The pipeline to the National Hockey League through Jerry York continues.
Casey Fitzgerald has joined the growing list of Boston College men’s hockey players that have been drafted by professional teams. The sophomore defenseman was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the third round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft with the 86th overall pick. Fitzgerald, whose brother, Ryan, is a senior on the Eagles and was a fourth-round selection of the Boston Bruins in 2013, had 27 points in 2015 (four goals, 23 assists). That ranks 11th among all defensemen in scoring and second among freshman blue liners. He is the eighth Eagle to be drafted by the Sabres, joining sophomore forward Christopher Brown (2014, sixth round), as prospects for Buffalo.
With the 86th pick in the #NHLDraft, the Sabres select@caseyfitz97 from @BCHockeyNews. pic.twitter.com/FmbmBL0GGk
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) June 25, 2016
Such an honor getting drafted to the @BuffaloSabres, what an unbelievable feeling and can't wait to see what the future holds! #GoSabres
— Casey Fitzgerald (@CaseyFitz97) June 25, 2016
Fitzgerald joins two BC commits in this year’s draft. Goaltender Joseph Woll was taken by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third round with the 61st overall pick. Woll, a member of the United States National Team Development Program (NTDP), is the likely successor to Thatcher Demko between the pipes. He finished this season with a 2.14 goals against average and .918 save percentage in 36 games for the U.S. U18 team.
With the 62nd overall pick, the Maple Leafs select Joseph Woll. #TMLtalk #TMLDraft pic.twitter.com/rjcOJZk2uy
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) June 25, 2016
Couldn't be happier to be a part of the @MapleLeafs organization! Truly a dream come true #NHLDraft
— Joseph Woll (@brick_WOLL29) June 25, 2016
Graham McPhee, another BC commit, was selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the fifth round with the 149th overall pick. McPhee is also a member of the U.S. NTDP—he put up five points in seven games in the U.S.’s gold medal run in the IIHF U18 World Championships. McPhee’s father, George, is an executive in the New York Islanders’ system and won the 1982 Hobey Baker Award at Bowling Green when York was head coach.
#Oilers select Graham McPhee 149th overall. #NHLDraft
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) June 25, 2016
Very proud and honored to be a part of the @EdmontonOilers organization! What a day! Go oilers!
— Graham McPhee (@g_mcphee21) June 25, 2016
Both McPhee and Woll join David Cotton (sixth round, 169th overall, Carolina Hurricanes) among incoming drafted freshmen. Assuming nothing irregular between now and the beginning of the season, the Eagles will have 10 drafted players on their roster in 2016: the Fitzgeralds, Woll, McPhee, Cotton, Brown, Colin White (2015, first round, Ottawa Senators), Joey Dudek (2014, sixth round, New Jersey Devils), Zach Sanford (2014, second round, Washington Capitals), and Chris Calnan (2012, third round, Chicago Blackhawks).
This is the fifth consecutive year in which the Eagles have had multiple players drafted. The program took a big hit shortly after its 25th Frozen Four appearance ended with a 3-2 loss to Quinnipiac. Six underclassmen—Miles Wood, Steve Santini, Alex Tuch, Adam Gilmour, Thatcher Demko, and Ian McCoshen—departed for their respective professional clubs.
The group, however, pales in comparison to the impressive incoming class of Boston University and head coach David Quinn. Defenseman Charlie McAvoy, a Long Beach, N.Y., native and sophomore, was selected by the Boston Bruins with the No. 14 overall pick. Additionally, five BU commits were drafted. This includes three in the first round: center Clayton Keller (seventh overall, Arizona Coyotes), defenseman Dante Fabbro (17th overall, Nashville Predators), and left wing Kieffer Bellows (19th overall, New York Islanders).
Among Hockey East rivals, only Connecticut’s Tage Thompson (26th overall, St. Louis Blues) was taken in the first round, though the Huskies also had a sixth-round selection. Providence had four, Notre Dame and Northeastern each had three, UMass Lowell had two, and Vermont had one. Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Merrimack did not have a selection.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor