If the Calgary Flames are seeking a potential Doug Gilmour 2.0 then Clayton “Killer” Keller may just be their man.
A creative playmaker, the undersized but shifty American centre is a fearless leader who has an ability to play in every critical situation.
Oh yeah, he also racks up points like they’re going out of style.
Keller amassed a team-leading 107 points this past season with the U.S. National U18 team, before leading the American offensive charge at the World U18 Championships with 14 points in seven games en route to being named tournament MVP.
In fact, during this year’s tournament he became the all-time National Team Development Program (NTDP) scoring leader with 189 points, surpassing such names as Phil Kessel (180) and Patrick Kane (172).
Notable company indeed.
“He’s probably, if not the smartest, one of the smartest guys I’ve coached or been around since I’ve been with the NTDP over the last six years,” praised American head coach and former NHLer Danton Cole. “He’s always on the attack and he’s a tremendous competitor.”
Committed to Boston University for the 2016-17 season – the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires retain his major junior rights – the 17-year-old Keller is a puckhandling virtuoso who exhibits tremendous vision.
Coached as a youngster by former NHLers Jeff Brown and Keith Tkachuk, whose sons Logan and Matthew are also projected first round picks, Keller has rocket-like acceleration and can shake off much larger defenders with ease. Despite his lack of size, he is also strong in the face-off circle.
Keller has been ranked ninth among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.