GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Six recruits who signed National Letters of Intent to play at the University of North Dakota were selected in the 2013 National Hockey League Entry Draft today, the most of any NCAA program in the nation.
Forwards Adam Tambellini, Luke Johnson and Wade Murphy, along with defensemen Keaton Thompson, Tucker Poolman and Gage Ausmus, were all chosen today at the league’s annual draft held in New Jersey. It marked the 13th time in school history that UND had at least six players taken in a single draft, and the fifth time under head coach Dave Hakstol.
Tambellini was UND’s first player taken, going in the third round (65th overall) to the New York Rangers. A 6-foot-4, 177-pound native of Edmonton, Alberta,Tambellini ranked third in the BCHL with 36 goals last season, including 14 in 16 games with the Surrey Eagles after opening the year with Vernon. He went on to help lead Surrey to a BCHL championship and a berth in the Royal Bank Cup national Junior A championship. Tambellini finished the 2012-13 campaign with 66 points in 52 games and earned BCHL Coastal Conference Second All-Star Team Honors.
Defenseman Keaton Thompson was also selected in the third round, going 87th overall to the Anaheim Ducks. A 6-foot-0, 185-pound, defenseman from Devils Lake, N.D., Thompson spent the past two seasons with the United States National Team Development Program (NTDP). He appeared in 67 games with the U.S. Under-18 Team in 2012-13 and registered four goals and 16 assists with a +18 rating. Thompson helped Team USA win a silver medal at the World Under-18 Championship. Thompson appeared in 54 games with the U.S. Under-17 Team in 2011-12 and scored five goals and 17 assists.
Poolman (127th overall, Winnipeg Jets), Johnson (Chicago, 134th overall) and Ausmus (San Jose, 151st overall) were each drafted in the fifth round.
Poolman, a 6-foot-2, 193-pound defenseman, played in 64 games with the USHL's Omaha Lancers last season and collected 14 goals and 14 assists. Twelve of Poolman's 14 goals came on the power play, most among USHL defensemen. He spent the previous season with Wichita Falls of the NAHL, where he had seven goals and 22 assists in 59 games. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., Poolman's father, Mark, is the athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach for UND's men's hockey team.
Johnson is a 5-foot-11, 165-pound forward who spent the past two seasons with the USHL's Lincoln Stars. He recorded 46 points (19g, 27a) and a team-leading nine power-play goals in 57 games in 2012-13 after notching 55 points (20g, 35a) in 55 games in 2011-12. Johnson participated in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in each of those two years. Johnson also helped lead Team USA to a gold medal at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge, collecting four assists in four games. He played at Grand Forks (N.D.) Central High School as a freshman (2009-10) and sophomore (2010-11), winning a state title as a sophomore and earning all-state honors as a sophomore.
Ausmus, who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 204 pounds, spent the past two seasons with the United States National Team Development Program (NTDP) where he was a teammate of Thompson. He played in in 66 games with the U.S. Under-18 Team in 2012-13 and registered two goals and 12 assists while tying for second on the team with a +22 rating. Ausmus also helped Team USA win a silver medal at the World Under-18 Championship. He had two goals and four assists in 54 games for the Under-17 Team in 2011-12.
Murphy was UND’s sixth and final selection, going to the Nashville Predators in the seventh round (185th overall). A 6-foot, 180-pounder, Murphy led Penticton of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) in points (70) and assists (47) in 2012-13 and earned his second straight BCHL Interior Conference First All-Star Team. He tied for fifth in the BCHL scoring race and then added five goals and six assists in 15 playoff games. Murphy joined Penticton midway through the 2011-12 season and helped lead the Vees to BCHL and Canadian national championships. He collected 14 goals and 15 assists in 22 games with the Vees after scoring 22 goals and 40 assists in 38 games with the Victoria Grizzlies. His 91 total points ranked fourth overall in league’s scoring race.
Tambellini, Johnson, Murphy, Thompson and Ausmus will all join North Dakota in 2013-14, while Poolman will join the program in either 2013-14 or 2014-15.
Notes: UND will have three drafted North Dakota natives on its 2013-14 roster, including Thompson, Johnson and 2012 sixth-rounder Paul LaDue (Los Angeles). They are UND’s first drafted North Dakotans since Andy Schneider (Grand Forks) and James Massen (Bismarck) were seniors in 2004-05 … UND has now produced 159 NHL draft picks dating back to 1963, when Roger Bamburak (Boston) became the program’s first … This marked the 14th straight year in which UND had at least two players drafted. The last time UND had just one player chosen was in 1999 when Mike Commodore was taken in the second round by New Jersey … The last time UND did not have a player selected was in 1998.