The Wolverines have done it again. The same school that saw four members of their 2021-22 roster selected in the top five of the 2021 NHL Draft has just secured another probable top-five pick. Forward Adam Fantilli of the USHL’s Chicago Steel has committed to the University of Michigan, reports TSN’s Darren Dreger. Fantilli is considered a candidate to go first overall in the 2023 NHL Draft.
Fantilli, 16, will spend one more season with Chicago and then it is off to Ann Arbor to join the Wolverines for the 2022-23 season. Fantilli, who already helped the Steel to a Clark Cup championship this past season and took home postseason MVP honors himself, would probably be ready for the NCAA ranks already were it not for his age and academic status. Fantilli will have to try to improve in the USHL this season after already posting 36 points in 49 games last year, followed by a stunning eight goals in eight playoff games. NHL teams are already convinced of his high-end ability and impressed by his growing 6’2″ frame, but now will see if he can remain consistent and driven in the USHL and then still have another season to see how he adjusts to the college game. If the rangy center can continue to score and flash immense skill while bulking up, he could be the can’t-miss prospect at the top of the 2023 draft class.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that Fantilli will get a chance to play with many of Michigan’s current star players. Owen Power (BUF, No. 1 overall in 2021), Matthew Beniers (SEA, No. 2 overall in 2021), Kent Johnson (CLB, No. 5 overall in 2021) and Johnny Beecher (BOS, No. 30 overall in 2019) are almost certain to turn pro after this season, while Luke Hughes (NJD, No. 4 overall in 2021), Brendan Brisson (VGK, No. 29 overall in 2020), and Thomas Bordeleau (SJS, No. 38 overall in 2020) could follow. However, it is a safe bet that Mackie Samoskevich (FLA, No. 24 overall in 2021), Erik Portillo (BUF, No. 67 overall in 2019), and Dylan Duke (TBL, No. 126 overall in 2020) will stick around for Fantilli’s freshman year, where he will be joined by other notable prospects like Jackson Hallum (VGK, No. 91 overall in 2020), Frank Nazar, and brother Luca Fantilli in the recruiting class. This should keep the Wolverines’ National Championship window open for at least a couple years longer as they have quickly turned into the premier program in college hockey.