NHL Draft Preview: Three Future Minutemen May Be Picked In Sunrise

The NHL Draft takes place this weekend in Sunrise, Florida and there’s a very good chance that at least one current UMass recruit will hear his name called.  The first round takes place on Friday at 7pm (broadcast on NBC Sports), but any future Minuteman would likely be picked in rounds 2 through 7 which kick off Saturday at 10am (on NHL Network).  Any recruit that gets picked this weekend will join senior Ben Gallacher (Florida, 4th round 2010) and incoming freshman William Lagesson (Edmonton, 4th round 2014) as draft picks associated with the UMass program.

Technically there are more than a dozen UMass recruits that are eligible for this weekend’s draft but there are only two or three that have a legitimate chance to get picked.  Out of those three, one is very likely to hear his name called, one has a good chance, and the other one is a dark horse.

Defenseman Jake Massie, due to arrive at UMass in fall of 2016, is more than likely to be picked sometime Saturday afternoon.  He’s ranked 80th among North American Skaters in the final Central Scouting rankings, which would likely mean he’d be picked up in the middle rounds.  Massie is considered the best defensive prospect in New England prep hockey this past season playing for Kimball Union where he had 5 goals and 15 in 34 games.  The 6’0” Quebec native is seen as a quick skating, mobile blueliner with good hands.

Carmine Buono, who will join the Minutemen this fall, is ranked 188th among North American skaters by the CSS.  Given that ranking he’d probably be picked in the 6th or 7th round or potentially not at all.  Buono played in his native British Columbia this past season for the Power River Kings of the BCHL.  He had two goals and 24 assists in 48 games.  He also played on the Team Canada West squad for the World Junior A Challenge.  Buono has decent size at 6’1”, 190 lbs and was tied for most points on his junior team as a rookie.  An NHL club looking for a solid two way defenseman will likely have Buono on their radar.

With an outside shot to be picked is Ty Pelton-Byce, who will arrive in Amherst in 2016.  Pelton-Byce was listed by the NHL’s Central Scouting as a Player To Watch in their initial 2015 rankings last fall.  But he didn’t make the cut for either their midterm or final rankings.  I’ve been a little mystified as to why he dropped off their list because he absolutely dominated Wisconsin high school hockey since that initial listing.  He put up 35 goals and 39 assists, an amazing 74 points, in 24 games for Madison Memorial High, garnering many accolades along the way.  It seems unlikely, but not impossible, that Pelton-Byce gets picked this weekend.  But if he does hear his name called he’ll follow in the footsteps of his father, John Byce, a Boston Bruins pick in the 1985 draft.

Some draft related links:

Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News has Massie as the #120 prospect overall for the draft.

USCHO takes a look at the draft 10 years ago which included a third round pick by the name of Jon Quick.

Quick of course had a good enough career that College Hockey Inc. uses him to highlight the NCAA path to the pros.

Steve Mastalerz did a Q&A with UMass Athletics regarding his participation with the Calder Cup Champion Manchester Monarchs.

Chris Cobb, who led the UMass women’s club team to a lot of success a few years ago, is now an assistant coach for the Union DI women’s team.

The 2015-16 schedule continues to fill in with dates.

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