As expected the Massachusetts hockey program came out of this year’s draft with two of their incoming recruits picked up by NHL teams, though not necessarily the two expected when I wrote my preview earlier this week. Defenseman Jake Massie was almost a lock to get drafted. So it wasn’t a huge shock to see him picked by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 6th round, 156th overall. It was a little surprising later on though when incoming freshman defenseman Ivan Chukarov was picked by the Buffalo Sabres to kick off the 7th round, 182nd overall, because he hadn’t been ranked by any of the scouting services.
It’s the first time that a UMass hockey player has been picked by either the Sabres or Hurricanes, although goaltender Brian Regan was drafted by the Hartford Whalers in 1994 before they moved to Carolina. With their picks it means that four current or future UMass defensemen have their rights owned by NHL teams (Gallacher, Lagesson, Chukarov, Massie). With Lagesson and Chukarov joining Gallacher on the blueline next year, SID Jillian Jakuba noted that it’ll be the first time UMass has three defensive draft picks since 08-09 (Justin Braun, Martin Nolet, John Wessbecker). Massie is due in Amherst in 2016. If there was one glaring area UMass needed to improve upon after last season it was defense. Hopefully all of these high profile defensemen make the difference.
Another addition to the hopefully improved defense next year will be Carmine Buono who, though he was ranked by Central Scouting to potentially go in the later rounds, ended up undrafted.
And now, here’s coverage of Massachusetts hockey’s newest draft picks:
Massie was in Sunrise for the draft and so was able to put on the red sweater and talk to the media. Here’s the video of his press conference. I’m impressed by how well-spoken he is.