2016 NHL Draft preview: Boston University edition

Incoming BU defenseman Chad Krys. Photo Credit: Rena Laverty/USA Hockey
Incoming BU defenseman Chad Krys. Photo Credit: Rena Laverty/USA Hockey

Ask almost any fan of the Boston University men’s hockey team what excites them most about the 2016-17 season and you’ll hear an iteration of the same word: talent.

Serving as an affirmation of sorts of what appears to be BU’s strongest underclassmen contingent in recent memory, the 2016 NHL Draft will take place June 24-25 in Buffalo, New York. 

There are five Terriers – including one returner and four highly-regarded incoming recruits – who are virtual locks to hear their name called at some point by front office members. To more easily sift through what’s in store at First Niagara Center, The Boston Hockey Blog has your complete, BU-centric breakdown of the Draft.

The Returner

Charlie McAvoy: NHL scouts are raving about the rising sophomore defenseman, and with good reason. One of two Terrier representatives on last year’s U.S. World Junior Championship team, the 6-foot-1, 211-pound blueliner was named a Hockey East All-Rookie selection. A native of Long Beach, New York, McAvoy finished his rookie season with three goals and 21 assists, often pairing with the recently-graduated Matt Grzelcyk.

What they’re saying:

“It may take [McAvoy] longer to get up to the level of speed of the college game, but knowing what I know about his game, I don’t think it’ll be that long. He’s going to be playing at a level that will allow NHL teams to say, ‘I can see where he’ll fit into our system and where he projects as a pro player.’ He will become a legitimate NHL defenseman.” – NHL Central Scouting’s David Gregory

Projection: Mid-to-late first round

The New Guys

Kieffer Bellows: Without treading too deep into cliche-filled territory, Bellows simply knows how to find the back of the net. This future Terrier scored 50 goals and 31 assists for the U.S. National Team Development Program last year, becoming just the fourth forward in NTDP history to reach the 50-goal mark in a single season. Bellows, who recently turned 18, also nearly made the U.S. World Junior Championship Team.

What they’re saying:

“I don’t see a lot of deficiencies in his game. Having seen him play for the past three years, I’ve seen him just get better and better. As a younger player in high school, he’s playing with older guys, and where’s his skating compared to that? But he’s so young, you’ve got to give him time to develop and now that he has, that’s become a non-issue. He got bigger and he’s not afraid of the gritty stuff, so it’s hard to find a deficiency in his game.” – NHL Central Scouting’s David Gregory

Projection: Mid-to-late first round

Dante Fabbro: The reigning British Colombia Hockey League Defenseman of the Year, Fabbro is touted by some NHL scouts as this year’s top draft-eligible blueliner. The 18-year-old played two seasons with the Penticton Vees and has featured prominently for Canadian youth teams. Altogether, Fabbro finished his BCHL career with 100 points, and it’s likely he’ll be a figurehead on Commonwealth Avenue for years to come.

What they’re saying:

His hockey IQ is among the best in this draft class. The way Fabbro moves the puck dictates the tempo of the shift. His passes are accurate but also very crisp, as he puts his full weight into a lot of his breakout passes. He’s so calm and aware on his outlets, and is a decent skater, which lets him rush the puck up as well. Fabbro can QB a power play, and has some creativity in his game. He’s got a decent frame, will engage his checks physically and is a quality positional player. There’s an occasional mistake on that end, but for the most part he’s a pretty sound player. – Corey Pronman, ESPN

Projection: Mid first round

Clayton Keller: Still only a 17-year-old, Keller is likely high on every team’s draft board. This future Terrier scored 37 goals and 70 assists in 62 games for the U.S. NTDP in 2015-16, altogether surpassing Phil Kessel as the program’s all-time leading scorer. Keller is often compared to Patrick Kane and Mitch Marner, and that’s pretty darn good company for any prospect.

What they’re saying:

“Keller’s strong suits aren’t antithetical to Kane’s with phenomenal vision, passing ability and the ability to create offense every time has the puck on his stick. As was previously mentioned the 5-foot-10-inch centerman has excellent vision, with the habit and talent to make cross-seam passes with ease and completing them on most occasions … Keller has the ability to take a step back and find passing lanes others wouldn’t have been exposed to had they not had his vision and creativity.” – Christopher Nardella, All Habs

Projection: Early first round

Chad Krys: Admittedly, it’s hard to get a read on BU’s soon-to-be freshman defenseman. He has long featured for U.S. youth teams, and was a key component of the NTDP’s 2015-16 season. The slight, however, is many scouts thought Krys could be a first-round selection, only to see his stock drop. The talent is undeniably there – as demonstrated by the numerous World Junior Championship medals he boasts – and years of maturation under head coach David Quinn could be just what he needs.

What they’re saying:

It was a tough year for NTDP defenseman Chad Krys. He started the year ranked as a potential first round Draft pick and as the U18s top defenseman, earned a rare underage spot on the US World Juniors team. So it goes without saying that there is enormous potential there. But for much of this season, Krys failed to deliver on that potential and saw his draft stock plummet as a result. The Draft is about the longview though, and if Krys can clean up some of the mistakes he was making this year, his potential is very intriguing as a future NHL player. – Chris Dilks, SB Nation College Hockey

Projection: Third or fourth round

Others to Watch

While not likely selections, it’s altogether possible that rising sophomore forward Bobo Carpenter and rising junior defenseman Brien Diffley get picked. Both were considered outside shots ahead of the 2015 Draft.


Who most excites you ahead of the NHL Draft? Could McAvoy or one of the four future Terriers gain or lose stock? Feel free to share your thoughts below!

6 thoughts on “2016 NHL Draft preview: Boston University edition

  1. Crossing my fingers and toes that my NYR trade into the first round and land one of these guys! Thanks Nick and Jon.

  2. nick and jon,

    very impressed with your in depth and timely reporting. in my opinion, a major upgrade from last year’s staff.

    can you tell us any more about this latest addition, Gabe Chabot?

    keep up the good work

    • Vincent,

      Thank you for the praise, but we’d be nowhere without the help of staff from year’s past! They taught us a lot, and we’re excited to see where the blog can go in the future.

      With Chabot, he’s going to turn 21 in the middle of December, and that’s a stark departure from BU freshman of the past couple years. He’s also coming off a 50-point season for the Rochester Jr. Americans of the USPHL, and, upon a surface glance, seems to offer nice depth.

Comments are closed.