Top 15 Boston College Hockey Players Since 1980

Roman Uschak@@RomanUschakCorrespondent INovember 20, 2011

Top 15 Boston College Hockey Players Since 1980

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    Boston College has had a lot of great players in its men's ice hockey history, which dates back to 1917. It would be next to impossible to name the top 15 Eagle skaters in that span, having not seen them all in action. Instead, I've decided to narrow down the list to the past 30 years or so.

    Players were rated not only on what they did at BC, since not all of them stayed all four years, but also factored in was what they accomplished at the professional and international levels, including the Olympic Games. \

    The list is just an opinion, and no offense to any of the guys I knew from my four years at the Heights, either.

Marty Reasoner (1995-1998)

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    Boston College suffered through six straight losing seasons before coming within an overtime goal of the 1998 NCAA Championship. Part of the reason for the turnaround was Reasoner, who tallied 69 goals and 93 assists for 162 points in just three seasons at the Heights.

    The Honeoye Falls, NY native recorded 73 points as a junior in 1997-98 before turning pro the next year. He split the next three campaigns between Worcester (AHL) and the St. Louis Blues.

    Reasoner spent the following four years in Edmonton, as he finally made it to the NHL for good. He went back to the Oilers for two seasons following one year in Boston (2005-06), and then played in Atlanta from 2008 to 2010 before recording a career-high 32 points with Florida in 2010-11.

    He's now with the New York Islanders, and is closing in on 100 goals in an NHL career that has spanned more than 700 games.

Cory Schneider (2004-2007)

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    One of the best goaltenders to ever wear the Maroon and Gold, the Massachusetts native backstopped BC to two consecutive national title games (2006 and 2007), and was also chosen to the Hockey East All-Tournament team in both those years.

    Schneider was the first Eagle netminder to earn First Team All-America status when he was chosen in 2006, and was a three-time Hockey East Scholar-Athlete to boot.

    He finished his college career with 66 wins and a school-best 15 shutouts, including a school-record eight whitewashes as a sophomore in 2005-06.

    Drafted in the first round by the Vancouver Canucks in 2004, Schneider apprenticed in the minors with the AHL's Manitoba Moose before graduating to the Canucks last season. He then went 16-4-2 in 25 games, with a 2.23 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage, and helped Vancouver win the William Jennings Trophy and also come within one victory of the Stanley Cup.

Mike Mottau (1996-2000)

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    The 2000 Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner as college hockey's best player, Mottau still holds the BC record with 130 career assists and is among the top 25 Eagle scorers all-time with 157 points.

    A two time All-America selection, Mottau also led BC to three straight Frozen Fours in his final three college campaigns.

    He struggled to break into the NHL, first with the New York Rangers and then the Calgary Flames before finding a home in New Jersey with the Devils. He played in the Garden State from 2007 to 2010, where he tallied seven goals and 50 points from the blueline.

    He joined the New York Islanders last season, and is back on the Island this year after overcoming an eye injury that limited him to 20 games in 2010-11.

Scott Clemmensen (1997-2001)

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    The Iowa native led BC to four straight NCAA Frozen Fours, including its first national title in 52 years in 2001. He also posted a school-record 99 wins to go along with eight shutouts, and is third all time in school annals with 3,234 saves.

    Drafted by New Jersey in the eighth round in 1997, he's had a serviceable NHL career with the New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers, most of it as a backup .

    His best NHL season came in 2008-09 when, with Martin Brodeur sidelined by a long-term biceps injury, Clemmensen went 25-13-1 with two shutouts in 40 appearances, and helped the Devils qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs that year.

    Career-wise, he's gone 50-39-14 with six shutouts in 122 games, although he was sidelined at the start the 2011-12 season by knee surgery.

Nathan Gerbe (2005-2008)

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    The 5'5" Michigan native played much bigger than his height in his career at the Heights, culminating in a national championship in his final campaign.

    He was also the 2008 Frozen Four MVP after leading BC past both North Dakota and Notre Dame with a pair of four-point games in Denver.

    A Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist his last season, Gerbe also led the Eagles in scoring with 35 goals and 33 assists for 68 points.

    In his three seasons at Chestnut Hill, he racked up 71 goals and 133 points in 123 outings, including three hat tricks.

    It took him a little while to break through at the NHL level, but he finally became a Sabres regular last season, tallying 16 goals and 31 points in 64 outings.

    He also scored a spectacular spin-o-rama goal against Philadelphia:

Chuck Kobasew (2000-2001)

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    He only played one season in an Eagles uniform, but what a season it was.

    Kobasew helped BC end its 52-year national title drought in 2001 by scoring one goal and then setting up the game winner in overtime, as the Eagles outlasted North Dakota 3-2 in Albany, NY.

    For his efforts, Kobasew earned NCAA Frozen Four MVP honors to go along with Hockey East Tournament MVP accolades. He was also tabbed as the Hockey East Rookie of the Year.

    The British Columbia native then went back home to play major junior hockey with the Kelowna Rockets, before embarking upon an NHL career in 2002 that has seen him skate with Calgary, Boston, Minnesota and now Colorado.

    He helped the Flames to Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals, and prior to this season had produced 96 goals and 185 points in 473 career NHL regular-season contests.

Greg Brown (1986-1987, 1988-1990)

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    A two-time Hockey East Player of the Year, Brown was also a two-time finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, a two-time First Team All-America choice, and a two-time All-New England selection.

    He tallied 24 goals and 96 assists for 120 points in 119 career games in just three seasons, having spent the 1987-88 campaign with the U.S. National Team that competed in the Calgary Olympics. He also captained the Eagles to the 1990 NCAA Frozen Four in Detroit, and then skated in the 1992 Olympic Games in Albertville, France.

    A second-round selection of the Buffalo Sabres in 1986, Brown went on to play in 94 NHL games with the Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins and Winnipeg Jets. He then enjoyed an eight-year career in Europe, playing in Sweden, Switzerland and Germany before ultimately retiring in 2004.

    The younger brother of former BC player and NHLer Doug Brown, he has been an assistant coach at BC ever since, and helped the Eagles to national titles in both 2008 and 2010.

Doug Brown (1982-1986)

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    A two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Detroit Red Wings, Brown parlayed his four-year tenure at BC into a solid NHL career with three different clubs, recording nearly 400 career points.

    He was at the Heights when the Eagles made the transition from the Eastern College Athletic Conference to Hockey East, and promptly recorded a career-high 37 goals and 68 points as a junior in 1984-85. He followed that up with a 40-assist, 56-point senior campaign before signing with the New Jersey Devils as a free agent.

    After apprenticing with Maine (AHL) in 1986-87, Brown moved up to the big league the next year, scoring 14 goals in 70 games as the Devils finally made it to the playoffs and came within one game of the Stanley Cup Finals. Included among his five playoff goals that spring was the game-winner in double OT back at home at Boston Garden, in the semifinal round against the Bruins.

    Brown spent four more seasons in New Jersey before going to Pittsburgh for 1993-94, where he notched a career-high 55 points. He then closed out his career with seven straight seasons in Detroit, where he helped the Red Wings to three Stanley Cup Finals appearances and two titles.

    Nicknamed "Brownov" for how well he played on a line with Russian teammates, Brown had four goals and two assists in nine playoff games in 1998 as the Red Wings swept Washington to win their second straight Cup, the last NHL team to date to achieve a repeat championship.

David Emma (1987-1991)

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    The all-time leading scorer in BC Hockey history with 239 points, Emma led BC to the 1990 Hockey East Championship and three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, including the 1990 Frozen Four in Detroit.

    Following a 35-point season as a freshman, the Rhode Island native went on to record successive campaigns of 51, 72, and 81 points en route to claiming the 1991 Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey's best player, the first Eagle ever to do so.

    He went on to play with the 1992 U.S Olympic team in Albertville, France before turning pro in New Jersey's system. Emma also skated with Boston and Florida in a short-lived NHL career.

    He also starred with Utica and Albany in the AHL (and Detroit in the IHL) before embarking upon a five-year career in Europe with Klagenfurt AC, where he recorded three seasons of 47 points or more.

    He retired after notching 24 goals and 60 points in the AHL with Louisville and Portland in 2000-01, plus a six-game stint with the Florida Panthers that season. His No. 16 jersey was retired to the rafters at BC's Kelley Rink later that year.

