Seven Terriers make U.S. National Junior team; Fabbro joins Canadian squad

Chad Krys joined BU's cohort of draftees on Saturday morning. PHOTO COURTESY OF: USA Hockey
Chad Krys has been named to the USNJT preliminary roster for the second consecutive year. (PHOTO COURTESY OF: USA Hockey)

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.

Defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo commits to Boston University

The 2016-17 season may be underway, but that doesn’t mean that Terrier head coach David Quinn and his staff aren’t still recruiting.

The Terriers seem to have landed another big name, as Jeff Cox of SB Nation tweeted out that ’98 defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo has committed to Boston University. He will be eligible to join the Terriers as early as next season.

The 6-foot-2, 190 pound blue-liner is currently playing with the Sioux Falls Stampede in the USHL. It is his first year playing hockey in North America. Kotkansalo, who is a top prospect for next year’s NHL Draft, also won a gold medal with his native Finland team in the U18 World Junior Championship last year, notching four assists and a plus/minus rating of +5 in six games.

Kotkansalo is a hard-hitting defenseman with offensive upside, totaling 19 points in 48 games with Blues U20 of Jr. A SM-Liiga in Finland last season. Current BU defenders Charlie McAvoy and Dante Fabbro are known for contributing on both ends, so it seems that Quinn and his staff may have a preference for defenders who can score points on any given night.

How many NHL draft picks does Boston University have rostered?

Somerby will be BU's sole senior drafted by an NHL team. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Somerby will be BU’s sole senior drafted by an NHL team. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

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.

  1. Kieffer Bellows – Freshman – New York Islanders  – First round, 19th overall in 2016
  2. Jakob Forsbacka KarlssonSophomore – Boston Bruins – Second round, 45th overall in 2015
  3. Jordan Greenway – Sophomore – Minnesota Wild – Second round, 50th overall in 2015
  4. Patrick Harper – Freshman – Nashville Predators – Fifth round, 138th overall in 2016
  5. 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.

  1. Dante Fabbro – Freshman – Nashville Predators – First round, 17th overall in 2016
  2. Brandon Hickey – Junior – Calgary Flames – Third round, 64th overall in 2014
  3. Chad Krys – Freshman – Chicago Blackhawks – Second round, 45th overall in 2016
  4. John MacLeod – Junior – Tampa Bay Lightning – Second round, 57th overall in 2014
  5. Charlie McAvoy – Sophomore – Boston Bruins – First round, 14th overall in 2016
  6. 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.”

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.

BU announces 2016-17 recruiting class of Fabbro, Keller, others

Photo Credit: USA Hockey
Clayton Keller will keep his No. 19 sweater. Photo Credit: USA Hockey

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.

Goaltender

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.

Defenseman

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.

Forwards

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.


BU lands ’98-born defenseman Dante Fabbro

A strong 2016 recruit class for Boston University appears to have gotten even better.

Defenseman Dante Fabbro has committed to play at BU, he announced via his Twitter account.

Fabbro (6 foot 1, 185 pounds) was one of the most sought-after defensive recruits to have not committed to a school.

Eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft, he is considered by many pundits to be a top-10 pick in that draft. International Scouting Services has Fabbro ranked No. 8 in its October rankings of 2016 draft-eligible players.

So far this season with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL, Fabbro has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 10 games played. He had 33 points in 44 games last year with the Vees at age 16.

Fabbro skated with the Canadian U-18s during the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in August, helping the team win a gold medal. The British Columbia, Canada native had reportedly been deciding between BU, Boston College, the University of Minnesota, the University of Denver and the University of North Dakota. He is expected to arrive on Commonwealth Avenue next season, along with fellow blue liners Chad Krys and Vasili Kolias.