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2017 Top 100 NHL Prospects in the NCAA: 1-5

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2017 Beanpot Photo Gallery: Harvard Crimson End Drought Matt Dewkett/SB Nation

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.

Previous installments can be found here: 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-25, 26-30, 31-35, 36-40, 41-45, 46-50, 51-55, 56-60, 61-65, 66-70, 71-75, 76-80, 81-86, 86-90, 91-95, 96-100

5. Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Center, Boston University(Boston Bruins)

Forsbacka Karlsson
Forsbacka Karlsson
John Corneau/SB Nation

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.

February 6, 2017

4. Henrik Borgstrom, Center, Denver(Florida Panthers)

Daniel Mick

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)

United States v Russia: Semifinal - 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

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)

tyson jost Daniel Mick

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.

tyson jost

Jost is a very versatile player that could play wing or center at the NHL level, and has potential as a top line forward.

Jost has signed with the Colorado Avalanche.

1.Clayton Keller, Center, Boston University(Arizona Coyotes)

2017 Beanpot Tournament - Boston University v Harvard - Championship Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

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.

He has the pure offensive ability to be a top tier scorer at the NHL level.

Keller has signed with the Arizona Coyotes.