Murphy to leave UND

UND will have six forwards to replace next season.

On top of the five senior forwards, Wade Murphy also will leave the team after a couple of trying seasons in Grand Forks, the Herald has learned.

Read the link above for more on his impending departure.

Now that UND has seemingly figured out who all is coming back and who all is leaving, the freshman class will soon be finalized.

If they go player-by-player, the freshman class will have six forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender.

We know that the goalie will be Matej Tomek and that the defensemen will be Christian Wolanin, Hayden Shaw and Danys Chartrand.

Five of the forwards will be Brock Boeser, Shane Gersich, Chris Wilkie, Joel Janatuinen and Mike Gornall. If UND does bring in a sixth forward, Rhett Gardner probably makes the most sense.

Tomek ranks among top goalie prospects

Matej Tomek will be the first goaltender to come to UND as an 18-year-old true freshman since Anthony Grieco in 2006 (Grieco was actually 17 when he arrived).

So, he’ll have a learning curve and it has been very rare for UND to test a young goalie. But he’s also one of the top goalie prospects to ever play at UND.

UND has only had eight drafted goalies ever. Tomek is the only one who has ever gone in the top four rounds. If you go by draft pick number, he’s the second-highest pick ever to play at North Dakota.

I wrote a little bit about how Dave Hakstol recruited him extremely hard to come to North Dakota, then drafted him as a Flyer in this piece here.

UND’s drafted goalies
Dave Murphy, Penguins, No. 60 (fifth), 1971
Matej Tomek, Flyers, No. 90 (third), 2015
Darren Jensen, Whalers, No. 92 (fifth), 1980
Brad Eidsness, Sabres, No. 139 (fifth), 2007

Zane McIntyre, Bruins, No. 165 (sixth), 2010
Peter Waselovich, Bruins, No. 175 (10th), 1974
Toby Kvalevog, Senators, No. 209 (ninth), 1993
Scott Brower, Rangers, No. 243 (12th), 1984

UND draft tracker, Day 2

matejtomekdraft

Day 2 of the NHL Draft is complete.

Brock Boeser was selected on Day 1, going No. 23 overall in the first round to the Vancouver Canucks. Here’s the story on that with comments from Boeser and Vancouver general manager Jim Benning.

On Day 2, Dave Hakstol’s Philadelphia Flyers selected Dave Hakstol’s UND recruit, Matej Tomek, in the third round, No. 90 overall.

Christian Wolanin, who was unranked by NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau, went all the way up in the fourth round, and Chris Wilkie, who went undrafted a year ago, went in the sixth round to the draft hosts, Florida Panthers.

UND’s draft board

1st round — Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks, No. 23
3rd round — Matej Tomek, Philadelphia Flyers, No. 90
4th round — Christian Wolanin, Ottawa Senators, No. 107
6th round — Chris Wilkie, Florida Panthers, No. 162

Boeser goes in the first

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Brock Boeser became UND’s 13th first-round draft pick since 2000 when the Vancouver Canucks called his name at No. 23 on Friday night.

After Boeser was picked, I chatted with both the right winger and his new general manager, Jim Benning.

Benning told the assembled media multiple times that he liked UND’s coaching staff and thinks it is a good place for him to develop. Also of note, when Benning was with the Buffalo Sabres, he drafted Drew Stafford out of UND.

To read comments from Benning and Boeser, check out the Herald story here.

I know there was at least one team that was hoping to get Boeser at the end of the first round, but it did not pan out for them.

Here are a few notes about the draft:

