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Thread: NHL Draft this weekend; Pittsburgh area prospects a-plenty

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    NHL Draft this weekend; Pittsburgh area prospects a-plenty

    I'd love to land Brandon Saad with the 23rd pick, and then his Saginaw teammate Vince Trocheck in round 2. The team has a history of making a few sentimental picks here and there, such as drafting Ulf Samuelsson's son and Andy Bathgate's grandson a couple of years ago, and of course drafting Greg Malone's son once upon a time, so adding a couple of Pittsburgh area kids who would truly care about being a Penguin (and in spots where they deserve to be drafted, talent-wise) would be excellent.

    Pittsburgh's Fab Five

    Friday, 05.27.2011 / 4:34 PM / Features By Michelle Crechiolo

    The NHL Entry Draft has historically been dominated by Canadian-born players.

    And usually, the American-born players that do end up being selected in the draft hail from hockey hotbeds like Minnesota, Massachusetts and Michigan.

    But this year, Pittsburgh will be amply represented, as the Steel City is set to have its best NHL draft class ever.

    A total of five prospects who grew up playing developmental hockey in the Pittsburgh area – John Gibson (Baldwin), Brandon Saad (Gibsonia), J.T. Miller (Coraopolis/E. Palestine, OH), Vince Trocheck (Upper St. Clair) and Barrett Kaib (Upper St. Clair) – are ranked among the best players eligible for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, set for June 24-25 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

    To top it off, three of those players – Gibson, Saad and Miller – are projected as potential first-round picks.

    To put that into perspective, Pittsburgh has never had more than two players selected at any one draft – which goes a total of seven rounds and sees 210 players chosen. The area’s last first-round pick came 10 years ago, when Plum native R.J. Umberger was taken 16th overall by Vancouver in 2001.

    And while Western Pennsylvania is making its mark on the NHL – Upper St. Clair natives Ryan Malone (Tampa Bay) and Dylan Reese (New York Islanders) along with Pittsburgh natives Mike Weber (Buffalo) and Matt Bartkowski (Boston) are a few of the system's products – the area has never seen a draft class quite like this.

    “I think it’s awesome,” Saad said. “To be drafted is exciting in itself, but to have the draft class that we have – with potentially five guys (from Pittsburgh) getting drafted and to know every one of them on top of that – it’s definitely a great experience.”

    Gibson is the No. 1-ranked North American goaltender on the NHL Central Scouting Bureau’s final rankings, while Saad is ranked at No. 19, Miller is ranked No. 23 and Trocheck is ranked No. 42 among North American skaters.

    On the Red Line Report – an independent scouting review – Miller is ranked No. 10 overall among all skaters while Saad is ranked No. 21, Gibson is ranked No. 32, Trocheck is ranked No. 69 and Kaib is ranked No. 193.

    So to celebrate this unique period in Pittsburgh hockey history, the Penguins gathered all five young men – who all played for the Pittsburgh Hornets elite travel program at some point – at CONSOL Energy Center on Friday.

    They received a tour of the Penguins locker room and facilities, posed for a group photo and conducted on-camera interviews – including a roundtable discussion – for the team’s archives.

    “It was amazing,” Trocheck said. “The whole experience was really great. I think the locker room was unbelievable, I’ve never seen anything like it. They do a lot for their players here, and it’s just real cool to see how everything goes.”

    Kaib agreed, saying "It’s top notch. The best I’ve ever seen. It’s just beautiful, and obviously the Pens deserve what they got. They’ve got a great squad, great coaching staff."

    But while the players knew they were going to get a behind-the-scenes look at the day-to-day operations of the team they grew up rooting for, they certainly weren’t expecting a visit from head coach Dan Bylsma – who gave them a tour of the coaches offices – and captain Sidney Crosby.

    “To be able to meet Crosby and Bylsma at the same time was the icing on the cake,” Saad said.

    It was especially meaningful for the players to meet Crosby, as the Penguins star had a profound impact on them when they were coming up through the Pittsburgh developmental system, as all five of them were quite young – between 11-12 years old – when Crosby broke into the league in 2005.

