Last Wednesday, Michigan’s Adam Fantilli was drafted No. 3 overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2023 NHL Draft. On Saturday, he signed to immediately join the organization and forgo his remaining collegiate eligibility.
Signed, sealed, delivered. It’s official pic.twitter.com/f17W0CVe38— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) July 1, 2023
Fantilli leaves Ann Arbor after only one season, but he made his one season in maize and blue historic. Fantilli led the nation in scoring with a jaw-dropping 1.81 points per game (30 G, 35 A, 65 PTS) en route to earning All-American honors and the Hobey Baker Award. The latter made him only the third freshman in history to claim the Heisman of hockey.
A gamer in every sense of the word, Fantilli took his game to the next level in the postseason by setting the Big Ten Tournament record for most goals (seven) and total points (11) in a single tournament. On the back of Fantilli, the Michigan Wolverines won their second consecutive Big Ten Tournament title, and Fantilli was named the Big Ten Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Fantilli will join three former Wolverines on Columbus’s roster: Kent Johnson, Nick Blankenburg, and Zach Weresnki. A fourth is likely on the way next season as Fantilli’s former linemate, Gavin Brindley, was selected in the second-round by the Blue Jackets.
The Ann Arbor to Columbus pipeline is alive and well. At least in hockey.
As for the Wolverines, this is obviously a massive loss. Teams don’t lose their best player and improve. It will likely be up to Brindley, Rutger McGroarty or Frank Nazar to step up and mitigate the loss. Head coach Brandon Naurato will have his work cut out for him, but has a plethora of options at his disposal.