New Hampshire continued to pick up steam on the recruiting trail, adding 2003-born defenseman Brendan Fitzgerald from Governor’s Academy.
Fitzgerald has hockey in his blood. His father, Tom, was a longtime NHL’er who is now the general manager of the New Jersey Devils. Both of Fitzgerald’s brothers, Ryan and Casey, played college hockey at Boston College and are now playing pro hockey.
The youngest Fitzgerald played at Malden Catholic in 2017-18 before moving over to the Islanders AAA team the following season. Last season he appeared in 32 games for Governor’s Academy, posting seven goals and 25 assists from the blue line; he also played for the Boston Jr. Eagles. Fitzgerald is projected to arrive at UNH in 2022.
“Fitzgerald had an impressive showing here as a savvy, puck moving, well-rounded defenseman,” NZ scouts said at last year’s Select 16 camp. “He has great balance and quickness defensively to stay tight on his opponent and has a strong stick to steal pucks and break up plays. He has four way mobility and makes great first steps in every direction to get to pucks quick, close on opponents and maintain his gaps through the neutral zone. His backwards acceleration off the blue line is excellent and allows him to be more aggressive and hold the line longer than most. He trusts his feet and knows that he can get off his man and get to the puck or beat an opponent to the corner which allows him to play aggressive without chasing the puck.
“Brendan has a mature game both with and away from the puck; he’s positionally sound in his own end, he gets his stick in the right position and he will take ice given to him or make the simple pass instead of trying to make a high-risk play. He stood out on the breakout getting back for pucks, turning up ice quickly and moving the puck before the forechekers had a chance to get in position. He can make opponents miss in open ice and has enough skill to buy time and space for himself carrying the puck up ice or at the offensive blue line, but he’s safe and makes the smart play not the pretty play.”