The 2015 NHL Draft will go down as the NCAA’s most successful since 2003 while making history in the process. This year marked the first time in the history of the NHL Draft that three current collegians – that is those that played in the NCAA this past season – were taken in the top 10.
Boston University phenom and 2015 Hobey Baker recipient Jack Eichel was selected second overall by the Buffalo Sabres. Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin was selected fifth overall by the Carolina Hurricanes and University of Michigan defenseman Zach Werenski rounded out the trio after being selected eighth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Later in the draft, history was made again when the Ottawa Senators selected Arizona State University-committed goaltender Joel Daccord with the 199th overall pick (seventh round). The North Andover, MA native becomes the first-ever Sun Devil (current or future) to be taken in the NHL Draft. Arizona State joins the NCAA D-I ranks this upcoming season.
In addition, prep defenseman Andong Song became the first Chinese player ever to be taken in the NHL Draft when the New York Islanders selected him 172nd overall (sixth round). Song, an uncommitted player, could potentially be headed to the NCAA ranks in the future. He will attend Phillips-Andover Academy this fall.
Inside the numbers
Just over a quarter (26%) of all players taken in the 2015 draft were either current or future NCAA players. In all, 55 collegians were taken.
One of the more intriguing aspects of this year’s draft is the fact that five NHL teams who have traditionally tapped into the NCAA ranks did not select a single collegian (current or future). They were the Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals.
While the majority of NCAA players selected were future collegians, nine played in the NCAA this past season. That figure is up from seven selected in last year’s draft.
With the exception of Atlantic Hockey, all NCAA conferences had at least two players (current or future) selected in this year’s draft.
Hockey East led all conferences with 23 players selected, followed by the Big Ten with 16 players selected. The NCHC had nine, the ECAC four, the WCHA two, and one from independent Arizona State.
Among the NCAA teams, the University of Michigan led the way with six players selected followed by Boston College, Boston University, the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin with four each.
Jets flying high with collegiate prospects
One NHL team that has drafted remarkably well from the collegiate ranks in recent years is the Winnipeg Jets. Two of the Jets’ four selections this year came in the opening round, with University of Michigan-bound left wing Kyle Connor taken 17th overall, followed by Miami University-bound center Jack Roslovic taken 25th overall.
Two of Winnipeg’s most notable draft picks were selected in 2012, when the team took former Michigan defensive phenom Jacob Trouba (first round, ninth overall) and UMass-Lowell standout netminder and inaugural Mike Richter Award recipient Connor Hellebuyck (fifth round, 130th overall).
Among the impressive group of current collegians in the Jets pipeline are Minnesota State-Mankato winger C.J. Franklin, Minnesota defenseman Jack Glover, and Michigan Tech goaltender Jamie Phillips.
A number of NHL trades involved several collegians taken in this year’s draft. Below are some of the more notable ones that took place.
On June 26th, the Buffalo Sabres sent their 21st overall pick (first round) to the Ottawa Senators for goaltender Robin Lehner and forward David Legwand. The Senators used the pick to select Boston College-bound center Colin White.
The Winnipeg Jets acquired the 25th overall pick (first round) in the Feb. 11th multi-player deal that included sending RPI goaltender Jason Kasdorf to the Buffalo Sabres. The Jets used the 25th pick to select Miami-bound center Jack Roslovic.
Among the three picks the Boston Bruins acquired in the Dougie Hamilton deal with the Calgary Flames on June 26th was the 45th overall pick (second round). The Bruins used the pick to select Boston University-bound center Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson.
The Anaheim Ducks acquired the 80th overall pick (third round) in the Mar. 2nd multi-player deal that included sending former Wisconsin Badger Rene Bourque to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Ducks used the 80th pick to select University of Minnesota-bound center Brent Gates.
The San Jose Sharks acquired the Edmonton Oilers’ 86th overall pick (third round) as compensation for the Oilers hiring of former head coach Todd McClellan. The Sharks used the pick to select University of New Hampshire commit, goaltender Mike Robinson.
On Jun. 27th, the Anaheim Ducks acquired former Michigan standout Carl Hagelin along with two picks, including a sixth round pick (179th overall) from the New York Rangers. The Ducks used that pick to select University of Massachusetts Lowell-committed goaltender Garrett Metcalf.
Two previously drafted collegians that played in the NCAA this past season that saw their rights traded during this year’s draft were Michigan center J.T. Compher (Buffalo to Colorado) and Harvard defenseman Patrick McNally (Vancouver to San Jose).
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