Here today, gone tomorrow. Quite literally, at least in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Freshman forward Jeremy Bracco left Boston College today to join the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, according to BCEagles.com and other sources. Bracco, who was drafted in the second round (61st overall) by the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs in June, leaves BC after playing in just five NCAA contests. His only three points came on assists, all in the Eagles’ most recent win, a 5-0 whitewash of Colorado College on Oct. 24.
A former Harvard recruit, Bracco 18, put up 69 points with the U.S. National Team Development Program the past two seasons in Ann Arbor, Mich. He was considered by many to still be a flight risk, especially after former BC recruit and fellow New York native Sonny Milano never arrived on campus last year, going off to Plymouth (OHL) instead after originally decommitting from Notre Dame.
Bracco, though, had tweeted in July that he was coming to BC, and was happy to be an Eagle. So much for Twitter promises.
It’s not known at present if Bracco made this decision wholly of his own accord, or if someone was whispering in his ear to make the jump to major junior. If it was his advisors, well, it wouldn’t be the first time that Toronto was associated with a move like this. Take Jerry D’Amigo back in 2010.
D’Amigo played one season at Rensselaer and then signed with the Leafs, who had drafted him the year before in 2009. He went to Kitchener, where he averaged a little more than a point per game, before being promoted to the Leafs’ AHL club. Five years later he’s spent the majority of his pro career in the AHL, where he is saddled again now, and has skated in just 31 NHL games altogether, per HockeyDB.com. Granted, he was a sixth-round selection, unlike Bracco—but he was also a product of the U.S. National Team Development Program like Bracco, and is roughly the same size as Bracco, whose father and uncle both played collegiately.
At least D’Amigo left school after his freshman season at RPI had ended, not after it had just barely begun. It would have been more palatable if Bracco had waited until at least the Christmas break to bolt from BC, if not March/April when the college season ended.
It could be Bracco was less than enamored with academia, or that he wanted to fast-track his way to the NHL. So did goaltender Jack Campbell, who decommitted from the University of Michigan to join Windsor (OHL) after he was drafted 11th overall by the Dallas Stars in 2010. So far he’s played a single game in “The Show”, in 2013-14.
It would be somewhat surprising if the new Toronto regime didn't want Bracco to develop at the college level. That’s especially since new general manager Lou Lamoriello, a former Providence College player, coach and administrator, is such a strong proponent of the college game, as evidenced by the rosters of his three Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils teams.
Bracco’s not the first Jeremy to do this at the Heights. Jeremy Roenick turned pro in the fall of 1988 with the Chicago Blackhawks but never suited up for the Eagles after spending a few weeks on campus. BC also lost rising freshman defenseman Noah Hanifin this past summer, after he was drafted fifth overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in June. Hanifin had two assists in his first eight games this fall with the big club.
The days of having the Brian Giontas for four seasons, or the Nathan Gerbes and Johnny Gaudreaus for three years, seem to be over at Conte Forum. Hopefully Bracco will be the last of these one-and-dones at BC. Or lately, one-and-nones.