This is the 20th and final installment of our annual list of the Top 100 NHL prospects playing in the NCAA this year, covering spots 1-5 on the list.
5. Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Center, Boston University(Boston Bruins)
A 2015 second round pick of the Boston Bruins, he could be playing on the same ice he might call home someday. His skating has further progressed, and he’s added an offensive element to his game to go along with being one of the most responsible two-way centers in college hockey.
“We use him in so many situations. He’s got such poise. He’s so elusive. He’s a great skater. It’s an underrated part of his game. He’s shifty. He’s tough to defend. He’s got a great stick. He’s got a great head for the game. He’s got incredible composure and mental toughness. It’s why we use him to the point of exhaustion,” Quinn said earlier in the season.
4. Henrik Borgstrom, Center, Denver(Florida Panthers)
Henrik Borgstrom's nasty danglegoal in HD pic.twitter.com/ZzoDJUGfsJ— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 26, 2017
Because of the lack of muscle, Borgstrom is still knocked off the puck pretty easily. But that only happens if the defense is able to body him up, which is extremely hard to do in open ice. Borgstrom has some amazing hands, especially in traffic, which makes him really hard to stop in one-on-one situations. On Friday night, he went one-on-one against a defender on the rush and made a slick move to turn the defender’s feet and then exhibited some insane body control to get off a shot between his legs that almost went for a goal. The next night, he showed really quick hands to stick handle through four people in the offensive zone and get off a shot that again almost went for a goal. He’s a player that makes you hold your breath every time he gets the puck because he has the potential to do something special with it.
—from our full feature on Borgstrom, January 31, 2017
3. Colin White, Center, Boston College(Ottawa Senators)
Colin White was one of the most complete players in college hockey, and projects well as a second line, or possibly even first line center at the NHL level.
He may not be as dynamic or exciting offensively as some of the other top players on this list, but he’s proven to be a solid scorer at the NCAA level, exceeding expectations from when he was drafted, and his effectiveness in all three zones of the ice can’t be understated. White should be able to bring a little bit of everything to the game at the NHL level, and be a very solid pro player for years to come.
White has signed with the Senators.
2. Tyson Jost, Center, North Dakota(Colorado Avalanche)
Jost isn’t the type of player that is flashy and instantly noticeable by making dazzling plays in open ice, but he’s really good at doing little things to make his team better. He’s a smart, complete hockey player.
Despite not being huge, there was no better player in the country at working below the face-off dots than Jost because of his ability to change directions and accelerate.
Jost is a very versatile player that could play wing or center at the NHL level, and has potential as a top line forward.
1.Clayton Keller, Center, Boston University(Arizona Coyotes)
Keller was hands-down the most dynamic, exciting offensive player in the NCAA this past season. He was slowed early in the season by a knee injury, and missed some time while leading the US to a World Juniors title, but after returning to BU in January, he was tied for second nationally in scoring in the second half of the season with 29 points in his final 20 games.
He has worked hard to improve his skating over the past few years, to the point where it is a legitimate threat. But where Keller really excels is with his exceptional puck-handling ability that allows him to extend plays and create opportunities, and his incredible hockey sense and vision.
BU's Clayton Keller with a beauty, dangling through the UMD defense and flipping it upstairs pic.twitter.com/u3TD5N89OS— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) March 25, 2017
He has the pure offensive ability to be a top tier scorer at the NHL level.