Ten years ago, the University of Minnesota set the draft bar high. In 2006, four players who had committed to Minnesota or were already Golden Gophers were picked in the first round: Erik Johnson (No. 1), Phil Kessel (No. 5), Kyle Okposo (No. 7), and David Fischer (No. 20). No other school has matched Minnesota’s achievement.
There’s a good chance that Boston University could tie the four-pick threshold in this month’s first round. If somebody really likes Chad Krys, the Terriers could break Minnesota’s record.
It’s likely that Charlie McAvoy (the No. 6-ranked North American skater, according to NHL Central Scouting), Clayton Keller (No. 9), Kieffer Bellows (No. 10), and Dante Fabbro (No. 18) could be four of the first 30 picks. Any of the four would interest the Bruins at No. 14.
McAvoy played his first season at BU in 2015-16, mostly alongside Bruins prospect Matt Grzelcyk. Bellows and Fabbro will be BU freshmen this fall. Keller, Bellows’s teammate at the National Team Development Program, is leaning toward BU, but will wait until after the draft to determine whether college or the OHL (the Windsor Spitfires own his major junior rights) will be in his future. Krys is ranked No. 53, which would make him a first-round reach, but he is an offensive defenseman, a commodity in high regard among NHL clubs.
That the Terriers landed such high-end talent reflects well on coach David Quinn, assistant coach Albie O’Connell, and former assistant Steve Greeley, who helped recruit the players before he left for the Rangers.
“It speaks to the quality of the program at BU, first and foremost,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said. “Quinny’s doing a fantastic job of bringing in those players. He must be sitting down at the dinner table with their moms and convincing them this is the right place.”
If Keller chooses BU, the Patrick Kane-like forward will be the primary piece of a freshman class that promises to push the pace. It’s how Quinn wants his team to operate.
“He wants to play a fast-paced style,” Keller said. “We want to score a lot of goals and we want to stay out of the defensive zone as much as we can. I think that’s the style that fits me best, just being in the offensive zone, creating, and using all my skills.”