A whopping eight members of the Boston University men’s hockey team recently made preliminary rosters for the 2017 World Juniors Championship in Canada.
Two in particular, however, seem like sure bets to showcase their talents on the world’s biggest youth hockey stage come late December and early January. Freshman forward Clayton Keller and sophomore defenseman Charlie McAvoy, two staples of U.S. Hockey’s youth setups, touched based with us after BU’s 5-2 win over Yale on Dec. 13.
The duo can’t wait to soak in the experience and represent their country. For full thoughts from McAvoy, Keller and head coach David Quinn, check out Jonathan’s story.
It’s also worth taking a gander at this quote from Keller about his first semester as a Terrier.
The No. 5 Boston University men’s hockey team traveled to Gutterson Fieldhouse for a pair of games against No. 12 Vermont last weekend, falling 4-2 in Friday’s tilt before cruising to a 4-0 win on Saturday. A lot happened in the last series of 2016. Let’s take a look at the positives and negatives from the Terriers versus the Catamounts.
1.) Keller’s return – Man, it’s good to have Clayton Keller back. After missing seven games, the star freshman forward returned to the ice Friday night, slotting back into his center spot on the second line. He didn’t miss a beat, as he won 12-of-14 faceoffs and notched a helper on Pat Harper’s goal in the second period. It was more of the same on Saturday, as Keller went bar down for his sixth goal of the season on the power play in the third period. The Terriers may have gone 4-2-1 in Keller’s absence, but it’s obvious that BU is a much more dangerous team with Keller patrolling the ice. – Nick
2.) Power Play – BU came into this weekend having gone 1-for-24 on power plays in conference play. They really flipped the script on that one, going an impressive 3-for-8 on PP opportunities against Vermont. Bobo Carpenter and Pat Harper scored two on Friday, with Keller’s coming on Saturday. The Catamounts’ penalty kill was ranked 9th in the nation heading into Friday’s contest, so a very positive sign from a Terrier offense that has gone silent at times. – Nick
3.) Jake Oettinger – Sixteen games into the 2016-17 season, BU’s freshman netminder has recorded three shutouts and taken the starting job by storm. He posted 24 saves in Friday’s 4-2 loss, then bounced back on Saturday night and stopped 28 shots for his first goose egg on the road. Looking at the national picture, Oettinger is a top-five goaltender, at least according to USCHO’s statistics. Boasting .932 save percentage and 1.86 goals against average will do that for ya. Oh, and we’d be remiss not to point out that Oettinger soon heads to the U.S. Hockey World Junior Championship preliminary camp, so his stock should continue to rise. – Jonathan
The Small Five
a.) Carpenter – I thought Bobo had a really strong weekend, especially on Saturday. On Friday, the sophomore kicked things off with a power play goal off a rebound, another case of him being around the puck at all times. On Saturday, Bobo was second on the team with four shots taken and was consistently chasing after the puck behind the Catamount net. He’s not going to get on the score sheet a whole lot this season, but he works his you know what off every night, and that was evident this weekend. – Nick
b.) Bellows sits –We mentioned in our Three Thoughts last week that we thought Bellows should sit a game, and that finally happened during Saturday’s win. He did have an assist on Friday, but he also was called for another penalty and finished the loss with a plus-minus of -2. It just hasn’t been the season we hoped the talented freshman would have, at least not yet. Hopefully he’ll turn it around in the second half of the season. – Nick
c.) Hockey East update –BU now sits tied for sixth in the Hockey East standings with 10 points in eight games. The University of New Hampshire, Notre Dame and Vemrmont are in front of the Terriers with 11 points each. Boston College may have a strong grip on the conference standings, but BU is right on the heels of the other frontrunners. Keep in mind, four of the five teams in front of the Terriers have played more games. – Nick
d.) Switzer and Diffley – Shane Switzer and Brien Diffley were pencilled into the lineup on Saturday night – Switzer alongside Brandon Hickey and Diffley with Somerby – and impressed. The moves were prompted by choice and necessity, as Dante Fabbro jetted off to Team Canada’s camp for World Juniors, while John MacLeod didn’t play. Nevertheless, these two blueliners seized their chance, contributing in notable ways to BU’s 4-0 shutout of the Catamounts. Furthermore, it was Switzer’s first appearance since Nov. 12’s 4-2 win over Michigan, while Diffley hadn’t skated since the 4-0 loss to UConn on Nov. 19. – Jonathan
e.) Team Defense – For all the talk about how “stacked” BU’s offense is, it’s team defense is firmly entrenched in the country’s upper echelon. Its 2.06 goals against average is tied for the fourth fewest in Division 1 college hockey, while its 90.8 success rate on the penalty kill is third best nationally. One worrisome trend is the magic number number for opponents seems to be four – as in four goals allowed. BU has surrendered four strikes five times this fall semester, losing four times (t0 UConn, Michigan, Denver and Vermont) and drawing once (to Northeastern). – Jonathan
As if we needed anymore evidence that the young guys on the No. 5 Boston University men’s hockey team are crazy talented.
On Monday, USA Hockey announced the preliminary roster for the 2017 United States National Junior Team. Seven of the 27 athletes are current Terriers. Freshman defenseman Chad Krys and sophomore blue-liner Charlie McAvoy got the invite after leading last year’s U.S. NJT squad to a bronze medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.
Along with Krys and McAvoy, freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger, sophomore forward Jordan Greenway, and freshman forwards Pat Harper, Clayton Keller and Kieffer Bellows made the first cut.
Four of the 27 players will be cut before this year’s IIHF WJC starts Dec. 26 in Canada. The final roster cuts are expected to be made Dec. 24.
Playing for the U.S. National Team is nothing new for most of the Terriers named to the preliminary roster. McAvoy, Oettinger, Keller, and Krys won gold with Team USA at the 2015 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship, while Bellows joined Oettinger, Keller, and Krys to snatch bronze in the same tournament last year.
Training camp will be from Dec. 16-20 at HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York, then Dec. 20-24 in Ontario. There will also be two pre-tournament games on the 21st and 23rd.
Not to be outdone, freshman defenseman Dante Fabbro was named to the Canadian WJC selection camp. He joins North Dakota’s Tyler Jost as the only NCAA athletes to make the cut. Camp will be held from Dec. 10th to the 14th.
As a reminder, the Terriers host Yale University on Dec. 13th, then take on Union College Jan. 5th.
For the complete schedule for this year’s tournament, click here.
Now that the dust has settled, let’s reflect back on the Boston University men’s hockey team’s weekend series against Northeastern University.
On Friday night at Matthews Arena, the Terriers let up a late equalizer and struggled to tune out the Matthews Arena crowd. Simply, the 4-4 tie in overtime left BU with a bitter taste in its mouth.
In the return affair on Saturday evening at Agganis Arena, the Terriers bounced back in a major way, earning a 3-0 win. Freshmen Patrick Harper, Jake Oettinger and Kieffer Bellows led the way, while BU finally stayed out of the box for an extended period of time.
Now, here are our five thoughts:
1.) Second line – It’s interesting to note that the second line had much more success than the first line this weekend. That second line of Patrick Harper, Clayton Keller and Jordan Greenway scored five of BU’s seven total goals in its two games against Northeastern, while the first line of Kieffer Bellows, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Bobo Carpenter totaled just one. In Saturday’s game, both of Harper’s goals featured assists from Keller and Greenway, indicating that those three have really gelled together quickly.
While Bellows scored in Saturday’s win, it was a quiet weekend for both Forsbacka Karlsson and Carpenter, who combined for just two assists in the two games. Of course, to refer to their efforts as quiet is more of a testament to that stacked BU offense. Regardless, the Harper-Keller-Greenway line looked fantastic all weekend, while the Bellows-JFK-Carpenter line was cast in the shadows. – Nick
2.) Jordan Greenway – After Greenway picked up a 10-minute misconduct penalty that proved crucial in the tie with Northeastern on Friday, Coach David Quinn responded by sitting Greenway for the entire first period Saturday. In his press conference on Friday, Quinn made it clear he wasn’t going to let those type of penalties slide, and he backed it up by sitting Greenway.
