McLeod blog: Incoming Gophers become property of familiar NHL teams

It’s the time of the offseason when University of Minnesota hockey fans sit back and watch the pick of their future stars become the property of National Hockey teams.

The 55th NHL Entry Draft in Chicago jumped off Saturday with Casey Mittelstadt, 2017 Minnesota Mr. Hockey, picked eighth overall by the Buffalo Sabres. He became the 20th Golden Gopher drafted in the first round since the league’s modern amateur draft began in 1963.

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Mittelstadt captained Eden Prairie to the Minnesota High School Hockey tournament before skating in juniors with the Green Bay Gamblers. He’s the highest-drafted Gopher since 2006, when former Holy Angels star Erik Johnson was picked first overall by the St. Louis Blues.

He is the 10th Gopher drafted by Buffalo and had been ranked the No. 3 North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.

In San Jose, the Sharks may wear Pacific teal on their uniforms. But for several years, a distinct shade of maroon and gold has flavored the franchise. The Sharks have now drafted their fifth incoming Golden Gopher, freshman Scott Reedy. He joins Ryan Kraft, Tony Lucia, Jay Bariball and Mike Brodzinski as University of Minnesota draft picks claimed for Silicon Valley.

San Jose general manager Doug Wilson chose Reedy, a freshman from Prior Lake, Minn., in the fourth round (107th overall) on the second day of the NHL Draft in Chicago. He’s been skating for the US Under-18 team. He may join fellow Team USA U18 standout Josh Norris, picked yesterday in the first round, on the Sharks roster someday. First, they’ll meet as early as Nov. 10 if Reedy plays for the Gophers while Norris suits up for Michigan.

DOUG McLEOD is the five-time Emmy Award-winning play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports and a longtime voice of Division I and NHL hockey. This is his 21st season calling Golden Gopher hockey games.