Going to play for the U.S. National Team Development Program paid off Saturday for a few Minnesota natives.
Fifteen players with Minnesota ties were selected on the final day of the NHL Draft on Saturday, led by three players who went to play with the U.S. development program in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Defenseman Ryan Collins, slated to play for the University of Minnesota next season, was the first native Minnesotan off the board in this year’s draft, going to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round with the 47th overall pick. Collins’ teammates in Ann Arbor with the U.S. Under-18 team, Jack Dougherty and Jack Glover were the next Minnesotans drafted and five Minnesotans from the Under-18 team were drafted, in all.
Doughterty, a Cottage Grove native who is set to play at the University of Wisconsin, went to the Nashville Predators in the second round with the 51st overall pick. Glover, a Golden Valley native and future Gophers defenseman, was drafted in the third round, 69th overall, by the Winnipeg Jets.
Four recruits for the University of Minnesota were drafted. After Collins and Glover, defenseman Steve Johnson (fourth round, Los Angeles Kings) and forward Jack Ramsey (seventh round, Chicago Blackhawks) were also selected.
Collins (6-foot-5, 202 pounds) had one goal and four assists with the U.S. Under-18 team last year. He hails from Bloomington. Dougherty had five goals and 12 assists. Glover had one goal and 22 assists as the three were key pieces of the U.S. blue line.
Johnson, born in Excelsior, played for the Omaha Lancers in the United States Hockey League last season. Ramsey is the son of former Gophers alumnus, NHL veteran and Olympic gold medalist Mike Ramsey. Jack Ramsey played for Penticton in the British Columbia Hockey League last year and had nine goals and 16 assists.
Joe Wegwerth, from Burnsville, and Shane Gersich, from Chaska, also played with the U.S. Under-18 team last season. Wegwerth went in the fourth round to the Florida Panthers and Gersich was picked in the fifth round by the Washington Capitals.
The highest drafted high school player from Minnesota was Eden Prairie’s Luc Snuggerud, a defenseman picked in the fifth round by Chicago. Snuggerud’s high school teammate at Eden Prairie, forward Steven Spinner went in the sixth round to Washington.
Three straight Minnesotans were selected in the fifth round when Snuggerud was followed by Edina’s Tyler Nanne (New York Rangers) and Miguel Fidler (Florida).
Keegan Iverson, from St. Louis Park, was drafted in the third round by the New York Rangers after playing with Portland in the Western Hockey League last season. Austin Poganski, from St. Cloud, went in fourth round to the St. Louis Blues and Tyler Vesel, from Duluth, was selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the sixth round.
One local goaltender was selected, Andover’s Chase Perry, who was picked in the fifth round by the Detroit Red Wings.