Future Gophers drafted

Three of the four are expected to join the Gophers this season.

Jack Satzinger

Steve Johnson was at a friend’s house Saturday afternoon when his phone started buzzing.

The NHL Draft was playing on the television in the background, but the Minnetonka, Minn., native wasn’t paying attention when he was taken No. 120 overall by the Los Angeles Kings.

“Then I got a phone call. It was kind of surprising,” said Johnson, a defenseman. “It was a pretty surreal moment.”

Johnson was the third of four future Gophers selected in the 2014 NHL Draft, after Ryan Collins and Jack Glover and before Jack Ramsey.

Like Johnson, Glover also had difficulty finding out exactly when he was drafted.

“It was kind of overwhelming,” said Glover, who traveled to Philadelphia for the draft and was taken No. 69 overall by the Winnipeg Jets. “I didn’t even know what number I got drafted.”

Glover said he thinks he will fit in well with the Jets, but he was surprised they selected him because he said he didn’t feel like Winnipeg was one of the organizations targeting him before the draft.

Collins, also a defenseman, was taken No. 47 overall in the second round by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus drafted Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly 98th overall in 2011.

“I was talking to him the other day about the draft,” Collins told reporters after being selected. “I’ll be excited to get back and talk to him about Columbus.”

Collins, standing at well above 6 feet, is taller than most hockey players. He’s looking to add more size to his frame, which he said is one thing he hopes to accomplish while playing at Minnesota.

“Ryan is a player with a tremendous amount of potential,” Gophers head coach Don Lucia said in a release. “At [6 feet 5 inches], you’re looking at someone who, in three or four years, could be playing at 225 pounds. He should develop into a top-notch defensive
defenseman.”

Ramsey, a forward, is the son of former Gophers defenseman and 1980 Olympian Mike Ramsey and the younger brother of Gophers women’s hockey player Rachel Ramsey, and he went No. 208 overall to the Chicago Blackhawks.

While being drafted is a monumental step for every hockey player’s career, Collins, Johnson, Glover and Ramsey will strap on the Gophers uniform before going to the NHL.

Collins, Johnson and Glover will suit up for Minnesota next season, and Glover said he can’t wait to get to Mariucci Arena and play in front of what he called a “raucous crowd.”

Johnson grew up going to Gophers games and said he fell in love with the team from a young age.

“To be able to put that logo on and play for [the Gophers] now is pretty special,” Johnson said. “Just playing college hockey.”