The Ohio State Men's Hockey team is dipping back into that Alberta Junior Hockey League pipeline today by securing a commitment from somehow not Quebec native Sash Larocque.
Larocque played for the AJHL Grande Prairie Storm up through the 2013-14 season and was the captain during his final campaign, where he put up 7 goals and 15 assists in 42 games. The season before, he put up 5 goals and 26 assists in 58 games for the Storm. For 2014-15, he moved south to the USHL where he's been playing for the Dubuque Fighting Saints, where he's put up 1 goal and 1 assist in 6 games so far. He was Dubuque's 18th round pick, number 290 overall in the 2014 USHL Entry Draft.
Larocque stands at 6' even and checks in at 203 pounds according to his EliteProspects profile. He's 20 years old already and will be 21 by the time he joins the Buckeyes in 2014-15. So, he's probably already fully physically developed and should be able to make an impact right away when he comes in. There shouldn't be a worry about him being pushed off of the puck as has been seen with some of the freshmen that have played this year so far.
There seems to be some grit to Sasha's game as he put up over one hundred penalty minutes in each of his last two seasons in the AJHL and put up 368 PIMs overall in 192 career AJHL games, where he also played with the Okotoks Oilers.
The tough, stay at home defenseman is probably an endangered species in professional hockey these days, as with analytics taking over, their true values have finally been discovered. It remains to be seen whether Larocque can develop more of an offensive game or has the speed to compete on the NCAA level. But he simply can't just be a hulking defenseman (at least for a 20 year old) who guards the front of his net. He has to develop another dimension. Clearing the crease just isn't enough anymore.
But if he can utilize that grit to get under the other team's skin and develop another dimension to his game, he could be a steal for the Buckeyes.