June 22, 2010
NHL Draft: Collegiate Hits and Misses

By Mike Eidelbes

Since Inside College Hockey began covering the NHL Entry Draft in 2003, a total of 469 players with ties to an NCAA Division I program have heard their names called by one of the league's 30 teams. Here are our choices for the most commendable and questionable college picks by teams over the last seven years.

Also: Ranger Danger | Draft Picks With College Ties By Team

Collegiate Hits and Misses by Team Since 2003
Team
Hit (round/overall, year)
Miss (round/overall, year)
Anaheim Drew Miller, F, Michigan State (6/186, 2003)
He's played in 161 games with Anaheim, Tampa Bay, and Detroit, and won a Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007.
Jason Bailey, F, Michigan (3/63, 2005)
Former U.S. NTDP wing left Ann Arbor early for two years in OHL. Has yet to find scoring touch in the O, ECHL, or AHL.
Atlanta None: Since '03, Atlanta's 15 collegiate picks have played a combined 20 games in a Thrashers sweater. Former CC standout Brett Sterling accounts for 19 of them. Grant Lewis, D, Dartmouth (2/40, 2004)
Lewis has played in one NHL game for Atlanta. Twenty-one picks later, Pittsburgh grabbed Alex Goligoski of Minnesota.
Boston Matt Hunwick, D, Michigan (7/224, 2004)
Nothing wrong with getting a top-six blueliner in the seventh round. Hunwick has played 156 games for the Bruins since 2007-08.
Jonathan Sigalet, D, Bowling Green (4/100, 2005)
Bit of a stretch on our part to call Sigalet, who played one game for the B's, a miss. Eight picks later, Chicago took shutdown d-man Nick Hjalmarsson.
Buffalo Chris Butler, D, Denver (4/96, 2005)
Butler has played 106 games for the Sabres over the last two seasons. Ex-BC star Nate Gerbe (5/142, '05) could be on this list soon.
None: Although one has to wonder if the natives are getting restless with former NoDak star Drew Stafford (1/13, '03), whose development appears to have stalled.
Calgary None: The Flames have taken five players with college ties over the last seven drafts. That's the fewest of any team in the National Hockey League. Kris Chucko, F, Minnesota (1/24, 2004)
Two NHL games and 281 AHL contests for Chucko, who was taken five picks ahead of Calgary native and All-Star defenseman Mike Green.
Carolina Jamie McBain, D, Wisconsin (2/63, 2006)
Based on a terrific AHL rookie year and a fantastic 14-game stint in the NHL, it looks like the 'Canes got a steal late in Round 2.
Danny Richmond, D, Michigan (2/31, 2003)
Three assists in 49 NHL games, the career AHLer was picked ahead of Hobey Baker winner Matt Carle and Olympian Shea Weber.
Chicago J. Toews, F, North Dakota (1/3, 2006)
When you've got the third overall pick in the draft, you're likely to score big. Safe to say that Captain Serious meets the criteria.
Jack Skille, F, Wisconsin (1/7, 2005)
Solid AHL performer can't crack the big club. He went one pick before Devin Setoguchi, who has 51 goals in his last two seasons in San Jose.
Colorado Paul Stastny, F, Denver (2/44, 2005)
The only players from the '05 draft with more points in the NHL than Stastny's 264? Sidney Crosby and Anze Kopitar.
Tom Fritsche, F, Ohio State (2/61, 2005)
He looked like a steal after scoring 75 points in his first two seasons at OSU, but hasn't regained his touch after an illness interrupted his college career.
Columbus Grant Clitsome, D, Clarkson (9/271, 2004)
Clitsome has had two solid AHL campaigns and an 11-game cameo with the Jackets. He could fill a depth role for Columbus.
Adam Pineault, W, Boston College (2/46, 2004)
No points in three NHL games for Pineault, who now plays in Europe. Seven picks later, Florida grabbed MSU winger David Booth.
Dallas Matt Niskanen, D, UMD (1/28, 2006)
The 24-year-old already has three full NHL seasons under his belt. His scoring dropped off dramatically in 2009-10, however.
Matt Nickerson, D, Clarkson (3/99, 2003)
Rugged blueliner had NHL size and tenacity, but has played for six teams in the AHL, ECHL, and Europe in five professional seasons.
Detroit Jimmy Howard, G, Maine (2/64, 2003)
It took awhile, but this past season Howard finally developed into the No. 1 goaltender everyone thought he would be.
None: The Wings haven't invested heavily in college picks. Wisconsin d-man Brendan Smith, who starts his pro career in 2010-11, will soon be under the microscope.
Edmonton None: Of 13 draft picks with college ties since 2003, only three (Andrew Cogliano, Taylor Chorney, Colin McDonald) have played in the NHL. Colin McDonald, W, Providence (2/51, 2003)
Just two NHL games for the former Friar, who has 34 goals in three AHL seasons. St. Louis nabbed Mankato's David Backes 11 selections later.
Florida David Booth, W, Michigan State (2/53, 2004)
Limited to just 28 games due to concussion woes this season, Booth scored 53 goals in his previous two seasons for the Panthers.
None: Over the last seven drafts, the Panthers have picked just two players (second-round choices Booth and '09 selection Drew Shore of DU) with college ties prior to the third round.
Los Angeles Jonathan Quick, G, UMass (3/72, 2005)
No goalie picked in '05 — not even Carey Price — has more NHL wins than Quick's 61 with the Kings.
B. Boyle, BC; J. Tambellini, Mich (1/26-27, 2003)
Both have played more than 100 NHL games, but only 40 for LA. Think the Kings would've liked, say, Corey Perry and Loui Eriksson instead?
Minnesota None: The Wild has taken 11 players with college ties over the last seven years; only one (ex-Gopher Danny Irmen) has played a regular-season game with the parent club. A.J. Thelen, D, Michigan State (1/12, 2004)
Ranks second to Hugh Jessiman among college flops over the past seven years. D-men taken after him include Washington's Mike Green.
Montreal Ryan O'Byrne, D, Cornell (3/79, 2003)
Big defensive defenseman has logged 144 games for the Habs, including a career-high 68 matches this past season.
None: At least not yet. This bill will come due in a few years when we can assess the impact of guys like Wisconsin's Ryan McDonagh, Michigan's Max Pacioretty, and Harvard's Louis Leblanc.
Nashville Ryan Suter, D, Wisconsin (1/7, 2003)
The Preds guaranteed themselves a dozen years of steady play on the blue line by taking Suter and Shea Weber in '03.
None: See above. The outcome here hinges on the success of two high-profile selections — former Boston University standout Colin Wilson and 2010 Hobey Baker winner Blake Geoffrion of Wisconsin.
New Jersey Zach Parise, F, North Dakota (1/16, 2004)
In 407 career games, he's scored 160 goals and 175 assists. Kudos to Devils GM Lou Lamoriello for trading up to get him.
Jeff Frazee, G, Minnesota (2/38, 2005)
Frazee's been pretty good in the AHL after catching the goaltending yips with the Gophers. The Kings grabbed Jon Quick 34 picks later.
New York Islanders Kyle Okposo, F, Minnesota (1/7, 2006)
His departure from the Gophers was ugly, but Okposo's game has steadily improved on the Island (52 points this past season).
Wes O'Neill, F, Notre Dame (4/115, 2004)
Kinda nitpicky here, but the Isles didn't sign O'Neill, who latched on to the Colorado organization as a free agent. He's had a cup of coffee with the Avs.
New York Rangers The Rangers' history of drafting prospects with college guys requires a special section.
Ottawa

