Via Michigan Athletics
In collegiate hockey, Michigan has been producing some all stars as of recently. Kyle Connor, Max Pacioretty, Matty Beniers, and many more. Currently, Michigan has some future NHL stars like Luke Hughes and Frank Nazar. One player whose having a monstrous freshman season is forward Adam Fantilli.
Fantilli is scoring at an outrageous rate. As of the writing of this piece, he’s played six games, scoring five goals and adding 10 assists for 15 points. At more than a two-points-per-game pace, Fantilli has been a power for the Wolverines, and one of the best upcoming collegiate draft choices since Jack Eichel.
Many scouts say that Adam Fantilli is the NHL’s next big power forward. While that may be true, he’s also an elite playmaker.
Fantilli’s ability to use his body to shield the puck from opponents is flat out unfair. He uses this, combined with his elite skating ability, to put himself in better position and open ice, giving him time to dish or shoot the puck.
Adam Fantilli scores most of his goals around the net, but he isn’t a black hole when it comes to outside of the crease. He has probably one of the best shots in the draft, he positions his body away from the net when he shoots to fool goalies into thinking pass, then catches them off guard with a heat-seeker shot. Another way he hides his shot is by shooting while in crossovers. On the transition, he’s going to look to shoot while being guarded, and his ability to mask the shot is why he has one of the best goal-scoring abilities in the draft. It’s safe to say, don’t give him any space in front of your net, or the puck’s going to be behind the net minder in the blink of an eye.
Fantilli being a power forward, is also extremely physical. Using his 6’2″, 187 lbs. frame, he’s always looking to lay the pain on opponents, while staying pretty discipline. He’s one of the more physical top prospects we’ve seen since the Tkachuk brothers.
With a combination of all of those traits, Adam Fantilli jocks up to be a great playmaker. His smooth hands helps when entering the zone, and fighting off defenders and back-checkers. His passing ability and vision is another crazy attribute he has. He looks at every single option he has, and commonly threads the needle. However, this could prove difficult in the NHL as he could force turnovers.
Similarities to Jack Eichel
Every time I watch Adam Fantilli play, I can’t help but think of Jack Eichel.
While Eichel may not be as physical as Fantilli, their play is super similar.
We haven’t seen a freshman forward dominate the NCAA this much since Eichel was a member of the Boston University Terriers. Both play a high-octane offensive game, where they use lethal shots to score goals from hard areas on the ice, and finding teammates like no other.
Eichel would be able to find players from anywhere on the ice using is lazer-accurate passing. Similar to what Fantilli is able to do, they both look at every single opportunity to dish the puck, but don’t sleep on their shot, as they could easily beat a goalie from anywhere on the ice like I’d previously stated. Both use their frame to power their way to the net to create chances in the crease, and it works out like a charm for both players.
In Eichel’s only NCAA season, he scored 26 goals and 71 points in 40 games. If Fantilli played 40 games this year, he would score 100 points. We don’t think he’ll keep that pace up, but we think he can out-score Jack. A last similarity between the two is that they won’t be first overall picks. Barring any crazy falloff or injury, Connor Bedard has the first pick pretty much safe. Jack Eichel had Connor McDavid in his draft, and many say he’d be a first overall pick in any draft if it weren’t for McDavid. The same could be said for Fantilli, as with all of his talent, it still doesn’t equal the level of talent Bedard has.
No doubt Adam Fantilli will be an elite player in the NHL, and will draw comparisons to Jack Eichel.