Following the Florida Panthers’ recent decision to trade bruising defenseman Erik Gudbranson, pundits and fans alike wondered how the Cats would fill the multiple holes existing on their back line.
Sunday night, the club moved to address the issue.
Signed to a three-year, entry-level contract worth $925,000 per season at the NHL level, 20-year old blueliner Ian McCoshen is set to join the defensive ranks, reuniting with former Boston College teammate Michael Matheson in Sunrise.
McCoshen, a 6’3″, 218-pound rearguard from Hudson, Wisconsin, cut his teeth at the prep level while skating for the prestigious Shattuck St. Mary’s program. Following a successful three-year stint with the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks, he signed to play for Hockey East’s Boston College Eagles, where he spent the last three seasons.
Described by Hockey’s Future as rangy defender with an offensive streak, the 31st selection of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft came into his own while skating in the NCAA. Playing alongside first-round draft picks Matheson and Noah Hanifin, McCoshen accrued 50 points off of 17 goals in 110 games for the Eagles, earning the assistant captainship in his junior season. Additionally, he twice represented the United States at the World Junior Championships, being held pointless with a plus-one rating through 10 tournament contests.
While raw, McCoshen stands a solid chance of making the Cats’ opening night roster. Three regulars from last season’s rotation–Gudbranson, Brian Campbell and Willie Mitchell–are either (potentially) leaving or gone, and assuming Matheson manages to sustain his scintillating run of form, two top-six roster spots are up for grabs.
What the newly-signed McCoshen brings to the table that current holdovers Jakub Kindl and Steven Kampfer do not, though, is exactly what the Cats lost when they traded Gudbranson. Big bodied, his style compares favorably to the former Panther’s, bringing an element of physicality to the blueline.
It appears as if he’ll have every chance to make the Cats’ roster out of training camp.
Whether or not he capitalizes on it remains to be seen.