    “That was an honor to meet him,” Miller said. “He’s the best hockey player in the world, in my opinion, and it was great to shake his hand and even just to see him around.”

    While the day’s activities were special to the players, one of the things they’ll remember most is the chance for the Pittsburgh kids to get together one last time before they go their separate ways.

    Gibson, Miller and Kaib all spent the last two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., and all three have committed to NCAA Division I universities for the fall – Gibson to Michigan, Miller to North Dakota and Kaib to Providence.

    Saad and Trocheck will return for a second season together with Saginaw of the Ontario Hockey League.

    “It was cool to all be together one last time before the draft,” Gibson said.

    Trocheck agreed, saying “It was definitely special to be able to go through this whole entire experience with all of the five guys I grew up playing with.”

  2. #2

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    Re: NHL Draft this weekend; Pittsburgh area prospects a-plen

    Brandon Saad was available at #23 (and in fact still is available...he wasn't selected in the first round) and we passed on the strong two-way power forward from Gibsonia and chose defenseman Joe Morrow instead. He's not physically imposing as a defenseman (6' 197 lbs.) but the highlights they showed of him during the TSN draft telecast on Versus showed that he is a speed demon.

    Penguins Select Defenseman Joseph Morrow with 23rd-Overall Pick

    Friday, 06.24.2011 / 10:56 PM

    The Pittsburgh Penguins selected defenseman Joseph Morrow from the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL) with their first selection (23rd overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft Friday night in St. Paul, MN.

    Morrow, 18, was ranked No. 12 overall among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.

    Morrow led all Portland defensemen this past season with 49 points (9G-40A) and six power-play goals in 60 games. During the postseason he placed second among all WHL blueliners with 20 points (6G-14A) in 21 games while helping the Winterhawks reach the WHL final.

    Morrow, who stands 6-foot, 197 pounds, has spent the previous three-plus seasons with Portland, notching 87 points (16G-71A) in 165 games.

    Last week, Morrow was one of 46 players invited to Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team Development Camp, scheduled for August 3-7 in Edmonton and Fort McMurray, AB as a candidate for Canada’s entry in the 2012 World Junior Championships to be held Dec. 26, 2011-Jan. 5, 2012, in Calgary and Edmonton, AB.

    The Edmonton, Alberta native comes from a strong hockey lineage. Morrow’s father, Dave, was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1977 NHL Entry Draft and played for the Indianapolis Racers of the now-defunct World Hockey Association. His brother, Josh, was drafted 203rd overall by the Nashville Predators in 2002 when current Penguins’ general manager Ray Shero was the assistant GM.

    And in case you are wondering, that is not a Chicago Blackhawks sweater he's wearing. It's a Portland Winterhawks sweater.

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    Re: NHL Draft this weekend; Pittsburgh area prospects a-plen

    Penguins Select Defenseman Joe Morrow

    by Jimmy Rixner
    June 24

    Amongst a flurry of trades in the 2011 NHL draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins elected to hold tight with their 23rd pick and select defenseman Joe Morrow.

    Morrow, from the Western Hockey League, has good size, is an excellent skater and could develop into a puck moving NHL defenseman. In this wide open draft he was ranked by most services in this area, but the Pens did pass up forwards like Brandon Saad (Gibsonia), Nicklas Jensen, Matt Puempel and Ty Rattie.

    When many thought the Pens might draft a forward, Ray Shero listened to his scouts and took the defenseman in Morrow. Shero’s first management job, as an assistant in Nashville saw them take many defensemen high like Dan Hamhuis, Ryan Suter, Shea Weber, Ryan Parent and Kevin Klein.

    Chosing Morrow goes in that mold, several goal scoring forwards were on the board but the Pens went a different route. Morrow will need a few years of development, but his addition to the Pens offers one more blue chip prospect to the team’s portfolio.

    As we’ve seen with Ryan Whitney and Alex Goligoski, the Pens aren’t afraid to trade a good defenseman for forwards, so the idea to draft the best player available always works out at the NHL. Now it’s just a matter of time to see how Morrow develops.

