Ryan Fitzgerald – Center, Boston College Eagles
Fitzgerald is somewhat of a forgotten man in Boston’s pipeline. Fitzgerald (like Jake Debrusk and Ryan Donato) has hockey bloodlines; his father Tom is a veteran of over 1,000 NHL games, who ended his career with the Black & Gold. Selected 120th Overall in the 2013 Draft, Fitzgerald is wrapping up a solid four-year career at BC. After freshman and sophomore seasons in which he scored 13 and 17 goals respectively, Fitzgerald had a breakout campaign his junior season to the tune of 24 goals and 47 points in 40 games. This season, though, Fitzgerald has continued his strong play, scoring 17 points in as many games.
Not the biggest (5’11”, 180 pounds), nor the fastest prospect, Fitzgerald is a worker…plain and simple. The North Reading native plays with a chip on his shoulder on a nightly basis and has more than a little skill to go along with it.
It’s difficult to make predictions about guys like Fitzgerald. His lack of size and speed could very well keep him out of the NHL entirely. His combination of desire, work ethic, and puck skills could also get him into a team’s bottom-six sooner rather than later. With a handful of long-term contracts already in Boston as well as some flashier prospects on this list, odds are that Fitzgerald’s time is a little down the road. But with NHL bloodlines and a local connection fueling a talented workhorse like Fitzgerald, I wouldn’t count him out for long.