With the seventh overall selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Arizona Coyotes select center Clayton Keller from the United States National Development Team Program.
— NHL (@NHL) June 25, 2016
Analysis of Clayton Keller
Keller might be undersized at 5-foot-10, 168 pounds, but he has speed to burn. The Boston University commit is a great skater and an outstanding 2016 World Under-18 Championships with four goals and 10 assists as he helped Team USA secure a bronze medal. That followed up a gold medal-winning 2015 U18 tournament where he scored four goals and dished out five asssits.
The speedy center was consistent in his two years with the U.S. Development team as he notched 13 goals and 23 assists in 2013-14 and 13 goals and 24 assists in the 2015-16 campaign.
The Swansea, Illinois native is able to create scoring chances with his solid passing skills and hockey sense. He’s drawn comparisons to Toronto Maple Leafs 2015 first-round selection Mitch Marner.
Keller continues the strong group of players that have come from the U.S. developmental program. Players like Jack Eichel and this year’s top pick Auston Matthews have had similar success with the USNTDP.
Keller was projected in to fall into this range in many mock drafts held by various outlets.
On the Arizona Coyotes
Keller adds to a very young and dynamic forward group that has Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. The Coyotes could be even more dangerous when Dylan Strome joins the club.
It is the fourth straight year that Arizona has gone offense is it took Domi in 2013, Brendan Perlini in 2014 and Strome in 2015.
Keller’s addition will give coach Dave Tippett plenty of options on offense when Keller finishes his time with the Terriers. The rigors of playing in a conference like Hockey East should prepare the young pivot for the NHL.
Covered hockey since attending SUNY Oswego in Upstate New York in the early 2000s. Has written about college, major junior and professional hockey for the last five years.
Resides in Watertown, NY.