Incoming Terriers Krys, Harper taken at NHL Draft Saturday

Chad Krys joined BU's cohort of draftees on Saturday morning. PHOTO COURTESY OF: USA Hockey
Chad Krys joined BU’s cohort of draftees on Saturday morning. PHOTO COURTESY OF: USA Hockey

After four Boston University athletes were drafted in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft, two more Terriers heard their names called on Saturday at First Niagara Center in Buffalo. The two most recent draftees, Chad Krys and Pat Harper, mean that BU led all college programs in total prospects selected this year. Read on to find out where the incoming freshman ended up.

Chad Krys

His draft stock may have dropped, but Krys didn’t have to wait long to be drafted Saturday, as the Chicago Blackhawks took the defenseman 45th overall. The selection now means Krys and his father, Mark, who was a Terrier captain in 1990, are the first father-son combo to attend Boston University and be drafted into the NHL. Most teams see the 18-year-old as having plenty, as he was selected to Team USA’s World Juniors team this past winter.  The Blackhawks aren’t a team that are need immediate help of any kind, as they have had nine straight winning seasons and won the Stanley Cup three times in the last seven years. Krys will head to Commonwealth Avenue this fall to improve his game, and the Blackhawks will wait until the right time to bring him to Chicago.

Pat Harper

One of BU’s lesser-known newbies, Harper was taken by the Nashville Predators in the fifth round with the 138th overall selection. Harper, 18, joins incoming teammate Dante Fabbro as a member of the Predators. The forward last played for Avon Old Farms, where he tallied 39 assists and 59 total points.


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.

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!