    [url=""] ... -nhl-draft[/url]

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    Re: NHL Draft this weekend; Pittsburgh area prospects a-plen

    For the record, this story states that both this father and brother played in the NHL. In fact, neither of them actually did play in the NHL. They were both drafted by NHL teams, though. His father was drafted by the Canucks (4th round, 56th overall in 1977), but his only professional hockey experience was playing for the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association. His brother was drafted by the Predators (7th round, 203rd overall in 2002) but an injury in junior hockey ended his playing career prematurely.

    Penguins Brass Thrilled to Get Offensive Defenseman Morrow
    Saturday, 06.25.2011 / 12:18 AM
    Features By Sam Kasan

    ST. PAUL, MN – The Pittsburgh Penguins have drafted quite a few players with strong hockey lineage in the past few years. The Penguins have added such players as Philip Samuelsson (2009 NHL Entry Draft, 61st overall), Alex Velischek (2009, 123rd) and Andy Bathgate (2009, 151st).

    The Penguins went back to the well in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, MN at the Xcel Energy Center. With the 23rd-overall pick, Pittsburgh selected Portland defenseman Joseph Morrow, whose father, Dan, and brother, Josh, played in the league.

    “I think it’s more of a positive than anything, coming from a hockey family,” Morrow said. “You’ve got pretty good genetics behind you and you’re always around hockey. So it’s like family comes first, hockey comes second. I think it’s a positive more than anything else.”

    Morrow, 18, is an offensively gifted player that has a powerful shot, and the Penguins brass believes he has tremendous upside with his talents.

    “We’re very pleased to get a player like Joseph Morrow,” Penguins assistant director of amateur scouting Randy Sexton said. “We think he’s going to be a top-4 defenseman. He’s got good size. He’s a powerful player, a powerful skater. He already possesses an NHL shot. He will fit well with the style of play that we want to play. We’re thrilled to get him.”

    “I like to skate the puck, I like to have an offensive upside to my game, so hopefully I become a more well-rounded defenseman altogether and be really consistent throughout everything,” Morrow said. “I just kind of have a mindset for offense and I can shoot the puck pretty hard, so everything comes together in the offensive end.”

    Morrow has spent the previous three-plus seasons with the Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL), totaling 87 points (16G-71A) in 165 games. Entering the draft, he ranked as the 12th-overall North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.

    The Edmonton, Alberta native had to sweat it out in the stands before getting selected by the Penguins. Although when Pittsburgh was on the clock, he had a feeling his name would be called.

    “(The waiting) was pretty bad, but the feeling afterward kind of cancelled it out,” Morrow said. “I had a small idea towards the draft, but nothing too evident that they’d actually pick me 23rd. But it’s a phenomenal honor to be picked by the Penguins, and I’m going to do everything I can for this organization.”

    Morrow, who is one of 46 players invited to Hockey Canada’s National Junior Development Camp in August, stands at 6-foot and 197 pounds. But playing in the physical WHL has helped him develop into a strong defenseman in his own zone.

    “I’m really happy with the route I went on, and the Western League pushed me to be a tougher kid, be a little faster, a little stronger,” he said. “So everything in the Western League really helped my development to see where I am now.

    “I try and do everything to contribute physically. If that means fighting, it’s fighting. It’s not a big deal. But just playing a hard game.”

    The playing style Portland’s coaching staff likes to teach their players fits right in with the league.

    “His (Portland) coach is Mike Johnson, who coached several years as an assistant in the National Hockey League,” Sexton said. “Mike plays a puck-possession, up-tempo, physical game and that’s the way Joseph plays. That fits right in with our style. We like defensemen who can get the puck and get it up the ice quickly. We don't like to spend a lot of time in our zone, and he fits right in with that mold.”

    As with any prospect, Morrow still has some developing and maturing to do with his game.

    “He’s a strong player physically and he’ll play with an edge,” Sexton said. “He needs to work on his defensive stick positioning, stick-on-stick, stick-on-puck, that type of thing. But that’s fairly easily taught.”

