This is the 18th installment of our annual list of the Top 100 NHL prospects playing in the NCAA this year, covering spots 31--35 on the list.
15. Jake Oettinger, Goalie, Boston University(2017 NHL Draft Eligible)
Oettinger was the youngest goalie, and second-youngest player overall in college hockey this past year, and played fantastic as the starting goalie for Boston University this year, putting up excellent .927/2.11 numbers.
Oettinger is the prototypical combination of size, positioning and athleticism that NHL teams are looking for in a starting goalie, and should be selected very high in this year’s NHL Draft. It’s rare to see goalies be selected in the first round of the Draft these days, but Oettinger’s measurables, combined with him showing he can play at the college level make him as safe a bet as a team could make in a future goalie.
14. Riley Tufte, Left Wing, Minnesota Duluth(Dallas Stars)
It almost goes without saying that Tufte still shows the many factors that helped make him a first round pick. He’s still huge. He can still really skate. At one point early on Saturday, he was able to catch a (fairly quick) St. Cloud State defenseman outside of the face-off dots while he was skating the puck up the ice, and was able to use his speed to gain inside leverage. Tufte ended up being taken down on the play, erasing the chance, though I thought he should have drawn a penalty on the play. That ability to put pressure on the defense like that with his size and with his skating is really rare.
—from our full feature on Tufte, November 10, 2016
The difference between seeing him in November and now is noticeable. Tufte wasn’t as terrible as his numbers made him look in the first half of the year. He was certainly doing some good things. But the difference now is that he’s doing those good things a lot more frequently and playing with a lot more confidence.
From a second feature on Tufte, February 7, 2016.
13. Trent Frederic, Center, Wisconsin(Boston Bruins)
Despite that initial outrage, Frederic has mostly gone on to prove Boston correct in taking the big center in the first round of the Draft. He’s been a top line center for the University of Wisconsin this year, and has been incredibly productive for the Badgers. His 15-17-32 scoring line in just 24 games puts him tied for 10th nationally in points per game.
—from our full feature on Frederic, March 1, 2017
12. Tage Thompson, Right Wing, Connecticut(Signed by St. Louis Blues)
Thompson made a big leap from his freshman season as an underage freshman to his sophomore year at Connecticut. The 6’5” forward has always been blessed with extremely good hands and goal-scoring ability. But in in his second year with the Huskies, his feet began to catch up with the rest of his body, making him a much better skater.
That incease in skating ability allowed for him to be a much more effective player at even strength. His 14 goals as a freshman included 13 that came with the man advantage. This year, 12 of his 19 came at even strength.
Now part of the Blues organization, Thompson may be ready to compete for a roster spot with the Blues next fall, and has potential to be a power forward scoring line winger as he continues to develop.
11. Dante Fabbro, Defenseman, Boston University(Nashville Predators)
Fabbro is a smooth, offensive-minded defenseman whose poise with the puck made him a first round draft pick last summer, and helped him earn a spot on Canada’s World Juniors team, an extreme rarity for an NCAA player.
Fabbro had a solid rookie year with the Terriers, netting a 6-12-18 scoring line in 36 games, with most of his production coming via the power play. Fabbro could still improve his skating and defensive play a bit, but his offensive abilities give him potential as a power play quarterback some day at the NHL level.