Ultimately, the two players were both so exceptional that USCHO’s team couldn’t decide between them for rookie of the year.
After being selected seventh in the 2016 NHL draft, Clayton Keller had a strong season at Boston University, notching 21 goals and 24 assists and a points per game average of 1.45, tops among all rookies. He also spread his scoring out on BU’s special teams with four power-play goals and four short-handed goals.
Keller had two game-winning goals and 15 multi-point games.
Keller was strong in the NCAA tournament, notching two assists against North Dakota, including assisting on Charlie McAvoy’s game-winner in the first-round 4-3 OT win, and then scoring BU’s first goal against Minnesota Duluth in a 3-2 OT quarterfinal loss.
After BU was knocked out of the NCAA tournament by Minnesota Duluth, Keller signed an entry level contract with the Phoenix Coyotes and played three games down the stretch in the NHL, earning two assists.
Denver’s Henrik Borgström, a first-round selection of the Florida Panthers, displayed at times jaw-dropping moves en route to a season where he scored 22 goals and 21 assists. After not recording a point in Denver’s first three games, Borgström broke out against Boston University on Oct. 15 with two goals and an assist.
From then on, the native of Helsinki, Finland, was often tough to shut down, scoring seven game-winning goals and recording 13 multi-point games, including three assists against Penn State in the NCAA tournament quarterfinal round. Borgström’s last game-winning goal was in the Frozen Four against Notre Dame.
Borgström topped his season by being named a first-team All-American by the American Hockey Coaches Association.
USCHO awards were selected by staff members covering the Frozen Four.