Jack Eichel’s home state of Massachusetts offers a wealth of teams for an aspiring hockey player, but in eighth grade, Eichel had chosen to join the Junior Bruins to help him reach his goal of playing in the NHL. By the end of his first season in the black and gold, he had already established himself as one of the top prospects in the world. He opted for one more year with the Bruins, accepted a scholarship from Boston University, and later joined the US National Development Program.
Eichel continued to dominate at every level and entered his freshman season at BU with tremendous expectations. Needless to say, he delivered. Eichel scored points in each of his first ten games, served as captain of the USA World Junior Team, and was named the 2015 Hobey Baker Award winner after scoring 71 points (26 goals, 45 assists). After the season, he joined Team USA for the IIHF World Championships and finished third on the team in scoring, ahead of several established NHL players.
The Buffalo Sabres selected him with the second pick of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and Eichel signed less than a week later. He will be looked upon to be the face of both the Sabres and American hockey, and is sure to carry the flags of the Junior Bruins and USPHL throughout his career.
After being passed over in his first year of eligibility for the NHL Draft, Jimmy Vesey decided to leave his high school hockey team to join the South Shore Kings in an effort to further his development and increase his chances of playing the sport at its highest level. To say he made the right choice is an understatement. Vesey thrived in junior hockey, scoring 91 points (48 goals, 43 assists), and was selected in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
As a freshman at Harvard University, Vesey played for the gold medal-winning Team USA at the 2013 World Junior Championships. His junior year saw him lead all NCAA players with 32 goals in 37 games, and he was named the runner-up for the 2015 Hobey Baker Award. Although the Nashville Predators offered him a contract, he elected to play his senior season for the Crimson and graduate with his classmates. First, however, he will enter the season as the hottest prospect in all of college hockey.
As Charlie Coyle entered his draft year, he had to evaluate his choices, both for the upcoming season and college hockey. Rather than continue at his prep school as a junior, he opted for summer classes to accelerate his studies, enter Boston University a year early, and play for the South Shore Kings in his draft year.
“I wanted to make an impact in college hockey right away, and playing for the Kings helped me get ready for that,” he said.
The move paid off, as Coyle tallied 72 points (23 goals, 49 assists) and was drafted late in the first round by the San Jose Sharks. Prior to his professional career, he appeared in two World Junior Championship tournaments and was acquired by the Minnesota Wild in an attempt to build a team full of young prospects. After a half-season in the American Hockey League, Coyle was promoted to the NHL and has since scored 79 points (31 goals, 48 assists) in 189 games.
Growing up in Arizona, Jeremy Langlois had prodigious talent but few people there to see it. Fortunately, he caught the eye of Jersey Hitmen head coach Toby Harris, who immediately offered him a spot on the team. To say Langlois thrived in the new environment would be an understatement, as the forward exploded for 82 points in his one season with the team. As the year progressed, NCAA teams took notice and an offer from Quinnipiac University was accepted.
After completing a four-year run with Quinnipiac, Langlois signed with the Springfield Falcons (AHL). After two years in the AHL and ECHL, he accepted an entry-level contract from the San Jose Sharks. While it may be a short flight from Phoenix to the Bay Area, there is no question that it would not have happened without Langlois’ season with the Hitmen.
Steve Moses had always heard he was too small for the NHL. Despite a stellar three seasons in the Junior Bruins system, he was never drafted by an NHL team and did not even receive a ranking from the Central Scouting Bureau. Still, the Junior Bruins gave him an opportunity to display his talent and he earned a scholarship from the University of New Hampshire, where he recorded 98 points (47 goals, 51 assists) in four seasons.
“I can’t say enough great things about the Junior Bruins organization,” he stated. “Anybody who has the opportunity to play for them should do it.”
Again, no NHL teams called, so he signed with Helsinki Jokerit in Finland’s SM-Liiga, where he played for two seasons. The team, along with Moses, moved to the Russian-based KHL. In his first and only season in the new league, he set the single-season record for goals with 36. Finally, his NHL dream came true when he signed with the Nashville Predators in the 2015 off-season.