    Morrow agreed.

    “I would just like to be more sound defensively, just to be a little more aggressive in my own end,” he said. “I’d like to have more authority to do things a little quicker with a little more pressure. Not necessarily physical play, but just kind of the intensity aspect of things.”

    Overall, the Penguins feel that they’ve gotten a steal.

    “Those are the two famous lines in the draft: we can’t believe he was still there; and we had him rated higher than that,” Sexton said. “Both hold true. He could be a Penguin for a long time.”

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    Re: NHL Draft this weekend; Pittsburgh area prospects a-plen

    Penguins take another defenseman in second round
    By Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
    Saturday, June 25, 2011
    Last updated: 11:51 am

    ST. PAUL — The Penguins have selected another defenseman, taking Scott Harrington in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft.

    Harrington plays for London in the OHL and is coached by former Penguins nemesis Dale Hunter.

    Harrington, 18, had six goals and 16 assists in 67 games, along with 51 penalty minutes. He is a 6-foot, 200-pounder with a left-handed shot.

    The Penguins took a defenseman in the first round last night, Joe Morrow of the Western Hockey League.

    They don`t pick again until the fifth round.

    Penguins pick Arrington in second round of draft
    Saturday, June 25, 2011
    By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    The Penguins selected defenseman Scott Arrington in the second round of the NHL entry draft today at the Xcel Energy Center.

    Arrington is 6 feet 1, 203 pounds and had six goals and 16 assists in 67 games with London of the Ontario Hockey League. His defense partner with the Knights was Reid McNeill, the Penguins' sixth-round draft choice in 2010.

    Arrington is regarded a solid two-way player.

    "I consider myself a very reliable, defensive defenseman," he said. "Some who's tough to play against and can play in all situations. I consider myself a good puck-mover, also."

    Arrington was claimed with the 53rd choice overall, and said that's roughly where he expected to go.

    "I was just looking forward to getting drafted," he said. "Just getting an invite to an NHL camp. For me, to go in the second round is a great feeling."

    Barring a trade, the Penguins do not have a choice in the third or fourth round, but do have selections in the fifth, sixth and seventh.

    Dave Molinari can be reached at [email=""][/email]

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    Re: NHL Draft this weekend; Pittsburgh area prospects a-plen

    Penguins 5th round (144th overall):

    Dominik Uher
    North American Skater
    Spokane, WHL
    Final Rank: 162
    Midterm Rank: 143
    Position: Center
    Shoots: Left
    Height: 6' 0"
    Weight: 195
    Born: December 31, 1992
    Born in: Ostvava, CZE
    Drafted: PIT (5th Round / 144th Overall)

    2010-2011 Spokane WHL 65 games 21 goals 39 assists 60 points 60 PIM

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    Local Pittsburgh Area Kids drafted so far:

    The New York Rangers drafted center J.T. Miller (Coraopolis) in the 1st round (15th overall).

    The Anaheim Ducks drafted goaltender John Gibson (Whitehall) in the 2nd round (39th overall).

    The Chicago Blackhawks drafted winger Brandon Saad (Gibsonia) in the 2nd round (43rd overall).

    The Florida drafted center Vince Trocheck (Upper St. Clair) in the 3rd round (64th overall).

    Defenseman Barrett Kaib (also from Upper St. Clair like Trocheck) may be a late round pick, but he hasn't been picked yet.

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    Re: NHL Draft this weekend; Pittsburgh area prospects a-plen

    In the 6th round (174th overall) the Pens select winger Josh Archibald from Brainerd High School in Minnesota.

    Like father, like son
    01/28/2011, 1:30pm (CDT)
    By Pete Waggoner, Hockey Hub contributor
    Brainerd's Josh Archibald maintains balance between hockey and day-to-day life
    Putting up numbers and performing as an all-around hockey player is nothing Brainerd senior Josh Archibald takes for granted.

    Much like his coach and father Jim, Josh maintains a balance and a perspective with hockey and life that has paved a way for a bright future.

