More Of The Same: Collegians Strong Among Saturday’s NHL Draftees

The second and final day of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft picked up where Friday left off, with collegiate players continuing to make headlines.

A day after a record 11 players with collegiate ties were snatched up in the Draft’s first round, eight more college players became NHL property in Saturday’s second round.

Tommy Cross, who will head to Boston College next year, was the top collegian picked on Saturday, going fifth in the second round and 35th overall to Boston. Cross was one of the top prospects heading into the Draft but saw his stock fall recently after injury playing baseball forced Cross to have knee surgery.

As far as Cross’ stock may have fallen, another college player made a big jump in the opposite direction. Will Weber, who will attend Miami in 2008, entered the Draft unranked by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau (CSB). So it was quite a surprise when host city Columbus picked him with the 53rd overall selection late in the second round. Weber, as a matter of fact, wasn’t even in attendance to hear his name called.

Other collegiate players who didn’t have to wait too long to find out their fate included Colorado College’s William Sweatt (Chicago, 38th overall), Michigan freshman-to-be Aaron Palushaj (St. Louis, 44th), Boston University incoming freshman Colby Cohen (Colorado, 45th), current U.S. national teamer and future Notre Dame Fighting Irish Ted Ruth (Washington, 46th), and two future Minnesota Golden Gophers, Nico Sacchetti (Dallas, 50th) and Mike Hoeffel (New Jersey, 57th). T.J. Galiardi (Colorado, 55th), who played last year at Dartmouth, but will not return next fall, was also a second-round selection.

Josh Unice, who will attend Bowling Green in the fall, became the top college goaltender chosen, going to Chicago in the third round, 86th overall.

Though any player is happy to be picked in the Entry Draft, it doesn’t make sitting around any easier.

“Yesterday, from one point of view was tough,” said Cross. “But from another point of view it was an unbelievable event. It was a long wait, but to see my buddies get picked and what happened to them, it was great.”

Once Cross was taken, eyes and ears turned to Hoeffel, who was ranked 22nd by the CSB but had to wait until New Jersey picked him at 57, and future Notre Dame forward Ben Ryan, who slipped from 37th in the CSB rankings to the 114th overall pick (fourth round), by the Nashville Predators.

Early or late, long or short wait, being chosen in the NHL Entry Draft is still an honor for any player.

“We thought we had a little bit of an idea [that I’d go] at the beginning of round two, but it proved once again that you really don’t know,” said Cohen. “We had ideas really early and teams can say they’re going to take [a player] and then they don’t. We thought there was a chance at Columbus and Vancouver, but I’d rather be [picked by Colorado].”