  • Several people were pronouncing Boeser’s last name wrong that I heard. It is pronounced “Besser,” for those who may not know.
  • Vancouver writers seemed a bit skeptical about picking a Minnesotan because their last two first-round picks from Minnesota, Patrick White and Jordan Schroeder, did not pan out the way the Canucks had hoped.
  • Amazingly, Vancouver has not drafted a UND player since Jason Herter (No. 8 overall) in 1989. It was the third-longest drought for any NHL team without drafting a UND player (26 years). The longest drought belongs to the Detroit Red Wings, who haven’t drafted a UND player since Rick Zombo in 1981. The second-longest is the Calgary Flames, who haven’t drafted a UND guy since George Pelawa in 1986.
  • The year before the Canucks took Herter, they drafted UND assistant coach Dane Jackson in the third round. Interestingly enough, both Herter and Jackson were in South Florida this weekend.
  • The only two NHL franchises to have never drafted a North Dakota player are 2000 expansion teams Minnesota and Columbus.
  • Two NCHC players went in the first round. Boeser was the first and Miami incoming freshman Jack Roslovic was the second, going at No. 25 to Winnipeg.
  • Former UND coach and current Flyers coach Dave Hakstol did not go on stage for the Flyers’ first pick. He is at the draft, however, because I ran into him on the street earlier in the day.
  • Crookston’s Paul Bittner didn’t end up going in the first round. It’s likely that he’ll go extremely early in the second.
  • Matej Tomek is a sure-thing to be picked tomorrow. After him, UND has a number of draft eligible players who could sneak into a late round or miss altogether.
  • College Hockey Inc.’s leaders met with roughly 60 advisors/agents Friday morning, trying to help explain some NCAA rules and some dos and donts to keep their prospects eligible.

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Boeser goes No. 23 to Vancouver

UND recruit Brock Boeser become the 18th first-round pick in UND history when he was picked at No. 23 by the Vancouver Canucks.

UND’s all-time first-rounders

1968 — John Marks, D, Chicago Blackhawks, No. 9
1981 — James Patrick, D, New York Rangers, No. 9
1986 — George Pelawa, F, Calgary Flames, No. 16
1989 — Jason Herter, D, Vancouver Canucks, No. 8
1993 — Landon Wilson, F, Toronto Maple Leafs, No. 19
2000 — David Hale, D, New Jersey Devils, No. 22
2003 — Zach Parise, F, New Jersey Devils, No. 17
2004 — Drew Stafford, F, Buffalo Sabres, No. 13
2004 — Travis Zajac, F, New Jersey Devils, No. 20
2005 — Brian Lee, D, Ottawa Senators, No. 9
2005 — T.J. Oshie, F, St. Louis Blues, No. 24
2005 — Joe Finley, D, Washington Capitals, No. 27
2006 — Jonathan Toews, F, Chicago Blackhawks, No. 3
2010 — Derek Forbort, D, Los Angeles Kings, No. 15
2010 — Brock Nelson, F, New York Islanders, No. 30
2012 — Jordan Schmaltz, D, St. Louis Blues, No. 25
2014 — Nick Schmaltz, F, Chicago Blackhawks, No. 20
2015 — Brock Boeser, F, Vancouver Canucks, No. 23

Friday morning reading

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — I jumped on a plane with College Hockey Inc., executive director Mike Snee this afternoon in Minneapolis and flew to Fort Lauderdale.

After exiting the secure area, the first person I saw standing on the other side was UND coach Brad Berry.

As the evening progressed, I also saw Minnesota Duluth coaches Scott Sandelin and Jason Herter, College Hockey Inc.’s Nate Ewell and Boston University sports info director Brian Kelley, among others.

Yes, there’s a pretty good college hockey contingency on hand for this weekend’s NHL Draft in Sunrise, Fla. For good reason, too.

This could be a pretty strong overall draft for NCAA players. One of those guys is UND incoming freshman Brock Boeser, who one NHL person told me will definitely go in the first round.

Boeser arrived in South Florida earlier this week to get some final pre-draft interviews done.

If you haven’t read Michael Russo’s piece on Boeser in the Star Tribune, I’d highly recommend checking it out. He details some of the tough times that Boeser has gone through in his young life.

I added on to that with some scouting reports on Boeser and comments from Berry about his top incoming forward recruit. Read that here.

The second UND player off the board should be goalie recruit Matej Tomek. The Slovakian is in South Florida with his family and said he’s not going to stress out about the draft. He’s looking at it like a vacation.

After Tomek, there are six guys who appear to be on the radar of NHL scouts, though it’s highly unlikely that all six will get selected. Here’s a quick breakdown on all of UND’s draft hopefuls.

TOP 10 STORYLINES TO WATCH AT THE DRAFT

1. How high can Boeser go?

Boeser could go higher than 20, which would put him in elite company at UND. The other guys to go in the first round and higher than 20 have been Jonathan Toews, Drew Stafford, Zach Parise and Landon Wilson. Once next year starts, all will be 10-year NHL vets.

2. Can Tomek make history?

Scouts seem to have different opinions on Tomek, who had a great start to last season but a slow finish (he admitted so himself to me this week). UND has never had a goalie picked in the first, second or third round of the draft, so Tomek could be making history.

