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Draft-eligible talent highlights 64th Beanpot

BU's McAvoy, BC's Fitzgerald among players to watch in semifinals Monday

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

Freshmen defensemen Charlie McAvoy of Boston University and Casey Fitzgerald of Boston College are two of the top 2016 NHL Draft-eligible players set to represent their respective teams in the 64th Beanpot Tournament that begins Monday at TD Garden in Boston.

McAvoy, No. 9 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2016 draft, will help Boston University (14-7-4) against Northeastern University (9-12-4) in the second game of a doubleheader at 8 p.m. ET. Northeastern is 8-1-2 in the past 11 games.

McAvoy, who has one goal, 13 points, a plus-5 rating and 30 blocked shots in 24 games for the Terriers, won a bronze medal representing the United States at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The early game pits Boston College (17-4-4) against Harvard (12-4-3).

Fitzgerald, No. 108 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters, has two goals, 14 points, a plus-23 rating and 27 blocked shots in 23 games for the Eagles.

McAvoy and Fitzgerald, the son of former NHL player Tom Fitzgerald, are the only two players competing in the Beanpot among the 210 skaters ranked on Central Scouting's midterm list. The winner of each semifinal advances to the tournament final at TD Garden on Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Boston University won its 30th tournament championship last season when captain Matt Grzelcyk, a third-round pick (No. 85) of the Boston Bruins in 2012, scored a power-play goal 51 seconds into overtime in a 4-3 win against Northeastern. Center Jack Eichel, the No. 2 pick in 2015 by the Buffalo Sabres, drew a hooking penalty and Grzelcyk scored on the ensuing man-advantage.

There are 35 players competing in the 2016 Beanpot already chosen in the NHL Draft. Boston College has 12 players already drafted, Boston University has nine, Harvard has eight and Northeastern six.

Boston College forward Colin White is the highest-drafted player in the tournament. White, who leads the Eagles with 15 goals and 33 points in 23 games, was chosen in the first round (No. 21) in 2015 by the Ottawa Senators.

It was the first Beanpot championship for Boston University since 2009. Northeastern has won four titles, last winning in 1988. Boston College has won 19 titles, including five straight from 2010-2014. Harvard celebrated its 10th Beanpot in 1993.

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