This year’s NHL Draft saw 66 current and future collegians selected. There were also two uncommitted players selected that could potentially be college-bound in the future, bringing the total to 68. That represents roughly 32 percent of all players selected.
The two uncommitted players taken were center Alex Kerfoot, selected by the New Jersey Devils (150th overall, fifth round) and defenseman Matthew Benning, selected by the Boston Bruins (175th overall, sixth round). With this year’s draft being the “Year of the Defenseman”, it was not surprising to see so many collegiate defensemen taken. Of the 68 players selected, 28 were defensemen.
The fifth round saw the most collegians taken with 13, followed by the seventh round with 12. 27 of the 30 NHL teams selected at least one current, future or potentially NCAA-bound player. The three teams not selecting a collegian were the Colorado Avalanche, the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Montreal Canadiens. The Carolina Hurricanes led all NHL teams with five collegiate selections, followed by the St. Louis Blues and the Washington Capitals with four each.
Among the NCAA conferences, the CCHA, Hockey East, and the WCHA each had 19 players taken. The ECAC had nine players selected. Boston University led all NCAA teams with eight players selected, followed by the University of Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State with four apiece.
Two of the biggest stories on Friday involved three players with NCAA ties. The first was the blockbuster deal between the Carolina Hurricanes and host Pittsburgh Penguins. The deal saw the Pittsburgh Penguins' Jordan Staal shipped to Carolina in exchange for forward Brandon Sutter, former Boston College defenseman and All-American Brian Dumoulin, and the Hurricanes first-round selection (8th overall). The Penguins used the pick to take WHL defenseman Derrick Pouliot.
The other story making news on Friday was the swapping of picks between the Buffalo Sabres and the Calgary Flames. The Sabres acquired the Flames' 14th pick to take potentially University of Vermont-bound center, Zemgus Girgensons. Calgary received Buffalo’s 21st and 42nd picks. The Flames raised a few eyebrows when they grabbed Providence College recruit, center Mark Jankowski, with the 21st pick. The Flames used their 42nd pick to take defenseman Patrick Sieloff, who had originally committed to Miami University but has since opted to play for the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires.
Around the NHL
After taking local product Emerson Etem in the first round (29th overall) in the 2010 NHL Draft, the Anaheim Ducks opted to go with home grown talent again in this year’s draft, selecting Irvine native and incoming University of Wisconsin left wing, Nicholas Kerdiles, in the second round (36th overall).
Another team that’s dipped into local products is the Minnesota Wild. This year marked the third time in four years that the Wild have taken a Minnesota native, selecting University of Minnesota-bound left wing Louis Nanne in the seventh round (188th overall). Nanne follows fellow Minnesotans Mario Lucia and Nick Leddy, both of whom were taken in the first round in 2011 and 2009 respectively.
The San Jose Sharks, who have made a habit of drafting players either born and/or playing in New England, continued that trend this year with the selection of incoming Boston University center Daniel O’Regan in the fifth round (138th overall). Since 1996, the Sharks have taken at least one player born and/or playing in New England every year except in 1997 and 2009. The primary reason can be attributed to Boston-based head scout Tim Burke.
For the second year in a row, the Winnipeg Jets took an incoming University of Michigan defenseman. Jacob Trouba, who was selected ninth overall in this year’s draft, follows Brennan Serville, who was taken in the third round (78th overall) in 2011. Trouba also was the highest selected collegian in this year’s draft.
One of the surprises at this year’s draft as far as the NCAA goes was the lack of collegians taken by the Montreal Canadiens. While the team restocked their system with excellent future players, none were collegians. 2012 marks the first year since 1995 that the Canadiens failed to select a current or future NCAA player. Since 2000, Montreal has done remarkably well drafting collegians. Their notable selections include former University of Michigan defenseman Mike Komisarek in 2001, former Yale University left wing Chris Higgins in 2002, and former University of Wisconsin defenseman Ryan McDonagh in 2007.
Around the NCAA
Two NCAA schools will have an NHL-drafted player on their respective rosters in 2012-13 that didn’t this past season – the University of Alaska and Union College.
The University of Alaska will feature incoming defenseman Colton Parayko, who was taken by the St. Louis Blues in the third round (86th overall). Parayko is the Nanooks’ first drafted player since Chad Johnson, who was taken by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2006.
2012 Frozen Four participant Union College will feature sophomore-to-be defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who went to the Philadelphia Flyers in the third round (78th overall). He becomes the first Dutchman taken in the NHL Draft since 2004, when Justin Mrazek went to the Washington Capitals. Gostisbehere was also the highest-drafted player in the program’s history. In addition to Gostisbehere, Union College also had another player selected with incoming defenseman Timothy Boyle going to the Ottawa Senators in the fourth round (16th overall). The Hingham, Massachusetts native is the younger brother of former Boston College center and current New York Ranger, Brian Boyle.
