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.
Danger | Draft
Picks With College Ties By Team
Hits and Misses by Team Since 2003
||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
|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.
||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
||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.
||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
||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.
||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.
||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.
||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
|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.
||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.
||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
|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.
||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
|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.
||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.
||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.
||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
|B. Boyle, BC; J. Tambellini, Mich (1/26-27,
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?
||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.
||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
|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.
||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.
||Zach Parise, F, North Dakota
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
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.
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.
||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.
||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.
||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
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.
||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.
||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
||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.
||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
|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.
||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.
||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
|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.