Hopkins native K'Andre Miller was selected 22nd overall by the New York Rangers at the 2018 NHL Draft.
When the New York Rangers selected U.S. National Under-18 Team defenseman K'Andre Miller of Hopkins, Minn., with the 22nd overall pick of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft on June 22, a notable streak continued. For 50 straight years now, a Minnesotan has heard his name called at the NHL Draft. In all, 10 Minnesota natives were selected in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft in Dallas.
In 15 of the last 19 years, a Minnesotan has been drafted in the first round. Since 2000, a Minnesotan has gone in the first round in all but four drafts (2001, 2011, 2013, 2014).
Minnesota has obviously been a hockey hotbed for many years now, but only recently has the State of Hockey seen the sheer numbers of players taken, both in the first round and in the draft overall. In fact, the last 15 NHL Drafts have seen a significant increase in the number of Minnesotans that have heard their name called by an NHL franchise.
For example, from 2004-18, 27 Minnesota natives were taken in the first round, including an all-time high of four in 2005 and 2006. In the previous 15 drafts (1989-2003), only eight players from Minnesota were selected in the first round. From 1989-2003, a total of 178 Minnesota natives were drafted, while from 2004-18, 209 Minnesotans were drafted. Noteworthy in those numbers is the fact that from 1984 to 1994, the draft consisted of 11 or 12 rounds, from 1995 to 2004 the draft was nine rounds and from 2005 to today the draft has been seven rounds.
Since 2003, Minnesota can claim one top overall pick (Erik Johnson by the St. Louis Blues in 2006), two top-five picks (Blake Wheeler in 2004, Johnson in 2006) and six top-10 picks (Wheeler in 2004; Brian Lee in 2005; Johnson, Okposo and Mueller in 2006; Mittelstadt in 2017).
Historically, Minnesota has been well-represented in the NHL Draft, from the first-ever drafted Minnesotan (Wally Olds by Detroit in 1969) to the first-ever first-rounder (Mike Ramsey by Buffalo in 1979) to the first-ever No. 1 overall pick (Johnson). In all, 691 Minnesota natives, including 39 first-round picks, have been selected in the NHL Entry and Amateur Drafts.
Minnesota looks to continue its streak of first round picks in 2019 as U.S. Under-18 Team defenseman Drew Helleson (Farmington), Edina High School defenseman Ben Brinkman and North Branch High School forward Brady Meyer are projected to be possible first round selections at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Minnesota natives taken in the first round in the last 15 NHL Drafts have historically chosen to continue their development in the college ranks, especially at Big Ten and NCHC schools (formerly WCHA schools). Of the 27 first round Minnesotans since 2004, 11 went to the University of Minnesota, six to North Dakota, three to Wisconsin, two to Minnesota Duluth, and one each attended Michigan State and St. Cloud State. Only three first rounders from Minnesota left the Big Ten/NCHC – Peter Mueller (Everett Silvertips of the WHL), and Kieffer Bellows and Jake Oettinger (Boston University).
The 2018 NHL Entry Draft saw a total of 67 current or future collegiate hockey players, including seven first-round selections. Boston University, Denver, North Dakota, Providence and Wisconsin each had four representatives selected to lead all schools.
Nine players who spent 2017-18 in the NCAA ranks were selected, led by first-round selections Brady Tkachuk (Boston University) and Quinn Hughes (Michigan). The NCHC ended the draft with 15 players chosen, followed by the Big Ten with 12.
More than half of all Division I programs – 32 of 60 – had at least one representative selected. Almost all of the NHL teams – 27 of 31 – selected at least one player who was in college or is headed to school.
It may be impossible to pin down a sole reason for the increase of Minnesotans hearing their name called at the NHL Draft, but as a whole, American hockey has seen much more prosperity in recent years. The success of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program has played a major role in the development of NHL-caliber American hockey players, as has the increase in opportunities for year-round, high-level hockey that have become available across the nation.
In the 2018 NHL Draft, 52 Americans were selected, representing 18 states. Six Americans were chosen in the first round with Tkachuk the first U.S. player off the board at No. 4. Sixteen players with ties to USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program were selected, while 57 American players that have ties to the USHL were chosen, including a league record 45 players who skated in the league in 2017-18.
