June 26, 2004
Wheeler Leads Seven First-Round College Picks

RALEIGH, N.C. Inside College Hockey is reporting from the draft floor here in Raleigh, where dozens of college hockey players expect to hear their names called over the weekend. Seven were taken in the first round, who are listed here 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. To update this page, click Refresh.


NHL Team

Player (College)

What does the future hold?


Phoenix Coyotes

Blake Wheeler (Minnesota '05)

The immediate future still includes the senior prom, a high school diploma, and a year and a half from now, a locker stall in Mariucci. Eventually, he'll be playing for The Great One.

"When they were interviewing me, the feeling I got was that they were going to try to take me in the second round and that would have been great. I couldn't have ever dreamt this."


New York Rangers

Al Montoya

Montoya will hang with Jeter and be a hit on Broadway. Especially if he can lead the Blueshirts back to respectability.

When asked if he could've written a better script after being selected by Rangers, the team he coveted: "I hope it keeps going that way. The pieces have come together and hopefully it just keeps going that way."


Minnesota Wild

A.J. Thelen
(Michigan State)

Thelen will add some offensive flair on the blueline that Minnesota fans are used to seeing from the Gophers, but not the Wild.

"My dad has [season tickets] right where the Wild walk out, so he can pretty much touch 'em. I don't know if they'll let him keep those seats because he might be yelling at me too much."


Buffalo Sabres

Drew Stafford
(North Dakota)

Throw Chris Drury between Stafford and Thomas Vanek in a few years, and the Sabres could have quite an all-college first line.

"I was on the U.S. Under-18 Team and played in a few tournaments...there were a lot of scouts there and that was the first time I was on the world stage. There's a lot of attention that comes with being involved with that."


New Jersey Devils

Travis Zajac
(North Dakota)

Zajac, Zach Parise and David Hale are the new family in Northern Jersey: the Sioux-pranos.

"I think it's great for me to go to college. I can develop there, and once I'm ready, I can make the move to the NHL."


Calgary Flames

Kris Chucko

Will another trip to the Stanley Cup Finals be in Calgary's future? If so, a pair of Gophers could play a big role (Chucko and Jordan Leopold).

"Kris is a big, power forward type. He plays a physical game, and he's pretty good offensively and defensively. He should be a good pick." Chucko's junior teammate, Travis Zajac


Vancouver Canucks

Cory Schneider
(Boston College)

For years, Vancouver fans have felt like they are a goalie away from contending for the Stanley Cup. Could he provide the netminding answer for both BC and the 'Nucks?

"[Coach York] has said that the job's open, Matti's there and he's going to start first because he has the experience. But he said that if I play well enough I'm going to get some time."

Send this to a friend

About Us | Advertiser Info | Site Map | Privacy Policy
© 2004 Inside College Hockey, Inc., All Rights Reserved