    NOTE: I'm going to cheat here and add Emma's long-time Eagle linemates and Massachusetts natives, Steve Heinze and Marty McInnis, who also skated with him on the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team and went on to play in nearly 1,500 NHL games between them. Along with Emma at BC, they formed the "HEM" line that combined for a total of 363 points through 1989-90 and 1990-91. Both still rank among the top 30 players in BC career points, with Heinze (159 points) and McInnis (142 points) coming in at 20th and 29th, respectively.

    Heinze totaled 178 goals and 336 points in 694 NHL games with Boston, Columbus, Buffalo and Los Angeles, while McInnis finished with 170 goals and 420 points in 796 NHL outings with the Islanders, Calgary, Anaheim and Boston.

    Both retired after the 2002-03 season.

Craig Janney (1985-1987)

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    Despite playing just two seasons with the Eagles, Janney still holds the BC record with 83 points in a single season, a feat he accomplished as a sophomore in 1986-87.

    After skating with the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team in Calgary, he jumped to the Boston Bruins and spent the next 11 seasons in the NHL, never playing a game in the minors.

    Janney posted 16 points in 23 playoff games as a rookie in 1988, helping the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals. He did so again two years later, and played five seasons in all in Beantown before heading to St. Louis for four consecutive campaigns.

    He also played with San Jose, Winnipeg and Phoenix before wrapping up his career in 1998-99 with Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders.

    His best NHL season came in 1992-93 with the Blues, when he scored 24 goals and set up 82 others for a career-high 106 points. He played in 760 NHL games in all ,and averaged nearly a point per outing, tallying 188 goals and 563 assists for 751 points. He also added 110 points in 120 Stanley Cup Playoff contests.

Kevin Stevens (1983-1987)

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    The 6'3" power forward from Brockton, Mass. played four years at BC, highlighted by a 70-point senior season in 1986-87.

    He spent the next year with the U.S. National Team, playing in the Calgary Olympics before going pro in Pittsburgh, where he spent eight years and helped the Penguins to consecutive Stanley Cup crowns in 1991-1992.

    He recorded more than 100 points in each of Pittsburgh's championship campaigns, including a career-best 123 points in 1990-91 and a career-high 55 goals the following winter, and was a four-time 40-goal scorer with the Pens.

    Stevens spent 1995-96 back home with the Boston Bruins, and then went on to stints with Los Angeles, the Rangers and Philadelphia before closing out his playing career with two more seasons in Pittsburgh, retiring in 2002.

    Stevens notched 329 goals and 726 points in 874 career NHL regular-season games, while piling up 1,470 penalty minutes. He also collected 106 points in 103 career Stanley Cup playoff games.

Brian Gionta (1997-2001)

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    Like former BC linemate Reasoner, Gionta helped get the Eagle program back on track after it went through some lean years in the early 1990s.

    Gionta led Boston College to four consecutive NCAA Frozen Fours, culminating in BC's first national title in 52 years in 2001. He also helped the Eagles to three Hockey East titles and a Beanpot championship.

    The all -time leading goal scorer in BC Hockey history with 123 tallies, Gionta had three seasons with 30 or more goals, including nine hat tricks and a five-goal outburst against Maine.

    A three-time All-America and All-New England selection, he was also the 1998 Hockey East Rookie of the Year and the 2001 Hockey East Player of the Year.

    After turning pro with New Jersey in 2001-02, Gionta joined the Devils full-time the following season and helped them secure their third-ever Stanley Cup in 2003. He potted a team-record 48 goals in 2005-06, and scored the Devils' first-ever goal in their new arena, the Prudential Center, in Oct. 2007.

    He remained with New Jersey until he signed with Montreal in 2009. Just the second-ever American-born player to captain the Canadians, Gionta recorded back-to-back 20-goal campaigns with the Habs in his first two seasons in Quebec.

    Entering 2011-12, Gionta had played in 616 NHL games, scoring 209 goals and adding 195 assists for 404 points. He also has 31 goals and 60 points in 93 NHL playoff games.

Bill Guerin (1989-1991)

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    A two-time Stanley Cup winner with New Jersey (1995) and Pittsburgh (2009), Guerin remains BC's highest-ever draft choice, taken fifth overall by the Devils in 1989.

    He notched 40 goals in two seasons at the Heights, including 26 tallies as a sophomore, as BC won back-to-back Hockey East regular-season titles and twice made the NCAA Tournament.

