After a couple days off, Canes and Coffee’s ‘Back to School’ series featuring reports on sub-AHL Hurricanes prospects from coaches, team management, scouts and media stays in the NCAA ranks and continues with our first check in on the 2015 draft class.
David Cotton was the Carolina Hurricanes sixth round draft pick in the 2015 NHL. Cotton matches a familiar theme for many of the Hurricanes forward prospects as a player with good size (6 feet 3 inches tall and 201 pounds), skating ability and offensive skill to boot. After playing for the Waterloo Blackhawks of in the USHL in 2015-16, Cotton made the jump to Boston College and just completed his freshman year of NCAA hockey. He might rank highest among the group of Canes prospects who played NCAA hockey as a freshman in 2016-17 in terms of making the adjustment to playing against older players. He settled in fairly quickly and had a strong half of the year finishing with 24 points in 40 games.
Interview with Boston College Head Coach Jerry York
About the interviewee
Jerry York is entering his 45th season as a head coach in the NCAA including seven years at Clarkson, 15 years at Bowling Green and 23 years at Boston College where he is currently the Head Coach. York is college hockey’s all-time winningest coach entering the 2017-18 season with 1,012 wins. In his storied career, he was won five national titles and is one of only three coaches to lead two different teams to national championships. His accolades with Boston College include nine Hockey East tournament titles, six Hockey East regular season titles and 11 “Frozen Four” berths.
Interview on David Cotton
Canes and Coffee: What was David Cotton’s starting point as a player in terms of skill set, abilities and style of play when he arrived for his freshman season in 2016-17?
Jerry York: David came onto campus long and lean, and we were excited to see what that would eventually develop into. What first struck us is tenacity to get dirty and dig in the crease but also to be able to pull the puck out and utilize his skill to set up the play. We were very impressed with his overall vision but also how mature he was able to play as a freshman. He has very soft hands and can maneuver beautifully through the zone for someone of his stature.
Canes and Coffee: How would you describe David Cotton’s 2016-17 season? In what areas did he make the most progress development-wise as he settled in at the NCAA level?
Jerry York: As our leading freshman scorer, we were very pleased with David’s first year and are excited to see him build upon that this upcoming season. He came to camp last year with raw talent and a tremendous skill set for a newcomer, but what we were happy to see over the course of the season is how he was able to visualize the play. He became a big asset in our power play formation, and we expect that to be a big component of his game going forward. Putting together his natural talent with vision will complement his game largely going forward.
Canes and Coffee: What are David Cotton’s strengths as a young player that give him the potential to one day play in the NHL? What areas of David Cotton’s game and skill set still have room for improvement as he works to round out his game and make it to the NHL?
Jerry York: As I just said, his ability to see the game a couple plays ahead will really help him down the road. We knew he possessed a strong skill set with great hands and a knack to score, but with such a young team this season, we hope that he continues to develop that vision and ability to create plays to complement the rest of our offense this season. He has improved in all assets in his first year. We know he can score the pretty goals, but every goal counts so we want to see David muck it up a bit in the middle and grab a couple greasy goals.
Canes and Coffee: David Cotton will have had a good 2017-18 season in terms of helping Boston College win and progressing toward playing in the NHL if ______.
Jerry York: …He is able to quarterback a good chunk of our offense and be a mature leader on and off the ice.
Canes and Coffee: Is there a current or former Boston College and/or NHL player whose style of play and skill set are somewhat similar to Cotton’s such that he could be a model and something to strive for in Cotton’s ongoing development?
Jerry York: He’s someone like a Jamie Benn – good size to go along with a great skill set – who has a leadership mentality.
Canes and Coffee: Is there anything else that Carolina Hurricanes fans would be interested to know about David Cotton that was maybe not covered in the questions above?
Jerry York: David comes to us from Texas, not the hottest of hotbeds for college hockey recruiting, but he comes from a great hockey family and we’re expecting him to be one of our top producers in 2017-18.
Interview with Laura Berestecki from BC Interruption
About the Interviewee
Interview on David Cotton
Canes and Coffee: When we last checked in with BC Interruption on David Cotton in January, he was most of the way through a pretty solid freshman season. How did he finish up? And how would you summarize his 2016-17 season in total?
Laura Berestecki: His offensive output slowed down a bit in the second half of the year (as did most of the team’s). He led the team with 4 GWG overall and ended the year with a respectable 24 points. I would say he had a very successful freshman year based on expectations coming into the season, and he showed improvement in a number of areas, including conditioning.
Canes and Coffee: What areas of David Cotton’s game were strongest during the 2016-17 season?
Laura Berestecki: Cotton was a strong player on the power play, a role which he’ll be expected to continue to improve on this season. He also showed a willingness to battle for pucks and always give 100% on the ice.
Canes and Coffee: Heading into the offseason and approaching the start of the 2017-18 season, what do you see as focus areas for improvement as part of David Cotton’s ongoing development?
Laura Berestecki: His skating improved over the season, but is something he’ll definitely continue to work on while at BC. Greater consistency in his offensive game will also be important, but I expect that will come as he continues to adjust to the college game.
Canes and Coffee: What is the outlook for David Cotton in terms of expected role on the 2017-18 Boston College Eagles?
Laura Berestecki: Cotton can expect an expanded role with the Eagles this season. The team lost a number of offensive leaders, as well as a highly touted offensive recruit. The Eagles will also be a very young team this year, so even sophomores will need to step up on the leadership front. I would expect Cotton to alternate between the first and second lines and to see significant special teams action.
Canes and Coffee: David Cotton will have had a strong 2017-18 season in terms of both helping Boston College win and continuing on the path to defying the odds as a sixth-round draft pick and making it to the NHL if _________.
Laura Berestecki: …He is one of the top 4 scorers on a team that has lost most of its offensive power.
Canes and Coffee: Is there anything about David Cotton and/or his 2016-17 season that is not covered by the questions above that might be of interest to Carolina Hurricanes fans?
Laura Berestecki: The outlook for BC is not great this year due to the number of players the team lost, so this year should give Cotton a chance to show what he can do with a lot of ice time and possibly to prove that he can handle adversity on the ice.
For past coverage on David Cotton including a check in on him during the 2016-17, please visit his Canes and Coffee player page HERE.
Canes and Coffee would like to extend a huge thank you to Head Coach Jerry York from Boston College and Laura Berestecki from BC Interruption for generously sharing their insight on Hurricanes prospect David Cotton!