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Road to the NHL Draft: Clayton Keller

Clayton Keller

Position: Center

Junior team: U.S. National Development (USHL)

Born: Chesterfield, Mo.

Measurables: 5-foot-10, 168 pounds

2015-16 stats: 23 games, 13 goals, 24 assists, 37 points

Central Scouting rank: No. 9 (North America)

Lowdown: Keller has the pedigree and training to become an impact player in the NHL. After leaving Shattuck-St. Mary’s, the former home of stars Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews, Keller followed in the footsteps of Jack Eichel and Auston Matthews on the U.S. National Development Team. He’s set to mimic Eichel again this fall and play at Boston University.

Keller can do it all on the offensive end and is the leading scorer in the history of the U.S. development program, passing Phil Kessel and Patrick Kane. The potential was there for a highlight-reel goal or assist nearly every time he touched the puck. He led the United States to bronze at the under-18 world championship, recording four goals and 14 points in seven games. His skating allows him reach the open areas, where his high hockey IQ takes over.

Keller’s frame is a concern. He can be bumped around by bigger players and isn’t fond of physical play.

They said it: “Playing with Clayton, he’s something special. He’s got hockey instincts. His hockey IQ is out of this world. I mean, the plays he makes, I can’t even imagine how he does them.” – Kieffer Bellows, USA Hockey forward, to the Daily Free Press.

The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL Draft, which will be held June 24-25 in First Niagara Center.

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