In the latest of the growing list of college hockey defections to major junior, Michigan sophomore-to-be Danny Richmond, the 31st overally selection in last June’s NHL Draft, has left the Wolverines and will play for the OHL’s London Knights this fall.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound defenseman was named to the CCHA All-Rookie team last season, and was invited to this year’s selection camp for the U.S. junior national team.
Richmond, from Buffalo Grove, Ill., was a 15th round selection by London in the 2002 OHL Draft. The Knights never figured to land him. He was second on the Wolverines among defenseman in scoring with 22 points, as he played in all 43 of Michigan’s games en route to the Frozen Four.
“This is a pretty exciting moment for us,” said London general manager Mark Hunter to the London Free Press. “When you get a guy of Danny Richmond’s calibre, it’s going to be exciting for the fans, No. 1, and for us because he’s going to win hockey games.”
According to the Free Press, Danny’s father, Steve, a scout with the Washington Capitals, is good friends with London coach and longtime Capital Dale Hunter. When Richmond was taken so highly in the NHL Draft, he decided he had a great shot at the pros, and therefore, wanted to play more games than the college season allows, figuring he would develop better.
“He wanted to play a lot more games than just 42,” said Mark Hunter to the Free Press. “And I think the relationship Dale had with (Danny’s) father, and the fact they liked the way Dale coaches, had a lot to do with it.”
Richmond has been compared favorably to future NHL Hall of Famer Chris Chelios, though whether he develops better in major junior than Michigan remains to be seen.