Northeastern continues to make a big splash on the recruiting trail, landing a commitment from one of the top remaining 1999-born forwards in the country. Aidan McDonough, a left winger from Braintree, MA, gave his commitment to Jim Madigan’s program Wednesday afternoon. McDonough currently plays for Thayer Academy, which has produced current Northeastern players Adam Gaudette, Lincoln Griffin, and Jon Barry. He is also a Cedar Rapids affiliate in the United States Hockey League, which has had a pipeline to NU that produced Gaudette and Matt Filipe, among others. He is slated to arrive at Northeastern in 2018 after playing one year in the USHL.
This season, McDonough has put up 49 points in 30 games for Thayer. This includes 22 goals and 27 assists. Last season, McDonough put up 44 points last season in 31 games for Thayer, including 25 goals. After the season he played 10 games for the Cape Cod Whalers U16 team, scoring 12 points (7 goals). It appears he is a true goal-scorer, which is obviously critical and can translate well as he advances his level of competition. He also had the opportunity to compete at the 2016 USA Hockey Select 17 Player Development Camp.
Simply put, this commitment is huge for Northeastern. McDonough was drawing interest from teams across Hockey East and the ECAC, and was described by Jeff Cox of SBNation College Hockey as “A late bloomer, he’s exploding onto the scene…absolutely a game changer.” Cox has seen McDonough play multiple times, and produced multiple scouting reports on him. From January, 2017:
“He’s the only player that isn’t committed on his line, but it won’t be for long. He doesn’t have the speed that his two linemates have, but his tangibles make up for it. He continues to be the glue guy for his line. On his first goal in the first period he came into the zone down the left side and fired a shot from the left circle that beat the goaltender low just inside the far post. He started the transition play on Dobay’s goal with a pokecheck at his defensive blue line. On the game-winner, he scored on the man advantage. His quick shot through traffic came from a few feet outside the crease.”
“He’s the only uncommitted ’99 in New England that this observer sees as a sure-fire impact player at the collegiate level. At least five Hockey East schools and a few ECAC Hockey programs are tracking or talking with him. He thinks the game well and is the glue guy on his line. While he doesn’t have the speed or skill set of linemates Jay O’Brien (Providence) or Casey Carreau (BC), he plays well along the wall and below the dots. He has pro size. He drives the net, plays physically and isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty. He does a great job retrieving pucks and sending out passes into the slot. He has a good shot and can score from anywhere. He’s not going to dangle any defenders or pull off highlight reel toe-drags, but he has big-time potential. As a late ’99, he’s not eligible until the 2018 NHL Draft. If he works on his first step and getting out of the blocks quicker over the summer, he could be worthy of a third or fourth round pick in 2018. He’s on the affiliate list of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.”
When I asked Cox to give me a player comparison for this blog post, he said McDonough plays identical to current Husky Zach Aston-Reese, with the only difference being that McDonough is bigger. If McDonough can have a career anywhere near what Aston-Reese has produced, Huskies fans will be thrilled.
Further accolades for McDonough continued after he announced his commitment:
Aidan McDonough (99) commits to Northeastern. 10th Rd: USHL Cedar Rapids. Thayer Academy, CC Whalers, Select 17s. Edgy Skill FWD. #WhosNext
— Matt Grainda (@graindaiv) March 8, 2017
Madigan/Keefe are doing very good job on recruiting trail. McDonough is huge coup for NU. He's a power fwd, good hockey IQ, getting better.
— Jeff Cox (@JeffCoxSports) March 8, 2017
99 F Aidan McDonough (NU) is a 6'2 power forward: dart of a wrister. Great possession player, strong on his stick: big add for the Huskies.
— Mark Bilotta (@mbilotta) March 8, 2017
Northeastern gets commit from Aidan McDonough '99 (Thayer). Power forward w/ size, plays physical, competes, offensive ways. 22-27-49 30gp.
— Russ Bitely (@russbites) March 8, 2017
Congratulations to Aidan and his family! We look forward to watching him continue to develop in anticipation of his arrival at Northeastern. You can see our full recruit projections here. As always, Go Huskies!