The rich are about to get richer at the college level. Boston University has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of the past four seasons and continues to have a greater depth of NHL prospects than any other team in college hockey. Now, the Terriers are adding one more talented future pro next season, as the Providence Journal’s Mark Divver reports that Brown University’s Max Willman is transferring to BU as a graduate student for next season.
Willman, 23, was a fifth-round selection by the Buffalo Sabres in 2014 out of Barnstable High School in Massachusetts. In four years at Brown, Willman recorded 45 points in 99 games and proved himself to be a hard-working, two-way forward. However, last year, in his fourth year, he was limited to only nine games due to injury. Given that all college athletes have five years of NCAA eligibility to participate in four seasons of game action, Willman’s transfer implies that he received a medical waiver for last season, granting him an additional fifth season. However, while Brown plays hockey in the ECAC, Divver adds that their main athletic conference, the prestigious Ivy League, does not allow their member schools to employ medical redshirts. As such, Willman needed to find a new school to enroll in to finish up his collegiate career before presumably moving on to the pro level.
Willman could do much worse than BU, which projects to have at least ten drafted players on their roster next season, most of which played on the team this season but also including highly-touted draft-eligible players like Jake Wise and Jack DeBoer as newcomers alongside Willman. The experienced NCAA winger will be looked upon as a leader even as a new addition, but will also benefit greatly from the superior talent that he’ll be lining up with in 2018-19. Willman’s stock has dropped since he was drafted, but a stint at BU for his final college season could be exactly what he needs to reinforce his label as a future NHLer and peak the interest of the Sabres or other clubs.