Four Terriers selected in first round of 2016 NHL Draft

Kieffer Bellows was the latest first-round selection from BU in last night's draft. PHOTO COURTESY OF USA Hockey
Kieffer Bellows was the latest first-round selection from BU in last night’s draft. PHOTO COURTESY OF USA Hockey

It was a historic night for Boston University at the NHL Draft, as four Terriers were selected in the opening round. It is only the second time in league history that four athletes from the same college program were drafted in the top 30.

Incoming stars Clayton Keller, Dante Fabbro and Kieffer Bellows, as well as returning defenseman Charlie McAvoy, all heard their names called Friday night at First Niagara Center in Buffalo. Read on to see which NHL teams took a chance on some of the best BU has to offer.

Clayton Keller

The U.S. National Team Development Program’s all-time leading scorer was called up to the stage early on, as Keller was drafted seventh overall by the Arizona Coyotes. The 17-year-old is the sixth Terrier ever to be a top-10 selection.

“It’s a great feeling, it’s hard to describe, and I’m just so thankful to be picked by them,” Keller said after hearing his name called. “I was a little bit shocked, but its a great organization and I’m just so ready to get started, and they have such great players there so I’m really excited.”

Keller, who tallied 37 goals and 70 assists for the U.S. NTDP last season, is now part of a Coyotes team that went 35-39-8 in 2015-16 and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year. Arizona ranked 24th in goals scored and 20th in power play percentage, which could explain why the team opted to go with a natural scorer like Keller. It remains likely the 5-foot-10 forward will don the Scarlet and White for the 2016-17 season, but the Coyotes can take comfort in knowing they secured one of the top offensive playmakers in this year’s draft.

Charlie McAvoy

After an impressive freshman campaign on Commonwealth Avenue, McAvoy was selected by the Boston Bruins with the 14th overall pick. A mobile and creative blueliner and a member of last season’s Hockey East All-Rookie team, McAvoy, 18, follows in the footsteps of former teammate Matt Grzelcyk, a defenseman drafted by the Bruins in the 2012 NHL Draft.

“I’m at a loss for words. It’s an unbelievable feeling, and I’m just so happy to be a part of the Bruins,” McAvoy said after becoming a Bruin. “Boston is an unbelievable city with great sports and great people. I’m glad to be staying there.”

The Bruins barely missed the playoffs with a 42-31-9 record and finished 19th in the league in goals against. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney made it a priority to pick up a solid defenseman in this year’s draft, and McAvoy will likely provide a significant boost somewhere down the road.

Dante Fabbro

One of nine incoming Terriers, Fabbro was taken 17th overall by the Nashville Predators. Fabbro is a strong all-around defenseman who excels at moving the puck. He was named the British Colombia Hockey League Defenseman of the Year last season after recording 67 points with the Penticton Vees. The 18-year-old should contribute in the next year or so for his favorite NHL team in the Predators, who went 41-27-14 last year and reached the second round of the NHL playoffs.

Kieffer Bellows

Bellows ended up with the New York Islanders, who took the forward with the 19th overall pick. Bellows, 18, is proficient at finding the back of the net, becoming the fourth 50-goal scorer in U.S NTDP history last season. The son of former NHL forward Brian Bellows, Kieffer joins Terrier captain Doyle Somerby as a member of the Islanders, who went 45-27-10 in the 2015-16 season. Bellows likely will need a couple of years with BU head coach David Quinn before moving on and bringing his physical style of play to the professional level.

The NHL Draft continues Saturday at 10 a.m. with rounds 2-7 on NHL Network.

20 thoughts on “Four Terriers selected in first round of 2016 NHL Draft”

  1. So glad McAvoy went to Bruins. They wait forever to turn their players pro. Should be a t BU for another two years. Worry about Bellows going though.

  2. The commentator on NHL Network just asked (after Krys was taken by Chicago at #45) whether we should just hand the national title to BU now.

  3. The best advertising for the program possible since this was a national broadcast. Hopefully they all show up on campus next season. I am particularly concerned about Clayton Keller going to play in the major juniors in Canada.