Boyle wasn’t the only collegian taken in the draft that has a family tie to the New York Rangers. Center Zach Stepan, who was selected by the Nashville Predators in the fourth round (112th overall), does as well. He is the cousin of former University of Wisconsin standout Derek Stepan. Unlike his cousin however, Zach Stepan is an Ohio State recruit. This fall, he’ll be suiting up for the USHL’s Waterloo Blackhawks before heading to Columbus in the fall of 2013. Stepan, who just completed his second season at Shattuck St. Mary’s, credits his now-former coach Tom Ward for helping him to get where he is today.
“Coach Ward is amazing”, enthused Stepan. “There’s nothing bad to say about him. He knows how to prepare you for the next level. He teaches you all of the little parts of the game that you don’t necessarily think about. But he also teaches you about not only becoming a good hockey player but being a good person off the ice too, which is really good because if you carry yourself the right way good things will come to you.”
Although his father was never drafted, Daniel O’Regan will be following in his footsteps to Boston University this fall. The younger O’Regan is the son of former Terrier Tom O’Regan, who also played his NHL hockey with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1980's.
“I’m heading to BU in a coupIe of weeks from now to start the summer program there,” said O’Regan in following his father to Boston University. “I was always a BU fan, so I’m really excited to get over there and hopefully beat all of my dad’s (scoring) records.”
Teddy Blueger was one of two collegians taken by host Pittsburgh, with the Penguins selecting him in the second round (52nd overall). Blueger, an incoming freshman at Minnesota State-Mankato this fall, becomes the first-ever Latvian-born player to don the Mavericks’ colors.
“I think my best assets are my hockey sense, vision, passing and creating scoring chances for myself and for my teammates,” Blueger said when asked to give a scouting report on himself. “At the same time, I’m a complete player that can play in all situations and defend too.”
Several collegians selected this year became the draft picks that were obtained in NHL team trades prior to this year’s draft.
The Philadelphia Flyers second round pick (45th overall) was acquired in the Sergei Bobrovsky deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets on June 22, 2012. The Flyers used the pick to take incoming University of Nebraska-Omaha netminder Anthony Stolarz.
The Buffalo Sabres second round pick (44th overall) was acquired in a deal with the Calgary Flames back on June 25, 2011 that also included former University of Denver defenseman Chris Butler going to Calgary. The Sabres used the pick to take University of Wisconsin defenseman Jake McCabe.
The Dallas Stars' second round pick (61st overall) was acquired in the Nicklas Grossman deal with the Philadelphia Flyers back on Feb. 16, 2012. The Stars used the pick to take incoming University of Maine center Devin Shore.
The St. Louis Blues third round pick (67th overall) was acquired in the deal that sent former University of Wisconsin defenseman Brad Winchester to the Anaheim Ducks back on Feb. 28, 2011. The Blues used the pick to take incoming Michigan State left wing Mackenzie MacEachern.
The Philadelphia Flyers third round pick (78th overall) was acquired in the deal that sent Kris Versteeg to the Florida Panthers back on July 1, 2011. The Flyers used the pick to take Union College defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere.
The Washington Capitals fourth round pick (100th overall) was acquired in the deal that sent Eric Fehr to the Winnipeg Jets back on July 8, 2011. The Capitals used the pick to take incoming University of Notre Dame center Thomas Di Pauli.
The Phoenix Coyotes second round pick (102nd overall) was acquired in the deal with the Colorado Avalanche back on Feb. 28, 2010 that sent former University of New Hampshire center Daniel Winnik to the Avalanche. The Coyotes used the pick to take Michigan State-bound defenseman Rhett Holland.
The Carolina Hurricanes fourth round pick (120th overall) was acquired in the deal that sent Alexei Ponikarovsky to the New Jersey Devils back on Jan. 20, 2012. The deal also included former University of Alaska defenseman Joe Sova going to the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes used the pick to take 2013 incoming Colorado College defenseman Jaccob Slavin.
The Anaheim Ducks fifth round pick (127th overall) was acquired in the deal that sent Paul Mara to the Montreal Canadiens back on Feb. 7, 2011. The Ducks used the pick to take incoming University of Nebraska-Omaha defenseman Brian Cooper.
The Calgary Flames seventh round pick (186th overall) was acquired in the deal that sent Wayne Primeau to the Toronto Maple Leafs back on July 27, 2009. The deal also saw former Colorado College left wing Colin Stuart going to the Flames. The Flames used the pick to take incoming Michigan State center Matt Deblouw.
The Buffalo Sabres seventh round pick (204th overall) was a conditional pick acquired in the deal that sent Steve Montador to the Chicago Blackhawks back on Jun. 29, 2011. The Sabres used the pick to take St. Cloud State-bound center/winger Judd Peterson.
The Anaheim Ducks seventh round pick (210th overall) was acquired in the deal that sent Kurtis Foster and Timo Pielmeier to the New Jersey Devils back on Dec. 12, 2011. The deal also saw former Ohio State center Rod Pelley going to the Ducks. The Ducks used the pick to take University of Nebraska-Omaha defenseman Jaycob Megna.