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Draft Countdown: Drury Leads Hawks to Draft

By WBH, 06/20/18, 10:15AM CDT

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NHL Teams Make Picks This Weekend

It’s Draft Week.

Friday and Saturday in Dallas, the National Hockey League’s 31 teams will claim 217 of the top young players from across the world.

Waterloo Black Hawks forward and captain Jack Drury will be one of them, a fact that has been evident for months and that Drury accepts without hoopla as he maintains his routine early this week.

“I’m just trying to stick to what I’m doing day-by-day,” Drury says, “just working out and skating and trying to get stronger and faster and prepared to be the best player I can next season.”

“Next season” means his freshman year at Harvard and will have more immediate implications than the draft.  Although Drury ranks as the 27th-leading prospect among North America skaters according to NHL Central Scouting, the next step in his career is to the Crimson and the Ivy League.  The 2017/18 campaign in Waterloo certainly proved he was ready for college hockey.  In 56 USHL games, Drury found his way to the net to score 24 times, while producing another 41 assists.

Professional scouts took notice, and the Black Hawks’ leading scorer vaulted from ranking 60th in January to up among the most notable prospects in the league.  That led to an invitation to attend the NHL Scouting Combine earlier this month, where fitness and skills tests were important, but interviews with team executives and general managers might have an even bigger impact on when players are chosen, and by which club.

“It was really cool to get to meet the other top players from around the world,” Drury notes, conceding, “It’s certainly a mentally and physically exhausting week, but it was a great experience overall, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to go.”

In preparation for the Draft, Drury has been in regular contact with former teammates like Shane Bowers, Mikey Anderson, and Nick Swaney, who went through each step in the process last summer.

“It shows what great guys they are…they’ll reach out to me once a week or so and just ask me how things are going, and check in and see if there is anything they can do to help me.

“One of the best things in Waterloo is the network of players you meet,” Drury adds, “Coach PK and Coach Shane…they take in good players and good people and then they develop them to be great players and great people.”

Two Waterloo teammates from 2017/18 are also particularly strong contenders to join Drury during the draft excitement.  Ben Copeland pushed to 126th in the final April Central Scouting rankings.  With a strong finish to the season, Copeland ended the campaign with 62 points while appearing in all 60 regular season games.  On a separate list for goaltenders, Jared Moe was tenth as he claimed 23 of the Hawks’ 38 wins last season.

In whatever fashion the picks shake out, the Hawks have a strong chance to extend an impressive streak.  Not counting players drafted before they came to Waterloo, only one Black Hawk had ever been selected during the first three rounds prior to 2013.  

The 2013 Draft was a turning point which reversed the trend, and since then, at least one current or former Hawk has been picked within the first three rounds each year:

Year

Round

Player/NHL Team

2013

2nd

Ian McCoshen/Florida Panthers

 

3rd

Eamon McAdam/New York Islanders

 

3rd

Taylor Cammarata/New York Islanders

2014

2nd

Brandon Montour/Anaheim Ducks

 

3rd

Mark Friedman/Philadelphia Flyers

2015

1st

Brock Boeser/Vancouver Canucks

 

3rd

Tom Novak/Nashville Predators

2016

3rd

Rem Pitlick/Nashville Predators

2017

1st

Shane Bowers/Ottawa Senators

 

2nd

Dylan Samberg/Winnipeg Jets

Yet there is more to making the NHL than being drafted, and a later round selection – or being undrafted entirely – is hardly an insurmountable obstacle for reaching hockey’s highest level.

Here is the list of Waterloo alumni who have reached the NHL, grouped by the round in which they were chosen:

Round

Player/NHL Team/Draft Year

1st

Brock Boeser/Vancouver Canucks/2015

 

Peter Ferraro/New York Rangers/1992

2nd

Brandon Montour/Anaheim Ducks/2014

 

Ian McCoshen/Florida Panthers/2013

 

Zach Sanford/Washington Capitals/2013^

3rd

---

4th

Craig Smith/Nashville Predators/2009

 

Patrick Wey/Washington Capitals/2009

 

Chris Ferraro/New York Rangers/1992

5th

---

6th

Blake Hillman/Chicago Blackhawks/2016

 

Vinnie Hinostroza/Chicago Blackhawks/2012

 

Andrew Alberts/Boston Bruins/2001

7th

Joe Pavelski/San Jose Sharks/2003

Later

John Gruden (8th Rd)/Boston Bruins/1990

 

Tom Bissett (11th Rd)/Detroit Red Wings/1986

Undrafted

Justin Kloos/Minnesota Wild/NA

 

Chad Billins/Calgary Flames/NA

 

Eriah Hayes/San Jose Sharks/NA

 

J.T. Brown/Tampa Bay Lightning/NA

 

Derek Whitmore/Buffalo Sabres/NA

 

Andy Roach/St. Louis Blues/NA

 

Mark Eaton/Philadelphia Flyers/NA

 

Jason Blake/Los Angeles Kings/NA

 

Bill Bennett/Boston Bruins/NA

^ - Drafted before playing for the Waterloo Black Hawks.

Whatever it means for the future of players like Drury, Copeland, and Moe, each year the NHL Draft provides a chance to dream and to speculate and to think about hockey during a warm June weekend.

Coverage begins Friday at 6:30 p.m. Central on NBCSN and resumes at the start of Round Two Saturday on NHL Network at 10 a.m. Central.

Image courtesy of Stephanie Lyn Photography.