Minnesota’s prevalence in the NHL Draft has translated into success on the ice. Nine Minnesota natives who were drafted went on to earn a spot in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, including all three 1979 draftees (Ramsey, Dave Christian, Neal Broten). Ten Minnesotan draftees were on the 1980 Miracle on Ice team, while 24 Minnesotans who have heard their name called at the NHL Draft have their name inscribed on Lord Stanley’s Cup (33 times).
Whatever the reason for the increase in Minnesotans at the NHL Draft, it appears the tradition will only carry on as the State of Hockey continues to develop elite players who will someday make the leap from Minnesota to the National Hockey League.
|ROUND||PICK||PLAYER||POSITION||DRAFTED BY||DRAFTED FROM||HOMETOWN||COLLEGE|
|1||22||K'Andre Miller||D||N.Y. Rangers||U.S. Under-18 Team||Hopkins||Wisconsin|
|2||45||Scott Perunovich||D||St. Louis||Minnesota Duluth (NCHC)||Hibbing||Minnesota Duluth|
|3||79||Blake McLaughlin||LW||Anaheim||Chicago (USHL)||Grand Rapids||Minnesota|
|4||108||Demetrios Koumontzis||LW||Calgary||Edina HS||Edina||Arizona State|
|4||116||Jack Perbix||RW||Anaheim||Elk River HS||Elk River||Notre Dame|
|6||174||Gavin Hain||C||Philadelphia||U.S. Under-18 Team||Grand Rapids||North Dakota|
|6||183||Cole Koepke||LW||Tampa Bay||Sioux City (USHL)||Hermantown||Minnesota Duluth|
|6||184||Jared Moe||G||Winnipeg||Waterloo (USHL)||New Prague||Minnesota|
|7||194||Luke Loheit||RW||Ottawa||Minnetonka Hs||Minnetonka||Minnesota Duluth|
|7||210||Sam Hentges||C||Minnesota||Tri-City (USHL)||Fridley||St. Cloud State|
|YEAR||MINNESOTANS||FIRST ROUND PICKS|
|2018||10||1 (22 K'Andre Miller)|
|2017||17||3 (8 Casey Mittelstadt, 25 Ryan Poehling, 26 Jake Oettinger)|
|2016||11||2 (19 Kieffer Bellows, 25 Riley Tufte)|
|2015||7||1 (23 Brock Boeser)|
|2012||9||1 (28 Brady Skjei)|
|2010||18||3 (15 Derek Forbort, 19 Nick Bjugstad, 30 Brock Nelson)|
|2009||13||2 (16 Nick Leddy, 22 Jordan Schroeder)|
|2008||11||1 (17 Jake Gardiner)|
|2007||17||3 (12 Ryan McDonagh, 25 Patrick White, 29 James O’Brien)|
|2006||17||4 (1 Erik Johnson, 7 Kyle Okposo, 8 Peter Mueller, 20 David Fischer)|
|2005||18||4 (9 Brian Lee, 24 T.J. Oshie, 27 Joe Finley, 28 Matt Niskanen)|
|2004||16||2 (5 Blake Wheeler, 12 A.J. Thelen)|
|2003||14||3 (17 Zach Parise, 21 Mark Stuart, 29 Patrick Eaves)|
|2002||9||1 (11 Keith Ballard)|
|2000||14||1 (30 Jeff Taffe)|
|1999||8||1 (16 David Tanabe)|
|1996||10||1 (7 Erik Rasmussen)|
|1989||19||1 (7 Doug Zmolek)|
|1986||19||1 (16 George Pelawa)|
|1985||16||1 (16 Tom Chorske)|
|1982||30||1 (6 Phil Housley)|
|1979||3||1 (11 Mike Ramsey)|
• 19 percent of the Americans drafted in this year’s NHL Draft hail from the state of Minnesota (10/52).
