June 18, 2014
Did you know that Gopher Hockey has featured 189 total NHL draft picks? Or that Wally Olds was the first-ever Gopher Hockey draft pick in 1969?
Check out the 2014 Gopher Hockey NHL Draft Guide before next week's draft in Philly!
The 2014 NHL Entry Draft will take place at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on June 27-28. The 52nd draft in league history will feature seven rounds. Draft coverage begins at 6 p.m. CT on Friday, June 27 (NBC Sports Network, TSN). Rounds 2-7 will be held on Saturday starting at 9 a.m. (NHL Network).
The University of Minnesota has produced 189 total NHL draft picks including 19 first round picks.
The first Gopher ever selected in the NHL draft was Wally Olds, taken by Detroit with the 57th pick (fifth round) in 1969. Olds never played in the NHL, electing to play in the WHA instead.
Erik Johnson (1st overall in 2006 by St. Louis) is Minnesota's highest draft pick.
At least one Gopher has been drafted in 39 of the last 40 NHL Entry Drafts dating back to 1974 with 2001 being the only exception.
Minnesota featured nine draft picks in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft (Patrick White, Jim O'Brien, Nico Sacchetti, Mike Hoeffel, Jake Hansen, Cade Fairchild, Kent Patterson, Taylor Matson and Nick Larson) -- a program record.
The Dallas Stars (previously the Minnesota North Stars) have drafted more Gophers than any other NHL team with 23 selections. However, the organization has only drafted two Gophers (Nico Sacchetti in 2007 and Gino Guyer in 2003) since moving to Dallas.
Travis Boyd (Washington, 177th overall) and Adam Wilcox (Tampa Bay, 178th overall) were selected with back-to-back picks in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft - the fifth-time in history that Gophers were taken with consecutive picks (Mark Alt and Justin Holl in 2010, Craig Mack and Steve Orth in 1983, Tom Hirsch and David Preuss in 1981, Mike Greeder and Mike Reilly in 1977). Hirsh and Preuss were selected with consecutive picks by the Minnesota North Stars.
The Gophers' most impressive round in the NHL Entry Draft came in 2006 when three Gophers were selected within the first seven picks of the draft - Erik Johnson (St. Louis, 1st overall), Phil Kessel (Boston, 5th overall) and Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders, 7th overall). David Fischer was later drafted with the 20th overall pick by Montreal, giving Minnesota four players in the first round of the 2006 draft.
Sixteen Gopher Hockey alums played in the NHL during the 2013-14 season -- Keith Ballard (Minnesota), Nick Bjugstad (Florida), Alex Goligoski (Dallas), Erik Haula (Minnesota), Erik Johnson (Colorado), Phil Kessel (Toronto), Nick Leddy (Chicago), Jordan Leopold (St. Louis), Paul Martin (Pittsburgh), Aaron Ness (New York Islanders), Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders), Nate Schmidt (Washington), Jordan Schroeder (Vancouver), Thomas Vanek (Montreal), Ryan Stoa (Washington) and Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg). Haula and Schmidt both made their NHL debuts during the season while Bjugstad led the Panthers in scoring as a rookie.
Three members of the Gophers coaching staff have been NHL draft picks -- head coach Don Lucia was selected by Philadelphia with the 168th overall pick (tenth round) in 1978, associate head coach Mike Guentzel was the 135th overall selection (seventh round) by the New York Rangers in 1981, assistant coach Grant Potulny was the 157th overall pick (fifth round) in 2000 by Ottawa.
Pitlick, Westby Earn USA Hockey Honors
Pitlick was named the Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year while Westby was tabbed the Adult Player of the Year.
Register for the 43rd Annual John Mariucci Golf Open
Registration for the John Mariucci Golf Open is open now with the event set for July 18 at Chaska Town Course.
USA Hockey Spotlight: Todd Richards
Richards and Team USA will play Canada in semifinal action on Saturday, May 21 at 12:15 p.m. CT.