Charlie McAvoy went 14th overall to the Bruins. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Boston University had a pretty good Friday night. The Terriers had a rising sophomore and three incoming freshmen selected in the first round of the NHL draft, tying a record for the most first-round picks from a college or Canadian junior team in a single draft.
Incoming freshman center Clayton Keller was the first Terrier off the board, as he went seventh overall to the Arizona Coyotes. Then the Boston Bruins took defenseman Charlie McAvoy, a rising sophomore, with the 14th pick.
Incoming freshman defenseman Dante Fabbro went three picks later to the Nashville Predators and incoming freshman winger Kieffer Bellows (son of former NHLer Brian Bellows) went two picks after that to the New York Islanders at 19.
Keller and Bellows played on the same line for the U.S. Under-18 Team last season, with Keller putting up 37 goals and 70 assists in 62 games and Bellows notching 50 goals and 31 assists in the same number of games.
McAvoy had three goals and 22 assists in 37 games for BU as a freshman, but 19 of those points came over his final 22 contests as both his offense and defense improved as the season went on. Fabbro tallied 14 goals and 53 assists in 45 games with the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League.
Four other college or major junior teams had previously had four players selected in the first round. The 2006 University of Minnesota team was the only other college team to do it, but those four never actually played together — Phil Kessel had already played his freshman year and turned pro after the draft, while Erik Johnson, Kyle Okposo and David Fischer all came in after the draft.
This of course all comes with the caveat that the three incoming freshmen actually play for BU and don’t go pro or jump to major juniors. However, none of them appear to be much of a risk to do either of those, although there will certainly be rumors generated from major juniors because that’s what people in those circles do.
College/major junior teams who have had four first-round picks in one draft:
1969 Montreal Jr. Canadiens
Rejean Houle, Marc Tardif, Andre Dupont, J.P. Bordeleau
1972 Toronto Marlboros
Billy Harris, Steve Shutt, Dave Gardner, George Ferguson
1979 Brandon Wheat Kings
Laurie Boschman, Brian Propp, Brad McCrimmon, Ray Allison
2006 University of Minnesota
Erik Johnson, Phil Kessel, Kyle Okposo, David Fischer
2016 Boston University
Clayton Keller, Charlie McAvoy, Dante Fabbro, Kieffer Bellows