Three future Gophers selected in NHL Draft

by Samuel Gordon

Three future Gophers were drafted in this past weekend’s NHL Draft at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Minnesota’s 2011 Mr. Hockey and former Eden Prairie star Kyle Rau was the first to come off the board. The center was selected in the third round by the Florida Panthers, who made sophomore Nick Bjugstad their first round selection a year ago.

“Kyle is a fierce competitor. He seems to always score the big goal in the big game at that critical moment,” Gophers head coach Don Lucia said. “He is not the biggest guy, but he is as competitive as anybody as I have seen. He has a real knack for scoring goals and making plays. I think he is going to be a real exciting college hockey player.”

Forward Seth Ambroz of the USHL’s Omaha Lancers was a fifth round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets, joining senior Jake Hansen as Blue Jackets draftees.

“Seth is a prototypical power forward. He is big, strong and has an exceptional presence in front of the net,” Lucia said. “He has a heavy shot and is good along the walls. He is not afraid to get involved physically, which is something that we need in our program.”

Center Travis Boyd of the Team USA U-18 team was picked in the sixth round by the Washington Capitals, who also hold the rights to senior Nick Larson.

“Travis is a skilled center. He sees the ice exceptionally well and is a tremendous playmaker,” Lucia said. “He is good on draws. He can play on the power play on the half wall and can kill penalties. I think as he adds strength that he will be able to play in any situation that we have going into the next few years.”