  4. Clayton was asked three times immediately after he was drafted if it was BU or Windsor.
    He emphatically answered “it is BU, no question.”
    So no more questions.

  5. Clayton and all the recruits are all coming there is no question about that. They were sold on B.U by Quinn, who’s doing a terrific job recruiting, and J. Eichel, probably the best advertisement for playing at B.U. we’ve ever had. As long as he keeps pumping up the terriers’ programs tires a lot of great recruits will keep coming this way. The only question is how long each will stay, but not so bad since the program has so many great players coming in this year and more to come next.

    • A great recruiting job by DQ and his staff. The publicity for the program and comments by the commentators made it seem that B.U. Is the college to attend, if you want to get to the next level. Certainly B.U. won the off season.

      • Yes good job Larry we starting off on the right foot… go bu!!! High expectations this year for sure…

        • big roy,
          Despite my issues with DQ, what he and his staff have accomplished by recruiting four out of top nineteen picks in this years NHL draft is an a incredible achievement!
          Assuming they all show up healthy, the next task is to translate this talent into team. The most important factor is team leadership by the seniors and juniors. Especially at the beginning of the season with road games at Colgate( opening of their new rink) Denver, and Michigan.

          • Terriers will have just 3 seniors and 7 juniors, joining 8 sophomores and 9 freshmen. BU should be one of the youngest squads once again, but also among the most talented. Could be that the most important freshman is one who isn’t draft eligible for another year, Oettinger.

          • Rogie,
            I agree with your assessment. The incoming goaltender is as important as Clayton as far as I am concerned. Those two making a positive impact could make B.U. special..

  6. As if Keller needs another reason to come to BU … the potential to win a national championship in his home state.

  7. Hi Everyone! Happy 4th!!! I am beyond excited about this upcoming season! I also agree with Rogie…Oettinger is my KEY player. It’s been the ONE factor BU has been missing for a while….no offense to our former goalies of course! I’m really looking forward to this kid playing. Did anyone see the article in the Herald about Quinn and potential NHL teams calling on him?? I’m glad the by line said NO he’s happy where he is. He (Quinn) stated in that article he knows how much buzz this team is getting and how they need to prep them from Day 1 for coming in and playing as a TEAM. He’s got so much individual talent and his #1 task ahead is getting these kids to play together and to feed off one another. Sometimes too much hype is BAD!! I hope he drills in these kids what they are here for and how they need to play as a unit!

    • I agree with your assessment. An elite level goalie can steal a game when a team is having an off night and is the back bone of a championship team. If they all show up then junior and senior leadership will have to play a key role on the outcome of the season. It will not be a question of talent but of team chemistry and learning to play together and not as individuals.
      I do believe that if DQ had the opportunity that the former North Dakota coach received, he would have no choice but to leave. Especially considering the financial payout.

  8. There should definitely be “line chemistry” … helped by Clayton and Kieffer having played together for a year. I really like the mix of LaCouvee and Oettinger competing for playing time. Having said that, I hope one of them wins the starting job by November the latest.

    • Glenn,
      Please note there is difference between line chemistry and team chemistry. I agree with your assessment that the goalie battle should be very interesting. However I expect Oettinger , ultimately to win the job. I was very impressed with his performance against B.U..( the only time I saw him play in person) I believe he had 44 saves and was one of the stars of the game.

      • Of course Larry, but line chemistry is a great place to start. It’s only July and we already have that. With regard to team chemistry, I see no reason why it wouldn’t develop. I think these guys are amped to play with each other.

        • On paper B.U. has an impressive team. However many elite level players also have big egos and not everyone on the team will be happy with their ice team. How the team leaders deal with this issue will be interesting and could dictate the out come of the season. Are certain players more interested in individual stats or team success?
          I have witnessed many college teams over the years with superior talent never live up to the preseason expectations.

  9. Thanks Glenn – fair point. Let’s hope that does not happen with our Terriers. We have had teams that had players who were not happy with their ice time. I think the 2014-15 team might have been an example of that phenomenon … with AJ Greer apparently being dissatisfied with his role. Of course that really didn’t hurt the team much at all.

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