    Guerin turned pro the next season with Utica (AHL) after a stint with the U.S. National Team, and went on to a 17-year NHL career with New Jersey, Edmonton, Boston, Dallas, St. Louis, the Islanders and Pittsburgh.

    A four-time All-Star choice, he registered 429 goals and 427 assists for 856 points and 1,660 penalty minutes in 1,263 career regular-season NHL outings. He also produced 39 goals and 74 points in 140 playoff games, along with an additional 162 penalty minutes.

    A twelve-time 20-goal scorer, including at least one 20-goal season with seven different clubs, Guerin was also a three-time 30-goal scorer. He recorded a career-high 41 goals with the Bruins in 2001-02, and a career-best 69 points with the Stars in 2003-04.

    A member of the gold-medal winning U.S. team at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, Guerin also skated in three Olympic Games and earned a silver medal in 2002 in Salt Lake City.

Brian Leetch (1986-1987)

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    Leetch played just a solitary season with the Eagles, but was both an All-America choice and a Hobey Baker Memorial Award Finalist that year. As a freshman, he recorded nine goals and 38 assists in 37 games, and helped BC to a Hockey East title at Boston Garden. He was also both the Hockey East Rookie and Player of the Year, and the Hockey East Tournament MVP.

    After skating with the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team in Calgary, he was in the NHL for good, and won the Calder Trophy as top rookie in 1989. He spent 17 seasons in all with the New York Rangers, who drafted him ninth overall in 1986, and helped them end their Stanley Cup curse in 1994.

    Leetch became the first American to earn the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP that spring, notching 11 goals, 23 assists and 34 points in 23 games as the Rangers outlasted the Islanders, Capitals, Devils and Canucks to claim their first Cup since 1940.

    His top statistical season came in 1991-92, when he registered 102 points for New York and won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman. Ultimately traded to the Maple Leafs in 2004, he retired after playing the 2005-06 season with the Bruins.

    He collected 247 goals and 781 assists for 1,028 points in 1,205 career NHL games, as well as 28 goals and 97 points in 95 playoff contests. A two-time NHL All-Star, he was also selected to participate in 10 NHL All-Star Games.

    The captain of the gold medal-winning U.S. team at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, Leetch was also a member of the silver medal American squad at the 2002 Olympic Games. A Lester Patrick Trophy winner in 2004, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009, one year after his No. 2 jersey was retired by the Rangers. He is also a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

Joe Mullen (1975-1979)

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    A New York City native, Mullen is still one of the top five scorers in BC Hockey history.

    He notched 110 goals and 212 points in his four seasons in Chestnut Hill, and was a two-time All-America, All-New England and All-East selection who led the Eagles to both the 1978 ECAC Championship and a berth in that year's NCAA title game.

    He passed up an opportunity to skate for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team, instead signing with the St. Louis Blues in order to support his family. After three seasons with Salt Lake of the Central Hockey League, where he scored a total of 120 goals, he made his NHL regular-season debut with the Blues in 1981-82, scoring 25 goals in 45 games.He later notched back-to-back 40-goal campaigns with the Blues, before he was traded to Calgary in 1985.

    Mullen helped the Flames to the Stanley Cup Finals the next season, scoring 12 goals in 21 playoff games. Three years later he guided Calgary to its first Cup crown following a career-high 51 goals and 59 assists for 110 points, plus 16 more goals in the playoffs.

    He joined Pittsburgh in 1990 and won back-to-back Cups with the Penguins, tallying 42 goals his second season before registering back-to-back 30-goal campaigns.

    He went on to play one season with Boston before retiring as a Penguin following the 1996-97 season, a year in which he scored his 500th career NHL goal.

    Mullen completed his career with 1,063 points in 1,062 NHL regular-season games, including 502 goals. In all, he recorded nine NHL seasons of at least 20 goals. He also scored 60 goals and collected 106 points in 143 Stanley Cup Playoff outings.

    A three-time NHL All-Star Game participant, and an NHL First Team All-Star in 1989, Mullen was a two-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy for playing ability combined with gentlemanly play, and also won the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1995.

    He was inducted into both the Hockey Hall of Fame and the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000, one year after BC retired his jersey.