Trouba Selected by Winnipeg in NHL Draft
Incoming Michigan Defenseman Tops NCAA-bound List
by Scott McLaughlin/CHN Writer
Jacob Trouba led a group of six college recruits who were selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft on Friday night.
The Michigan-bound defenseman went ninth overall to the Winnipeg Jets, marking the highest college pick since Boston University's Colin Wilson went seventh overall in 2008. Trouba played for the U.S. Under-18 Team last season and was one of the top players for Team USA at this year's World Junior Championship.
Vermont commit Zemgus Girgensons became the second college-bound player off the board when the Buffalo Sabres traded up to pick him 14th overall. The Latvian center was the captain and leading scorer for the United States Hockey League's Dubuque Fighting Saints last season.
Two more Hockey East recruits, both Canadian, went in the next 10 picks. The Calgary Flames took Providence commit Mark Jankowski at 21 and the Florida Panthers took Boston College commit Michael Matheson at 23. Jankowski (a forward) played for Stanstead College in Quebec last season, while Matheson (a defenseman) was a teammate of Girgensons in Dubuque.
A pair of incoming WCHA defensemen closed out the college action in the first round. North Dakota commit and Wisconsin native Jordan Schmaltz went 25th to the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota commit Brady Skjei went 28th to the New York Rangers. Schmaltz played for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL last season, while Skjei suited up for the U.S. Under-18 Team.
In addition to Trouba, Schmaltz and Skjei, three other Americans also went in the first round. Alex Galchenyuk went third overall to the Montreal Canadiens, Henrik Samuelsson went 27th to the Phoenix Coyotes and Stefan Matteau went 29th to the New Jersey Devils.
Galchenyuk is the highest American selected since the Atlanta Thrashers took Zach Bogosian third overall in 2008. He played for the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League last season, while Samuelsson played for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League.
Matteau was a teammate of Trouba and Skjei on the U.S. Under-18 Team. He had committed to North Dakota for next season, but wound up signing with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League instead. In an ironic twist, Matteau was drafted by the same team his father scored against in double overtime of Game 7 in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals.
The six college players selected in the first round were two more than last year, but the third fewest since 2003. The six Americans were one more than last year, but the second fewest since 2005.
The Anaheim Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning all went off the board a bit in the top 10, taking defensemen Hampus Lindholm, Derrick Pouliot and Slater Koekkoek at six, eight and 10, respectively. All three players were ranked outside the top 15 in most pre-draft rankings.
Meanwhile, the 11th and 12th picks could turn out to be the biggest steals. The Washington Capitals took right wing Filip Forsberg at 11 and the Buffalo Sabres took center Mikhail Grigorenko at 12. Both players were ranked in the top five in most pre-draft rankings. Teuvo Teravainen was another player who went lower than expect. The Finnish winger projected as a top-10 pick, but dropped to the Chicago Blackhawks at 18.