Once he got out on the ice, Greenway was back to his old, physical self. He had a few bad moments, like when he completely whiffed on a one-timer early in the second period, but he still contributed with two assists in the win. Once or twice after the whistle, a NU player would get in Greenway’s face to try and incite him, but Greenway kept his arms down and stayed out of trouble. He was called for no penalties after spending 14 minutes in the penalty box on Friday, so we assume Quinn is pleased with Greenway’s turnaround. – Nick
3.) Clayton Keller – Man, Keller is so fun to watch. Every time the opposing goalie passes out to a defenseman, Keller is there to try and disrupt it. That’s what led to his shorthanded goal on Friday. We’ll update you as soon as we learn more about the severity of his injury. – Nick
4.) Oskar Andrén – With injuries stacking up – Nik Olsson, Ryan Cloonan and Keller could all be out for a while – the return of the Swedish winger was a welcomed sight. The sophomore slotted onto the fourth line in Saturday’s game and brought energy throughout. It was his first game of the 2016-17 season. He didn’t register a shot or make any jaw-dropping plays, but he doesn’t need to right now. He just needs to fill a role. – Jonathan
5.) Tommy Kelley – When BU hockey fans picture Tommy Kelley, odds are they envision a fourth line player who is on the periphery. Now a senior, it’s clear that coach Quinn wants “TK” to take on a far more expansive role for the Terriers.
He’ll never be an offensive powerhouse and likely isn’t a top-six forward, but his contributions are undoubtedly important. He kills penalties, makes smart hockey plays and is gradually growing into a leadership role. He also logs an incredible amount of ice time, far more than most fourth-line players ever would. – Jonathan
College hockey season may be months away, but there are still opportunities for Boston University fans see some of BU’s finest take the ice.
On Friday, USA Hockey announced the two rosters that will participate in the National Junior Evalutaion Camp, which will be held June 30 to Aug. 6 in Plymouth, Michigan. The rosters come out a day after six Terriers were invited to the camp. Sophomore forward Jordan Greenway, freshman defenseman Chad Krys, sophomore blueliner Charlie McAvoy and freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger have been placed on the Blue Team, while freshman forwards Kieffer Bellows and Clayton Keller will join the White Team.
This will be the second NJEC for Greenway, McAvoy, and Krys. They were on the beginning roster last season with teammates Brandon Fortunato and John Macleod. Only McAvoy, Fortunato and Krys survived the final roster.
Here are the Team USA Blue & White rosters for the 2016 #NJEC.
The athletes have been separated into two groups for three days of practice, as well as for games against Finland and Sweden. Team USA will trim its roster to a single team on Aug. 2 before finishing the camp with games versus Canada, Finland and Sweden.
This past weekend’s NHL Draft in Buffalo, New York was undoubtedly historic for the Boston University men’s hockey team. A whopping six Terriers heard their name called at First Niagara Center, speaking volumes to the youthful talent that will soon grace Agganis Arena for the 2016-17 season.
It’s important to take a step back, though, and ponder this: Just how many NHL selections does head coach David Quinn have at his disposal? As it turns out, quite a lot.
On any given weekend in Hockey East or out-of-conference play, it’s likely 11 skaters will have been drafted. The numbers break down to five forwards and six defensemen, altogether coalescing into what is – on paper – one of the NCAA’s most talented rosters.
Forwards: The Terriers have nearly two lines NHL scouts have tabbed as ready for the next step. It’s impossible to predict who will pan out as hoped, but potential is abound.
Kieffer Bellows – Freshman – New York Islanders – First round, 19th overall in 2016
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson – Sophomore – Boston Bruins – Second round, 45th overall in 2015
Jordan Greenway – Sophomore – Minnesota Wild – Second round, 50th overall in 2015
Patrick Harper – Freshman – Nashville Predators – Fifth round, 138th overall in 2016
Clayton Keller – Freshman – Arizona Coyotes – First round, 7th overall in 2016
Defenseman: Lineup decisions and injuries notwithstanding, Quinn could field an entire defensive unit of NHL draft picks. Somerby, the team’s captain, leads the contingent.