Brian Elliott, G, Wisconsin (9/291, 2003)
The second-to-last pick in the 2003 draft has a 46-26-7 record for the Sens, including a 29-18-4 mark this past season.

Brian Lee, D, North Dakota (1/9, 2005)
Lee has struggled with consistency in three pro seasons bouncing between the parent club and the AHL. He's only 23, however, so all is not lost.
Philadelphia James van Riemsdyk, F, UNH (1/2, 2007)
JVR showed promise for the Eastern Conference champs as a rookie, totaling 35 points in 78 games.
Rob Bellamy, F, Maine (3/92, 2004)
Bellamy has scored four goals and eight assists in 113 AHL games. Five picks later, Detroit grabbed another right winger: Johan Franzen.
Phoenix Daniel Winnik, UNH (9/265, 2004)
Any time you can get more than 200 career NHL games out of a ninth-round pick, you'll take it.
Blake Wheeler, F, Minnesota (1/5, 2004)
The jury's still out on Wheeler in Boston. Of course, the Coyotes,who drafted him, never signed him, so he never got to appear in front of the Phoenix jury.
Pittsburgh Alex Goligoski, D, Minnesota (2/61, 2004)
Sergei Gonchar can't play forever, and this former Gopher appears to his heir to the Pens' offensive defenseman role.

Michael Gergen, D, UMD (2/61, 2005)
Gergen spent last season, his first as a pro, in Austria's second division. The Pens also had the 62nd pick, which they used on Kris Letang.

San Jose Joe Pavelski, F, Wisconsin (7/205, 2003)
The Polish Prince could never score another NHL goal and still rank as one of the biggest draft steals over the past seven seasons.
None: Sharks have many intriguing mid- to late-round prospects with college ties led by UMD's Alex Stalock, the AHL's top rookie goalie last season, and BU forward Nick Bonino.
St. Louis Lee Stempniak, F, Dartmouth (5/148, 2003)
The only non-first rounder from 2003 to play more NHL games than Stempniak is Boston Bruin Patrice Bergeron, a second-round pick.
None: Defenseman Erik Johnson is on his way to having a fine NHL career, but will the Blues regret taking him ahead of Toews or Washington's Niklas Backstrom?
Tampa Bay Mike Lundin, D, Maine (4/102, 2004)
He was a full-timer for Tampa as a rookie, but has spent the last two seasons shuttling between Tampa and the AHL.
None: The Lightning have only picked nine players with college ties since 2003; only one of them (North Dakota defenseman Matt Smaby) went in the first two rounds.
Toronto Viktor Stalberg, F, Vermont (6/161, 2006)
The last Leafs NCAA draft pick to play more than 40 games in the parent club's colors? Minny's Darby Hendrickson from '93-99.
John Doherty, UNH/Quinnipiac (2/57, 2003)
From 2003-08, Doherty played for seven different teams in five different leagues. His pro career peaked with six games in the ECHL in 2006.
Vancouver Ryan Kesler, F, Ohio State (1/23, 2003)
He's developed into one of the premier two-way centermen in the NHL. They got another first-round gem in '04 in Cory Schneider.
None: The Canucks took Minnesota's Pat White, who has struggled as a Gopher, in the first round in 2007, but traded his rights to San Jose in the deal that landed defenseman Christian Ehrhoff.
Washington Tim Kennedy, F, Michigan St. (6/181, 2005)
Unfortunately for the Caps, Kennedy's a Sabre. They acquired his rights in a trade shortly after he was selected.
Sasha Pokulok, D, Cornell (1/14, 2005)
The '05 draft was pretty weak, so Pokulok is not the lone flop from that year. He's shuttled between the AHL and ECHL in each of his four pro seasons.