BC, BU Lead Pack of 62 Draft Picks
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
PHILADELPHIA A total of 62 current or incoming NCAA college hockey players were selected in the 2014 NHL Draft, which wrapped up Saturday.
Four were selected in Friday's first round, including a pair of incoming Boston College freshmen, Alex Tuch and Sonny Milano.
One Eagle not selected Friday went early in the second round, which started Saturday morning, goaltender Thatcher Demko. Demko was the first current NCAA player selected, going to Vancouver, the same team that once selected former Boston College goalie Cory Schneider.
"It was a fun night," Demko said about Friday's wait. "Obviously a little nervewracking with my family there. I'm just happy my name got called today. ... I was so happy. Vancouver is a great organization."
Demko, who was the youngest player in college hockey last season, was in net for Boston College's loss in Philadelphia at the Frozen Four last April. didn't have great luck in Philly the last time. Luckily it's going a little bit better this time.
"It's kinda hard to tell," Demko said about how long he'd stay at BC. "It depends on when the Canucks need me and when I'm ready. But I'm comfortable staying one to three more years."
Boston University dominated the second day, with five players drafted, matching the total of those drafted from BC. That list included three players selected between 52 and 64 overall — Russian-born center Max Letunov, and defensemen Jonathan MacLeod and Brandon Hickey.
A trio of U.S. Under-18 team, Minnesota-born defensemen went between 51 and 69 in the draft — Jack Dougherty, who is headed to Wisconsin, and Ryan Collins and Jack Glover, who are headed to Minnesota.
Dougherty actually grew up a fan of North Dakota, he said, and then committed to Wisconsin despite the friendly grief from his fellow Minnesotans on the national team.
"I just loved how they were after the Gophers," Dougherty said of becoming a North Dakota fan. "As a kid, it was beautiful."
Dougherty called Wisconsin a perfect fit for him.
"Schultz, McDonagh, Suter, Gardiner," he said, reeling off recent high-round picks from Wisconsin now in the NHL. "I hope to be the next one. There's Eleven freshan coming in so there'll be a lot of playing time."
The total of 62 was on the low end for NCAA picks. Since the draft went to seven rounds in 2005, the lowest number was 61 in 2011, while the highest was 78 in 2007.
After BU and BC, the teams with the next-highest amount of players selected were Minnesota and Cornell with four each.
The Chicago Blackhawks selected seven incoming college players, led by the 20th overall pick, Nick Schmaltz, who is headed to North Dakota.
"That's just really a coincidence," Chicago's scouting director Mark Kelley said. "The one nice thing is we have patience, we like to think we can develop players, and we're not in a hurry. So in that sense, it makes sense to take players who fit that mold. ... It's nice to be able to let the player develop and succeed."
Hockey East had the most of any conference with 21 player selected, followed by the ECAC and Big Ten with 13 each.