David Farrance exploded onto the scene this season at Boston University in a big way. The third-round pick for the Nashville Predators in 2017 tallied 43 points in 34 games for the Terriers, leading the team in points, despite the season being cut short.
Returning to Boston University
Farrance recently announced that he will return to the Terriers for his senior season for the team. He has since been named an alternate captain for the Terriers in 2020-21. While there is most certainly an entry-level contract in his future for the Predators, he said he wanted to return to accomplish big things with his teammates.
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“I love BU,” Farrance said in a statement. “Getting the opportunity to develop and learn here has been absolutely incredible. It was an honor to be a Hobey top-10 finalist this year, but it left me wanting more for my team.”
“I want one more chance to win a Beanpot, one more chance to win a Hockey East title, one more year with my class and my teammates. I came here to win a national championship and follow in the footsteps of Terrier greats. I love the guys on our team and we believe in each other to reach the high goals that this program sets for itself. See you at Agannis next season.”
Farrance has become a player who will be in the conversation to win the Hobey Baker Award next year, an award that a defenseman has won twice in a row with Cale Makar winning it in 2019 and Scott Perunovich winning it in 2020. Farrance winning would not only make it three in a row, but four out of the last five with current New Jersey Devils blueliner Will Butcher also winning in 2017 when he played at Denver.
THW’s Brandon Share-Cohen wrote about Farrance’s progression as a player in 2017 and said in his write-up that he had all of the tools to become an NHL defenseman.
Farrance is still a very raw prospect, but he does possess all the tools needed to succeed at the NHL level if he can put it all together. With tremendous offensive ability as displayed by his pin-point, tape-to-tape passes, smooth skating and a good shot, Farrance has the ceiling of a top-four defender. If his defense never rounds out the way it needs to, he could find himself playing in a bottom-pairing role as an offensive specialist who receives sheltered zone starts and a permanent role on a power play.
Recently, Albie O’Connell, Boston University’s head coach, sang the praises of Farrance’s progress when he was asked after a game in December.
“I think one of the reasons why he’s playing so well is because he’s playing better defense, which has gone under the radar a little bit with all his scoring. But his gaps are tighter. He’s also better on the bench. He’s become quite a leader for us.” (From ‘Farrance showing power for Boston University,’ Boston Herald– 12/8/19)
Farrance’s improvement on the defensive side of the game is part of what makes him an intriguing NHL prospect. He can make an impact on the power play as well, and if he can continue to improve in his own zone, he’s a legitimate NHL defenseman.
Decision After Senior Season
The big decision now for Farrance will be whether he signs with Nashville after the season ends, or whether he waits a couple of months and signs with a different team when he becomes a free agent.
There is no doubt that if Farrance decides to wait and have his pick of teams, there will be many vying for his signature.
Farrance’s former teammate, Dante Fabbro, currently laces up for the Predators. Some believe that Fabbro’s presence in the Music City could be a factor in what Farrance decides to do.
It currently seems as if the top two lines on Nashville’s D-core are solidified. Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis are manning the top pairing and Mattias Ekholm and Fabbro are solidifying the second duo.
However, there is some space open on the third pairing, should Farrance opt to sign with the team after his senior year. At the time of the NHL’s pause, one of Korbinian Holzer and Jarred Tinordi was on the third pairing for the Preds, so there is a possibility that with continued improvement Farrance could get a chance there.
The question remaining after that is whether Farrance would want to sign with a team that already has the top-two D pairings sealed up. He would be settling for less ice time. Whether he’d want to go to a place where he’d get more opportunities, no one knows.
We have recently seen Adam Fox go from being drafted by the Calgary Flames, traded to the Carolina Hurricanes and then finally being moved to the New York Rangers, for a variety of reasons, after he finished his time at Harvard. Teams are understandably a bit wary of players that stay until their senior season and have the talent that Farrance does. The truth is, there are teams that would offer Farrance more opportunity and ice time earlier than Nashville could.
Nashville is known for developing defensive prospects and it looks like they have a great one yet again waiting in the wings in Farrance. The question is: will he sign with the Predators, or will he opt for another opportunity? Only time will tell.