3. Wilkie’s re-do

UND recruit Chris Wilkie decided to go back to the USHL for one more season before coming to college and it has paid off big time. Wilkie tied Boeser for the USHL lead in goals and scouts started circling back to have a second look at the Omaha product. After going undrafted a year ago, he’s back on the radars this year.

4. Hakstol’s draft

Usually, head coaches aren’t super involved with drafts in the NHL. They are busy with the current teams and are not scouting draft-eligible players. Hakstol, however, will have a much different perspective than most head coaches as he has been watching these guys on the recruiting trail. How much say will he have at the draft table?

5. Any UND guys to Philly?

It also will be interesting to see if Hakstol and the Flyers take any UND-bound players. Philly picks at Nos. 7 and 29 in the first round, which isn’t exactly Boeser territory. He’s not expected to go in the top 10, but he probably won’t last until 29.

6. Oshie on the move?

The NHL Draft is known for being a hot trading day, and one former UND player could be on the go. There is speculation that the Blues are dangling T.J. Oshie as possible tradebait. Will he still be a Blue at the end of the weekend?

7. Will someone take the smaller-sized Keane?

UND commit Jackson Keane, who will play in Sioux City next season, is very small in stature at 5-foot-9, 155 pounds. But he has raised the attention levels of scouts with his play. And with his father being a longtime, respected NHLer who wore an ‘A’ on his jersey, teams may be more interested in Keane’s upside than concerned with his size.

8. The D-men

UND has recruited very well on the back end, but the three draft-eligible players this season are all borderline guys. I’m going to say Gabe Bast from Penticton is the most likely to get picked. Christian Evers has good size and Andrew Peski put up good numbers.

9. How many NCAA guys will go early?

Jack Eichel will be off the board early, several others will follow. College hockey could have as many as seven or eight guys selected in the first round.

10. Who may turn pro after the draft?

The top two candidates are from Boston — Eichel will likely sign with the Buffalo Sabres and Noah Hanifin, a Boston College defenseman, will certainly get some pressure from whoever picks him up.

Hakstol tenure opens in Tampa

Dave Hakstol’s NHL coaching debut with the Philadelphia Flyers will be on Oct. 8 against defending Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay. The Lightning host Hakstol’s Flyers at 6:30 p.m.

His home debut will be Monday, Oct. 12, against the Florida Panthers.

The NHL released its full schedule this week.

Notable games for Hakstol

Thursday, Oct. 8 — at Tampa Bay (opener)
Monday, Oct. 12 — vs. Florida (home opener)
Wednesday, Oct. 14 — vs. Chicago (first game vs. star pupil Jonathan Toews)

Saturday, Nov. 7 — at Winnipeg (nearby game, UW at UND that night)
Tuesday, Nov. 17 — vs. Los Angeles (first game vs. his first captain at UND, Matt Greene)

Thursday, Jan. 7 — at Minnesota (nearby game vs. Zach Parise during UND off week)

Saturday, Feb. 27 — vs. Phoenix (two former UND players going head-to-head behind the bench)

Saturday, April 9 — vs. Pittsburgh (regular-season finale, day of NCAA national title game)

Toews to appear on cover of NHL16

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, recently announced as the cover boys for the EA Sports’ NHL 16 video game, will be the first athletes ever to appear on a cover of an EA Sports video game twice.

It is the second time in six years that Toews, the former UND standout, has been on the cover. Toews was on the cover of NHL 11, too.

The duo, who led the Chicago Blackhawks to a third Stanley Cup in six years, are pictured holding the Cup after taking out the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.

Here’s a photo of the cover:

toewskanenhl16

Toews wins Messier Leadership Award

Jonathan Toews already has racked up his share of team and individual awards during his NHL career.

He added to that total on Wednesday night.

Toews won the Mark Messier Leadership Award for being the best leader — on and off the ice — in the NHL. Messier helps select the winner of the award.

Toews already has a Conn Smythe Trophy as a playoff MVP and a Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward. Toews was a finalist for Selke again this year but it went to Patrice Bergeron instead.

Toews, just 27 years old, has won three Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks and two Olympic gold medals with Canada.

Toews is the second-youngest player to captain three teams to a Stanley Cup. The only player to do it at a younger age was Wayne Gretzky, who was 26.