LOS ANGELES--A pair of incoming University of North Dakota freshmen, Derek Forbort and Brock Nelson, were selected in the first round of the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft tonight.
Forbort was selected 15th overall by Los Angeles while Nelson was chosen 30th overall by the New York Islanders to close out the first round.
Forbort, a 6-foot-5, 198-pound defenseman, spent the past two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP). In 56 games last season with the U.S. Under-18 Team, the Duluth, Minn., native registered five goals and 25 assists and helped lead the U.S. to its second straight gold medal at the 2010 Under-18 World Championship in Belarus. In seven tournament games, Forbort was a +9 and had a pair of assists.
In 2008-09, Forbort played prep hockey at Duluth East High School, collecting seven goals and 21 assists in 25 games. He finished the 2008-09 season with the USNTDP and recorded one goal and five assists in nine games.
Los Angeles' roster already includes former Fighting Sioux defenseman and captain Matt Greene, who served as an assistant captain with the Kings last year. Additionally, L.A.'s assistant general manager is Ron Hextall, father of Sioux forward Brett Hextall.
Nelson, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound center, averaged nearly three points per game last season at Warroad (Minn.) High School, amassing 39 goals and 34 assists in 25 games. He was named a finalist for Minnesota's Mr. Hockey Award, given annually to the top senior player in the state. As a junior in 2008-09, Nelson registered 45 goals and 31 assists in 31 games.
Nelson's uncle, Dave Christian, starred at North Dakota from 1977-79 and won Olympic gold with the United States' famed "Miracle on Ice" team in 1980 before going on to play in more than 1,000 career NHL games with Winnipeg, Washington, Boston, St. Louis and Chicago.
Additionally, Nelson's great uncle, Gordon "Ginny" Christian played at UND from 1947-50 and won Olympic silver with the United States in 1956.
Both Forbort and Nelson were drafted after their respective teams traded up in the draft. The Kings traded up four spots with Florida to select Forbort, while the Islanders traded up five spots with Chicago to draft Nelson.
Forbort and Nelson are the fifth and sixth Sioux to be selected in the first round under UND head coach Dave Hakstol, joining Jonathan Toews (Chicago, 3rd overall, 2006), Joe Finley (Washington, 27th overall, 2005), T.J. Oshie (St. Louis, 24th overall, 2005) and Brian Lee (Ottawa, ninth overall, 2005).
It is the third time in six years UND has boasted multiple picks in the first round.
Fourteen Fighting Sioux have now been drafted in the first round of the NHL draft.
UND's First-Round NHL Draft Picks
1968: John Marks (D), Chicago, 9th
1981: James Patrick (D), New York Rangers, 9th
1986: George Pelawa (F), Calgary, 16th
1989: Jason Herter (D), Vancouver, 8th
1993: Landon Wilson (F), Toronto, 19th
2000: David Hale (D), New Jersey, 22nd
2003: Zach Parise (F), New Jersey, 17th
2004: Drew Stafford (F), Buffalo, 13th
2005: Brian Lee (D), Ottawa, 9th
2005: T.J. Oshie (F), St. Louis, 24th
2005: Joe Finley (D), Washington, 27th
2006: Jonathan Toews (F), Chicago, 3rd
2010: Derek Forbort (D), Los Angeles, 15th
2010: Brock Nelson (F), New York Islanders, 30th
Both Forbort and Nelson will join the Sioux for the 2010-11 season.