WMU's McCarron Only NCAA Player Picked in First Round
First time since 1998 fewer than three NCAA players selected
by Scott McLaughlin/Senior Writer
Western Michigan commit Michael McCarron became the highest draft pick in program history when the Montreal Canadiens selected him 25th overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Unfortunately for college hockey, that was the only good news to come out of the first round, as McCarron was the only NCAA player to go in the top 30.
McCarron's selection marked the longest wait for an NCAA player to come off the board since 1998, when Michigan's Mike Van Ryn went 26th overall. Coincidentally, 1998 was also the last time that only one college player was drafted in the first round. There had been at least three first-round picks every year since then, and at least four every year since 2000.
McCarron, who played for the U.S. Under-18 Team last season, was one of just four American-born players to go in the first round, and one of three who competes for the U.S. in international hockey. Seth Jones and Ryan Hartman, who helped Team USA win gold at this year's World Junior Championship, went fourth to Nashville and 30th to Chicago, respectively.
Kerby Rychel, who was born in California but competes for Canada internationally, went 19th to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The last time only four Americans were selected in the first round was 1999. The last time only three were selected was 1997.
No college players were expected to go in the top 20, but there were several others in addition to McCarron who were considered late-first possibilities. NHL Central Scouting had Boston College commit Ian McCoshen ranked 24th among North American skaters, while Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus had Michigan's J.T. Compher and BC's Steven Santini ranked 25th and 28th, respectively.
In the end, though, McCarron was the only one who got called up to the stage. As of right now, the 6-foot-5, 228-pound forward is still committed to Western Michigan, but he has acknowledged that going to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League is still a possibility as well.
McCarron told reporters at the draft that he expects to make a final decision within the next week. The Canadiens have shown patience with college players in the past, so that could be a good sign for the Broncos.