The CCHA saw five of their own selected in last weekend’s NHL Draft, more than any other conference in college hockey.
Notre Dame’s Riley Sheahan was the first collegiate player taken off the board as the Detroit Red Wings nabbed the freshmen center with the 21st overall pick. Sheahan played in 37 games for the Irish this past season, scoring six goals while adding 11 assists for 17 points.
“Without question he achieved quite a bit for the youngest player in college hockey. He was 17 years old and was playing up against 20-year-old players on a regular basis in practice and games, and he did extremely well,” said Notre Dame Coach Jeff Jackson after the Red Wings tabbed Sheahan as their first pick. “He’s a very responsible player, very smart, and because of that I could use him in almost any situation.”
It was a long wait before another CCHA player would hear their name called, but Justin Florek was next. Florek was picked by the Boston Bruins in the fifth round, 135th overall. The Northern Michigan winger just completed his second season with the Wildcats. Florek finished third on the team in points with 35 in 41 games.
The Marquette Michigan native played two seasons for the United States U-18 team before deciding on Northern Michigan. The 6-4 power forward has made a strong impact in his two seasons, helping the Wildcats to two appearances in the CCHA Tournament and one NCAA Tournament bid. Florek has scored 21 goals and added 31 assists in 81 career games with the Wildcats.
Michigan defenseman Lee Moffie was the next CCHA player selected in the Draft, going 188th overall to the San Jose Sharks. During his freshmen campaign, Moffie played in 29 games for the Wolverines. He was the only freshmen defender on Michigan and contributed offensively as well with four goals and eight assists. Moffie is a big bodied defenseman who can move the puck and chip in while in the offensive zone. Before coming to Michigan, Moffie had 35 assists and 44 points for Waterloo in the USHL.
Michigan State’s Brett Perlini didn’t have to wait long after Moffie as he was picked 192nd by the Anaheim Ducks. Perlini completed his sophomore season with the Spartans and was named the team’s Most Improved Player. Perlini also won the Great Lakes Invitational’s MVP award as he scored three goals and five points in just two games. Perlini finished the season with seven goals, five assists, for 12 points in 20 games. So far in his career, the Ontario native has appeared in 46 games, scoring nine goals and adding six assists.
Last and certainly not least, Lake Superior State freshmen Zach Trotman was Mr. Irrelevant as Boston selected him with the last pick in the Draft. Trotman is a big, physical defenseman for the Lakers and should continue to grow in the coming seasons under Coach Jim Roque. At 6-4 and 202lbs, Trotman certainly has the frame of a shutdown NHL-caliber defenseman. Trotman scored twice and totaled eight points in 36 games for the Lakers this past season.
The five players selected this year trumps the total of three last year when Kevin Connauton of Western Michigan, Chris Wideman and Connor Knapp of Miami were selected after playing at least one season of CCHA hockey.