Defenseman Braden Doyle, a sixth-round draft pick in the 2019 NHL Draft by the Los Angeles Kings, is transferring to Northeastern for the 2022-23 season. Doyle previously played eight games at Boston University during the Fall 2021 semester before leaving the program and joining the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League.
Doyle, a native of Lynnfield, MA, originally committed to BU back in 2015 when he was playing at the 14U level for Shattuck-St. Mary’s, under the previous recruiting rules where players could verbally commit before they turned 16. He held his commitment for over half a decade, including pushing it one year beyond his original enrollment date in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After committing to BU, Doyle attended Lawrence Academy in Massachusetts and the Boston Jr Bruins organization before joining the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL. Doyle played three seasons in Dubuque before enrolling to Boston University. In his journey to college hockey he was named to the US High School All-Hockey Third Team for his final year at Lawrence, and in 2019-20 was named to the USHL Third All-Star Team.
Doyle, standing 5-foot-11 and weighing in at 180 pounds, profiles as an extremely gifted offensive defenseman, and his statistics back it up. In two full seasons in Dubuque, he tallied 56 points (12 goals) in 99 games, exhibiting the ability to set up teammates as well as score when needed. After leaving BU after eight games, he has 13 points (1 goal) in 12 games for Penticton. Not bad for a player who models his game after Erik Karlsson. Whatever the reason for leaving Commonwealth Avenue, every other stop along Doyle’s hockey journey has yielded excellent results on the scoresheet, and fans can expect the left-shot defenseman to step in and contribute immediately for the Huskies, who are expected to lose as many as five defensemen from their team this offseason to graduation and the NHL.
Scouts and evaluators have long lauded Doyle’s offensive abilities. When drafted, Future Considerations published: “A puck-moving offensive defenseman, Doyle shows excellent poise and composure with the puck. He has excellent agility and a decent top speed. He has smooth edges and his stride is very fluid. He defends rushes well with good stick-work and he shows good gap control. He’s good at poke-checking the puck away from opponents before recovering it and transitioning it the other way. His ability to start the attack from his own end is impressive and he can dish out breakout passes to quickly start the attack. He possesses slick hands and he’s able to pull off some impressive dangles. His puck skills and skating abilities allow him to escape pressure and sidestep opponents with ease. He loves to put the puck towards the net.”
New England Hockey Journal added to that, saying “The Lawrence Academy senior defenseman has proven time and time again that he can start the offense from the back end. His ability to sidestep oncoming forecheckers, rush the puck up ice and give quality lead passes on the breakout are staples of his game.” Both evaluators mentioned that defensive positioning and gap control as the biggest aspect of his game that he needed to improve, something that Doyle acknowledged in an interview given while at Kings development camp in 2021. Between his time at BU, Dubuque, and in Penticton, we can expect that Doyle has improved on that deficiency and will be reliable in his own end as a Husky.
As previously mentioned, Doyle will enroll at Northeastern this upcoming Fall, and we believe he will enroll as a sophomore, however with the new eligibility rules, he still will maintain four full years of eligibility for Northeastern. We expect him to come in and be an offensive force immediately, likely shouldering much of the offensive load on the left side being vacated by the graduation of Jordan Harris.
Congratulations to Braden on choosing Northeastern! We cannot wait to see him on the ice next Fall and look forward to watching his season in Penticton continue ahead of his arrival to Matthews Arena.
As always, go Huskies!