CHN Staff Report
In a year where a record 12 Americans were selected in the First Round of the NHL Draft, the 11 NCAA or NCAA-bound players selected tied a record first established in 2007.
It’s worth noting, of course, that sometimes these players don’t make it to the NCAA, choosing to bail out of commitments at the last minute. But the 11 is nonetheless an achievement worth noting.
Twelve Canadians were selected in the First Round as well, the first time Canada failed to surpass the U.S. in selections.
It all started with Arizona native Auston Matthews going No. 1 overall. Matthews, who won a gold medal with the U.S. Under-18 team two seasons ago, chose to by-pass both the CHL and NCAA and played pro hockey in Switzerland last season. He was the first American selected No. 1 overall since Patrick Kane in 2007.
The NCAA list got started at No. 7 overall, when flashy 5-foot-10 forward Clayton Keller, a Boston University recruit, was selected by Arizona. He was one of four BU players taken in the first round, trying a record of any program in NCAA history. He was joined by fellow recruits Dante Fabbro (No. 17, Nashville) and Kieffer Bellows (No. 19, New York Islanders), and current BU defenseman Charlie McAvoy (No. 14, Boston).
North Dakota was represented by forward Tyson Jost, taken No. 10 by Colorado. Wisconsin was the only other school besides BU with more than one selection, with Luke Kunin, a 19-goal scorer last season as a freshman, going to Minnesota with the 15th pick, and incoming freshman Trent Frederic going No. 29 to Boston.
St. Louis selected Connecticut sophomore-to-be Tage Thompson with the 26th pick. His father, Brent Thompson, coaches the New York Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, Conn. He is the first UConn player ever selected in the First Round.
Of the 11 NCAA players, three are Canadian, including Fabbro and Jost, plus the 20th overall selection, Dennis Choloski, who is headed to St. Cloud State. Another, Denver recruit Henrik Borgstrom, is from Finland.
The four U.S. players selected who are not affiliated with NCAA teams are Matthews, No. 4 overall pick Matthew Tkachuk (whose father, Keith, played at BU), 6-foot-6 center Logan Brown, who went to Ottawa at No. 11, and Jakob Chychrun, taken No. 16 by Arizona (and son of former NHL defenseman Jeff Chychrun).
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