Rumor has it there could be a mild case of "scarlet fever" during the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft.
That's because the scarlet and white-clad Boston University Terriers of Hockey East could have as many as four players or recruits selected in the first round. If so, it would be the first time since 2006 that four players or recruits (Erik Johnson, Phil Kessel, Kyle Okposo, David Fischer) from the same college (University of Minnesota) are chosen in in Round 1 at the same draft.
The first round of the 2016 draft is at First Niagara Center in Buffalo on June 24; rounds 2-7 are June 25.
Boston University coach David Quinn is thrilled to have his players and recruits in the spotlight.
"We've been fortunate for a long time at BU to get great players, and this is a situation where all the stars aligned," Quinn told NHL.com. "Our staff has done a phenomenal job recruiting. We look for guys who can play the pace, have great hockey intelligence, are good people and are good students.
"I know how the draft has kind of taken on a life of its own the past 10 years because of the internet, social media and the fact it's televised. But after that 48-hour celebration, when the dust settles and the draft is over, it's time to be a hockey player again and get to work."
Defenseman Charles McAvoy (6 foot, 199 pounds) is the only one of the four potential first-rounders who played with the Terriers in 2015-16. McAvoy is considered to be the top right-handed defenseman on the draft board; he was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team after he had three goals, 25 points, a plus-10 rating and 39 blocked shots in 37 games as a freshman.
"Charlie realized very quickly that you have to change the way you approach the game at this level and that's why he had so much success," Quinn said. "He took a lot of pride in becoming a three-zone player, and it wasn't all about high risk, run-and-gun, and creating offense at any moment. He picked his spots and let the game come to him; he didn't chase it. He played under control and became a physical presence as the youngest player in college hockey."
McAvoy is No. 6 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2016 draft.
Penticton defenseman Dante Fabbro (6-0, 192), also a right-handed shot, was one of six BU recruits invited to the NHL Scouting Combine this month. He is No. 18 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters.
Fabbro was named the top defenseman in the British Columbia Hockey League. He led all BCHL defensemen with 67 points (14 goals, 53 assists) in 45 games, had four game-winning goals and eight power-play goals.
"[Fabbro] is a strong positional player with a very good read-and-react game," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "He's always in a good position to break up the play, and he can force opponents to the outside. He's very agile and can advance the puck efficiently, can get his shot on net. I like the fact he plays a smart, patient game and gets it done in all situations."
The two other BU recruits expected to be selected in the first round were linemates on USA Hockey's Under-18 National Team Development Program: center Clayton Keller and left wing Kieffer Bellows. Keller was also selected by Windsor in the second round (No. 40) of the 2014 Ontario Hockey League draft, and Bellows by Portland in the seventh round (No. 142) of the 2013 Western Hockey League draft.
However, Keller and Bellows each confirmed to NHL.com at the combine that he intends to play for BU in 2016-17.
Keller (5-10, 164), No. 9 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, is only the second player since Kessel to have consecutive 80-plus point seasons at the USNTDP. He ranks first in career points (189), sixth in career goals (71) and second in career assists (118).
Keller set a single-season NTDP record with 70 assists in 2015-16 and was 10 points short of tying the single-season record set by Auston Matthews, who had 117 points in 2014-15. Matthews is No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of international skaters eligible for this year's draft.
Bellows (6-0, 197), No. 10 on NHL Central Scouting's ranking of North American skaters, led the U-18 NTDP with 50 goals in 62 games; he also had nine game-winners and 101 penalty minutes.
"Coach Quinn was honest in the way he was going to approach the game, how he likes to play the game and how he coaches," Bellows said. "He told me stuff I didn't want to hear as well, and that's the honesty about him."
Quinn said he wants to be honest with the players he recruits.
"If you have to paint a rosy picture to get a guy to commit then he's probably someone you might not be interested in having no matter how talented he is because we all know talent gives you opportunity," he said. "But there's a lot more that goes into having success as an individual and team."
In addition to Fabbro, Keller and Bellows, there is one other high-profile 2016 draft prospects from the U.S. National Team Development Program committed to Boston University in 2016-17: defenseman Chad Krys.
Quinn said he is thankful so many former BU players have become ambassadors and helped facilitate the recruiting process. Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel, who won the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college hockey as a freshman at Boston University during the 2014-15 season, has done his part in helping bolster BU's lineup. Eichel was selected No. 2 in the 2015 draft.
"Your former players and current players are your best recruiters," Quinn said. "They know what's going to go on when they come to BU. I can sit here and say this is going to happen, but at the end of the day there's so much information out there that you have to be honest with these kids. It's important to have players like [Eichel] share their experiences."