and co. received an almost unbelievable influx of talent this past offseason, so impressive that many have enlarged expectations for BC. Despite the great amount of talent on the squad, Brown will need to make sure to manage it correctly to reach the heights that many anticipate. 

Here are some predictions of how he might do that.


Ambrosio — Gauthier — Gasseau

One thing that few will argue about is that Cutter Gauthier is going to have a dominant season after staying in Chestnut Hill in lieu of joining the Philadelphia Flyers, something that he will likely do after this upcoming season. Flanking him on the right will likely be Andre Gasseau, who filled that role last year very nicely, putting up 29 points while playing in all 36 games. 

Nikita Nesterenko was the third on this line last season, and his classmate Colby Ambrosio will be a prime candidate to replace him. Ambrosio brings experience and top-end speed to a line with a top-class finisher and elite playmaker. This would be an elite top line for the Eagles.

Perreault — Smith — Leonard

Keep the kids together. The stats stemming from this line’s performance on the USA Hockey National Team Development Program (USNTDP) speak for themselves. They have elite chemistry, from dominating the U.S. Hockey League and international tournaments, so there is little to argue for breaking them up. 

It is rare that an entire line from the USNTDP commits to one collegiate program, so Brown should take full advantage of that and keep them together. One thing that first-round caliber talent often struggles with in a competitive league like Hockey East is adjustment. Their pre-formed chemistry should help with that. 

Vote — Malone — Jellvik

This line is a bit of a conglomeration of talent from many different places. Will Vote is talked about less than his other three former teammates from the USNTDP, but he still has serious talent. Jack Malone is a transfer from Cornell who brings experience to the table. Oskar Jellvik is the only returner on this line, and he mostly played third-line minutes last year. 

Shamburger — Posma — Armstrong

On a team filled with draft picks and highly-touted prospects, you need a fourth line that embodies the characteristics of grit, hustle, and determination. These are all things that apply to this line. Gentry Shamburger hasn’t seen a ton of ice time at BC, but has worked hard enough to earn the assistant captain role for his senior season, which is an impressive feat. 

Jamie Armstrong is the rare player to play for both schools on Comm. Ave., transferring from Boston University during the offseason. As a graduate student, his lengthy experience in Hockey East is invaluable. Mike Posma is the perfect center for the fourth line, a role he played last season as well. Posma grinds, dumps, and chases all night long, which is necessary to get as many offensive zone face-offs for his top line. 


Powell — Hreschuk 

Brown often paired more experienced defensemen with younger players last year, so he might go with Eamon Powell and Lukas Gustafsson and Aidan Hreschuk and Charlie Leddy. But there is also value in having two of your more experienced defensemen in a pair to shut down the other team’s top line and ease your all-freshman second line into the game. 

Either way, Powell, BC’s captain, is probably going to be the best defenseman on this team, and Hreschuk plays way bigger than his size, so these two players can thrive in whatever role they are placed in. 

Minnetian — Bengtsson

Aram Minnetian and Drew Fortescue were teammates in the USNTDP, but it’s unlikely that Brown would put two rookie blueliners on the same pair. The right-handed Minnetian slots in better next to Jacob Bengtsson, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound transfer from Lake Superior State. 

Brown will probably switch up his D-pairs a lot and frequently utilize a seventh defenseman during the season, so the uber-talented Fortescue will definitely find his way onto the ice. But pairing graduate student Bengtsson with freshman Minnetian makes sense on paper. 

Leddy — Gustafsson

Leddy and Gustafsson are two defenseman that saw the ice a lot as freshmen, both playing in 35 games, which means that they might have enough experience for Brown to put them on a pair together. 

Their skill sets also mesh well, with Gustafsson being a more offensive defenseman with 19 points in his rookie campaign, and Leddy settling into a more stay-at-home role. Both of these players showed signs of promise last season, so it will be exciting to see how they have improved and how their roles will expand this year. 

In Net: 

Jacob Fowler

BC features three freshman goalies on its roster going into the season. The highest-touted of the three is Jacob Fowler, the third-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens and the 2023 USHL Goaltender of the Year. 

Fowler will almost certainly get the net to start the season, and if he performs well, he will probably mind the net for the majority of BC’s games this year. Being a freshman goalie in Hockey East is a daunting task, but Fowler is not your average freshman goalie. In contrast to his high NHL Draft selection, he was not drafted to the USHL, an uncommon occurrence for a player as highly touted as he is now. Fowler will hopefully be able to leverage this experience of battling adversity to succeed at BC. 


No matter how this team lines up come Saturday, there is talent at every position group and there will be talent on every line and D-pair and in net. The team will likely adjust during the season, especially on the blue line, and talented players not previously named will likely find their way into games one way or another. 

This year will probably be the most excited BC fans have been since the likes of Spencer Knight, Alex Newhook, and Matt Boldy wore the maroon and gold, and it could play out that this team will go down as the next generation of BC hockey greats. 

Fans will get a first glimpse of whether or not that might happen against the defending National Champion Quinnipiac on Saturday.

October 7, 2023