June 21, 2003
Nine Collegians Taken in First Round

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NASHVILLE A record nine college players were selected in the first round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, two more than the previous record of seven (set in 2000). Inside College Hockey reports from the draft floor in Nashville, where many more college stars expect to have their name called by an NHL club in the later rounds. Below you'll find the first-round college picks, along with comments from the prospect and INCH's take on what the future may hold.

For the complete list of picks, including major junior and European players, visit ESPN.com.


NHL Team

Player (College)

What does the future hold?


Buffalo Sabres

Thomas Vanek

Vanek and Ryan Miller will share a float as the Stanley Cup parade winds its way down Chippewa Street.

"I didn't think about it that much. My goal was to be in the first round, whether it's five or twenty-five. I'm familiar with the rink and I know what I'm getting into. It's a good place." — Thomas Vanek


Nashville Predators

Ryan Suter

Ryan will make a name for himself, instead of always answering questions about his father Bob (a 1980 Olympian) and uncle Gary (a former NHLer).

"You can just develop more ... you can get everything. And not just the hockey side." — Ryan Suter, on the benefits of attending Wisconsin


New York Rangers

Hugh Jessiman

Jessiman will be the next big thing to hit Manhattan, and he could be the type of character player to help shake the Blueshirts out of their slump.

"I can't speculate right now, but I'd really love to be playing in the NHL as soon as possible. I'd consider it this year. I think I need to work on my game a little bit. I'd like to be confident when I get there." — Hugh Jessiman


New Jersey Devils

Zach Parise
(North Dakota)

Parise, at 17 overall, may just go down as the biggest steal of the draft. He's probably got a parking-lot Stanley Cup parade in his future.

"It's pretty awesome to put on the jersey of the defending Stanley Cup champions. It's great for me and I'm glad my family is here to enjoy it with me." — Zach Parise


Boston Bruins

Mark Stuart
(Colorado College)

Stuart, an all-around defenseman, could end up as a larger version of Don Sweeney in Boston.

"Boston is a great city. It would've been nice to get chosen by Minnesota, but that wasn't really in my mind, actually. I was just excitied to get drafted, and going to a team and an organization like Boston is a bonus." — Rochester, Minn., native Mark Stuart


Vancouver Canucks

Ryan Kesler
(Ohio State)

Kesler and Buckeye teammate (and Canucks pick) R.J. Umberger will demand that Vancouver plays "Hang On Sloopy" at every game.

"R.J. will be a big help. We played 20-25 games together and we complement each other well. He's going to probably tell me what he did wrong, what he did right. He'll help me get there quicker." — Ryan Kesler

"We were really happy with Ryan in terms of his play. We had him rated high ... actually higher than we drafted him. It was coincidence. It wasn't like we said, ' Let's go draft another Ohio State kid. He can skate, he's big, he finishes, he finishes checks. He's not a natural scorer, but he's a good scorer. He's not a sniper, but he has natural scoring ability." — Vancouver G.M. Brian Burke


Los Angeles Kings

Brian Boyle
(Boston College)

Boyle, the 6-foot-6 incoming freshman with the Eagles, can get a tour of all the hot spots in L.A. from Shaq.

"I've been tremendously fortunate to get the opportunity to go to BC and tremendously fortunate to be recognized and drafted by the NHL as well. They're two different subjects, but their both great feelings." — Brian Boyle



Los Angeles Kings

Jeff Tambellini

Tambellini can unleash his wicked snap shot to take revenge on Vancouver for not picking him at No. 23, despite the fact that his dad, Jeff, works for the Canucks.

"My teammate John Shouneyia told me that he thought I'd go right around 26 or 27, so I guess he was right. (Going to Vancouver) would've been a tough situation one way or another. I'm thrilled to be going to a place on the West Coast." — Jeff Tambellini



Ottawa Senators

Patrick Eaves
(Boston College)

Eaves will collect a lot of regular-season wins with the Senators, and plays the gritty game that could help the Sens in the playoffs as well.

"I think things are going to go up from here. I'm working hard and getting ready. Our goal is a national championship this year." — Patrick Eaves

"He's a highly skilled, offensive-minded right winger. He'll obviously spend at least two more years in college and it's up to him if he wants to graduate with his class. We'll have to watch his progression in college hockey, but he went to the right school to be a hockey player." — Ottawa G.M. John Muckler

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