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Vatrano Signs With Bruins, Forgoes Final Two Years At UMass

Fresh off his 18 goal season for the Minutemen RS sophomore forward Frank Vatrano signed a free agent contract with the Boston Bruins today, ending his career at UMass after one season (plus that one playoff game no one counts).  This is obviously great news for Vatrano who was able to turn his stellar season into an opportunity to play professional hockey with the local team.  The Bruins will gain a great skating forward with a quick, but powerful shot.  To my knowledge Vatrano is the first Minuteman to sign a contract with the Bruins, though Marvin Degon and Tim Lovell played for the Providence Bruins previously and Dusty Demianiuk landed a spot at Bruins training camp after winning NESN’s “Be A Bruin” reality show.

While this is tremendous news for Vatrano it’s not so great for the hockey program that potentially could’ve returned nearly all their scoring from this year’s team.  Instead they’ll have to look to fill the hole created by the loss of what I would consider their best player.  Vatrano accounted for 18% of the team’s goals, 11% of its points, and 18% of its shots this past season.  That’s A LOT of offense generated by just one player, one I just named as the team’s MVP.  Not only does it mean that the returning players will need to continue developing their game, but offensive recruits like Austin Plevy and Kurt Keats will need to make immediate impacts.

I find it somewhat surprising that Vatrano would leave after just one season of play, mostly because it was such a long road to get here.  In 2012 he was poised to start play at Boston College, only to have to leave the team due to eligibility issues.  After a semester of junior hockey he transferred to UMass, with the assumption being he’d be able to play for his new team for the second semester of the 2013-14 season.  Instead the NCAA Clearinghouse ruled him ineligible for additional games and he ultimately wasn’t able to make his UMass debut until last year’s one game playoff versus Vermont.  It seems that after all that work and wait he’d want to make more out of his college career.  Or perhaps after jumping through so many hoops and overcoming obstacles when he saw a clear shot at pro hockey he jumped at it before some obstruction came along.

Whatever his reasoning I wish him good luck.  He was exciting to watch and extremely valuable to the team.  Assuming he starts his Bruins career in Providence, it means the Western Mass native could be playing in Springfield against the Falcons on Saturday.

UMass fans will now have to worry about losing another key player in Brandon Montour.  There were already some rumblings that he was considering signing with his draft team, the Anaheim Ducks.  Vatrano’s signing may make that decision that much easier for him.

 

Here’s the official release from UMass Athletics on Vatrano’s signing.

Mike McMahon of the College Hockey News had some thoughts on the signing.

Here are Vatrano’s season highlights courtesy of UMass Athletics

Be sure to check back later as I post the second part of my Season Recap

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6 Comments

  1. Good for him. This makes it even easier to clean house and start over with a new coaching staff.

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  2. Mel

     /  March 12, 2015

    Are you kidding? This makes it easier? Cleaning house means getting rid of an awful coach, not losing your best player. Maybe Vatrano would have stayed if there was a different coaching staff. I would say the chances that Brandon Montour is a Minuteman next year are 10 percent or less. They need to pull the trigger on axing the coaching staff NOW, but they can’t afford it. So, the program will continue its regression to the depths of division 1 hockey.

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  3. The loss of Frank Vatrano, a local talent, may very well be a death blow to next seasons hopes if Brandon Montour also decides to leave. There will not be much to look forward to next season except another 12th place finish. This is a real shot to the heart for this coaching staff. This has the beginning appearance of a MUTINY !!!!!!!!!!!! ……… and to really put the pressure on the kids that are left and those that are coming in to pick up the slack of probably the loss of the best player on the team this year, and if Montour does leave, well it’s really just to much to expect. I tend to agree with Jason that it is time to clear house behind the bench, and lets face it, UM has missed a lot of local talent as well, whats going on with their recruiting and scouting, if their doing any? Austin Orszulak A.I.C. 22-13-35 (Springfield, Ma.)-(Springfield ECHL) and Tyler Kelleher U.N.H. 16-23-39 (Longmeadow, Ma.)-(U.S. NTDP), and Charlie Kelleher U.N.H. (Junior Bruins U18) going to UNH.

    The facts are just that….. facts. In Massachusetts haste to hire a coach when TOOT Cahoon left …….the priority candidates said …NO… to Massachusetts. There was Mark Dennehy from Merrimack, There was assistant Kyle Wallack from Yale, There was head coach Rand Pecknold from Quinnipiac and he’s had nothing but success there, and Coach Ricky Bennett at Union, and we all know what he did in the last three seasons , two Frozen Fours a National Championship, and in his last three seasons at Union the Dutchmen are ONLY 50 games over .500. Bennett a Springfield, Ma native, a Classical High School and Providence College hockey player also said…..NO. So UM went to Vermont and hired coach Micheletto who was the assistant at LAST PLACE Vermont. Coach Mick brought along with him some of his last place fellow assistants and the results here at Massachuestt has been last place or second to last. Coach Mick did have some achievements at UVM in 2009 when they went to the Frozen Four, but in his last (8) seasons at Vermont even with some winning years they finished 13 games under .500 overall (106-119-39). In his tenure at UM after three full seasons he is 33 games under.500 (31-64-9).
    The SUCCESS or FAILURE of this team depends on what does or doesn’t happen in these next six months. This is one tall order.

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  1. Season Recap Part II: The Coaching Situation | Fear The Triangle - UMass Hockey Blog
  2. Report: Brandon Montour Leaves UMass, WIll Sign With Anaheim Ducks | Fear The Triangle - UMass Hockey Blog
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