2014 NHL Draft: NCAA draft review

By DJ Powers

2014 NHL Draft - Thatcher Demko - Vancouver Canucks

Photo: Boston College goaltender and Vancouver Canucks prospect Thatcher Demko was the first collegian chosen on the second day of the 2014 NHL Draft (courtesy of Derik Hamilton/Icon SMI)

 

The 2014 NHL Draft proved to be very good for NCAA hockey as 61 current and future collegians were selected by NHL teams.

It is important to note here that two players, forwards Ryan Mantha and Fredrik Olofsson, have not been included in the aforementioned number. Mantha, a fourth round selection of the New York Rangers, is a University of North Dakota recruit who is rumored to be close to signing with the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs. Olofsson, a fourth round selection (98th overall) of the Chicago Blackhawks, had originally committed to Colorado College but pulled out of his commitment several months ago and will be playing for the USHL‘s Chicago Steel in 2014-15.

As was the case with the the 2013 NHL Draft, the NCAA saw most of their selected players go in the mid-rounds in 2014. The league had the most players taken in the fifth round with 15, followed by 11 in the fourth round. After only having one player (who eventually opted to go the CHL route) taken in the first round last year, the NCAA saw four players go in the opening round.

Incoming University of Michigan freshman Dylan Larkin, one of two Wolverines drafted, was the first collegian taken, going to the Detroit Red Wings with the 15th overall selection.

28 of the 30 NHL teams selected at least one collegian this year. The only teams not taking a college player were the Colorado Avalanche and the San Jose Sharks. San Jose is especially surprising because they have traditionally drafted collegians, particularly those in New England-based programs that have gone on to do quite well in their system.

The Chicago Blackhawks, another team that has done well with their collegiate picks, led all NHL teams with six selections, followed by the St. Louis Blues with four.

Among the NCAA teams, Boston College and Boston University led the way with five selected players each, followed by Cornell University and the University of Minnesota with four apiece.

Of the 59 NCAA teams, 31 had at least one player (current or future) taken representing five of the six conferences. Atlantic Hockey was the lone conference without a player selected. Hockey East led all conferences with 21 selections, followed by the Big Ten and the ECAC with 13 apiece. Two of the surprises here are how well the new WCHA fared and how few NCHC players were selected.

Despite having just four players selected, this year’s draft could be considered a success for the WCHA, mostly due to the fact that it was an increase over last year when the remaining WCHA teams had seen very few players drafted following the revamp of the NCAA conferences.

On the flipside, the NCHC had just 10 players selected. Only the WCHA had fewer players chosen this year. While the University of North Dakota continues to thrive at the NHL Draft, NCHC members such as the University of Denver and, more notably, the University of Minnesota-Duluth fared worse at this year’s draft than in previous years. The Pioneers saw just one player, incoming freshman Danton Heinen, selected. He went to the Boston Bruins in the fourth round (116th overall). Meanwhile, the Bulldogs didn’t have a single player (current or future) taken.

After having the first drafted player in their D1 era last year, Hockey East’s newest member, the University of Connecticut, saw their second when defenseman Miles Gendron went to the Ottawa Senators in the third round (70th overall). Gendron is expected to matriculate in the fall of 2015.

Reigning NCAA champion Union College saw their first player selected since 2012 when soon-to-be sophomore defenseman Jeff Taylor was taken by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the seventh round (203rd overall). Taylor was one of five collegians selected that played in the NCAA in 2013-14.

A family affair

One interesting phenomenon at this year’s draft was the number of players selected that were relatives of either former or current NHL players or current prospects. And it was no different among the collegians, with three of the most recognizable names being Ryan Donato, Tyler Nanne and Jack Ramsey.

Donato is the son of former NHL forward and current Harvard University head coach Ted Donato. The younger Donato, a second round (56th overall) selection of the Boston Bruins, for whom the elder Donato also played, will follow in his father’s footsteps to Harvard in the fall of 2015.

Nanne is the grandson of the legendary Lou Nanne, who helped engineer the 1980 United States Olympic team (aka “Miracle on Ice”). Tyler Nanne, a 2015 recruit of Ohio State University, was the New York Rangers’ lone collegiate selection, going in the fifth round (142nd overall). Nanne’s older brother, also named Lou, is an incoming freshman at RPI this fall and is a 2012 draft pick of the Minnesota Wild.

Ramsey is the son of former NHL and 1980 U.S. Olympic team defenseman Mike Ramsey. The younger Ramsey, who will follow in his father’s footstep and don the maroon and gold of the University of Minnesota in 2015, was a seventh round (208th overall) selection of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Trades

Several drafted collegians were part of trades that took place prior to this year’s NHL Draft.

The New York Islanders acquired the Philadelphia Flyers’ fourth round pick (108th overall) in the Mark Streit deal on June 13th, 2013. The Islanders used the pick to select Quinnipiac University sophomore defenseman Devon Toews.

The St. Louis Blues acquired Tampa Bay Lightning’s fourth round pick (110th overall) in the B. J. Crombeen deal on July 10th, 2012. The Blues used the pick to select incoming University of North Dakota right wing Austin Poganski.

The Edmonton Oilers acquired the San Jose Sharks’ fourth round pick (111th overall) in the Mike Brown deal on October 21st, 2013. The Oilers used the pick to select University of Michigan sophomore goaltender Zach Nagelvoort.

The Anaheim Ducks acquired the Edmonton Oilers’ fifth round pick (123rd overall) in the Viktor Fasth deal on March 4th, 2014. The Ducks used the pick to select defenseman Matt Berkovitz, who will be playing for the University of Wisconsin in 2015.

The Montreal Canadiens acquired the New York Islanders’ fifth round pick (125th overall) in the Thomas Vanek deal on March 5th, 2014. The Canadiens used the pick to select defenseman Nikolas Koberstein, who will be playing for the University of Alaska in 2015.

The Edmonton Oilers acquired the Ottawa Senators’ fifth round pick (130th overall) in the Ales Hemsky deal on March 5th, 2014. The Oilers used the pick on center Liam Coughlin. Coughlin, who originally committed to the University of Massachusetts, will instead be playing for Boston University this fall.

The Columbus Blue Jackets re-acquired the Edmonton Oilers’ fifth round pick (137th overall) in the Nikita Nikitin deal on June 25th, 2014. The Blue Jackets used the pick to select incoming Brown University right wing Tyler Bird.

The Florida Panthers acquired the Pittsburgh Penguins’ fifth round pick (143rd overall) in the Marcel Goc deal on March 5th, 2014. The Panthers used the pick to select left wing Miguel Fidler, who will be playing for Ohio State University in 2015.

The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired the Anaheim Ducks’ fifth round pick (145th overall) in the Ben Lovejoy deal on February 6th, 2013. The Penguins used the pick to select center Anthony Angello, who will be playing for Cornell University in 2015.

The New Jersey Devils acquired the Florida Panthers’ sixth round pick (152ndoverall) in the Krys Barch deal on September 28th, 2013. The Devils used the pick to select center Joey Dudek, who will be playing for Boston College in 2015.

Looking ahead

2014-15 incoming Boston University forward Jack Eichel is the top collegian eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft. Eichel, one of Team USA’s best players at this year’s World Junior Championship, is projected to be a top-three and possible first overall selection in next year’s NHL Draft.

Follow DJ Powers on Twitter via @DJPowersHF

 

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