• Draft selections by birthplace:
United States 52
Czech Republic 11
United Kingdom 1
• Draft selections by position:
Left wing 25
Right wing 30
• Draft selections by league:
Czech Republic 7
Hockey East 3
HS - Massachusetts 3
HS - Minnesota 3
HS - New Hampshire 2
Big Ten 1
HS - Connecticut 1
HS - Wisconsin 1
• 10 Minnesota natives were selected in the 2018 NHL Draft. All 10 played for a MSHSL team, including four who played through their senior season.
• 691 Minnesota natives have now been selected all-time in the NHL Draft, including 39 in the first round.
• A Minnesota native has been selected in every NHL Draft since 1969.
• Since 2000, a Minnesota native has been selected in the first round in all but four drafts (2001, 2011, 2013, 2014).
• Since 1980, a MSHSL player has been drafted in all but two NHL Drafts – 1996, 2003.
• A Minnesotan from the U.S. Under-18 Team has been selected in 12 of the last 14 NHL Drafts (2009, 2015).
• A Minnesotan from the USHL (not including USNTDP players) has been selected in 18 of the last 19 NHL Drafts (2012).
• 67 current or future NCAA players representing 32 schools were selected in the 2018 NHL Draft, including seven first-round picks. For the fourth year in a row, multiple current college players were selected in the first round.
• 27 of the 31 NHL teams (Columbus, Dallas, New Jersey, Toronto) selected a current or future college hockey player.
• A goalie from Minnesota has now been drafted in three straight NHL Drafts – Jared Moe in 2018, Jake Oettinger in 2017 and Peter Thome in 2016. Moe became the 47th goalie from Minnesota to be selected in an NHL Draft.
• A University of Minnesota player or commit has been selected in 17 consecutive NHL Drafts. 2001 was the last Draft without a Gophers draftee. Since 1969, a Gopher player or commit has been selected in all but two NHL Drafts – 1970, 2001
• A University of Wisconsin player or commit has been selected in 21 consecutive NHL Drafts. 1997 was the last Draft without a Badgers draftee. Since 1969, a Gopher player or commit has been selected in all but three NHL Drafts – 1969, 1983, 1997
• Since 1970, a Minnesota Duluth player or commit has been selected in all but six NHL Drafts -- 1973, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2014.
• At No. 22, K’Andre Miller became the highest-drafted defenseman from Minnesota since Derek Forbort went 15th overall to Los Angeles in 2010.
• Miller became the third ever Hopkins native taken in an NHL Draft after Ron Saatzer to St. Louis in 1985 (11th round) and Travis Boyd to Washington in 2011 (6th round).
• Scott Perunovich became the 15th ever Hibbing native taken in an NHL Draft and first since Kelly Fairchild went to Los Angeles in 1991 (7th round).
• Blake McLaughlin and Gavin Hain became the 27th and 28th ever Grand Rapids natives taken in an NHL Draft and first since Mitchell Mattson to Calgary in 2016 (5th round).
• With Calgary’s fourth-round selection of Demetrios Koumontzis, an Edina native has now been taken in eight straight NHL Drafts (2011-18).
• Koumontzis became the 56th Edina native to be taken all-time in the NHL Draft.
• Jack Perbix became the sixth ever Elk River native taken in an NHL Draft after Nick Perbix (his brother) and Benton Maass in 2017, Blake Hillman in 2016, Paul Martin in 2000 and Dan Hinote in 1996.
• Jack Perbix’s brother, Nick, was drafted 169th by Tampa Bay in last year’s NHL Draft.
• Jared Moe became the second ever New Prague native taken in an NHL Draft after Seth Ambroz went to Columbus in 2011 (5th round).
• Cole Koepke became the fourth ever Hermantown native taken in an NHL Draft ( 1989 Ryan O’Leary, 1983 Darin Illikainen, 2007 Dylan Samberg).
• Luke Loheit became the 15th ever Minnetonka native taken in an NHL Draft and first since Tommy Vannelli went to St. Louis in 2013 (2nd round).
• Sam Hentges became the second ever Fridley native taken in an NHL Draft and first since Josh Langfeld went to Ottawa in 1997 (3rd round).
• 144 of the 217 players selected were 6-0 feet or taller. There were eight players under 5-9 taken in the entire draft.