June 30, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS - Four incoming freshmen from the Minnesota men's hockey program were selected in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, held on Sunday at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The Gophers have now had 190 players picked in the draft after Tommy Vannelli, Taylor Cammarata, Hudson Fasching and Michael Brodzinski were all selected on Sunday.
The St. Louis Blues selected Vannelli in the second round with the 47th overall pick, making the defenseman the 11th Gopher to be selected by the Blues organization. Vannelli, the first Gopher selected in this year's draft, split last season between Minnetonka High School and the U.S. Under-18 team. Vannelli led Minnetonka defensemen with 31 points (eight goals, 23 assists) in 25 games as the Skippers claimed a Lake Conference championship this season. The defenseman joined the U.S. National Development Team Program following the season and helped the U.S. claim runner-up honors at the World Under-18 Championships in Sochi, Russia with two goals and an assist.
Minnesota head coach Don Lucia on Vannelli: "He's an outstanding skater who has a very low panic point with the puck on his stick. He has good size too and will be able to continue to grow into his frame while he's here."
Cammarata was selected in the third round by the New York Islanders with the 76th overall pick. The selection marks the sixth time in program history that the Islanders have drafted a Gopher. In 2012-13, Cammarata was named the USHL's Forward of the Year and Player of the Year after leading the league in scoring. Playing with Waterloo, Cammarata recorded 93 points (38 goals, 55 assists) in 59 regular-season games - the performance marks the second-highest point total for a season in league history. The forward also earned USHL Rookie of the Year honors in 2011-12, making him the first player in league history to win all three awards.
Lucia on Cammarata: "Taylor has things you can't teach. He's got a terrific set of hands, can pass, can create offense. He's pretty strong right now, but it will be interesting to see how far he can come with added work off ice. He's a guy who will certainly benefit from playing college hockey."
A native of Burnsville, Minn., Fasching was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round with the 118th overall pick, making the forward the first Gopher selected by the Kings since Dan Welch in 2000. The forward has spent the last two seasons with the U.S. National Development Team Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., recording 33 points and 10 goals.
Lucia on Fasching: "Hudson is a power forward who has all those characteristics - strength, scoring and an ability to protect the puck. He's still young, but we hope he can play a prominent role for us right away. We'll continue to work with him to make sure he's playing that role of a power forward and using his size to his advantage."
Incoming freshman Michael Brodzinski became the first Gopher selected by the San Jose Sharks since Jay Barriball in 2006 when the defenseman was picked in the fifth round with the 141st overall selection. The Ham Lake, Minn., native had 34 points (16 goals, 18 assists) in 64 games with the Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) in 2012-13, his 16 goals were the most by a USHL defensemen since 2009-10. Brodzinski was named to the 2012-13 All-USHL Second Team and the USHL All-Rookie Team last season.
Lucia on Brodzinski: "Brodzinski has a tremendous shot - that's the first thing you notice about him. He has a very low panic point with the puck, so we know we'll be able to put him in positions like the point on the power play. He'll develop in college; he has to continue to get stronger and work on his defensive game, so he's as effective from the red line in to our net as he is on the other side of the ice."
-Pride on Ice-
Gophers Fall in Series Opener
The series concludes on Sunday, Nov. 29 with a 6 p.m. puck drop at Mariucci Arena.
Gopher Hockey Live: SCSU
Follow the action as the Gophers open the weekend series with St. Cloud State on Friday.
Rinkside: Brodzinski Thrives in New Role
The Minnesota junior leads all Big Ten defensemen with eight points this season.