Okay, yeah, the Beanpot was disappointing, not even going to lie about that. I realized halfway through the game that I’d completely forgotten one of the Bruins’ prospects played for BC – not only that, but he was someone I’d taken notes on/checked out this summer. Whoops…anyways, here’s 2007 draft pick Tommy Cross!
Defenseman Tommy Cross got his start in the Connecticut hockey system, playing at Simsbury High and the Westminster School. In addition to racking up the points for his high school teams, Cross participated in the 2005 Under-17 Five nations tournament in Switzerland (USA won gold), the 2006 Under-18 Four nations tournament in Sweden, and captained his Under-18 team to a Silver medal at a tournament in Slovakia and the Czech Republic in 2006. He played two games with United States’ National Under-18 team at the IIHF tournament in 2007 in Finland, on a roster than included future cross-town rivals Kevin Shattenkirk, Colby Cohen, Vinny Saponari, and Colin Wilson, along with future NHLer James Van Riemsdyk and 2010 USA juniors star Danny Kristo.
His solid defensive performance in high school and in IIHF play got him notice for the 2007 draft, and sure enough, he was taken 35th overall, with the Bruins 2nd round pick – they traded their 2nd and 3rd round picks to the Chicago Blackhawks to snag Cross. Former teammate Van Riemsdyk went 2nd overall; Zach Hamill was the Bruins’ 1st round pick. Oh, and that skinny little dude who picked a fight against the Falcons a few weeks ago, Jordan Knackstedt? 189th overall. The 2007 draft was relatively USA-heavy, compared to prior and later years; 30% of the draft class was USA-born and only 20% European-born, compared to 28% from USA and 32% from Europe in 2006, and 20% USA/21% Europe in 2008. Post-draft, Cross played one more year at Westminster, tallying 28 points (8 goals, 20 assists) in 25 games. He also played 9 games with the Junior Blue Jackets, logging 4 points there (4 assists) before starting at Boston College as a freshman in the 08-09 season. It must have been nice, walking through the halls of a championship winning school in Fall 2008.
Tommy Cross is a Boston boy; his college decision came down to BU or BC, and although he made the wrong decision to go with BC and Jerry York’s system, sticking with two teammates from his youth hockey days (Cam Atkinson and Nick Petrecki), it’s good to see a star player from New England sticking with the region. He played 2/3 of his freshman season at BC before missing the last third with a knee injury; still, as a freshman, he registered 8 assists in 19 games, all against Hockey East teams, including one three-assist game against Maine.
Cross was invited to participate in Bruins’ training camp in 2009; he did not skate until the 3rd day of camp, participating only in off-ice exercises due to continued rehab. He’s back out there for Boston College this year; known for his stay-at-home defensive style, Cross has logged four goals and four assists. He’s mobile for his 6’3, 210lb frame, but needs to work on his offensive game a little more; on the Hockey’s Future Bruins’ depth chart he’s ranked higher than most of the P-Bruins’ defensemen, so he should give that team a solid boost on the blue line, eventually. Once he’s through with Boston College he’ll be due to at least star on the P-Bruins, with an eventual callup to the NHL probable, as long as he continues developing.
So enjoy your Beanpot, sir; you’ve got great things in your future. Besides, BU is winning it next year, so don’t get too used to having it around.