    Archibald leads his team in points this year and is fifth among all players in the state with 55 points (21 goals, 34 assists). His Warriors are currently 13-6 and he has been busy on visits to prospective colleges.

    Archibald has garnered plenty of interest from Division I colleges and has had official visits at Bowling Green University, the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

    "I have been on unofficial visits to North Dakota and Bemidji State," Archibald added.

    Archibald is leading a Warrior team that returned just seven players from its Section 8AA semifinal team last year. They fell to the eventual section champion Roseau Rams by a score of 3-2 in overtime as Archibald assisted on both Warrior goals in the tough luck game.

    Immediately following that game, Archibald and his teammates focused on the upcoming season.

    "The loss was tough and everyone was down about it but right after that game. We knew we were going to have to start preparing for the next season - this season - and that is what a lot of us have been doing," Archibald said. "Hopefully we can go to State this year for sure but if not, mimic what we did last year with a 23-4 record being the best record in school history."

    Along with his teammates, Archibald worked out at Minnesota Hockey Camps this past summer and he is convinced his experiences with the Brainerd/Nisswa-based hockey program helped his development.

    "We had a specific program where we skated twice a day," Archibald said. "You do plyometrics and dry-land once day and usually lift once a day so it's a great program out there and they have helped me become the player I have today."

    His offensive numbers have been impressive over the past two seasons as he collected 57 points (22 goals, 35 assist) in 27 games last year and he is well on pace this year to pass those totals.

    He credits his father for helping him with his perspective on the game.

    "I am pretty lucky," Archibald said of his father. "He knows a lot about the game He knows what it takes to get to the next level. He always tells me you are only going to get more out of the game that you put into it.

    "He knows what to expect."

    Jim Archibald played for the North Dakota Sioux from 1981-82 through 1984-85 and was a 7th round pick of the Minnesota North Stars in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft. He has played for some outstanding coaches in his career and has been able to pass that wealth of knowledge on to his son and the Brainerd Warriors teams the past three seasons.

    "Every one of your coaches always adds a little bit of something," Jim said. "You learn something from every coach. I had the good fortune of playing for a lot of good coaches down the road. I had the opportunity while I was at the University (North Dakota) to play for Gino Gasparini and his two assistant coaches, Dean Blais and John Marks. Blais had a big influence on me and made a strong impact on my career."

    Jim also played in the minors under Stanley Cup winner Lorne Henning and had a training camp with the North Stars under Herb Brooks.

    Josh Archibald is 5-foot-10 and models his game after Martin St. Louis from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    "Martin St. Louis is small and he works hard," Archibald observed. "Some people say he never should have made it. He has shown that size doesn't matter and he has a lot of skill. I try to play bigger than I really am and show that I can really play."

    Ironically, it is the skill area of the game that Archibald said he needs to work on and Josh thinks he has struggled with that throughout his growth as a player.

    Make no mistake; he is skilled and is known as one of the better two-way players in the state. He realized he had college potential last season and dreams of playing in the NHL, but Archibald also realizes how difficult it is to play at that level.

    "Like every kid you want to play in the NHL someday but right now I am shooting for the Division I," Josh said. "I realized playing in the Elite League that I kind of have something going so I started working with it a lot more and just became what it is today."

    It is the intangibles that add to the allure of Archibald who not only produces offensively but is also a pain to play against.

    "Josh is the type of player you love to play with but hate to play against," Jim said. "He's just got that little bit of an attitude and edge to him. He has been called and all-around player. He is the type of guy that may not score you 50 goals but he has good skill, good hockey sense and he can be physical."

    After living in Saskatchewan for 20 years the Archibald family moved to Brainerd - where Josh’s mother is from.

    "It has always been something we have talked about moving back to the Brainerd area," Jim said. "About three years ago, an opportunity presented itself, we decided to jump on it and here we are back in Minnesota."

    It has been a great thing for both Josh and Jim. Josh has found his groove playing high school hockey and enjoys the support that he and his team receive.

