It's no secret around these parts that I have a serious man-crush on one Alex Tuch. In fact, I flaunt it whenever the opportunity presents itself. Going into his sophomore year at Boston College, the expectations for Tuch's growth are starting to show. His size and skill make him a formidable power forward who isn't afraid to play along the wall and can be found digging around the crease for loose pucks to deposit behind the enemy goalie.
He's been continuously selected for the U.S. National teams, playing in the WHC US U-17, the WJC US U-18 and U-20 squads. Competing in the world junior tournaments, finding some success and helping bring medals back to the US. In his freshmen season at BC, Tuch registered 14 goals and matched that number in assists in 37 games. He led the team in points, and was 2nd in goals for one of the elite hockey schools in the NCAA.
So what more does he have to prove? He's certainly excelling in BC, his multiple WJC selections seem to point that he is ready to take the next step. While that may be true, Tuch will stick around Boston for his sophomore season. He has unfinished business there with the BC Eagles who finished outside of the top-10 in the NCAA last season and were bounced from the 2015 NCAA championship tournament in the opening round by the University of Denver.
Tuch oozes confidence. Earlier this summer in an interview with Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune, he was asked how he feels he stacks up against the competition at the Wild's prospect development camp. "I feel I'm one of the top guys out there." Tuch said. "I feel like I came in pretty strong, pretty confident. And I think going forward I have to prove myself more and show I'm the top guy out there." He certainly did show off his confidence and skill at the development camp earlier this summer.
Tuch has lofty goals for his sophomore year in Boston. It's every college kids dream to compete for the NCAA title. He also wants to improve his consistency on the ice and get quicker. He could be faster coming out of the gate, but his speed hasn't been much of an issue to anyone but himself. I mentioned this last year during our rankings as well, but it's worth stating again. At BC, he's in good hands. The kid is smart, he knows what to do when the pucks on his stick as well as when it's not.
It's that combination of size, skill, speed and hockey sense that make Tuch such a dangerous asset to have on the flanks. Once he makes the jump to the NHL, he'll likely spend some time down in Iowa developing his game further and learning what is going to be expected of him at the pro level. With the smarts he has between the ears, it won't take him very long to figure things out.
Tuch seems very committed to to Boston. I surmised last year he would spend a year, perhaps 2 in the college ranks before electing to turn pro. Obviously he will not be making his way into a Wild uniform this season, and although I'm tempted at this point to give him a junior year out east, I'm going to stand by my original thought that he will turn pro after his sophomore college season is done. He's not going to get much bigger in college, and he might benefit greater in his development against a little stiffer competition than the Big East and NCAA can offer.