Dante Fabbro – Freshman – Nashville Predators – First round, 17th overall in 2016
Brandon Hickey – Junior – Calgary Flames – Third round, 64th overall in 2014
Chad Krys – Freshman – Chicago Blackhawks – Second round, 45th overall in 2016
John MacLeod – Junior – Tampa Bay Lightning – Second round, 57th overall in 2014
Charlie McAvoy – Sophomore – Boston Bruins – First round, 14th overall in 2016
Doyle Somerby – Senior – New York Islanders – Fifth round, 125th overall in 2012
Here are some remarks from Quinn following the 2016 Draft about the NHL picks that’ll be wearing scarlet and white.
Also, be sure to read this article by Alex Prewitt of Sports Illustrated. He was on location in Buffalo last weekend, and has some interesting tidbits from McAvoy, Quinn and Jack Eichel.
Here’s a brief preview:
“Just talking about it and thinking about it,” said Charlie McAvoy, the only one of the quartet who skated for the Terriers last season. Not the upcoming first round of the draft, mind you, but the prospect of playing together in the fall. “It’s surreal, the class that we’re coming in with. It’s going to be special.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s official: The Boston University men’s hockey team boasts a nine-member recruiting class for the 2016-17 season.
The Terriers took to Twitter Friday afternoon to announce each player individually, with several confirmations and one surprise arising. In sum, head coach David Quinn will soon be marshaling an additional six forwards, two defenseman and a goaltender.
Without further ado, below is the complete list, with jersey numbers also included.
Jake Oettinger (#29): This U.S. National Team Development Program netminder seems a likely challenger for the starting role from day one onwards. He put up a .908 save percentage and 2.38 goals against average last season, and boasts a 6-foot-4 frame.
Dante Fabbro (#17):The reigning BCHL Defenseman of the Year, Fabbro arrives on BU’s campus on the tail end of a 67-point season. He has also long represented Canada at the youth national team level, and is almost a guaranteed pick in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft.
Chad Krys (#5): The NTDP roots keep on coming with Krys, who scored three goals and handed out 26 assists across the 2015-16 season. Krys also was a member of the bronze-medal winning USA team at this year’s World Junior Championships. The 18-year-old’s father, Mark, captained BU.
Kieffer Bellows (#9): A product of the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede and the NTDP, this Minnesota native boasts quite the shot. The 18-year-old is the fourth player in NTDP history to score 50 goals in a season, and should be drafted in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft.
Gabriel Chabot (#10):Chabot’s inclusion raised some eyebrows, but he’s coming off an impressive campaign for the Rochester Jr. Americans of the USPHL in which he scored 50 points in 44 games. Interestingly, this Canadian will turn 21 in the middle of December.
Patrick Curry (#11):This 20-year-old has 147 games of USHL experience to his name, as he featured prominently for the Tri-City Storm and Bloomington Thunder. He tallied 30 goals and 36 assists across three seasons for those two squads.
Patrick Harper (#21): There was some speculation that Harper would test a junior league, but he’s Commonwealth Ave. bound. A product of Connecticut’s prestigious Avon Old Farms School, the 17-year-old tallied 106 points in 49 prep school games.
Clayton Keller (#19): Keller scored 37 goals and 70 assists in 62 games for the NTDP in 2015-16, altogether surpassing Phil Kessel as the program’s all-time leading scorer. Likely a center, the 17-year-old is often compared to speedy forwards like Patrick Kane and Zach Parise.
Johnny McDermott (#28): Much like Harper, McDermott is coming out of the New England prep school circuit. He tallied 80 points across three seasons for the Westminster School.
Quinn: “This is a class of quality & quantity. Every guy in this group brings something to our team that will help us compete for titles."
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.
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!