On the first edition of the 2nd Beanpot Special, we looked at the past year from the NCAA’s best drafted prospects and where they are now. On the second take of the series, we’ll take a look at a group of guys who certainly have great futures on the back end.
The New York native is commonly the most forgotten player in the fantastic pool of defensive prospects for the Chicago Blackhawks. With the selection of Adam Boqvist and Henri Jokiharju, as well as other breakout performers whom we’ll talk about, Chad Krys is the most underrated of them all. Krys was selected with 45th overall selection in 2016. He was ½ of the trade that sent Andrew Shaw to the Montreal Canadiens. The other half? The 39th pick in the 2016 draft, that was used to select Alex Debrincat. With his name commonly an afterthought in the prospect pool, he is often forgotten throughout the league because of the star power at Boston University. He had a really strong prospect camp but returned to BU where he now serves as the Alternate Captain. It’s been a pretty rough year for him, as he 10 points in 19 games but sits with a -9 plus/minus. He’ll likely bounce back and his name will definitely be meaningful this offseason for the Blackhawks.
The 4th overall selection in 2017 is an incredibly talented defenseman in the Colorado Avalanche pool. Cale led team Canada to a Gold Medal in the 2018 WJC, while leading all D-men in points with 8. He finished his freshman season with 21 points in 34 games, so he production has boosted massively over the past year. After a decent freshman year at UMass Amherst, the Calgary product has broken out with 31 points in 27 games as he looks to lead the 3rd ranked Minutemen to a potential National Championship. I fully expect him to sign after his NCAA season and draw straight into the Avs lineup late in the year, and maybe the playoffs.
Another very underrated defensive prospect, Adam Fox was drafted 66th overall in 2016 by the Calgary Flames but his rights were traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in Hamilton-Hanifin/Lindholm trade. As a sophomore at Harvard, Fox appeared in 29 games and scored 28 points. He also served as an Alternate Captain at the 2018 WJC that saw his Team USA winning the Bronze. He returned to Harvard for his junior season and has been nothing short of spectacular. In only 23 games, the 20-year-old has 8 goals and 32 points. Those 32 points are good enough to lead #18 Harvard in points… by 8! His offensive game has seemed to take that extra step, so it’ll be a major point for the Hurricanes to sign him later this year.
Ian Mitchell is the “breakout performer” we mentioned when talking about Chad Krys. The 20-year-old was a 2nd round pick in 2017 and is currently a sophomore at Denver. He finished his freshman year with 30 points in 41 games and has improved to 16 in 23 games in year 2. He represented Canada at the 2019 WJC, scoring 1 goal and 3 points in 5 games. He also served as an Alternate Captain as Canada failed to medal as a host country, the first time in their decorated history. His talent is undeniable as he projects as a solid Top 4 defenseman for the Blackhawks. He may return to Denver but could also sign with the Hawks. His immediate role for next season is currently unclear because of the current look of the Chicago defense and their defensive prospect pool.
Also mentioned in the section about Chad Krys, Dante Fabbro is high end potential defenseman at Boston University. The Predators got Fabbro with Pick 17 in 2016 after a year with Penticton of the BCHL. The Junior Captain at BU has 23 points in 27 games, but also represented Canada at the Spengler Cup. Playing in the Spengler Cup, Fabbro scored 3 points in 4 games and was selected to the tournament Allstar Team. Dante is very highly spoken of by man scouts as a two-way defenseman with offensive power. With an already strong defensive core, Fabbro will certainly be a nice edition to Nashville.
Casey Fitzgerald was our honorable mention last year and his offensive stats over the last 2 years did him no favors, even though Boston College has been quite bad recently. The Boston College Captain is a solid player drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 draft by Buffalo. The senior has 9 points in 27 games, all being assists. Believe it or not, his best point producing season came as a freshman when he had 27 points in 39 games. His production has gone down over those 3 seasons however, I did get the chance to see him play live when BC visited Notre Dame in January. He’s only 5’11, 185 pounds but looks much bigger live. He has a great vision on the breakout and is confident skating the puck up the ice. His defensive play was really solid and he’s a lot better than he appears on paper. I think the Sabres have a really solid Top 6 guy who can play Top 4, maybe even Top 2 minutes depending on his D partner.