Has there ever been a better time to be an NCAA hockey fan? For proof of this, look no further than the spectacular performances turned in by the likes of Paul Kariya, Brian Gionta, John Madden, Brian Rafalski, and Jason Krog during a memorable Stanley Cup Finals. Not to mention a Cinderella performance from an NCAA-stacked Minnesota Wild team. If international hockey is more your style than give Dany Heatley and Anson Carter credit for bring home the gold for Team Canada in the World Championship.
There was no shortage of excitement for the college hockey buff with this year’s group of freshman and the incoming class being selected in the Entry Draft. Here’s a break down of a few statistics from this year’s draft and a report card on how well each NHL team did in selecting NCAA players.
The NCAA Break Down
71 current or incoming NCAA players were drafted.
9 current or incoming players were taken in the first round (most ever for the NCAA).
15 of the 71 taken were NOT on the CSB final rankings.
NCAA League Breakdown
24 from the WCHA
18 from Hockey East
15 from the CCHA
13 from the ECAC
1 from the MAAC
1 will be making the jump to CHL hockey (Jonathan Lehun from St. Cloud)
5 players were chosen from Cornell — their Cinderella season caught the eye of many scouts
5 players were chosen from Colorado College — a little back checking to make sure another gem like Peter Sejna is not overlooked again.
3 players from Northern Michigan were chosen. None were ranked by the CSB and the two teams that were still playing hockey in June chose all three (Anaheim and New Jersey).
The NHL Breakdown
NCAA players were taken in every round of the draft.
9 in the first round
7 in the second round
8 in the third round
6 in the fourth round
13 in the fifth round
7 in the sixth round
5 in the seventh round
7 in the eighth round
9 in the ninth round
6 players were taken by the LA Kings (most in the Western Conference)
5 players were taken by the NY Rangers (most in the Eastern Conference)
All 30 NHL teams drafted at least one player from the NCAA. Below is how they did in selecting talent.
A+++ Los Angeles Kings (6) Credit the Kings scouts and GM for resisting the temptation of packaging up all those picks and cashing in on a top ten player. In the long run, this stockpile of diverse picks will pay off. With this group of talent, coach Andy Murray deserved the luxury of adding his own bloodline to the payroll. (Brady Murray)
A++NY Rangers (5) Quantity and quality make up the Blueshirts picks this year. A wide variety of players include Hugh Jessiman and Chris Holt who is this year’s best goaltender that no one has heard of yet.
A+ New Jersey (3) Pulling the trigger on the deal to snatch up Zach Parise before anyone else did was followed up by an even bolder move, taking unranked players from obscure locations. This might just add to the legendary scouting ability of the Devils.
A+ Dallas (3) What works for the Devils may work for the Stars. Start with a highly touted player (Gino Guyer) and follow it up with picks that has everyone saying “Who?”
A+ Buffalo (2) Thomas Vanek was a no brainer but Thomas Morrow should have
gone earlier so the Sabres staff jumped on this gift.
A+ Anaheim (4) Whether it’s drafting or signing free agents; the Ducks are catching on to college hockey.
A+ Detroit (1) Only one, but a good one. Next to Fleury, Jim Howard is the best goalie in the draft.
A+ Nashville (1) (Ryan Suter) See Detroit and substitute defenseman for goalie and Coburn for Fleury.
A Boston (3) Mark Stuart will carry on the tradition of defensemen Gods in Beantown.
B+ San Jose (3) Bold picks will pay off in the long run.
B+ St. Louis (3) Like clockwork, the Blues come up with their annual solid picks.
B+ Vancouver (3) Ohio and Denver seem to be favorite destinations for the Canucks
B Colorado (3) Past history makes it impossible to doubt their picks.
B Carolina (3) Always a safe bet to snag a player that was ranked in the top 100 and dropped to 230 (Jamie Hoffman).
B Ottawa (2) kudos to the Sens for taking a chance on a controversial pick.
B Tampa Bay (2) A couple of sleeper picks could pay off in the long run.
B Washington (3) alert scouts snagged Andrew Joudrey at no. 249.
C+ Atlanta (3) Brett Sterling fell off the CSB list but the Thrashers did well by remembering his name.
C Florida (3) when in doubt go with the Hockey East guys (Dan Travis and James Pemberton).
C Chicago (3) How could drafting a goalie named Brodeur ever be a bad thing?
D- Montreal (1) What happened to the Habs faith in NCAA players?
D- NY Islanders (1) When will the Islanders FIND any faith in NCAA players?
D- Philadelphia (1) see Islanders
D-Pittsburgh (2) what’s the point of dealing for a franchise goalie if he has no support?
D- Toronto (1) see Islanders
D- Calgary (1) still waiting for more Hobey Baker winners to become available.
D- Edmonton (2) see Montreal
F Phoenix (1) see Montreal
F Columbus (1) even drafting a college football player would be an improvement.
F Minnesota (1) another year of ignoring talent in their own back yard. Selecting one Minnesota native is almost a token gesture to the fans.