Defenceman Chad Krys will consider it a dream come true when he steps on the ice at Boston University in the fall to play where his father was captain as a senior in 1990-91.
"Actually, my dad and mom both went to Boston University so I went to a lot of college hockey games when I was younger," Krys said. "I've always been leaning toward playing collegiate hockey, and the fact it will be for the Terriers makes it that much more special.
"I have known [Boston University coach] David Quinn for a while; he went to college with my dad, and I'm very comfortable with a lot of things up there."
Krys had other options. He was chosen by Green Bay in the 19th round (No. 280) of the 2013 United States Hockey League entry draft, and by Moncton in the seventh round (No. 114) of the 2014 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft. He narrowed his college choices to Boston College and Boston University, ultimately choosing the latter.
Prior to fulfilling his dream at BU, Krys has been pretty busy perfecting his game on USA Hockey's Under-18 National Team Development Program this season. He's also gaining plenty of experience on the international stage, most recently as the youngest player for the bronze medal-winning United States at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.
"I really didn't look at it like I was the youngest player," he said. "Everyone selected to the team had the same goals and looked to play with the same work ethic. I was no different, really."
Krys didn't score a point in seven games, but the experience he gained was invaluable. He was paired most nights alongside Boston University freshman Charlie McAvoy.
Krys and McAvoy were two of 11 members on the team to win a gold medal for the 2015 U.S. Men's National U-18 Team. Krys had a goal and four assists in seven games, and is seeking a second straight gold medal at the 2016 World U-18 Championship in Grand Forks, N.D.
"What's not to like about Chad?" McAvoy said. "I've known him for a while and we grew up playing together so we've been through the same stuff. He's a great skater, smart and he's a guy I played with for the entire U-18 world junior tournament.
"We complemented each other very well, and the success we had in that tournament really showed the kind of player he is."
Krys (5-foot-11, 185 pounds), a left-handed defenceman, has shown vast improvement with his quickness and decision-making with the USNTDP, with 29 points (three goals, 26 assists) in 50 games. Born in Philadelphia and now living in Ridgefield, Conn., Krys has improved his stock for the 2016 NHL Draft.
Considered an elite, puck-moving defenceman, Krys is No. 53 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the North American skaters eligible for the draft. He's projected to be a late second- or third-round draft pick.
"Defence is a tough position," U.S. World U-18 Championship coach Danton Cole said, "and the subtleties are the hard things for the guys to learn, which is why it's usually not until they're 25 years old when everything starts to click. [Krys] is learning to not force the play so much, and he skates so well and makes so many good plays. He knows when to go and when not to go, and he's done a nice job.
"Everyone knows Chad has great feet, but what they don't understand is he also has a great stick, defensively, so his angles have been good. He's a very coachable young man."
Krys, who likes to watch St. Louis Blues defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk, thinks his skating, puck skills, passing and ability on the power play are assets.
"I like to jump in on the rush and use my skating ability and vision to create a lot of offence," Krys said. "I worked on my two-way game and it's solid. That's something I want to work on even more."
A smile crosses Krys' face whenever conversation shifts to his father, former BU defenceman Mark Krys.
The family patriarch was chosen in the eighth round (No. 165) of the 1988 NHL draft by the Boston Bruins. He played four seasons with the Terriers and had 27 points (one goal, 26 assists) and 146 penalty minutes in 135 games. He never played in the NHL but had 76 points (18 goals, 58 assists)and 339 penalty minutes in 284 games in the American Hockey League.
"When I was young, my dad was still playing in Germany," Krys said, "so he had me scooting around on the ice; he still coached me up until two or three years ago and has been the biggest influence in my hockey career. Keith Tkachuk was teammates with my dad at Boston University for a season, and that's when I got to know Matthew Tkachuk."
Matthew Tkachuk, who plays for London in the Ontario Hockey League, is No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters.
NHL Central Scouting's David Gregory has been following Krys' progression for some time and likes what he sees.
"Chad is a player I've known because he played a lot in the New England area, where I've seen him as a 12-year-old and his skill and ability was never a question," Gregory said. "He really thinks the game at an NHL level already. Once he adjusts to the NCAA game, he'll be able to do some really special things."
Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer