Northeastern Thrown in Further Flux After Draft
by Joe Meloni/CHN Staff Writer
The statuses of both John Gaudreau and Garrett Haar — who committed to play for Northeastern this season — are currently unknown, as both players are reconsidering their options in wake of coach Greg Cronin's departure and their selection in the National Hockey League Entry Draft on Saturday.
Cronin resigned as Northeastern coach last week to accept a position with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The speculation over recruits began immediately. Following the draft on Saturday, the Fargo/Moorhead Forum reported that Gaudreau would not attend Northeastern. Later in the day, a source close to the program said that the Gaudreau family has requested a meeting with Northeastern athletic director Peter Roby. Typically, this signals a request to be released from a National Letter of Intent, which Gaudreau signed.
Gaudreau, the former USHL rookie of the year hasn't made a decision, but sources say a pair of Division I schools are both in play should he be released from his NLI. If he is not granted release, he would have to return to the USHL's Dubuque Fighting Saints for one season, sign with Calgary or sign with a CHL club.
Complicating the matter is that Gaudreau's younger brother Matt is committed to the program for the 2013-14 season.
Comcast Sportsnet Washington reported that Haar, who was selected by the Capitals in the seventh round, does plan to play for Northeastern next season. However, rumors circulated Saturday that he was reconsidering his options.
Northeastern interim coach Sebastien Laplante declined to comment on either Gaudreau, Haar or the overall direction of the program.
Despite Laplante's credentials — he guided Northeastern to the Hockey East Tournament in February while Cronin served a suspension for recruiting violations — it appears as though he will not be the program's next permanent head coach. Additionally, the status of assistant coach Albie O'Connell is likely in doubt.
Both Haar and Gaudreau were considered among the premier incoming freshmen in Hockey East. In fact, Boston University was the only other Hockey East school, along with Northeastern, to have more than one current or incoming player drafted. BU also had three, although all three of those players have already been playing for the Terriers.
Jamie Oleksiak, a first-round selection of the Dallas Stars, is also considering a move away from the university. Despite becoming the 14th overall pick Friday night, most believe the 6-foot-7 defenseman needs at least one more year of amateur hockey before turning pro. The Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League hold Oleksiak's rights.
This year's draft was expected to signal a major step for the program. Oleksiak's selection in the first round, paired with the arrival of Gaudreau, led many to believe the Huskies would be able to attract consistently strong talent moving forward. However, the departure of freshman forward Brodie Reid in April — he signed a professional contract with the San Jose Sharks — was the first step in a series of events that left the program in its current flux.
Gaudreau, Haar and Oleksiak were expected to help the Huskies who already had to replace their four leading scorers from last season who are no longer with the program, three due to graduation and Reid due to early departure.