    "It is great playing for Brainerd," Josh Archibald said. "The kind of support we get from our student fan section and our parents and surrounding community, it means a lot. Also, trying to help out kids and showing them what Brainerd hockey has to offer, it's been great."

    While his team comes first yet, it is Josh’s perspective both on and off the ice that have led to several colleges getting in line for his services.

    No doubt, whoever lands the highly regard Brainerd Warrior, that team will have a balanced athlete and player who has the perspective of how hockey fits with life.

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    Re: NHL Draft this weekend; Pittsburgh area prospects a-plen

    With their final pick of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft (7th round, 209th overall), the Penguins select forward Scott Wilson from Georgetown of the OJHL. Scott is listed at 5'11" and 166 lbs. In the 2009-2010 season, he played in 56 games, scoring 24 goals and 43 assists for 67 points and 28 PIM. In the 2010-2011 season, he played in 42 games, scoring 20 goals and 41 assists for 61 points and 59 PIM.

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    Re: NHL Draft this weekend; Pittsburgh area prospects a-plen

    Joe Morrow vs Dominik Uher Fight - Feb 9, 2011

    Penguin vs. Penguin:


    Stockpiling defensemen

    June 25th, 2011

    Ray Shero’s NHL draft the past two days got me thinking about Republicans.

    In my experience, most Republicans have a vague sense that they prefer smaller government, so they go to the polling place on election day, quietly pull the R lever and go about their business. Other Republicans, however, have Sarah Palin bumper stickers on their cars, wear Rush Limbaugh “Club Gitmo” T-shirts and in a conversation about last night’s Phillies game, work in their belief that President Obama is a socialist who was born in Kenya.

    Now if you asked most GMs at the NHL draft, they’d tell you that drafting based on need is a bad idea. Most prospects are four or five years away from reaching the NHL anyway and your organizational depth chart can change drastically in that time. So those GMs go to the podium, quietly select the best player available and go about their business.

    After the last two days, it’s become clear to me that Shero doesn’t just favor the best player available strategy. He’s a BPA zealot. The Penguins only had two picks in the first four rounds, and they used them both on defensemen, which is the area of greatest strength in the prospect pipeline. That’s the equivalent of wearing a Club Gitmo T-shirt.

    I’m not saying it’s a bad strategy. He turned Ryan Whitney and Alex Goligoski into Chris Kunitz, Eric Tangradi and James Neal and he probably figures he could do the same again if need be. All I’m saying is it’s a pretty bold statement.

    Now, I’m no NHL draft expert. Far from it. But I’ve googled around for a little while today and if all you’re looking for is one paragraph on the five guys the Penguins picked, I think I can provide that.

    First round, 23rd overall
    Joe Morrow, D, Portland (WHL), 6-foot-1, 198 pounds: A great skater who can push the pace from the blue line, just like Dan Bylsma likes his defenders to do. Not known as a physical force or for being great with his stick.

    Second round, 54th overall
    Scott Harrington, D, London (OHL), 6-foot, 200 pounds: Was pegged as a first-rounder two years ago, but his offensive game hasn’t developed like people thought it would. So now he’s more of a stay-at-home type of prospect. D partner of Pens draft pick Reid McNeill for one of the premier programs in junior hockey.

    Fifth round, 144th overall
    Dominik Uher, C, Spokane (WHL), 6-foot, 195 pounds: Czech-born forward is a feisty competitor. Had 21 goals, 60 points and six fights in 65 games. See YouTube link above for a fight against Joe Morrow.

    Sixth round, 174th overall
    Josh Archibald, LW, Brainerd (Minn.) HS, 5-foot-10, 165 pounds: Finalist for Minnesota Mr. Hockey put up video game numbers in high school (27 goals, 73 points in 25 games). It’s almost impossible to project numbers like that to higher levels of hockey, so how he fares at Nebraska-Omaha next season will tell the tale.

    Seventh round, 209th overall
    Scott Wilson, C, Georgetown (OJHL), 5-foot-11, 166 pounds: Same as above, except replace “high school” with “OJHL” and “Nebraska-Omaha” with “UMass-Lowell.”



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