By R.G. Mason
JULY 1, 2023
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed center Adam Fantilli to a three-year entry level contract, club General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen announced today. Fantilli was selected by the Blue Jackets third overall at the 2023 NHL Draft held at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on Wednesday.
Fantilli, 18, registered 30 goals and 35 assists for 65 points with 10 power play goals, 145 shots on goal and a +31 plus/minus rating in 36 games in his freshman campaign at the University of Michigan in 2022-23. He became the third freshman in NCAA history to win the Hobey Baker Award, joining Paul Kariya (1993 with Maine) and Jack Eichel (2015 with Boston University), after leading all college players in goals, points, points-per-game (1.81), goals-per-game (0.83) and assists-per-game (tied, 0.97). The center was named the NCAA Top Collegiate Rookie (Tim Taylor Award) and the Big 10 Freshman of the Year after leading Michigan to the Big 10 Championships. He was also named to the NCAA First All-American Team, the First-Team All-Big 10 and the Big 10 All-Freshman Team.
A native of Nobleton, Ontario, Fantilli tallied 55-55-110 with 115 penalty minutes in 103 career outings with the Chicago Steel in the United States Hockey League from 2020-22. He was named to the First All-USHL Team after leading the club in goals with 37-37-74 in 54 games in 2021-22. In 2020-21, he led the Steel to the Clark Cup championship with 18-18-36 in 49 games, adding 8-1-9 in eight playoff appearances. He was named the USHL Clark Cup Most Valuable Player and to the USHL Second-Team All-Rookie Team.
The 6-2, 195-pound center represented Canada at the 2023 IIHF World Championships (1-2-3 in 10 games) and 2023 IIHF World Junior Championships (2-3-5 in seven games), helping the country capture gold medals at both tournaments. He also posted 1-5-6 in four contests at the 2022 IIHF U18 World Championships.
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