Kris Baker of SabresProspects.com has submitted his rankings of the Top 30 draft-eligible prospects of 2016. Check back each day as we prepare for the 2016 NHL Draft, which will be held at First Niagara Center here in Buffalo on June 24 and 25.
#14. Clayton Keller – C, USA U-18 (USHL)
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One of the purest and more dazzling playmakers in the draft class, Keller’s stickhandling skill and ability to process the game quickly could make him a force to be reckoned with once his frame fills out.
Prior to thriving with the U.S. National Team Development Program and producing numbers similar to those of Jack Eichel and 2016 draft phenom Auston Matthews, Keller starred at perennial prep school powerhouse Shattuck-St. Mary’s, piling up 206 points in 111 games over his two years there while committing just 21 minor penalties.
Keller, who won’t turn 18 until a month after the draft, isn’t just a creator, though, as his lightning quick release of the puck sees him score his fair share of goals. He’s no slouch without the puck either, showing an understanding of being on the right side of the man defensively while reading and anticipating rather well in the defensive zone.
Keller is committed to Boston University in the fall where he’ll focus on his strength development and continued discipline away from the puck. His CHL rights are owned by the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires, though, so there will certainly be some chatter to come once his NHL rights are reserved.
For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline and an updated organizational depth chart, check out Kris Baker’s website, SabresProspects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@SabresProspects).