Stan Bowman and the Chicago Blackhawks love drafting American players, and it’s suffice to say they have done well with that strategy. With players such as Patrick Kane, Ben Smith and Brandon Saad in the lineup and prospects such as Adam Clendening, Ryan Hartman and Chris Calnan in the system, the results speak for themselves. The 2014 NHL Draft was no exception, as they added five Americans with their nine picks. Arguably the most intriguing of their picks was Beau Starrett, a 6-foot-5 forward who models his game after James vanRiemsdyk.
Starrett was a star at Catholic Memorial High School in Boston, playing for legendary coach Bill Hanson for three seasons. This season, Starrett took his talents to the South Shore Kings of the U.S. Premier Junior Hockey League to play against tougher competition and play an extended season. The 18 year old delivered and registered 47 points in 48 games with the Kings, while also showcasing his snarl and tenacity with 94 penalty minutes in those 48 games.
The hulking winger is committed to Cornell University, where he be asked to contribute heavily as a freshman with the departure of star winger Brian Ferlin to the professional ranks with the Boston Bruins. Playing the ECAC, which with Union and Yale winning the last two national championships has become a power house conference, will be a tough task for any freshman, but the Bellingham, MA native is up to the task.
I caught up with Starrett in Philadelphia at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft a few hours before the Blackhawks called his name in the 3rd Round, 88th overall. What struck most about Starrett is his wiry frame; despite his height, he has still weighs less than 200 pounds. He’ll need to take time and fill out to make an impact in pro hockey, so Hawks fans shouldn’t be clamoring for him to be riding shot gun Kane and Jonathan Toews just yet. Having said that, Starrett did make it known that he has been working out every day to build up muscle and become a more prototypical power forward.
With the Hawks’ depth throughout the organization, he can take all the time he needs because the finished product could be something special. A giant forward who can play physically and contribute offensively would make even the best teams better, something that is surely music to the ear of the Chicago faithful.