As we climb past the Bruins’ first pick in the draft, we have Clayton Keller, centerman for Team USA’s U18 squad, at #12. He’s committed to Boston University for 2016-2017.
Clayton Keller was the top scorer for Team USA U18 this year, scoring 107 points in 62 games – 10 shy of Auston Matthews’ record. He compares very favorably to Mitch Marner, one of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ top prospects. He scores highlight reel goals, is a fantastic and creative passer, and has outstanding vision and awareness. Keller is an excellent skater with a good first step and good top-end speed. His ability to change speeds gives opposing defensemen fits and his balance helps him protect the puck. He’s the type of playmaker that can take control of a game, with opposing teams hoping to contain him rather than stop him.
The obvious knock on Keller is his small size, at 5’10”, 170 lbs. Despite his lack of size, he’s hard to separate from the puck due to his skating balance and puck protection skills. He’ll still want to add another 20 lbs. if he wants to face the rigors and battles at the NHL level.
Teams with a higher draft position, such as the Blue Jackets, might trade down to take Keller. As such, it’s very unlikely that he’ll fall to the Bruins at #14. A possible scenario where Keller is available to the Bruins would be a lengthy run on defensemen, but he likely won’t fall further than #12.
Watch these highlights – this kid is a treat: