Have no fear Boston University men’s hockey fans, the 2017 NHL Entry Draft is almost here and many BU recruits as well as rising sophomore goaltender Jake Oettinger are expected to hear their names called by league commissioner Gary Bettman.
The first round of the draft will start tomorrow at 7 p.m. EST and the second through seven rounds will begin at 10 a.m. EST on Saturday. We will keep you updated throughout the draft via Twitter and post a draft recap for those of you who can’t tune in.
While there is still one more day before Oettinger and other future Terriers will learn their NHL fate at the United Center in Chicago, we have compiled a preview full of highlights, facts and projections to get you all ready and excited for this year’s NHL Entry Draft.
The 6-foot-4 netminder took Hockey East by storm his freshman season. His production is expected to translate into a favorable spot in the first round of the draft, with potential fits being the Chicago Blackhawks, who own the 26th selection, or the Dallas Stars with the 29th pick.
The Minnesota native ranked among the leaders in the NCAA with an impressive stat line, which included a .927 save percentage and 2.11 goals against average while leading the Terriers to a 21-11-3 record when he stood between goal.
“Oettinger is the prototypical combination of size, position and athleticism that NHL teams are looking for in a starting goalie, and should be selected very high in this year’s NHL Draft. It’s rare to see goalies be selected in the first round of the Draft these days, but Oettinger’s measurable, combined with him showing he can play at the college level make him as safe a bet as a team could make in a future goalie.” – Chris Dilks, SB Nation College Hockey
Projection: Late first round
The New Terriers
The moment the 18-year-old center announced his commitment to BU in November, the excitement surrounding him has not diminished. This comes as no surprise as the Canadian-born player had a stellar season with the Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL). He finished 10th in the league after totaling 51 points (22g, 29a) in 60 games, including two goals and one assist in the postseason. Bowers has also represented his home country in numerous tournaments and was most recently a member of Canada’s Under-18 Team.
“Waterloo’s Shane Bowers is a workhorse and is very effective around the net. He reads plays well and is very effective on rebounds, often positioned at the right position in front of the net to finish off plays. Possesses great speed with the puck and can escape defenders with 2-3 extra quick strides. Very smart decision maker.” – Dennis Schellenber, Hockey Prospectus
Projection: Late first round
While this BU recruit may slide under the radar, some reports project Crotty to be selected as high as the late second round. The Ontario native picked up 31 points (7g, 24a) in his two years with the Brockville Braves (CCHL), but is known as a two-way defensemen and was named the CCHL Top Prospect for the 2016-17 season. The 18-year-old may need some time to grow and adjust to college hockey, but he has the potential to develop into a strong blueliner.
“This is why I see Crotty as such an interesting sleeper pick: he may not make a big splash in college as a freshman, but he brings an intriguing skill set that will emerge over time and could be very valuable.” – Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News
Projection: Late second round or early third round
The defenseman been credited with containing a brilliant offensive acumen and should expect to hear his name called in the middle rounds of the draft. Armed with a stellar shot and commendable passing skills at the blue line, Farrance racked up seven goals and 30 assists with the USA National U-18 Team in 2016-17. He also starred in the U-18 World Championship, scoring a pair of goals to accompany an assist over a seven-game stretch.
“Under six foot defender who is a mobile defenseman with terrific offensive skills and high end passing skills. Displays excellent vision and has the ability to the throw the home run stretch pass to a teammate with accuracy. Very good on the power play at moving the puck to the right option. Quick and precise in retrieval in his end, and a power play generator who reads his passing options but also has a rocket from the point.” – Bill Placzek, Draft Site
Projection: Mid-to-late third round
The defenseman may not find an NHL team until later in the draft, but he will likely provide a physical presence for BU on the blue line. The Finland native most recently played for the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) and tallied 12 points. However, Kotkansalo snagged six points in 13 games during the Finland Under-20 Tournament.
“A two-way reliable defender with some offensive upside. … He handles and controls the puck well, displays high-end vision and his first pass is on target. He moves the puck efficiently and quickly in his passing game and finds his target under pressure…He’s just a reliable two-way guy who could develop into a strong offensive contributor at the next level.” – Future Considerations
Projection: Third or fourth round